“Noah” Movie, Based on a True Story

Noah movie bibleI expected the Noah movie to be a fairly careful following of the Bible story, where the fun would be in quibbling about how various verses were interpreted, but the movie was (surprisingly) more interesting than that.

It has Noah, his wife, and the three sons. There’s the enormous ark, the animals, and the flood. And then there are tangential bits that are nevertheless still in the Bible—the Nephilim, Methuselah, Tubal-Cain, and Noah the angry drunk.

But that’s about it for Bible. The rest is Hollywood. Perhaps that’s to be expected when you must expand four Bible chapters into 138 minutes.

Spoiler alert: you’d think that everyone already knows the story of Noah (“Omigod! You mean that everyone else drowned? Wow—I didn’t see that coming!”). Not this interpretation.

The Nephilim

In the verses immediately before the Noah story (Gen. 6:1–4), the Bible introduces the Nephilim. Before the Flood, angels came to earth and fathered children with women, and these were the “heroes of old, men of renown.” It’s unclear whether “Nephilim” refers to the angels or their children, but the Bible doesn’t condemn them.

Other ancient Jewish texts do. The Nephilim taught man the secrets of metalworking and weaponry, as well as makeup and jewelry (read: killing and adultery), and one of the purposes of the flood was to get rid of them.

Noah shows these Nephilim as fallen angels and calls them “Watchers,” the term used in these ancient Jewish texts. They came to earth to help man with the gift of technology (nothing about getting frisky with their women), but were cursed by the Creator so that they became gigantic multi-armed rock monsters (duh—what else would cursed angels look like?). Since their previous contact with humans led to no good, the Watchers are ready to kill Noah and his family, but he befriends them and they help build the ark.

There’s nothing like a dozen 20-foot-tall immortal monsters to help make that tough job go a little easier.

The Others

Noah is in the line of Seth, Adam’s third son. They’re the last of their kind. But there are thousands of others living nearby who descended from Cain, Adam’s first son—the one who killed Abel. These are the bad people corrupted by the art of metalworking. They’re led by Tubal-Cain, who the Bible tells us was the first metalsmith—again, with no hint of condemnation.

This distinction between the bad men of Cain, corrupted by weapons and killing, and the noble Noah of the line of Seth doesn’t hold up, however. Noah uses metal, both as tools and as weapons, and he kills people when he has to.

The Plot

This is a world of magic. There are visions, spells, incense that makes the animals on the ark hibernate (nicely solving the problem of feeding them and them eating each other), and lots of magical plants. (The clash between those on the side of magic and those who favor technology reminded me of the 1977 movie Wizards. Technology loses in that one, too.)

The harsh terrain (it was filmed in Iceland) and the clothes (more Viking than Bedouin) made me think of Middle Earth rather than the Middle East.

The Bible says that the three sons have wives. Not so here. There is only an adopted daughter, found as an injured girl, and she and the oldest son are something of a couple. Noah tries to find wives in the Man Village, but the savagery is so extreme that he returns empty-handed and convinced that their job is simply to convey the animals safely on the ark, not to continue humanity. Humans are so inherently evil that their line must end.

On the boat, Noah passes on to his little band the seven-day creation story. Though the flood is accurate to the Bible when geysers burst from the ground, which points to the Sumerian cosmology of water beneath the earth and in a canopy above, the visuals that accompany Noah’s story would be at home in Neil deGrasse-Tyson’s Cosmos series. We see the solar system coalescing and a protoplanet crash into the young earth to form the debris that became the moon. Evolution is shown, as animals evolve from fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals to primates. Creationists will find no support in this depiction.

Noah says that the Creator demands that humanity must end with them. This causes some friction on the boat when the son and daughter get pregnant with twin girls. It’s not enough that they ignored the sounds of the drowning multitude at the beginning of their voyage, but now Noah is determined to kill the babies. Love overcomes the wishes of the homicidal Creator in the end.

One wonders where girls will find a husband. I suppose the logical choice is the last of Noah’s sons, their uncle.

Noah the drunk

The Bible says that Noah took to drink after the ark landed (Gen. 9:18–27). Perhaps he was due a little celebration after all that work, but it got a bit out of hand, and he passed out naked in his tent. His son Ham saw his father in this embarrassing state, but the other two brothers covered him without peeking. Noah discovered this and bizarrely responded by cursing Ham’s son Canaan, presumably to support Israel’s future conquest of the land that Canaan’s tribe would occupy.

Bible scholars have woven many interpretations out of this odd curse, trying to figure out what is euphemism and what is literal, but the Noah film takes a different approach. It presents this wine scene literally, but Ham and Noah had friction that went back a long time. Before the flood, Ham had found a girl for himself, but Noah refused to help save her. On the boat with every eligible female in the world dead, Ham was angry enough that when he discovers the single stowaway—Tubal-Cain, of course—he listens to him.

Tubal-Cain says that the Creator (“God” is never mentioned in the movie) made man in his image to subdue nature. And he kinda has a point. In the creation story that Noah just told, the Bible says, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Gen. 1:28). But you can imagine who wins in the fight scene.

The trailer ends with the text, “The film is inspired by the story of Noah,” which tries to placate everyone. It’s a “story,” so that doesn’t offend those who don’t follow the Bible. It’s “inspired by,” so it apologizes to Christians, Jews, and Muslims who think that it takes too much license.

