Bronze Age Goat Herders.
One self acclaimed freethinker by the name McAfee claims that the Old Testament was a written by “Bronze age goat herders” – a remark that seems to have some currency for modern days atheists. Again in his book McAfee writes “It seems as though the evolution of Christian thought has steered the religion into a much more Jesus-centric system than it may have been originally intended by its bronze-aged creators” (1).
Eh, just a little problem here for Mr. McAfee. The Late Bronze Age (let alone the height of the Bronze Age generally) ended in 1200 BC, well over 1000 years before Jesus even lived. It truly would be a miracle to have an evolution of a Christian “Jesus-centric” system of thought over 500 years before Jesus even existed (talk about prophetic?). The problem? In the very same book McAfee claims to be a religious scholar (he’s only achieved a BA as for as I know). Essentially to call the Christian tradition a bronze age development would be analogous to Christians calling McAfee a medieval atheist. Even worse, most of the Old Testament was written well within the first millennium BC (though many traditions within the books go back earlier than that). Is this the sort of research that atheist fundies like McAfee do nowadays?
The “Science of Religion.” Say What?
Mcafee again: “The science and psychology of religion boils down to a few, main pillars: faith, uniformed beliefs, and fear of the unknown” (2).
It’s worrisome that this self-acclaimed scholar of religion invented a whole discipline that does not actually exist. There is no such thing as “the science of religion.”
Tyler Vela explains the naivety of this statement: “One must only think of the countless number of Christian scholars who have shaped nearly every academic discipline ranging from theology to cosmology, sociology to, yes, psychology. Nearly every Ivy League school was founded as an explicitly Christian institution; the system of public healthcare and hospitals began as a missionary effort, and the advent of even science itself dawned in the context of Christendom and its belief that the universe was intelligible, ordered, and governed such that it could be systematically studied was precisely because it was designed and ordered by a rational Creator. Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Bacon, and nearly every one of the early scientists, almost down to the man, were Christians of some sort and unequivocally attributed their love of science to their belief in God. The Big Bang was first proposed scientifically by a Belgium priest named Georges Lemaître and the human genome was decoded by outspoken Christian Francis Collins” (3).
Philosopher Paul Copan articulates what sort of atheist a person like McAfee is, one whose “arguments against God’s existence are surprisingly flimsy, often resembling the simplistic village atheist far more than the credentialed academician. The Neo-atheists are often profoundly ignorant of what they criticize, and they typically receive the greatest laughs and cheers from the philosophically and theologically challenged. True, they effectively utilize a combination of emotion and verbal rhetoric, but they aren’t known for logically carrying thoughts through from beginning to end” (4).
Nick Peters also comments: “This must be learned about fundamentalist atheists. They are great people of faith. They will believe anything they read that is negative about the Bible without doing any of the necessary research or if they do read something, it is only what already agrees with them” (5).
1. McAfee, D. Disproving Christianity. p. 61
2. McAfee, D. ibid. p. 117.
3. Vela, T. Measuring McAfee.
4. Copan, P. Is God a Moral Monster? p. 16.
5. Peters, N. 2015. Book Plunge: Disproving Christianity. Available.