Ed Brayton on how the Moabite stone changed his life,
One of the big things that shocked me into reevaluating my belief in Christianity was learning about the Moabite stone (also called the Mesha Steele [sic]), a text from the Moabites that told their side of the story of the wars between them and the Israelites (the same wars discussed in the Bible in the third chapter of 2 Kings. At the same time that the Israelites were explaining their success or failure in war as the result of their Yahweh’s pleasure or anger with them, the Moabites were doing the same thing with their god, Chemosh. Suddenly I recognized that these claims were identical, so why believe the Israelite version and not the Moabite version? It was an important question in moving me toward skepticism.
This is from a Dispatches from the Culture Wars post in which Ed directs us to Brain Jay Stanley’s essay, “The Communion Of Strangers,” in Sun Magazine and to the value of studying comparative religion.
By the way, for the sake of rigor, I might rewrite Ed’s “the same wars discussed in the Bible . . .” to read “with striking parallels to the wars discussed in the Bible . . . “ But that is just a quibble and many would quibble with me about it.