I heard a comedian tell a joke during a stand-up routine regarding things he hates about other drivers. He said, “The two kinds of drivers that I hate the most are tailgaters and people who drive so slow that you have to drive right up on their tail to get them to drive faster.” The reason this joke is funny is because it is a classic case of a double standard. According to the Dictionary, a “double standard” is “the application of different sets of principles for similar situations.” In other words, you have one rule for others and a different rule for yourself. The comedian had a personal rule against others tailgating him while he excuses himself from tailgating others. Double standards are rarely, if ever, good. And, one of the worst areas of double standards openly practiced today is in the field of archaeology.
For centuries, scholars whom the world praises as experts regarding documents of historical antiquity (including scholars on Biblical texts and archaeology), have made it a favorite professional past-time to claim that the Bible is fiction in spite of the mountain of evidence to the contrary. For example, the famous David, the killer of Goliath who rose to become King of Israel, has long been criticized by these experts as fictional and largely the stuff of legend. For example, Jacob L. Wright, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University has written that “the most popular legends about David…are the creation of those who lived generations after him.” Even Wikipedia declares, “Critical Bible scholarship holds that the biblical account of David’s rise to power is a political apology.” However, archaeological findings beg to differ.
In May of this year, Israeli veteran archaeologist, Eli Shukron, announced the discovery of the citadel that was captured by David in his conquest of Jerusalem (recorded in 2 Samuel 5) in a dig spanning almost 20 years. This particular conquest was one that the critics have long claimed to be legend. Given the political sensitivity regarding this city and its existence being central to the present day Israel-Palestine conflict, criticism seems to be largely driven by factors other than evidence. For example, Shukron has unearthed evidence that everything we now know of this archaeological site compares perfectly with the Biblical record. Sample pottery shards helped date the fortification walls to be 3,800 years old, consistent with the biblical record. And, these walls of the city are the largest walls found in the region from before the time of King Herod, which supports what we know of David’s citadel. The fortification surrounded a water spring and is thought to have protected the ancient city's water source. The biblical story of David's conquest of this city provides clues that point to this particular fortification as David's entry point into the city. "I know every little thing in the City of David. I didn't see in any other place such a huge fortification as this," said Shukron. These are just a few examples of the evidence supporting Shukron’s 20 years of conclusions regarding the site. But, the critics drone onward citing various arguments that can all be summed up under the header, “incomplete evidence.”
You might ask, “How is this a double standard?” Well, archaeology freely affords benefit of the doubt with more incomplete fossils, but not with less incomplete Biblical excavations. Benefit of the doubt is almost always afforded to secular conclusions regarding archaeology, but virtually never afforded to those digs that clearly support the biblical record as fact. And, this double standard is astounding in light of the fact that over 25,000 archaeological digs and finds have supported the Bible as the most accurate and reliable historical book of antiquity known to man. You would think regarding all other works and all other disciplines, the Bible has earned the benefit of the doubt above all others.
This double standard in archaeology is driven primarily by two underlying agendas – one spiritual and the other political. Spiritually, the agenda is to discredit the Bible’s authenticity at all costs, even at the cost of double standards. These same critical archaeologists who see the clear evidence from Shukron’s dig, are quick to find every reason to discredit the conclusions as not totally proven. However, that will always be the case with archaeology since archaeology by definition is an incomplete science. There is no such thing as an archaeological dig that contains all of the evidence that you would need to make thorough conclusions beyond all doubt. That said, however, these same archaeologists freely endorse as fact (not opinion) all of the wild extrapolations regarding dinosaurs and other fossils in the fossil record. Every article you see about a finding of a single dinosaur bone is inevitably accompanied by conclusions of what the animal ate, how it swam, what it looked like, how old it was, how it died, and so on. And from just a single bone, they often conjure up such undisciplined conclusions. While that is preposterous to make undisciplined conclusions on its face, it is downright disgusting for archaeologists to criticize Shukron’s and other digs with a level of skepticism that they never submit themselves to. In truth, we know more from Shukron’s dig than probably any dinosaur dig we have ever unearthed to date. And, yet, by their criticism, you would never know that. The obvious double standard can only scream of spiritual or spiritually-blinded agenda.
The second agenda driving the double standard in criticizing biblical archaeology is that of the need to politically discredit the claims of Israel as a nation and Christians as a voice. You see, if the line of King David is further established beyond reasonable doubt and rights to his territorial kingdom supported, the claims against Israeli territorial rights would be to a greater extent discredited. After all, today Israel is effectively divided between Israeli and “Palestinian” political interests. Such evidence is a borderline declaration of war. With regards to Christians as a voice, it is helpful for critics to discredit the line of David. After all, Jesus is the prophesied King of Kings that descended from David’s line of kings. Therefore, they must fictionalize David and Jesus as much as possible in spite of overwhelming evidence against their agenda.
Regarding double standards, Proverbs 20:10 says, “Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.” As Christians, we must notice a double standard when it is presented and dismiss it accordingly. In the meantime, be encouraged that archaeology continues to support your faith like no others’.
You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.