Dan Popp
Shepherds vs. shamanists
By Dan Popp
April 30, 2013

The dogmatism of science has become a new orthodoxy, disseminated by the Media and a State educational system with a thoroughness and subtlety far exceeding anything of the kind achieved by the Inquisition.... – Malcolm Muggeridge

The idea that real science and faith are at war is a fiction concocted by shamanists – those who use Science as a mask for their superstition. But in these days when the Bible is being portrayed as a relic of a less enlightened age, it might be well to ponder a few of the times that Scripture has been right, and the scientists have been wrong – sometimes totally wrong, and for thousands of years.

Shape of the earth

If you haven't read the Bible, it may surprise you to learn that it does not claim that the world is flat, or that it rides on the back of a giant turtle – even though some people believed those things long after the Bible was written. The prophet Isaiah wrote of a round world: "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in." (Isaiah 40:22, NAS95) The earliest of the ignorant shepherds[1] wrote: "He stretches out the north over empty space And hangs the earth on nothing." (Job 26:7) Later in that same passage Job says, "He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters At the boundary of light and darkness." (Job 26:10) If you've seen pictures of the Earth from space, this description of a "circle" inscribed on a watery planet "at the boundary of light and darkness" is striking.

The Bible also does not say that the universe revolves around the Earth. Galileo was persecuted not for any conflict between science and the Bible, but for a church's misguided adoption of current scientific "consensus" as doctrine. That should be a warning to believers.


As a child I saw how the continents depicted on a globe might fit together. "That's just a coincidence," explained my teacher – "continents don't move." Ever since Magellan met the public school system, children must have been mentally connecting the jigsaw puzzle of the world, and being "corrected" by the lay scientists placed over them. But the ignorant shepherds were way ahead of circumnavigation, and even further ahead of the theory of plate tectonics: "Then God said, 'Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear'; and it was so." (Genesis 1:9) With the waters in "one place," there must have been a single land mass. Today scientists have called that supercontinent Pangaea. They usually don't mention that the ignorant shepherd Moses was right and their fellows were wrong about that.

Nuclear fission

The ignorant shepherd Peter wrote, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed [dissolved] with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10) In the next sentence he repeats, "the elements will melt with intense heat." (v.12b) This was laughed at by the learned; stupid old Peter didn't even know that you can't dissolve an element! The Knowers gave the name "atom" to the smallest, indivisible particle of matter.


Then came Einstein and nuclear fission, and well whaddya know? It turns out that elements can be dissolved, and when they're dissolved, I guess you could say there's a slight "roar," and this process does happen to put off just a teensy weensy bit of heat. Things may even catch fire. How did Peter know that? Must have been another lucky guess by another ignorant shepherd.

String theory

As God knows but scientists had to learn, the atom is not the smallest thing. Some now think that the smallest thing may be a "superstring," under tension like a guitar string – and vibrating. If this is so, it's in perfect harmony (pardon the pun) with the biblical assertion that God the Son "upholds all things by the word of His power." (Hebrews 1:3b) To say that God spoke the universe into existence, and that His voice still reverberates in His creation, energizing and organizing it by His design, doesn't contradict anything that can be learned via science.

I don't blame scientists for being wrong. Their method of investigation is "trial and error," so error is a necessary part of the process. I do blame some of them for their overconfidence in the face of fundamental mistakes that have sometimes been taught as unassailable fact for millennia. And I especially blame Christians for abandoning divine revelation whenever a scientist publishes something new. Oh, there are still a few areas where we're waiting for the guys in lab coats to catch up to the guys in sandals – the age of the earth, for example. But, given the track records of these two groups, when there's a disagreement, the smart money is on the ignorant shepherds.


[1]  It would be tedious to put quotation marks around "ignorant shepherds" every time I use the sarcastic phrase in this essay. For the record, Moses was educated in the palace of the world superpower of his day; Peter, though lacking formal education was a fisherman, not a shepherd; Paul was a learned man; so, apparently, was Luke. Some who wrote books of the Bible were men of rank and erudition, and some were not. The most notable shepherd to pen scripture was David, who wrote the beloved Psalm 23, among others. To my knowledge, no one has charged him with any mistake of fact. So the term "ignorant shepherds who wrote the Bible" is not only ignorant, but false in every respect.

© Dan Popp


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