At the premiere, the director Darren Aronofsky said, “Anything you’re expecting, you’re fucking wrong.” Perhaps with this summary of highlights, your expectations can be a little more on target.

I explore the various story strands that make up the Bible’s Noah story here.

No prophet of God hates people. …
Noah is wrong about everything.
— Glenn Beck

[Christians are] mad because this made up story
doesn’t stay true to their made up story.
— Bill Maher

Photo credit: IMDb

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The US Constitution Founded on the Bible? Guess Again.
12 Reasons Why Jesus Is a Legend (3 of 3)
Dating the Gospels: Harder than You Might Think
About Bob Seidensticker
  • wtfwjtd

    So, did Noah take a large stash of alcohol with him on the Ark? Or was growing grapes and building a still the first order of business after the Creator’s mission of genocide had been completed?

    • Annerdr

      I know that when I go on vacation with extended family, I find that alcohol serves as a great social lubricant. If I were Noah, I’d have cornered the market on high end scotch, because why not.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yeah, I was terse there. Noah was the first vintner. He grew grapes after landing and made wine. It’s out of place both in the Bible and in the movie.

    • hector_jones

      I make a point of never boarding a boat that isn’t well stocked with alcohol.

      • wtfwjtd

        …and tobacco? :)

  • avalon

    How many of each animal did he take? There’s two flood stories combined in the bible, one with two-by-two and another with 7 of each. So which did they choose?

    ” There are visions, spells, incense that makes the animals on the ark
    hibernate (nicely solving the problem of feeding them and them eating
    each other)”
    Not to mention the problem with cleaning out the litter box!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You’ve read my mind. I’ll get into the variants in the two interwoven stories on Monday.

    • Steve

      They had some animals for sacrificing.

      • busterggi

        There go the unicorns!

  • Nemo

    Regarding the Glenn Beck quote at the end: didn’t a lot of the Biblical prophets get in trouble from time to time for one reason or another? I know Moses and Joshua were both all too eager to pick up their swords.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      There’s lots of genocide and prohibition against inter-tribal marriage in the Old Testament.

    • Ron

      I don’t know if it counts as hatred, but Jonah was definitely angry with God for not destroying the city of Nineveh.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Well, who hasn’t had that experience, amirite? You get all worked up for a righteous stoning and it doesn’t happen. Dang!

  • MNb

    You forgot to tell us one thing, BobS, very important to all porn lovers. Do we actually get to see Russell Crowe’s naked butt? If yes I might actually go see the movie. Or wait until the scene gets uploaded at YouTube. Anyhow, this is crucial info.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, you do for a few seconds. He’s face down in the sand. It’s the bizarre and nonsensical drunk scene in Gen. 9.

      Noah is the god of wine, apparently, and Ham sees his father naked. The other two brothers cover him discreetly. Not that big a deal, but it’s worth a major curse from Noah. Scholars have tried to find some sort of explanation–maybe there’s a sexual innuendo somehow where Noah was emasculated literally or figuratively (Ham had sex with Noah or Mrs. Noah). There’s no evidence for it, but you’ve got to explain the scene somehow.

  • Mick

    The Nephilim … one of the purposes of the flood was to get rid of them.

    It didn’t work. The Nephilim were around before the the flood (Genesis 6:4) and they were still on earth in Numbers 13:33.

    The same Hebrew word (נָפִיל) is used in both texts.

    • Pofarmer

      Yeah, Bob pointed that out to me in an earlier thread. Does this mean we have two stories written concurrently? A confabulation of multiple stories? I dunno, but there goes the whole “biblical innerancy” thing again. At some point you just have to conclude that God isn’t very good at his job. Is there a performance review for this guy?

  • ced

    God is referred to in this movie.His name is clearly spoken when Ham, second son of Noah, says to Tubal-cain: “My father says there can be no king. The Creator is God.”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Interesting. I remember the scene but not that line.

    • Greg G.

      I haven’t seen the movie but http://www.patheos.com/blogs/filmchat/2014/03/is-god-missing-from-darren-aronofskys-noah-please.html makes that claim and links to another site for back up but recently added this update:

      March 29 update: A few sources now report that what Ham actually says is, “My father says there can be no king in the Creator’s garden.” So take my final point with a grain of salt. But even if I’m wrong on that one detail, my other points still stand.

  • Norm Donnan

    Did you know Ray Comfort has released a doco/movie in response to this one.
    He is the guy who put out the Evolution vs God dvd as well.You can down load it off his site.

    • MNb

      If he shows a crocoduck I might watch it.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        God could make a crocoduck. Your precious “evolution” can’t.

        You got nothin’ to answer that with, do you, smart guy?

        • Greg G.

          The 1611 Bible, the only completely inspired version, has a cockatrice. It has the body of a serpent with the head of a chicken and it can fly. I don’t know why Comfort only shows the crocoduck but never quotes those cockatrice scriptures.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Praise the Lord!

          And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

          (Isaiah 11:8)

          It also has 11 references to unicorns.

        • Pofarmer

          Unicorns! you know they are invisible, right? I believe in invisible pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one, I know they are pink because of faith!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You have a powerful faith, brother.

        • Pofarmer

          It has taken a lot of prayerful contemplation to get my faith to this point.

      • Norm Donnan

        Does a platypus count?
        It has a ducks bill and swims underwater and is a mammal.

