GOP politician Michele Bachmann recently commented:
…You know the remarkable thing–when you read the Bible, every archeology find that’s ever come forward has only proved the authenticity of the Bible…
Such a statement is both interesting and very problematic because Bachmann’s words are false, and because correctness is found much more in the exact opposite. That is, almost every archeological discovery ever has disproven the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible, especially fundamentalist readings.
Side note: Prior to the rise of modernism in the GAPE (c. 1880-1920) there were (basically) no Christian fundamentalist. Fundamentalism emerged as a reactionary force against the emerging science, especially ideas popularized by Darwin and Freud, and technology, for example. Baptists and other branches of evangelicalism prior to the GAPE would have found this fundamentalist hermeneutics very strange and wrong.
Archeological digs have proven, again and again, that the Christian Bible does not speak to documented history. The Bible, in ways, is a good example of history that is not true but accurate: Accurate in terms of hopes and fears. Nonetheless, as I have written about in various ways before, archeology very specifically shows that the Biblical creation myth and flood myth, for example, are not true accounts of the past. Moreover, some archeological digs even question whether there actually ever was a person named “Jesus.” Not to mention that all extant copies of texts that have become part of Christian theology are copies of copies with different languages mixed and lost in the process.
The even bigger issue here is that we live in a society where people like Bachmann can lie with little consequence. Given the available knowledge in our society and given the access we all have to hard-core evidence, Bachmann’s assertion is not a matter of differing hermeneutics (or interpretation). She is lying. Bachmann is knowingly and willingly promoting an agenda that will only speak to a very specific and small audience. Her uses of theology are the kind that prompted the excellent book:
Why Christianity Must Change or Die.
Bachmann’s claim could even be a kind of cry for help or a cry of cognitive dissonance in that she hopes that vocalizing such will somehow make it true.
Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda