Thursday, April 28, 2011

Episode 83 Exodus; Pursued by Pharaoh

The Biblical account of the Jewish slavery in and exodus from Egypt is regarded by many as a historical fact, give or take a few miracles. But what does modern archaeology have to say on the subject? We dive into the evidence (or lack thereof) for this ancient tale.
Luke and Justin take on recent criticisms concerning the roots for morality and the sacrificial practices of ancient Jews and early Christians. Dave takes a look at another springtime resurrection god in a PolyAtheism segment and the doubtcasters discuss Terry Jones trip to Michigan, a "miraculously healed" child, and some people in the Philippines who take their Easter celebrations very serisously. Also, more bad news and some potentially good news out of the on-going Catholic sex abuse scandal.


Taupo said...

Hey all, big fan of the show
Concerning your PolyAtheism part, you link the story of Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz with the greek mythology and the story of Adonis/Aphrodite. Though I don;t deny the similarities, for me this story is clearly more similar to the story of Persephone Demeter and Hades, especially concerning the origin of the seasons.
Well anyway, it just allows to add up more gods not worth believing into, and helps underlining how limited the imagination of the ancient wise was to explain phenomenon: let's see what the Babylonians had to say on the topic...

Fletcher said...

Taupo, you're right, there are obvious parallels between that story and the story of Persephone. The gods themselves, however, fit more closely with Aphrodite and Adonis. Adonis, like Dumuzi/Tammuz spends half of the year in the underworld with Persephone and part of the year with Aphrodite, who, like Inanna/Ishtar is a love goddess.

rsm said...

Extra credit for the Warren Zevon reference, I do love me some next to work in lawyers, guns and money into the Catholic church scandals...

Just as an interesting point: After listening to the Bible Geek podcast for a couple of weeks (including going through archives) I find it almost excruciating to listen to any argument that involves the historicity of any events described in the bible. I think that once I'm more comfortable with and able to argue the points he brings up in the podcast I'll be able to listen to historicity topics with some semblance of normality. Right now I'm enjoying having a number of my childhood indoctrinations smashed to tiny little fragments of nothingness and hearing anyone argue for the historical accuracy of the accounts is just cringeworthy, I think that's mostly cognitive dissonance and trying to reconcile with childhood indoctrination.

I should note that my childhood indoctrination wasn't anything significant as I've been an atheist/humanist all my life. However, in Norway they taught/teach Christianity in elementary school and my elementary school homeroom teacher was a fairly fundamentalist lady, and although her anti-D&D and Conan literature should receive a great thanks for introducing me to the joys of D&D and Conan, the historicity of dome of the bible events have stuck with me until now. It's nice to have them crumble in the face of evidence.

Thank you all for the excellent podcast, I've been a fan for a long time and it still brightens my day every time I get another on my ipod.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't it be "evidence, or lack thereof" rather than "lack their of?" Love the show.

Don said...

I have only a couple of comments and not of major disagreement. One is that, possibly inadvertently, you identified Hittite as a Semitic language. It is not -- it is in the Indo-European language group and is related to Armenian (I think). Also, your reference to the Hebrew slaves building the pyramids omitted an important fact: the last pyramid was completed before about 2000 BCE and Exodus mentions Ramses (I'm going by memory here). Even without the reference to Ramses the earliest estimates for the so-called Exodus are around 1400 BCE so there id NO way that the Hebrews built the pyramids. It is a bit shocking that an Israeli Prime Minister (Begin) seemed to believe that Hebrew slaves worked on the pyramids. Just goes to show you.

Infinite Monkey said...

I may have done my calcuations wrong, I wouldn't doubt if I did, but if you start out with a group of 70, you would just need each person to contribute 1.6 people per 20-year generation which make it to reproducing, which would be 3.2 children per couple. That doesn't SEEM to be too much.

Anonymous said...

"Why do Americans still dislike atheists?" some good links to follow from the article:

BluePrint said...

Funny comment at 51:00, and a variant of that was done in an Israeli sketch-comedy show in the early 90's:
One show was about Joshua's conquest of Canaan, and in it there's a part where Joshua is seen breaking pottery.
When asked what he's doing he says: "I'm leaving evidence for archeologists."
(There's a back and forth about why break and that archeologists only understand when things are in pieces, but more importantly...)
Joshua is asked further, how will the archeologists know it was his pottery, and in reply he rotates for the camera a yet unbroken vase on which is written: Joshua was here. (in Hebrew)

Aaron said...

Hey Reasonable Team,

I want to start by saying that I appreciate you giving my email so much time on the show. I understand that you couldn't read the whole thing, but I'm pleased that you gave another view point some light on your show.

You brought up some good questions - and I want to help answer some of them.

You mentioned that the suffering servant is actually the nation of Israel.

You omitted the part of my email where I addressed that issue.

