Welcome to Progress Planet’s four-part series on Questioning Faith and God: Faith on the Rocks.This is Part 3 of 4. Click here to start by reading Part 1.
What if God suddenly appeared in the state of Louisiana and declared the Louisiana people the new chosen people and then quickly disappeared again, leaving only a handful of witnesses from that state? Would anyone else believe them? Would that give us all something new to fight about? Would the rest of us revere and try to better partner with them to gain favor in God’s sight?
Suppose the mysterious “golden plates” Joseph Smith claimed to find on September 22, 1823 suddenly reappeared for all of us to examine, would many of us really change direction and believe the account of the angel bestowing them on Joseph Smith, who then had to translate them from a “reformed Egyptian” language to become the Book of Mormon, which Smith published in 1830? Obviously these plates vanished and they are just nowhere to be found it seems. But would their presence in our reality be given real consideration by all the now fairly well defined twenty thousand plus denominations of Christianity in the world?
Due to the lack of evidence in the golden plates, Mormonism today is a religion that requires a lot of faith. In Judaism and Christianity, there are plenty of fantastical stories we are taught to believe, but there are sporadic archeological finds that seem to correlate to our ancient Biblical stories, lending us comfort that our myths were possibly based on a real or even possibly true historical set of accounts.
Except, of course, when they don’t. In fact, when archeological evidence doesn’t support our current beliefs, we have a way of ignoring it or discounting it by such a large factor that it hardly matters.
For example, one such find that should have shaken my faith but somehow didn’t was the “Gabriel’s Revelation” stone tablet that is also known as the “Jeselsohn Stone.” Widely written about in scholarly journals in 2007 and 2008, it seemed to be a Dead Sea Scroll written by ink on a large stone slab.
This particular tablet predicted that, just before Jesus’ time, a guy named Simon would be put to death by the Romans and then be raised from the dead in three days to avenge the Jews.
Scholars at the time said that the enormous implication would cast a whole new perspective on the uniqueness of Jesus’ plight. This find should have rocked the Christian world.
People, had they really understood the validity of this find, easily could have started believing that Jesus was merely part of a trend of Jews who died at the hands of the Romans and then came back to life three days later.
The find was stunning.
But nothing changed.
Surprised? Clearly, the find wasn’t widely broadcast from pulpits. But maybe by now people have come to like what they already believe, no matter how unbelievable most of it is. People, who have no way of changing what they fundamentally believe, reason it away by saying things like: “Cool. How many others were there who were raised up from the dead after three days?”
Tagged crisis of faith, dead sea scroll discovery, evidence and faith, evidence for god, evidence of god, gabriel revelation, Jeselsohn Stone, joseph smith golden plates, mormon golden plates, question of faith, questioning faith, questioning God, questions about God, questions on faith, science and religion, science vs religion