        • Greg G.

          No, a crocoduck isn’t a mammal.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Oh, c’mon–who doesn’t know that? It’s just basic biology.

        • Greg G.

          A crocoduck would be an Archosaurian but would probably needs its own order.

          The big question is what it would taste like.

        • avalpert

          Chicken…

        • MNb

          If you’re looking for a transitional species yes, but I doubt if good old Ray the Banana Man Comfort likes it. Is the platypus in his movie? Because then might take a look indeed.

    • Greg G.

      I found the movie at http://www.noahthemovie.com/. I made it about a third of the way through where he started talking about cursing. He said no other god’s name is used as a curse word. By Jove, he isn’t very bright. Then he cited a movie that used the “f” word over 500 times and the “s” word 70 times but complains that the Lord’s name was only taken in vain 28 times. (OK, that wasn’t quite the complaint.)

      Then he points out that the Muslim god’s name isn’t used in vain in movies as if the language used in movies has nothing to do with the way language is used in real life, but is only used to piss off Ray Comfort. He seemed to be admiring that Muslims react badly to such offenses.

      When I was trying to not lose my faith decades ago, I went to the church where I was led to become a Christian for renewal. The Bob Jones University preacher (he mentioned that at least once per sermon) was discussing cursing, saying that people used the Lord’s name because there was power in the name. I think that was the coup de grace for my faith as all I could think was “Bullshit!” and “oh wait, there’s the same power in that word, too!” It became impossible to take Christian claims seriously after that.

      • Norm Donnan

        Personally Greg I think words are very powerful,especially the L word.
        It sounds to me that you were a young guy who missed the point of the message along with it becoming impossable to take Christian claims seriously also says that you never knew faith or experienced the spirit yourself.Was the Bob Jones you refered to part of the Morning Star university?
        By the way,what other religion is used as a curse word?

        • Pofarmer

          No true Scotsman? Really?

        • Greg G.

          BJU is an extremely fundamentalist college in South Carolina.

          The preacher’s message was that there is power in the name of the Lord which is why it was used for cursing. I got his point. But the same power exists in words like “shit”. The power doesn’t come from the sound of the word or it would work in other languages. I have a friend named Phuc but it’s a regular name in his country. The power of a curse word comes from the taboo of saying it. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain” creates the taboo that makes those names a rich subset of curse words in the languages of cultures with a heavy influence from the Abrahamic religions. Forbidding something harmless that nobody would imagine doing in the first place creates the desire to do it. People don’t go around touching park benches for no reason, but put a “wet paint” sign on it and some people will have to check to see if it’s still wet.

          I gave an example of an oath from a non-Abrahamic religion but it has lost its taboo. Jove, also known as Jupiter, is the Roman equivalent of Zeus. “By Jove”, in Roman times, was the equivalent of “so help me God”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Jesus said, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” He was trying to establish a moat around the anti-blasphemy commandment.

          Is it blasphemy to say, “This halibut is good enough for Jehovah”? Let’s avoid it to be on the safe side.

          Even “I swear to God” is questionable, and a man known to keep his word doesn’t have to swear in such a way–that was Jesus’s point.

        • Greg G.

          That’s how I feel about promises. If a person says they will do something that should be good enough. If they try to strengthen it by promising, it means they don’t think their word is their bond, so why should I respect their promise?

        • wtfwjtd

          You’re only making it worse for yourself!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I am not, gosh dangit!

        • avalpert

          There is a great South Park episode on the real power of curse words: http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s05e02-it-hits-the-fan

        • Pattrsn

          Swearing also comes from a different part of the brain than language, one connected with the limbic system which is responsible for emotion. Swearwords are memorized whole, and when used as such, are disconnected from their actual meaning. Swearing has also been found to be therapeutic, helping a person tolerate pain. It seems the more taboo the word, or the use of the word the more emotional power it has, but this can be dulled by overuse.

        • Greg G.

          That sounds right. When I became a Christian, I was warned that the devil would be attacking me with temptations. About the worst thing I did was cussing but not all that much so when I became aware of it and tried to stop, it seemed that the devil was instigating it.

          After I stopped believing, the taboo was unimportant and I pretty much stopped cussing except an expletive when very angry or a stubbed toe.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Remove the taboo, and you remove the desire to do it? Interesting. That’s like the Streisand Effect.

          Don’t publicly complain about aerial photos of your mansion, and people won’t bother looking at them. But call attention to them by complaining …

        • wtfwjtd

          Once the novelty wears off, it’s not nearly as much fun. When I went to Skepticon 6 last year, they had a class entitled “Swearing Secularly”. Since I was a volunteer I didn’t get to attend , but our daughter did and she said it was great fun. They got fairly creative, and personally-concocted phrases and compound words seemed to be the class favorites. I hope to attend this year, and maybe I’ll get to share a few of my favorites.

        • Greg G.

          That’s a coincidence. I was thinking about asking Norm if he had heard any new cuss words lately.

          The most shocking cuss phrases seem to have a gross sexual connotation sandwiched between a religious cuss, like “J**** mfing C*****”. Hey, I removed most of the letters. Anyone who finds it offensive should go on Wheel of F******* Fortune.

