Does Terry Firma respond in a fair-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and scientific manner to the evidence of the archaeological sciences? No, of course not. He ridicules it and he ridicules Dr. Dark. He offers some claims – about Mark Twain and buried treasure – that he believes parallel the claims made by Dr. Dark, when actually they have no similarity whatsoever. Dr. Dark really does have hard evidence to back up what he is saying. Terry Firma’s parallels are, as he himself states, completely made up. Dr. Dark’s evidence was not made up. Where’s the parallel, Terry?
Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because this is exactly what I have encountered in my conversations with atheists. They belittle my beliefs. They belittle my intelligence. They belittle me as a person. I’ve been cussed at and called all sorts of names for simply asking and answering questions, from a Christian perspective. They dismiss evidence of the existence of God in just the same way Terry Firma dismisses Dr. Black’s archaeological evidence…as if it simply does not exist. They look at the idea of the existence of “God,” as being parallel to the idea of the existence of leprechauns, unicorns, and the tooth fairy. Terry Firma does basically the same with his made up stories of Mark Twain and buried treasure as being parallels to Dr. Dark’s actual physical evidence.
Firma goes on to say, “It looks for all the world as if Dark and his team, perhaps spurred on by media eager for a sensational story, worked backwards from a preconceived result.” No, it doesn’t. Not to anyone with an open mind, that is. Where is Firma’s evidence for his claim about Dr. Dark’s motivation? Well, his evidence of this is that Dark claims to have evidence that points to a 1st-century house in Nazareth possibly being the house Jesus lived in. Well, we know that can’t be true because Jesus never existed, so Dark must have just made it all up, is essentially the thought process here. He is, essentially, working backwards from a preconceived result – exactly what he claims Dark did. And, he closes his article by, of course, mentioning unicorns.
Now, let’s look at some of the comments from the peanut gallery that showed up in the combox of this blog:
“See this rock? See this scratch on the rock? We believe Jesus started carving his name but was interrupted. We can’t know for sure but we can’t say it didn’t happen,” (AlissaA).
“Terry [Firma], maybe you didn’t see the late breaking details but a door frame with hash marks indicating height were found in the house. And get this, each mark was dated December 25, Jesus’s birthday,” (Mr. Ed).
“Digging in my back yard I found a collection of stones which are the remains of the luxury hovel that Adam and Eve stayed in during their world travels millennia ago,” (bicfj).
“I can’t believe how these a–holes grasp at straws,” (Tim).
“Oh, look what I found, it’s the Major Oak from Sherwood forest, I see no reason why Robin Hood was not a real person now,” (TiltedHorizon).
Ridicule, sarcasm, arrogance, foul language. Not a single rational argument offered against Dr. Dark’s conclusions. I can pretty much guarantee that none of these commentators actually bothered to read the original article by Dr. Dark. Yet, they view themselves as the more enlightened humans, the people who are intellectually and morally superior to Christians in every way, and the folks who are way more tolerant than those nasty little Christianses. And all of this on a blog called “The Friendly Atheist.” I sure would hate to see what the unfriendly atheists would say…
John Martignoni is a nationally-known Catholic apologist and Bible scholar. He is the Founder and President of the Bible Christian Society, where you can find lots of free apologetics materials — CD’s, mp3 downloads, e-newsletters, and more, and host of EWTN’s “Open Line” airing on Mondays at 3 pm EST. He is also Director of the Office of the New Evangelization in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.