How do I refute the claim that the Bible is a product of the era it was written in?
How should I refute the claims in the following meme? I would love to hear from you, brother.
"The Bible makes perfect sense as soon as you realize it was written at a time when women were the property of men, slavery was commonplace, and death was the penalty for minor offenses. A time when belief in gods and magic was ubiquitous and gods were used to explain every unknown (which was almost everything). A time when men knew less about the world than the average 12-year-old does today. Then it makes perfect sense. But those days are long gone."
A common mistake people make is to assume that the present times are far superior times in the past. That ancient document that this meme disparages tells us why: "Is there anything of which one might say, 'See this, it is new'? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later still" (Ecclesiastes 1:10-11). Because our lives are relatively short, we forget what the prior generations knew. Would you like examples?
- The foundations of mathematics were developed by the ancient Greeks, such as Euclid, who lived 325-265 BC. I would like to see your average 12-year-old work out some of his equations.
- We still argue about how the ancients built pyramids. Or how about those massive drawings, some of which can only be seen from the air?
- We have found sophisticated mechanical devices that we are still uncertain as to exactly what they did.
Notice the meme charges the state of the world during the time the Bible was written but leaves only as an implication that the Bible actually teaches such things. There is not even a direct statement that the Bible supports the positions claimed that our ancestors supposedly held.
While it may be true that some ancient societies treated women poorly, the Bible does not teach such a view. I know of no passage that teaches that women are the property of men. Instead, I find:
"You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered" (I Peter 3:7).
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
- Are there any examples of a woman being forced into a marriage that she objected to?
- Why were women valued less than men in the Old Testament?
- Are women less than men?
Yes, slavery existed in biblical times and it still exists in some areas of the world today (for example, the Muslim religion still accepts slavery). What you find in the Bible were laws to regulate and minimize the damage caused by slavery (see Slavery in the Bible). Have you ever wondered why it has been people influenced by Christianity who led the charge to change the entrenched beliefs in slavery?
While the charge is that people used gods to explain the unknown, the Bible states that gods originated from man's foolishness. "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures" (Romans 1:21-23). I wonder where the author thinks life comes from. Perhaps he follows the ideas of Evolution and thinks matter somehow accidentally arranged itself into living and thinking beings. See The Evolutionist's Creation Story, Inspired by Naturalism and Is Science the Source of Truth?
In regards to the knowledge within the Bible, consider: