Dinosaur Bone Deception?
Years ago I had an embarrassing experience.
I was visiting a museum with a dinosaur exhibit. One of the people with me said out loud, “I don’t believe dinosaurs ever existed. I think these bones are a deceit of Satan.”
I panicked afraid that my friend was going to be taken away in a straitjacket.
After speaking in quiet voice – hoping nobody heard my friend and thus making me guilty by association – I asked why she believed such a thing. She said she heard a Christian speaker who said that Satan put dinosaur bones into the ground to deceive people into believing the earth was millions and millions of years old.
Christians should believe in dinosaur bones because there is a relationship between beliefs and history
I share this story to make the point that there is a relationship between beliefs and history. There is a relationship between dinosaur bones (a type of history) and belief that dinosaurs existed.
Christianity is built on the same kind of relationship between history and beliefs (also known as doctrine),
“The narration of the facts is history; the narration of the facts with the meaning of the facts is doctrine [belief]. “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried”–that is history. “He loved me and gave Himself for me”–that is doctrine. Such was the Christianity of the primitive Church” (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, [New York: Macmillan, 1924], 29).
History and beliefs should not contradict one another because they have the same source, God.
Therefore, instead of believing dinosaurs never existed and that dinosaur bones are Satan’s deception, my friend would have been better off:
1. Asking the Christian speaker how he knew that dinosaur bones are a deception of Satan.
2. Considering whether the methods scientists use to date bones are trustworthy.
3. She might need to reconsider whether her interpretation of the Bible is faulty by asking questions like: Does the Bible say the earth is 10,000 years old? Does the Bible deny the earth is billions of years old? Does the Bible deny the existence of dinosaurs? Does the Bible teach dinosaurs are a deception of Satan?
If she concludes that the Bible certainly does deny the existence of dinosaurs, then she needs to seriously consider whether the Bible is wrong.
The last point is the hardest for Christians and Muslims, whether their holy book might be wrong. I admit this is an unpleasant idea for me as a Christian. But if my belief in the Bible is grounded in reality (i.e. the real world), then its claims can also be tested as true (claims correspond to reality) or false (claims do not correspond to reality).
If a Christian or Muslims says, “Evidence doesn’t matter; I’ll believe anyway”, then their beliefs are not rooted in reality.
For example: If the Bible/Quran definitely taught that the moon is made of 100% Swiss cheese, then after losing a few teeth from munching on moon rocks we would have to conclude the Bible/Quran was wrong. The moon is not 100% Swiss cheese.
The central tenents of Christianity can be proven true or false based on evidence. If Jesus never lived, died, and rose again, then Christianity is false. If the tomb of Jesus was found with His bones, then Christianity would not be true.
Dinosaur bones and Islam
What do dinosaur bones and Islam have in common?
Islam denies reality. It denies Jesus’ death on the cross. Christians, the enemies of Christianity, people of other faiths, people of no faith, people of little faith believe Jesus died on the cross. They believe it because of the historical evidence. Islam does not.
Instead of denying the obvious, here is what my Muslim friends need to do:
1. Ask why they deny Jesus’ death on the cross. Answer: their prophet Muhammad recited this (Quran 4:157-158).
2. Consider whether historians have gotten their facts wrong. Answer: there is uniform agreement. Muslims haven’t been able to demonstrate otherwise.
3. Consider whether hundreds of millions of Muslims have misinterpreted the Quran for the past 1,400 years? Maybe the Quran does not deny Jesus’ death on the cross. Answer: This is possible, but unlikely. The consensus of Muslim scholars 1I leave Quranic interpretation to Muslim scholars. They’re the experts; I’m not. is that the Quran teaches Jesus did not die on the cross.
This leaves us with a most painful and difficult consideration for Muslims: That the Quran is wrong and Muhammad was not a prophet of God.
Jesus said the truth shall set you free (John 8:32).
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|1.||↥||I leave Quranic interpretation to Muslim scholars. They’re the experts; I’m not.|