Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, February 17, 2006

As LDS Church Flunks DNA Test, Questions About Science And Faith

It's as if a DNA test proved the Pilgrims really sailed from Iceland, not England -- that's how LAT religion writer Bill Lobdell puts it, but it's more like the DNA proved they were from Burma.

Lobdell is writing about DNA tests that have disproved the Mormon belief that Native Americans are decendants of a lost tribe of Israel. It's no small belief, says Lobdell:
It burrows into the historical foundations of the Book of Mormon, a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error. ...

The book's narrative focuses on a tribe of Jews who sailed from Jerusalem to the New World in 600 BC and split into two main warring factions.

The God-fearing Nephites were "pure" (the word was officially changed from "white" in 1981) and "delightsome." The idol-worshiping Lamanites received the "curse of blackness," turning their skin dark.

According to the Book of Mormon, by 385 AD the dark-skinned Lamanites had wiped out other Hebrews. The Mormon church called the victors "the principal ancestors of the American Indians." If the Lamanites returned to the church, their skin could once again become white.
The LDS church believed this and used it as a strong elixir to attract Native Americans and Pacific Islanders to the church -- about 4 million have joined, and in the time since the DNA studies surfaced, many have turned from the church, disappointed that they were, to paraphrase, hustled. (See Losing a Lost Tribe if you want more info.)

Many evangelicals will use this story to make the point that the LDS church is not a true Christian church, and I will leave that argument to them simply because I haven't studied Christian/Mormon apologetics. This is the first time I've ever written the word "Lamanite," for example.

What fascinates me is the effect DNA evidence can have on faith. Some will discount this argument, saying religion isn't about science, but those people don't know about religion. Many of us had to work through many scientific proofs before we could let go into faith.

Mormon apologetics has the subject covered, and Lobdell lays it out. It's basically a "misreading of the book" argument.

That's not what I want to talk about. More interesting to me is speculation of what similar evidence would do to my faith as an evangelical, fundamentalist Christian.

Here's the question I'm asking:
What what if Christ's blood were found on some relic in an ancient church, tested, and found to be 100% human?
It would seem that God-in-man would have God-and-man blood, which is what Bill Myers took as the seed for his beautiful Fire On Heaven trilogy about a cloned human made from Christ's blood.

I know what my reaction would be to such news, and I'll share it later. But for now ... your thoughts?