There are actually 3 servants talked about in chapters 42-53, and if you pay attention, you know which one is being referred to.

First is Israel - (who is referred to as Israel or Jacob) and is often described as blind, deaf, and rebellious.

Second is Cyrus - whom Isaiah calls an anointed king - as one whom God would use to fulfill a purpose - yet this Cyrus does not acknowledge God. This is a specific prophecy. Isaiah prophesied the specific name of this king 150 years before he was born - Cyrus the king of Persia.

Third is the suffering servant, who is only referred to as "my servant" - not as Israel or Cyrus.
This servant is said to not be rebellious, have open ears, and act wisely.

Certainly, you can tell which servant is being referred to simply by reading what is said about them. The suffering servant - who is not rebellious and who does acknowledge the Lord - clearly can't be either Israel or Cyrus.

As far as your issues in 53:10 about the servant "seeing his offspring" and "prolonging his days" - these must be understood in the context of the chapter - which says he will die, and will be "cut off from the land of the living." Since, these things happen post-death, they should be assigned post-death significance. Jesus is called the everlasting Father in Isaiah 9 - for he is also God, whose death makes believers his children, born of incorruptible seed (I Peter 1:23)

As far as comparing "long life" to "eternal life" - the term eternal life isn't used in the Bible until the New Testament - so it could be as simple as language differences - certainly not a point of contention. Again, whatever the duration - it happens after he dies.

You said there is a problem with typical Christology when it says he is crushed with disease. This just shows that you really don't have a full sense of orthodox Christology. In the same chapter, the servant is said to be pierced, wounded, and led like a lamb to the slaughter. These are realized in the cross. As far as disease, the same chapter also makes it clear that he "took up our infirmities." Jesus ministry was not just one of spiritual healing, but of physical healing. Just as he bore sins so that we might be righteous - he also bore sickness, for the redemption of our body from corruption (Rom. 8:23).

Aaron said...


Yes, the OT sacrifices were sufficient for God to passover our sins - but they were not sufficient to pay the full penalty for our sins. Bull's blood could atone, but it couldn't pay the price.

I don't think you understood the picture I was trying to paint of Jesus' sufficiency. You thought Jesus' death was only enough if he was tortured for eternity in hell to cover "infinite sins." This is really a simple concept to understand.

A good illustration is given in Matthew 18:32-34. The wicked servant is throne in jail to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. The servant didn't have enough money to pay the debt. If he did, he wouldn't have to go to jail to pay it off.

We understand that jail time is a means of paying a debt. The person who murders is sentenced to a life-sentence in jail for each person he murders. There is no amount of money that will cover that penalty.

Similarly, when we will face God with the penalty of sinning against him - which demands an eternal payment on par with God's eternal value - our only option will be to pay that penalty with an eternity in hell. We don't have the "funds" in our account to pay the debt, so it will be taken from us in "jail."

However, when Christ bore the fine for all our crimes, he DID have the "funds" in his account to pay the debt. His life IS on par with God's eternal value - because He is God. Thus, there was no reason for Christ to pay any more by spending time in prison.

So, even if you don't believe this, at least you have a better understanding of the Christian position.

Suzie said...

Yes, please correct the "their." I was going to send a link to your website to a coupld of friends based on a conversation we had today . . . until I saw that. Still will, once that's fixed. Spelling and grammatical errors are expected in a post. Not on your website.

Rip said...

Just started listening to your show. Started back at the beginning, but wanted to say that I have looked at a few other "top" atheist podcasts and you guys are easily the best.

The problem I had with the others is that they tend to be the sort that were the condescending types. This is the kind of thing that bugs me about religious people, and atheists do it too in a lot of cases. You guys on the other hand run this bit more professional I think with much more thought out programs.

It's nice to hear people that don't have to pat themselves on the back the entire time.

I think the show on each of them I got up to that made me look for another one was their Religulous review shows if you can believe that. It just really showed me that these guys are more in it for the humiliation of it all than anything else. Then I look at what you guys do and you have decent guests right away, and don't spend your time making everything into a joke.

Well..hopefully you didn't change a lot over the few years because I am really enjoying your early shows whether they aren't exactly current events, or not.

Vic Losick said...

Are religious fundamentalists trying to Christianize the government?

My one-hour documentary, “In God We Teach” has just been posted online for viewing by all.
The film tells the story of a high school student who secretly recorded his history teacher in class and accused him of proselytizing for Jesus. The teacher, in danger of losing his job strenuously denied it. The specifics of this controversy speak directly to the church & state issues that are being heatedly argued this election year.
With Stephen Colbert, Alan Dershowitz, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others.

Please feel free to stream, download, share, embed and link to the film for non-commercial use.


Vic Losick

To view “In God We Teach” click on:


Vic Losick
150 West 87th Street, 8C
New York, NY 10024