Robert Cornuke has led many to believe that he has found the route of the Red Sea crossing, the location of Mt. Sinai, the place of Paul’s shipwreck, and, most recently, the Ark of Noah. Because of his failed track record, his imitation of the charlatan Ron Wyatt, and his own website dubbing him as “Indiana Jones,” I view Mr. Cornuke’s claims with suspicion. Yes, by the world’s standards, I am crazy: I believe the biblical account is historically reliable. But I’m not crazy enough to buy what Mr. Wyatt or Mr. Cornuke are selling. But now we find out that he’s selling something else.
In an interview in the Colorado Springs Gazette, Mr. Cornuke said,
I guess what my wife says my business is, we sell hope. Hope that it could be true, hope that there is a God.
The problem with this is that the standard needed to establish an item as justifying “hope” is substantially lower than establishing an item as actual, genuine, or persuasive. In the case of Noah’s Ark then, Mr. Cornuke need only have something that looks like wood. It doesn’t need to be wood; it doesn’t need to be the right kind of wood; it doesn’t need to be on the right mountain; and it doesn’t need to be from Noah’s Ark. It simply needs to resemble what Cornuke’s audience is looking for. If it’s possible, then you’ve succeeded. You’ve provided “hope.”
The problem with this, of course, is that hope dashed is worse than hope never raised. There’s perhaps no better example of this than Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark has been “discovered” so many times that the most devout Bible believer with any knowledge of the former “discoveries” simply won’t be taken in again. Some, no doubt, tire of the fraud perpetuated by “Bible believers” and choose another way. The world, perhaps at times curious if there really is some truth in the Scriptures, simply laughs at the foolish gullibility and rationalizes that such gullibility must also account for their belief in the Biblical stories. In the end, all are worse off for the perpetuation of fraudulent “discoveries.”
There is an alternative. If there is a Noah’s Ark that still exists, conduct the study carefully (1-2 years is not carefully!). Bring in well-regarded experts to study the relevant issues (geology, geography, archaeology, etc.). Do not let professional policemen promote Scriptural interpretations which run counter to the consensus of Bible-believing scholars (don’t let that scholar word scare you: scholar means “professional” – it means they do this all their life; it means they know the sources and resources and are not easily deceived). And lastly, don’t publicize. Yes, I know that you love the publicity. You love the book sales and you love the contributions. But wait. Make sure that everything is in order. Make sure that there are no holes. Make sure that you really have it this time. This is the test if what you really desire is truth or fame.
You see, we already have “hope.” There are so many confirmations of the biblical record from the historical and archaeological sources that we have hope that Scripture is trustworthy. We have thousands of confirming evidences, and we don’t need that extra one if it is in fact a false hope.
4 thoughts on ““We Sell Hope””
Absolutely correct. Thanks Todd.
Hi, nice post. I have a question. Do you believe that the Real Mt. Sinai is false? I’ve seen a documentary lately with the real Mt. Sinai and the crossing of where the Hebrews crossed. It reportedly had chariot wheels at the bottom. I believe the authenticity of the biblical account. It is nice to see history and archeaology come together.
CS – There’s no such thing as a “Real Mt. Sinai.” There is a traditional Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa) which seems to me to have the best evidence for it. But we have no proof. I believe the “chariot wheels” found in the Red Sea are bogus, though I don’t doubt that Pharaoh’s army drowned while chasing the Israelites. There are a couple of documentaries out there based upon the theories of Ron Wyatt concerning Mt. Sinai; I do not agree with the proposals made or the evidence presented (of the couple I’ve seen; perhaps there are others that are more accurate but I am unaware of them).
A couple of points:
1. “Hope,” as defined in the secular means something completely different than the “hope” of the Bible. I do not “hope” Jesus Christ will come a second time, but I have the hope he is coming again. There is a difference. Secular hope is subjective. We use it today as something wished for that may or may not happen. Biblical hope is an expectation of something we know to be true that has not yet come to pass. So Mr. Cornuke may in fact be selling “hope.” In the form of false expectations, as you said, Todd. Mr. Cornuke’s “hope” is not that far away from what the Roman Catholic Church did in Medieval times. They sold indulgances to provide “hope” for believers. They also peddled “holy relics” to “the faithful,” so that by coming to visit them they “hoped” for blessing. And it was a way to establish authority so “the faithful” might remain that way.
Secondly, today we are seeing all kinds of “discoveries” being sold as “new revelations” about the Bible. Look at the recent hubub over the “Lost Gospel of Judas.” I heard reputable scholars of translation saying the “gospel” would be shedding light on “what really might have happened” surrounding the events attested to in the Bible. Even though the Judas gospel was written well after the events and there are no other copies to compare it to for consistancy. I hardly need mention the storm of controversy raised by the Da Vinci Code. We are seeing a disturbing trend. For those who are trained (“professionals” -Todd), it is easy to see through the hype and grandstanding, but for the layman, they don’t know better and are being swayed. This spring we had a guest lecturer come to give lectures for the seminary, Dr. Gary Habermas, and he said that the Da Vinci Code was tearing churches apart on the East Coast. All a person need do is a little background research to prove the Da Vinci code is untrustworthy (For example, calling the Nag Hammadi Codex a “scroll” and saying it and the Dead Sea Scrolls were written “about the same time as the New Testament – around 400AD”! Even the Jesus Seminar guys don’t go that far!).
It must be the duty of those who are trained and know better to teach those who do not, and give them a firm foundation so that they will not accept falsehoods from the likes of Dan Brown and Cornuke.