Just a little background on myself for those of you who don't know me yet, before going into the subject matter of my article. I am a 38 year old attorney with a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice, 2 Masters Degrees; 1 in criminal justice and 1 in sociology and obviously my Juris Doctor in law. I was born into a Christian family and never had any negative experiences practicing religion. I went to Sunday school as a kid and I have read the bible in its entirety for educational reasons, not religious ones. I assure you, this is an article that is movie-related. I chose to begin with the book of Exodus due to some of my conversations about the film "Exodus: Gods and Kings," which I reference below.
That said, I am an atheist and after commenting on a few articles about biblical movies, I was surprised to see some of the comments made in defense of religion. I hope to use my experiences to explain some of what I'll be saying here since I feel they are necessary with providing the proper narrative for the article.
If, after reading my article, I am able to have a few of you question some of your faith, then great. I've said this before and I will say it again here, fortunately, Science is not a democracy and individual opinions or anecdotal experiences, without evidence obtained through the scientific method, are worthless in this realm. The realm of science. I feel morally obligated to write these types of articles to at least start a debate. It took academics and scholars like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and Charles Darwin to make me question my indoctrination. So although I am not as enlightened as some of these remarkable individuals are, I am scientifically literate and astute. I hope to challenge some of the ignorance required to believe in many biblical claims and further inform you why they are either impossible or fictional.
This is an important topic worthy of discussion for so many reasons but let's just point out the impact of religion on politics. For one, it justifies bigotry and racism. More and more, we see politicians denying factual issues about rape, abortion and science. In 2008, during the Republican Primaries, Senator McCain was asked if he believed in evolution. He hesitated to answer in the affirmative and felt the need to suggest that he "also sees the hand of god" in the Grand Canyon. When the rest of the poor excuses for "candidates" were asked the same question, there were about 3 or 4 of them who said they don't "believe" in evolution.
"Pregnancy from rape is 'God's Will.'"
"If it's 'legitimate' rape, then the female body has ways of shutting it down."
Those videos should frighten you as much as they frighten me. The fact that we have individuals who are aspiring to the highest offices in the world and who still believe in outdated religious nonsense over rational thinking and evidence has profound effects on all of us, despite your beliefs. There is no option on whether to "believe" or "not believe" in evolution or climate change. I cannot explain this in any better way than to provide you with the following video:
Now, having provided the reasons for my topic. Let me start by saying that I wanted to write an article like this on Moviepilot beginning a few months ago when the movie "Exodus: Gods and Kings" was released. I clicked on one of the articles for the movie on this website and was surprised to see people making comments about the "factual" events that took place during the time of Exodus, or around 6,000 years ago. I was insulted to see that people believe Ancient Egypt was built on slavery. It is nothing short of an insult to mankind to believe such a disgusting tale that has no factual basis in history or otherwise.
The story of Exodus
According to fairly recent archeological discoveries in Egypt, namely in Giza, Ancient Egypt was built through a labor force. A paid, fed and medically treated labor force. The rise of Ancient Egypt was a landmark in socialization and humanity. Here's an article explaining why there were no slaves in Ancient Egypt and why the pyramids were not built through slavery:
Here are the findings:
Hawass said evidence had been found showing that farmers in the Delta and Upper Egypt had sent 21 buffalo and 23 sheep to the plateau every day to feed the builders, believed to number around 10,000 -- or about a tenth of Greek historian Herodotus's estimate of 100,000.
These farmers were exempted from paying taxes to the government of ancient Egypt -- evidence that he said underscored the fact they were participating in a national project.
- The best estimates we have right now is that around 10,000 men spent 30 years building the Great Pyramid of Giza. These men lived in well-maintained housing at the foot of the pyramid, ate well, and received the best medical care available at the time when they were injured.
- They were well paid, and were recruited from poor rural communities and worked shifts of three months on and three months off. Mostly they were farmers hired to work during the months the Nile River flooded its banks, making farming impossible. And when they died, they received a full religious burial in specially constructed stone tombs that were located near the pyramid in thanks for their service to the king.
- Note that I said "king." Not "Pharaoh." There were no Egyptian Pharaohs at this time, just kings. And yes, there is a difference. "Pharaoh" is a religious title, not a title of nobility, more similar to "Pope" than "King".
- These workers were *not* slaves. They were *not* mistreated. And they were *not* Hebrews. We know these things because we found the workers tombs, and read what was written on the walls of these tombs in heiroglyphics.
- It wasn't until nearly 2000 years after the Great Pyramid was completed that the earliest known records of Hebrews in Egypt appear. The Hebrews in question were mercenaries working for the Persian occupiers of Egypt. They were stationed on Elepantine, an island in the Nile River, starting around 650 BCE.
- These Hebrews were obviously not slaves, either. In point of fact, ancient records recovered from the site have revealed that these Hebrew mercenaries owned several hundred Egyptian slaves themselves.
"Egyptian Tombs Suggest Pyramids Not Built By Slaves". M. Awad, Reuters, 11 January 2010.
"Investigating the Origin of the Ancient Jewish Community at Elephantine: A Review". I. Omer. January 2008.
"The Diaspora Story: The Epic of the Jewish People Among the Nations". J. Comay. Random House, 1983.
"Aramaic Papyri: New Documents of the Fifth Century BC From the Jewish Colony at Elephantine." E. Kraeling, New York Arno Press 1969.
"Ancient Aramaic and Hebrew Letters", J. Richard Lindenberger. Atlanta Scholars Press, 1994.
"Archives From Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony." B. Porten. University of California, Berkeley Press 1968.
The Dark Ages
Here is a graph depicting human advancement before, during and after the dark ages:
The Dark Ages is the era in history where religion was law, which brings me to:
In the Catholic world prior to Galileo's conflict with the Church, the majority of educated people subscribed to the Aristotelian geocentric view that the earth was the center of the universe and that all heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth, despite the use of Copernican theories to reform the calendar in 1582. Biblical references Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 include text stating that "the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved." In the same manner, Psalm 104:5 says, "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Further, Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that "And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place."
Galileo defended heliocentrism, and in his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina argued that it was not contrary to biblical texts. He took the Augustinian position that poetry, songs, instructions or historical statements in biblical texts need not always be interpreted literally. Galileo argued that the authors wrote from the perspective of the terrestrial world in which the sun does rise and set, and discussed a different kind of "movement" of the earth, not rotations.
By 1615 Galileo's writings on heliocentrism had been submitted to the Roman Inquisition, and his efforts to interpret the Bible were seen as a violation of the Council of Trent. Attacks on the ideas of Copernicus had reached a head, and Galileo went to Rome to defend himself and Copernican ideas.
In 1616, an Inquisitorial commission unanimously declared heliocentrism to be "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture." The Inquisition found that the idea of the Earth's movement "receives the same judgement in philosophy and... in regard to theological truth it is at least erroneous in faith.
Pope Paul V instructed Cardinal Bellarmine to deliver this finding to Galileo, and to order him to abandon the Copernican opinions. On 26 February, Galileo was called to Bellarmine's residence and ordered
... to abandon completely... the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing.
— The Inquisition's injunction against Galileo, 1616.
Obviously, this has become an extremely lengthy article to now. Depending on the feedback I get, or lack thereof, I'll start my second piece explaining as best I can the archeological fossil records, how it supports what we know about the true history of the world's timeline, and I will attempt to break down evolution as basically as possible to explain its factual basis. So, I hope you enjoyed the read till now. If so, I'll continue on with another article. Hope to see you soon.