Turns Out That There Is A Dumb Question

January 05, 2017

In keeping my promise to answer some of the tough questions that students ask, I am ready to tackle the second question that we received. The question was, “Why do you want to believe in something so stupid? Why trust those dumb Bible stories?”

Let’s lump this with a couple of other questions that are similar.
“The Bible says that there was nothing in the beginning but darkness. Isn’t that something?”
“Can God create a rock so big that he can’t lift it?”
“How can you believe in something that cannot be proven?”

Let’s answer the first question first and then deal with all of the other “Got Ya,” questions.

I don’t believe in anything stupid. I only believe in things that make sense. Believing in “Dumb Bible” stories actually makes sense if you understand who God is. If I have a friend who doesn’t believe in the Bible because of stories that are admittedly tough to believe, then I need to explain that the Bible stories are surrounded by some of the most brilliant, logical, wise and incredible teaching. Much of the Bible has been incorporated into things like our legal system, our commitment to education, racial and gender equality, financial advice and leadership principles. I don’t think that it is too tough to believe in those things because they make complete sense.

I’d ask if the student was aware of the other teaching that exists in the Bible. That student will most often state that they are (in spite of the fact that most are only minimally aware of what the Bible teaches). I ask them if they are suggesting that I throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most will concede the wisdom that the Bible contains.

What we have now agreed on is that there are parts of the Bible that are not stupid. The Bible is not just dumb stories. But let’s talk about those stories. You know the ones that I am talking about. There is that story about Jonah and the whale, and the one about God only needing a week to create the entire world. There is the parting of the Red Sea, Noah and the Ark, Jesus walking on water and then coming back to life. We can’t really be stupid enough to believe those stories, can we? Hang on to that thought.

Did you know that George Washington never cut down a cherry tree. Based on that, I have tossed out my history books. They are all so full of lies. Doing that would make me stupid. Let’s decide right now, that one difficult to understand story does not eliminate the wisdom or truth written through the rest of a book.

I actually am smart enough to believe in those had to understand stories. You see, The Bible tells us stories that are pretty easy to defend. Jonah was swallowed by a “great fish,” the size of which can be seen on a regular basis. The story becomes harder to believe if the largest fish ever seen or recorded was a bass. More than that, we have three recorded non-biblical accounts of people being swallowed by whales. Two of those people died, but one man, a whaler, lived to tell about it. It is difficult to believe for sure, but it has been verified as possible.

What about the Hebrews walking across the Red Sea? How could we believe that? I have two answers. The first is that people used to walk from Russia to Alaska all the time. They did it by crossing over a land bridge that stretched across the Bering Strait. The bridge is now covered over, but the strait is significantly shallower than the rest of the sea. But how could that happen in a matter of hours? That is what people find impossible. We don’t think that it is impossible when it happens to a huge river though. And it does happen often to rivers. It also happens in Lake Superior. In a wind occurrence called a “Seiche,” winds have actually left ships high and dry in ridiculously short periods of time.

There is also evidence that chariots were swallowed up by the waters of the Red Sea. In a place not too unlike the Bering Sea’s land bridge, The Red Sea has a shallow section (more precisely, an underwater mountain range) that would have required much less to have been cleared of water. And then there are the chariot wheels and Egyptian weapons in that section of the Red Sea. It is not too hard to imagine at least a possibility of a day when people would have been able to cross the Red Sea on foot.
I can do this for each miracle. I can understand it from a scientific perspective. I don’t though.

You see, if I believe in God, and I have had enough personal evidence of God’s existence to keep me faithful for eternity, then things like a resurrection or the amount of time it takes God to create anything does not bother me.

Honestly, I have seldom spoken to someone who has put much work into their disbelief. I, on the other hand, have invested everything in understanding why I believe what I do. 100 years ago, people would not have believed that space travel was possible. They would not be able to accept TV, or the internet as realities. Our belief changes as we have new information.

I own the one piece of information that makes each of these questions simple to explain. I know God. I have His Son living in my life. That is something that a skeptic cannot argue against. It does not mean I’m stupid. Dumb questions, in contrast may mean something about the asker. Maybe the problem is that people do not believe in a big enough god.    

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