“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” – Richard Dawkins
On my commute this morning, I listend to Radio Lab today and their discussion about the Battle of Jericho. According to the Book of Joshua (Joshua 6:1-27), the Israelites, led by Joshua, attacked the city of Jericho and were victorious, killing everyone in the city. The city was surrounded by strong walls so to overcome the barrier, God commanded Joshua to march the army around the city once a day for six days, with seven priests carrying horns. On the seventh day, Joshua was to march about the city seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. According to God, the walls would collapse.
Except it wouldn’t work.
Radio Lab got together a few scientists to study the details of the story and, essentially, even if you could generate enough noise to physically damage the walls, you would also be damaging the soldiers standing near the walls. In short, if the noise is loud enough for the wall to implode, so would the soldiers’ heads.
Of course, this being the Bible, the fall of Jericho is attributed to God. Any religious person will tell you that God intervened that day outside the walls of Jericho and ensured that the walls fell and no head implosions occurred.
If God was going to intervene, why make the army jump through all the hoops? Couldn’t Joshua just knock on the door to Jericho and then God could make the walls collapse? Though perhaps, if God really existed and really was loving and caring, he wouldn’t have slaughtered an entire city of people (including all the children.)