        • wtfwjtd

          One of my favorite discussions of this subject occurred on the movie Star Trek IV, the one with the whales and 1980′s earth. Kirk and Spock got into a discussion of “colorful metaphors”, as Spock referred to them as. Spock tried to use them for awhile, as he thought he had finally figured out their usage. However….Kirk finally had to advise him not to, as Spock just didn’t have “the knack of it”. It made for what I thought were some pretty funny moments in the movie.

          Yes, mixing religious personages with the F-word seems to be particularly shocking(and therefore useful, I suppose). This is where Catholicism comes in handy–it has a greater number of “sacred” personages, so you have a bigger palate to choose from. Bon apetite!

        • MNb

          That depends on the language. We Dutch also like to use cuss phrases related to all kind of diseases: plague, cancer, typhus (something like “get the cancertyphus”), tuberculose, you name it. There is also humiliating stuff: “command your dog and bark yourself”.
          Of course we Dutch combine the too as well: “typhuswhore” speaks for itself.
          Here is a nice overview:

          http://www.taalkabaal.nl/scheldwoorden/

          Have fun translating them! To wet your appetite I give you one: “afgekeurd stuk kadaver” means literally “piece of cadaver declared unfit” (for consumption).
          OK – just another two, because I had fun: Tibetan crabhamster and pregnant paving stone (the latter is especially insulting when directed to a male).
          I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’ve read somewhere that besides Arabian the Dutch language is most fit for swearing, cursing, cussing and insulting.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          My favorite (translated by google): “farmer anorexia slut anthracite.” I think that comes from ankerboer anorexia slet anthraciet. Is that all one curse?

          This gets back to a recent topic that I blogged about: understanding idioms. We don’t have a “Koine Greek to Modern English Dictionary, with idioms” from the 1st century. These curses need a paragraph to explain. Any wonder that verses in the Bible make little sense?

        • MNb

          Isn’t it kankerboer etc.? While I have never heard or read this one it’s very possible in Dutch to combine cuss words, so yes.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Might’ve been.

          Perhaps it was two curses: “anorexic farmer” and “black slut.” But it sounds like that’s not common parlance where you come from.

        • MNb

          I am pretty sure it’s right indeed. I hardly ever cuss because I think it a cheap habit. So if I do everybody who hears it is deeply shocked (even by an innocent word like “shit”) and realize it’s something serious.

        • Norm Donnan

          A woman giving birth would be a good example of that eh!

        • Kodie

          You’re gross. Considering your stance on abortion, also, insensitive as all fuck.

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh Penny your so sweet but it obvious you havent kept a child full term or you would know exactly what I mean.

        • Kodie

          Oh Normie, you’re so fucking insensitive. At least I call you your fucking name. It obvious you havent kept a child full term or you would know exactly what you mean. You are laughing at the pain of childbirth and have no social filters.

        • Greg G.

          If swearing helps in the toleration of pain, does it also enhance sexual pleasure?

        • wtfwjtd

          No, applying the same logic to sex, it would actually *lessen* pleasure. Swearing is supposed to reduce the sensation being experienced at the moment, so this is just what you wouldn’t want, I would think.

        • Norm Donnan

          Yes your probably right ,there is a natural disire to do things we are told not to by authority figures.
          Now as a parent myself you tell your children not to do certain things which they think are annoying and spoil there fun,but as one who can see the bigger picture you do it for their own good.
          Why I have faith in God now is that Ive finally realized that I dont know everything so when He says dont,then on the whole I try not to because I trust Him that He wants the best for me.
          Now men on the other hand like to control and make a buck and thats where religion steps in,by Jove it does.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The “God as parent” analogy kind of falls apart. (1) We know that parents exist but don’t know that God exists. (2) The Old Testament reveals God as a homicidal maniac, not a good parent.

        • Kodie

          Sometimes a parent has to be a homicidal maniac for our own good and only wants the best for us.

          (3) Because we can grow up to analyze our actual parents’ behaviors and decisions and conclude that they are not always right, should not always be regarded as honest, or having our own best interests in mind. While most parents aren’t homicidal maniacs, many even well-meaning parents do what they think is right because they’re getting bad advice from someone, for example, god, and really screw up their kids.

          To suggest that we humans can’t scrutinize the rules and decisions and mental stability of god because he is like a parent is to suggest that we are too powerless, as children are, to change our circumstances. That is the afterlife – god has this power dangled over us to see if we will do his dance. It’s not for our own good NOW, it’s for our own good after we die. And like children promised a bike for Christmas if they’re on their best behavior, knowing to speak out of turn is against the rules, hey, we’re easily manipulated. It’s a fucking bike! And it’s not just do your homework and clean your room that’s “good for us,” it’s not just stay away from those kids who play with matches or run across the highway for thrills. It’s go to bed while it’s still light out and you can hear children playing outside, or practice your cello when you would rather learn guitar. It’s don’t climb trees and dogs are too messy and you’re a girl so you can’t do anything that looks fun or be smart.

          Just don’t be yourself. God made you in his image to be a unique and very special human being and the best glory we can all give is to conform to a template of acceptable behaviors and never question rules forbidding things we want to try. Never assess these behaviors as being harmful or not harmful – the greatest harm a person can do is disappoint their parent, as this only harms themselves. “For your own good” means, if you disobey the rules and deny your parent’s authority, it’s your own fault you end up in hell eternally.

