<< Let's take your scenario to illustrate what I see as the two different
reactions of the conservatives on the one hand and liberals on the other.
This case is fascinating because there is NO archaeological evidence for the
Exodus, especially one with so many people.
The conservative, in order to maintain his belief and avoid leaving
Christianity, can reject the total lack of scientific observation as being
important. This is what they do with creation. THey reject the observational
data that contradicts their views or say it really isn't important.
The liberal on the other hand, in order to maintain his belief and avoid
leaving christianity, will say that the Exodus was not meant to be taken
literally--it was meant to teach us about humans and the human conditions
and our relationship to God. It simply doesn't have to be historical.
This is why I reject both approaches. They are heads I win, tails you lose
I would like to point out that rejecting a lack of evidence is in no way
comparable to rejecting evidence. Because there is no archaelogical evidence
for the Exodus leaves the issue open. As Edwin Yamauchi points out in his
book The Stones and the Scriptures, only a minute fraction of the
archaeological data has been investigated. Consequently, it should be borne
in mind that with archaeology, the absence of evidence is not evidence of
absence. The conservative has at least a valid academic right to say the
_lack_ of archaeological evidence does not disprove anything. There will
probably never be archaeological evidence for Abraham, Isaac or Jacob or many
other figures in ancient history; but, that does not give anyone the academic
right to say they never lived.
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