“So…just curious. If someone were to give you conclusive proof that the Exodus never took place but that we Jews instead just descended from a group of breakaway Canaanite slaves, that would be a deal breaker for you?” (Yael)
If there was proof it did not happen – then yes – i would have to relate to all this is a mythical story and we need not worry about a single piece of it. If someone wants to use it for direction – by all means go ahead – I would make sure they knew it was not connected historically to anything that really happened. Kind of like the Mormons stories of the Lamanites and Nephites in America (which is why I will never convert to Mormonism – but I can respect people of the faith – they are genuinely nice).
To me, as I related earlier, each myth has aspects of historical integrity to them. I am aware of this from my own faith, studies of Islam, First Nations traditions, etc. Every religion I can think of has aspects of historicity to them. Something, somewhere happened with an indidvual(s) in some encounter with an entity as recounted by some actual person.
It’s no different than me talking about my personal experiences with God. I can relate some interesting stories that people would say either happened or did not happen – and not everything would be absolutely accurate (dates, places, numbers, etc). Yet it would be a story of an actual person’s experience with an entity and faith – and what that in turn meant. I am real, the places existed, and the stories are related as actual events – there are aspects of historicity involved.
But everyone, in the Tanakh, and further – seem to relate the stories and people as real (unless there is some huge mythical aspect to the faith I am unaware of that is passed from generation to generation and we today are missing). I could be wrong – maybe there is nothing historical in the accounts of Torah – but if so – then I stand to be enlightened.
My big problem is simple – if it is not factual then why should anything after Torah – as nice as the intentions were – be counted on? Prophets, Kings, Judges, Wisdom lit, etc – are all based on teachings/myth and not anything remotely ‘real’. With all proofs conclusively pointing away from the reality of Torah – then Torah itself ceases to exist the way it does today. There was no God handing down teachings (but merely men), no Exodus – thus no reasons for the festivals, and no reason for Israel to truly care about Palestine or some temple (which instructions apparently came from a God that does not exist). After saying all that – it’s a lonely place to be.
No one seeking for God would search where a sticker ‘Ichabod’ could be placed. The stories would not be outright lies (or maybe they would be) – but they would not be factual. Why would anyone remain with a myth with no connection to reality? It’s like an adopted child finding out his lifelong search for his parents was in vain – he was cloned – there is no mommy and daddy at the end of the mysterious rainbow – some new technology made his life possible. We were our own parents all along.
If this is all true – many things change – and what makes Torah credible at all? The strength of it’s teachings…they are teachings of men…I am a man also…what makes these writers any wiser than my own search?