          On earth, “for your own good” tends to mean “to grow up healthy” instead of only eat candy and drink soda and stay inside watching tv, or “to have discipline” and grow up to be a responsible adult. It’s something of a reward, but essentially life is just hard, and giving kids things they don’t want to do as “good for them” suggests making good habits will help them have an easier and more productive life. When god is your parent, it’s really just “my way or the highway”. “For your own good,” if you don’t want to roast in hell. “For your own good,” I’m telling you if you don’t eat your vegetables, I’m going to spank you, basically. There is no relation here. Eating vegetables has positive outcomes. Not eating vegetables has negative outcomes. Whether or not it’s a lifelong habit depends on how it’s presented, and parents may not even know why, they just have a vague idea that’s part of their job to make you eat vegetables. Spanking as a consequence is a non sequitur, but I guess the idea here is to have an immediate negative consequence as opposed to letting them wait it out and feel and look unhealthy.

          And it’s not like you can’t overturn this decision. Plenty of unhealthy adults change their eating habits. Imagine if you were a kid and didn’t eat your vegetables so you’d get spanked – develop a negative association and never learn to like any vegetables the rest of your life. Is a parent doing that for a child’s own good? Imagine that the consequence was, well, you had a chance to give in and eat your vegetables and now it’s too late – your punishment is a spanking forever. Not poor health or an early death, but a literal physical unrelated punishment for failing to recognize the authority of someone telling you something was for your own good. I may say also, that dessert is often dangled as a reward in the other direction. Is that also for the child’s own good? Or is that associating ice cream with the goal in life? Once nobody’s making you eat vegetables, can’t we just have ice cream for dinner? I think so.

        • wtfwjtd

          My father and I had our differences, but we also had a mutual love and respect for each other that far transcended those differences. Dad was very protective of his family, and it’s unthinkable that he would stand to one side and watch while one of them was suffering and do nothing about it. Unlike, you know who….

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Unlike, you know who….

          (You mean Voldemort?)

          Oh, no–what am I saying? You meant Yahweh, of course!

          Same thing.

        • Greg G.

          Do you ever wonder if God realized that he didn’t know everything? He said “Don’t eat shrimp or bacon. or cook a kid in its mother’s milk” but then decided that was OK. He also said don’t beat your slaves so bad they die the same day but never changed that. God also demanded that you stone a sassy child at the city gate.

          You don’t know what God said except from the Bible but if you do what the Bible says God tells you to do, you would be in prison for good reason. Those practices were stopped long ago by the rulers who took over Israel. It’s secular and pagan morals that moderate the morals of the Judeo-Christian Bible.

          Your morals are better than God’s morals, by Jove!

        • Norm Donnan

          I dont really know,but I will ask Him one day.Its really a Jewish thing so I would be interested to hear their take on it.Why would you think for 1 minute pagan morals are what govern our modern world?I see only Christian morals working in most 1st world countries,go to the 3rd world to see your pagan morals being lived out .
          Is “holy toleedo batman”a cuss word?

        • Pofarmer

          “Why would you think for 1 minute pagan morals are what govern our modern world?”

          That’s not what he said.

          This is what he said

          “It’s secular and pagan morals that moderate the morals of the Judeo-Christian Bible.”

          The ideas of tolerance of ideas and relative equality between the sexes were pagan values, for starters.

        • avalpert

          “I see only Christian morals working in most 1st world countries,go to the 3rd world to see your pagan morals being lived out .”

          Ha, its quite the opposite – Uganda offers a sterling example of Christian morals at work whereas say the Scandinavian countries are good representation of pagan morals at work.

        • Greg G.

          Why do you need the Jewish take on it? You are reading the same texts. Some Jews don’t eat cheeseburgers because of the meat and dairy prohibition. It’s not kosher.

          Any third world country forbids murder and theft and they frown on deceit. Even the Bible tells us the Egyptians punished murder as Moses killed someone and had to run away. The Romans were into bloodsports and public execution but they thought the Hebrew death penalties were excessive and required them to go through the Roman system. That eliminated the stoning of children. Christians adopted the pagan practices for food and other things that are not allowed in the OT. What you call Christian morals were stolen from the pagans who had them first. We now consider slavery immoral but that doesn’t come from the Bible.

          Unless you are speaking to Batman, then you would be taking his name in vain. “Holy Toledo” is the Kingdom of Toledo which existed in the heart of Spain for most of the last millenium. The word “profane” comes from the Latin “profanus”, which means “before the Temple”, so Holy Toledo might be that sort of cuss. “Holy smokes” might be as well, as it could refer to the smoke released when the Catholics are electing a pope or the possibly the incense ball on a chain in regular services. “Holy cow” might be directed at the Hindu religion, another data point of cuss words for other religions.

        • Norm Donnan

          Wow,Im impressed,you really have thought this cussing thing through ,well done.It does amuse me how some people exchange a similar word like “oh fruit I stubbed my toe”or “wheres my friggn phone”. Somuch better.
          As far as 1st v3rd world or more to the point east v west morality goes I really dont think there is a lot to compare in general.
          Their morals are fairly relative and flexible depending on the people involved.
          In most western countries schools,hospitals were started by christians as was the vast majority of volenteer organizations and a lot of the socially careing aspects of governments.

        • Greg G.

