One way for me to have my faith strengthened is to get in discussions with skeptics. They usually think they know it all and that Christians are a bunch of idiots, but when they speak they expose their ignorance and poor reasoning. Last year I reported on a discussion I had via World Magazine Blog with a skeptic who was convinced that the Bible teaches that unicorns exist. The KJV does use the word “unicorn,” but that is a poor translation of the Hebrew word, as I discussed in the post Unicorns, the Bible, and education.
I got involved in another one of those discussions this week. It started out as a discussion about human evolution, and the fact that it appears that Homo habilis and Homo erectus coexisted. With dozens of people contributing to conversation, it quickly diverged (degraded?). One of the skeptics pointed out that the Bible cannot be true because it classifies bats as birds, while now we know that bats are mammals. The reference is Leviticus 11:13-18:
And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. (ESV)
Here was how I responded, with a little additional editing:
Regarding bats being classified as birds: The fact that the Hebrew word for “bird” included bats doesn’t make the Biblical record false. There is no reason to expect the Biblical languages to conform to modern taxonomy. That is like saying the astronomy textbook on my bookshelf is unscientific because it calls Pluto a planet. The definition of “planet” has changed, but the book is still a useful reference book. Likewise, the definition of “bird” has changed, but that doesn’t invalidate non-scientific works written before.
Skeptics will continue to attack the Bible, but don’t let your faith be shaken by their batty arguments.
Grace and Peace