Bible Fails: Camels in the Old Testament; Pastor Jamie Coots Dies From Snake Bite

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for bible believers. Read More

By / February 18, 2014

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the historical veracity of the bible. The New York Times recently reported that there shouldn’t, scientifically speaking, be any camels in the Old Testament:

Camels probably had little or no role in the lives of such early Jewish patriarchs as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, who lived in the first half of the second millennium B.C., and yet stories about them mention these domesticated pack animals more than 20 times… These anachronisms are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history.

According to archaeologists at Tel Aviv University, the domesticated camel originated in the Arabian Peninsula and did not appear in modern-day Israel until the 10th century B.C., long after the events of the Old Testament allegedly transpired. (But Christians, you’re in luck: the three wise men and camels are not historically incongruous.)

For this Jewish day school graduate, the news—though fascinating—is a little melancholy, in a ‘there-goes-my-childhood’ sort of way. First came the realization that snakes have no moral agency, then—record scratch—no camels. Because, science!

In another blow to bible believers, Pastor Jamie Coots, co-star of the reality show Snake Salvation, died on February 15 after receiving a snake bite during church services. Snake-handling—which has a long tradition in Pentecostal churches in the U.S.—is based on a literal interpretation of Mark 17, which states that those who “take up serpents” will not be harmed.

Coots’ 21-year-old son, Cody, explained that his father had been bitten eight times before, and the expectation was that he would survive the attack without medical treatment:

“We’re going to go home, he’s going to lay on the couch, he’s going to hurt, he’s going to pray for a while and he’s going to get better. That’s what happened every other time, except this time was just so quick and it was crazy, it was really crazy.”

Jamie Coots died at home on Saturday night, aged 42. The Christian Post reports that Cody has “assumed leadership of the deadly religious club.”