          About half of that was from vaguely recalled facts and the rest I learned while verifying them. I also unlearned a few factoids while I was at it. One term I learned was “minced oaths” which are things like “gosh darn”. I had heard “Oh, fudge” many, many times as a kid but I never had any idea that it was a minced oath because I never heard the “f” word until I was 12 or so. I was an adult before I realized “Holy Toledo” wasn’t about a city in Ohio.

          You are quite mistaken about the differences between morals between East and West. My wife is an Asian Buddhist and came to the US after age 30. I have found that Christians, and other followers of Abrahamic religions, can be dishonest while backing it up from their scriptures.

          Hospitals go back 500 years before Christianity to temples for the Greek god Asclepius. We would be better off if all hospitals were secular as some put their own religion before medicine.

        • Pofarmer

          “We would be better off if all hospitals were secular as some put their own religion before medicine.”

          Hear, hear, one of my great consternation’s of late, is that our local public hospital got taken over by a Catholic Chain. First think they did was hang crucifix’s everywhere and build a chapel.

        • Greg G.

          I understand there are Jewish hospitals in New York City that put their elevators into an automatic mode so they go to each floor and the doors open automatically on the sabbath so nobody has to do any work, like completing an electrical circuit by pushing a button. I wonder how they deal with doors that open by a motion sensor?

        • Pofarmer

          How would you like, take care of patients? Get the dirty heathens to do it?

        • Kodie

          That they must do for visitors? I live in a heavily Jewish area… outside my block up on the main street, they recently changed the traffic lights to be timed instead of triggered by side street traffic, I think just to allow Jewish people walking to temple to cross the street with their huge families and not have to dodge traffic. They can’t just have it on a schedule to do that on the sabbath, so it’s, like, Tuesday, and I’m waiting at a red light for a full minute for no reason. It’s not like busy intersections where all sides need a turn, they are residential side streets. It’s the pedestrians. I was once, a few years ago, waiting for a bus, and I see two teenage girls waiting for traffic to clear before crossing the street and I just said “press the button” – a lot of people believe those buttons never work anyway, but they actually do – and they said they couldn’t press it. Now the light turns red automatically.

          I have also just noticed in the week, in the few months since this changed that it impacts traffic farther down the road, where I am coming back and need to make a left turn, there is no light, so I am waiting for 20 cars to pass, holding up traffic behind me. Religion poisons everything.

        • Pofarmer

          “Religion poisons everything”

          beat me to it. And despite the bleating of the increasing secularization of America, it sure seems like it is creeping further and further into our lives and consciousness.

        • Kodie

          It just seems to me that Jews would rather rely on drivers to let them pass or to risk the lives of themselves or their families than press a button. If the local traffic patterns call for a change in the traffic light timing, I have to say the government is working for its people, except people who aren’t delusional. I have a little other problem with the Jews locally in that they like to wear black, and for some reason, walk in the street. At that left turn I mentioned (to get to the other end of my one-way street, I have to go through another neighborhood), is a lot of home-owning Jews who go out at night, and the street isn’t particularly well-lit. It’s not just Jews, a lot of Bostonians choose black for a winter coat and cannot be spotted in the dark. I guess this has gone from a religious problem to a people thinking if they can see me, I must be able to see them problem, a pedestrians always have the right of way and cars are always wrong problem. This defense doesn’t particularly help if you are injured or dead, I would like to tell them that. I am a pretty good driver and I do see them, I just worry about the day I don’t see one.

        • Greg G.

          The Amish in rural Ohio were reluctant to put bright orange reflective triangles on their horse-drawn black buggies because God doesn’t like anything fancy. After a few tragic accidents, they decided God didn’t hate orange triangles after all.

        • MNb

          Well, religion doesn’t poison my relationship, so this one is falsified. If you accept the scientific method that is.

        • Pofarmer

          Just depends on how you define your sets.

        • MNb

          Oh? Is the definition of “everything” variable?

        • Pofarmer

          No, no. I just mean that if you define that set as “some relationships” instead of “all relationships” that it would still hold. The divorce rate among mixed faith marriages is high.

        • Kodie

          I was mostly using it as hyperbole in my post – I mean, you could just say that the timing of the lights is a concession to a religious belief with safety taking priority over those waiting for the light. That would be one thing, except that it is having a ripple effect down the road, when the light turns green and a flood of cars to wait to make a left turn in (or a left turn or right turn out) of a popular side street. It’s the kind of thing where the next solution is another traffic light where there didn’t used to need one. It would be one simple inconvenience if it was only the red lights – that one is not the only one to wait for and aren’t triggered. That is actually affecting the rest of the traffic on the street, and only because Jews won’t push a button. Push the button, stop traffic, cross the street. That works and everyone gets what they need when they want it. Red lights to let nobody cross seems really really pointless especially when it affects other situations that also used to be less time-consuming and safer.

        • MNb

          Sorry, Kodie, I am not interested in the red lights. Giving in to jews who do not want to push a button one day a week is silly – it’s just their problem. This doesn’t deserve even the words you spend to it in this single comment.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, but now you know what we are dealing with, in part. Constant little encroachments.

        • avalpert

          That’s not religions fault that is poor city planners – there is no reason why the timing of lights down the road can’t be such that the pedestrian traffic doesn’t cause a back up if it isn’t a busy intersection as you say.

