Does using science to find the lost Ark undermine faith

David Bannister,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
David Bannister
David Bannister has an extensive background in creative media, which has included works featured in international film festivals. David's main passion is the real search for the missing Ark of the Covenant and shedding light on other Biblical related mysteries. Get a free Trail Pass here to follow this adventure. Trail Pass

Is aiming to disprove Ark’s existence a form of atheism?

Trail of the Ark could have no basis for its mission if it were not for the Ark’s mention in Biblical sources. So how could one reconcile seeking to disprove that the Ark ever happened in reality, with possessing great faith about the existence of a divinely given Bible, one that includes accounts of the wanderings of the Ark of the Covenant? This obviously uncomfortable question can only be satisfactorily answered through first grasping fundamental principles of acceptable scientific practice.

The need for a scientifically oriented expedition

Our mission has always been to discover the fate of the lost Ark, and there are several ways to accomplish this. In choosing a path that is likely to yield optimum results, ignoring the tools of modern technology is considered counter-productive. For example, many theories suggest that the Ark could be hidden in a specific underground location close to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Others suggest alternative sites, including the area bordering the Dead Sea. While there are many textual accounts that can be subject to research about these potential locations, physically following through on any of these conclusions rely upon more substantive action, such as an excavation. From ground penetrating radar to basic soil analysis, determining the optimum location to undertake an actual dig requires the latest and most up to date tools. But there are other important considerations that rely upon an academic or governmental entity to help pave the way forward.  

The political and moral landscape 

An excavations is an invasive undertaking that is contingent not only upon getting required funding, but also many legal and moral considerations before even getting close to gaining government permits to dig. Possible consequences of excavating in one particular site can be far reaching. Aside from obvious political discord associated with disputed territory, it is also possible to cause irreparable damage through undermining residential areas due to unsafe engineering practises. So the obvious question raised is how to minimise such obstacles in the first place, and ensure that one is focusing on the most promising sites. The good news is that there does exist a means for testing ones theories based on Biblical and non-Biblical sources, before going to the next step of removing soil to dig for answers deep underground. However, getting to that stage requires not only a firm grasp of how to satisfy legal, moral, and financial considerations, but also how to prepare a proposal to excavate based on sound academic principles; and this is where the unusual concept of having to disprove the basis of one’s hard worked plans comes into play.

Scientific gatekeepers

Methodology based on scientific principles is the widely accepted norm upon which governmental approval for an archaeological excavation can have any chance of being granted. But all too often voices are raised from various religious entities that nothing should stop in the way of fulfilling Biblical prophesy. Accordingly, coming up against a stone wall of government bureaucracy can be considered as an unwanted obstacle. Naturally, this idea is not what religious adherents wish to consider when being fully immersed in only a Biblical path forward. But all things considered is the scientific approach really akin to following a demonic solution to something based in a divine source? Let’s return to the original question of having to disprove something that one may instinctively believe in, such as the existence of the Ark of the Covenant.

The scientific approach to religion

Yeshivas worldwide thrive on the need to delve deep into Biblical text to search out answers that are most acceptable to diligent students. In fact, if the starting point of any passionate debate begun with a premeditated po‎sition without any prior understanding of its validity, these esteemed places of learning would simply cease to function. The whole system is founded upon one simple principle, and that is to arrive not only at the most likely truth, but also a consensus of opinion that accepts that answer as being the most acceptable one. Such raging debates even occur between Biblical scholars across the divide of time. For example, one scholar proposing an answer for a particularly thorny question might throw new light on an answer that had been accepted several centuries earlier.  This does not necessarily undermine an earlier consensus of opinion, but does establish a firm principle that we must always be aware that the Bible has many faces, and therefore varying answers to any specific question. Science works in a similar fashion. If any one sets out with a preconceived notion, without even testing its validity, that is not considered science, but pseudo science.

Pseudo-science providing convenient support of Biblical theories  

Sadly, there is a tendency from enthusiastic religious believers seeking scientific approval for their ideas, to lean heavily on pseudo-science as an authoritative body. Not only is it far from being a widely accepted scientific entity, but is also a subject of scorn and even hostile derision from mainstream scientific institutions. It is understandable to see religious followers of a Biblical mystery get excited whenever a possible breakthrough gets announced, quoting pseudo-scientific research as adequate proof as to its viability. But ultimately, there is just a double ration of preconceived conclusions being brought into the equation. Why? Because neither view is prepared from the outset to accept their views as being possibly false. And that is the crux of the problem. Serious scientific concepts are not about disproving religion, although their are plenty of scientists who unfortunately thrive on such a prospect. Theories tested through scientific methodology are far stronger than those that aren't simply because the research bothered to see all sides of the equation, allowing a valid conclusion to be reached. But it doesn't stop there. Just like the sages debating Jewish law in a timeless vacuum, true science always allows for the possibility that its findings can one day be open to being disproved. There is a humbleness in that approach that can acknowledge the prospect of an unknown entity to enter the picture. Isn't that placing science under the banner of faith?      

However, there is also a negative side to this argument. Pseudo science does provide many exciting ideas that if set out with a more acceptable approach, could introduce countless discoveries that does have the ability to support otherwise mystical Biblical concepts. One such example is my recent article about monoatomic gold and its relevance to the Ark of the Covenant.       

Conclusion 

Trail of the Ark relies upon the latest technical tools to enhance its search. In turn, that is reliant upon the acceptance of a scientific community to offer its needed support. Due to the very mythical like nature of the lost Ark of the Covenant, gaining that scientific support could be considered an uphill battle. The answer is to conduct careful research that adheres to acceptable scientific principles. That includes providing arguments both for and against certain premises. In doing so, it agrees that 'honourable' science sets out to demonstrate that even the most obvious answer can also be open for falsification. However, in keeping with the great contributors to Biblical Archaeology such as William Albright, Yigael Yadin, William Denver, etc., there is no reason not to stray from the Biblical path that gives this expedition its sense of purpose. Science and religion can be natural companions, each providing strength to the other. The key question relates to the concept that a divine being made this universe according to specific laws for us to follow.   

The key point of this argument is that using science to help discover the fate of the last Ark does not undermine faith in anyway, and if anything, can even help to reinforce one's understanding of Biblical events in a more practicable way.   

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