Many people are awestruck and are left without words to describe the wondrous things that God and his son Jesus have done. They point to Genesis and the amazing way that God spoke life into being along with all of the other things in the universe. What a miracle it was for God to create man from dust and then woman from the rib of a man. Surely only a god could do such things. When Jesus came, he performed many miracles to the astonishment of the audience before him. Curing blindness, turning water into wine, walking on water and then dying and rising again. Truly astounding. How could any of this be possible if not because of the supernatural world being real? Simple. It’s a story.
I’m not a well-known author. I have one self-published book and a novel I have been shopping around to a few different publishers. Besides those books and this blog, I am unknown to most people as a writer. However, even with my limited experience and my limited imagination, I can come up with all sorts of things that do not exist in the real world. I have written about creatures that are not real, powers that are overtly unrealistic and situations that people in the real world would never find themselves in. All of this is possible with a little imagination and a lot of free time.
So when you hear stories of angels, demons, men who have the ability to perform miracles and a god who has unlimited power, you need to ask yourself if there is any good reason to believe any of it. Jesus was a miracle-maker and died on the cross. He rose again and ascended into heaven. Or did he? What is the evidence of that? Stories? Is there anything beyond that? No. What about the Exodus? Is there any evidence outside of the biblical account of that happening? Any archaeological evidence? Anything? No. Noah’s Ark? No. David and Goliath? No. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thrown in a furnace and escaping unharmed? No. All of the stories that involve magic, miracles or the supernatural have no evidence to back them up. Why? They are stories.
There’s a reason why the dinosaurs in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park were perfect for the big screen and why J.K. Rowling’s characters from Hogwarts made excellent Harry Potter movies. The stories were so well written that people were able to picture them really happening. Readers can envision these fictional characters as real people facing real challenges. The stories may be pure fiction but are written in a way that you forget that and they can become real in people’s minds. People like to be taken away from reality as they are swept into a world of imagination and fantasy. It is an escape. It is a break from the real world and a time for people to just sit back and be entertained. Good stories can do that. Good stories will make the reader beg for more. Then there are bad stories.
There are some stories that are not written just for entertainment. They are written as a means to deceive and control people by convincing them that the stories are based on facts. The stories and characters are so unbelievable that they require constant, changing interpretations and coercion in order to convince others that they are real. Embellishment is a huge component of oral tradition stories. The more outlandish they are, the more interested the person listening is. There are campfire stories and fish stories that people share that are full of deception but told as if they are 100% accurate. However, once written down, they become much more difficult to change.
I think that the writers of the Bible made a huge mistake when they put down on paper the words that were circulating for centuries. If they wanted to be more convincing, they should have left the stories as oral campfire tales. Oral tradition can be changed over and over and people can deny that certain parts were ever in those stories. That’s why when children play the “telephone game” (also known as Chinese Whispers) the story at the end is usually nothing like how it began. The oral traditions of the biblical stories were like those telephone games people played as children. Once written down though, the story was literally black and white. Now, people who defend it are forced to explain away all of the obvious errors, contradictions and outlandish things written in there. It’s much harder to do when it’s written down as a supposedly “finished” work that was inspired by none other than God himself. If just shared by word of mouth, subtle changes at first can lead to huge changes in the end and you can continue to make it whatever you wish it to be.
It doesn’t matter if a story is shared orally or is written down and then read by others. Without evidence, stories are just stories. They are fictional until proven to be factual. They are entertainment until they are proven to be anything else. Yes, some of the content might be helpful. Some of it might be instructional for the purposes of creating order and rules. But, again, they are merely stories without some hard evidence that shows that there is more to them.
The next time someone says something like, “Well if God isn’t real, then how did he part the Red Sea or how can you explain how Jesus walked on water?” you can kindly ask them why they are using stories to “prove” God’s existence. Stories are not real just because someone says that they are. Someone asked recently on their own blog, “Why do you think Jesus could endure such a great temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane, even to the point of sweating drops of blood?” That’s easy. He didn’t. At least, there is no evidence whatsoever that he did. People point to the Bible and fall to their knees in awe of the stories contained within, yet none can show that any of them actually happened. There is no difference between the stories of the Bible and any other fictional story. Well, now that’s not entirely accurate. Good writing keeps people wanting more. Bad writing bores people to death and makes people want to toss the book in the trash.
And this is why believers need to preach. If you can convince someone else that fiction is nonfiction, then it doesn’t matter how bad the plot is or how poorly written it is. All you have to do is convince someone that the jumbled up mess of the Bible is real and they will flip the switch in their minds that goes from using REASON, to believing in (and making excuses for) anything and everything in that book. The story may contain some incredible events and interesting characters, but without any evidence whatsoever that it is true, it remains a poorly written work from the minds of ancient men with little understanding of science. These were men who preyed on the minds of the weak. Those who follow in their footsteps today, carry on that tradition.