          They do the same thing for crosswalks near schools, playground etc. – do you think kids poison everything to? Oh wait…

          Look, religion creates many problems in this world but when you start to blame them for ones that they don’t you make it easy to be ignored when you blame them for the ones they do.

        • Kodie

          It’s a sometimes pretty busy “main drag” and before, the light was always green unless triggered by someone approaching from the side street or a pedestrian pushed the button. Even then, it wasn’t red for a whole minute. Now, it allows cars to back up, so when the light turns green, it causes tie-ups at the next side street. It is city planners, but why did they decide to change something that worked for me? It could work for everyone, there was nothing wrong with pushing the button unless you’re a Jew on Saturday.

        • avalpert

          For the same reason they decide to put speed bumps in on a road that passes through a park, or a four-way stop sight at a suburban intersection that never has any cross traffic – citizens petitioned for it and they decided it was appropriate given the costs/benefits and political reality, I’m sure had you put in your two sense on how it didn’t work for you they would have weighed it as well.

        • Kodie

          Just like last time, you’re ignoring what I said and talking about something else to be a troll.

        • avalpert

          Not at all, just like last time you are letting your emotional blinders keep you from understanding your own words and overreaction.

          Citizens had an issue, they appealed to the city council to address it and it was addressed – whether it was precipitated by religion, concern for their kids playing in the street or the existence of a blind resident doesn’t really matter. What it means to live into a community to accommodate the needs of your neighbors (within reason) even if it slightly inconveniences you. Being an atheist who isn’t willing to do that for others simply because it is motivated by religious actions is no different (again as last time) than being a Catholic who tries to enforce their morals on everyone else.

        • Kodie

          The needs of my neighbors is they can’t push a button one day a week when they walk to temple.

          EDIT: I had also said that it would be one thing if it was just waiting at one long light, but this new pattern has negative and probably even more dangerous repercussions that involve secular traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian at another corner. The solution to that is change it back. What they’re going to end up doing instead is put in another light.

        • avalpert

          The needs of your neighbors are not dictated to them by you – that’s the difference between dictatorship and democracy. And a dictatorship of rationalists is no better than a dictatorship of theocrats. If you don’t like it petition the city council for a change.

          I can point to many lights/stop signs/speed bumps created for schools, shopping centers and whiny parents around my area that did nothing real for safety but increased traffic – sometimes I even participate in hearings on them to offer my concerns – but the process is the process and when it is done we accept the outcomes. Either that or you can pick up and move to a community of only like-minded individuals, or isolate yourself in Idaho. Plenty of people choose those avenues.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know, you might kinda sorta have a point. But where does it stop? Concessions, concessions concessions. Well, now, we’ve got a corporation asking to not have to follow a legally passed and binding law(one that I don’t even like) as a concession to their faith. Too many concessions.

        • avalpert

          That’s a good question though personally I think the where is less important than the how. When enacting new law or regulations on behalf of the people (as is the case with new traffic control devices) the process needs to have generally equal access, be transparent and fair. At some level, any decision made will ultimately be arbitrary, but as long as the process to getting there was fair then the community should be accepting of the outcome. By the way, I don’t see that as a concession, it is a weighing of costs and benefits to the individuals in the community (which do necessarily include emotional impacts such as those involving religious beliefs).

          As for making exceptions to dutifully passed laws and regulations in the name of protecting fundamental rights, well that is a slightly different issue (and that is what you are talking about in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood). Here, the process still needs to be fair but the balancing act is not merely a weighting of costs and benefits across the community. It is necessarily the case that for fundamental rights to be able to protect minority races from segregation, or enable homosexuals equal access to marriage it must also at times allow things nearly everyone finds objectionable like the NAZIs marching through Skokie or Westboro to protest funerals.

          At the margins there will still be arbitrary lines drawn, again no getting around that, but here you should err on the side of protecting rights (in my opinion) where possible. In this particular case (and I’m not one who thinks he can predict what the Court will end up doing in the end even if I have a decent track record) I think the question of whether corporations can have sincere religious beliefs and how you would determine them is an interesting question without a clear answer but if they do reach the merits of the objection, the government will likely have to offer the same arrangement they did to religious institutions as that seems a less restrictive means of reaching the legitimate government interest.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Local laws must come before religion. We’re having that problem here in WA state as well.

        • Norm Donnan

          Why is that an issue at all?
          Would you rather they simply closed the hospital than the Catholic church took responsibility for it and omg,hang a crucifix?

        • Greg G.

          Chapels and crucifixes are not the problem. Well, they might be problems for Jews, Muslims, and Christians who consider such things to be graven or molten images forbidden by the Ten Commandments. The real problem is that in some cases, religion comes before medicine. They really like to circumcise baby boys, and they change the justification as each is refuted. Currently, they cite a study that if he is extremely promiscuous, there is a slightly lower risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. They are still quite likely to get an STD, but it is slightly lower in a study.

          A bigger problem is that if there is no chance of saving the baby, they will still withhold treatment that would give the mother a better chance to survive if it might hasten the death of the fetus, even if the delay might hasten the death of both. A medical practitioner faces second-guessing and excommunication by their church.

        • Pofarmer

          One thing that I found in the insurance paperwork is that the group won’t cover “contraceptive services” outside of their own network. I didn’t specifically ask what that meant, but I wonder if they might deny, to pay for, say, a guy getting a vasectomy? Would they pay for say, an IUD? Local hospital doesn’t perform those services.

        • Greg G.

          They won’t cover contraceptive services outside the network. I bet they don’t offer contraceptive services within the network, either.

        • Pofarmer

          My need for contraceptive services is taken care of, so I won’t find out directly. But it will be interesting to see what comes down the pipe in that regard. The hospital is, I think, the largest employer in town, so it affects a lot of folks.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’d think that preventative medicine that would reduce the chance of expensive things like pregnancy or STDs would be a smart thing for an insurance company to encourage.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s a breeding program. If you’re not sinning, it’s not a problem. And remember, the Church still really thinks of non-procreative sex as a sin. Man, I hate that Church.

        • Pofarmer

          Hateful, bigoted, small minded, ignorant, regressive, divisive………

        • Pofarmer

          Anti-scientific, superstitious……

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And universities aren’t much of a feather in Christians’ cap either. The modern secular research university system that has been so vital in our understanding of the universe is not what Christians originally founded. The early Princeton, Yale, etc. (and Oxford and Cambridge before them) had a strong Christian denominational focus.

        • avalpert

          I don’t know – the string of popular Catholic converts coming our of the Yale blogosphere seems to point to something wrong in their water.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s a strong cult with lots of appeal. Eric Hoffer, “The True Believer” is explaining a LOT to me about what is appealing about Catholicism, and it doesn’t have as much to do with strict theology as I would have thought. I have been highlighting some passages to post that I think are very enlightening as to what I think people find very attractive about large organizations such as the RCC. Remember, they have been perfecting their institution to gain and keep “believers” for thousands of years.

        • MNb

          The first European University in history is a muslim one – it was in Toledo, the capital of the Cordoba Califate. When Toledo was conquered in 1085 the muslims were so kind to leave the library intact. That spawned off scholasticism and the University of Bologna. The virtue of christianity is that it maintained the ability to recognize the value of the documents found in that library and the ability to organize a fruitful pre-scientific structure on short term – though it should be noted that the RCC had nothing to do with it. Just look at Ireland (around 800 CE the most intellectual country in Europe bar Byzantium) to get how valuable this is.
          However it’s also crystal clear that Europe never could have restored intellectual life in the second half of the Middle Ages without external influences.

        • Norm Donnan

          Ha my wife lived in Thailand for a few years and considered herself Buddhist before comming to Australia and finding Christ.
          Do you really think a Greek temple would pass as anysort of hospital?
          You may have got someone to rub some hyssop on your melonoma but I doubt there were any real hospitals until the 18th century.

        • avalpert

          “before comming to Australia and finding Christ.”
          So that’s where he has been hiding…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Not a bad place to lie low, I suppose.

        • Greg G.

          C’mon Norm. Does your browser show the sentence “Hospitals go back 500 years before Christianity to temples for the Greek god Asclepius” in my post to be different than the rest of the text? It’s a link to the history of hospitals. If you had clicked on it, you wouldn’t post such silliness. The ancient Greeks were doing surgery and using opiates as anesthetics at those temples.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, folks don’t like to realize how far backwards medicine went with the fall of Rome.

        • Pofarmer

          If Norm is a Catholic, he probably can’t help it. The Church pretty much teaches a version of history where all good things come through the church. Never mind that many of their “saints” were small minded hateful, muderous thugs.

        • MNb

          Well, that kind of silly ideas you can only foster when neglecting and/or looking down on facts.

          http://www.cracked.com/article_20474_5-shockingly-progressive-ideas-from-primitive-cultures.html

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, you don’t see Christian morals working in the West; you see human morals (which, BTW, have been usurped and re-gifted to us by Christianity).

          Show me morality that is in the Bible but is not commonly practice in the West, and I’ll show you some bad morality.

        • Norm Donnan

          No what Christians have done is apply those morals on a large scale through becoming involved in polatics.The sweeping change comes from Jesus replacing the natural “human” morals which is servival of the fittest with “treat others as you want them to treat you”,simple but quite radical really !

        • MNb

          Jesus took a large chunk of his moral ideas from a book called The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, written about 100 BCE by …. a Pharisee. So I’m not sure what you try to prove, but your conclusion applies more to the jewish belief system Jesus himself disliked so much.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The good part of “Christian morality” is simply human morality. Let’s not pretend that it comes from Christianity.

          “Huh?? Be nice to people? Whoa–that is completely nuts, but if I gotta do that to be a Christian, I guess I’ll try.”

        • Greg G.
        • Norm Donnan

          No,human morality is looking out for number 1,survival of the fittest remember,didnt evolution teach you anything?
          Now treating others like you would like to be treated, despite their standing ,now thats radical and contrary to human nature.

        • avalpert

          Apparently evolution didn’t teach you anything either – there is nothing necessarily contradictory between treating others as they like to be treated and evolutionary success. In fact, it may be the case that the socializing impulse that would lead humans to treat others as they want to be treated is an important evolutionary advantage for our species.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know, this may be one of those “Deep thoughts with Jack Handy” moments, but I have been thinking about this a little bit over the last few days. Christians, and especially Catholics, seem to think that if we didn’t have the influence of God, or the Church, we would be raping babies, ripping each others throats out. Now, this isn’t to say that everyone is morally perfect, or perfectly nice. But, if you look clear down the evolutionary ladder to paramecium and bacteria, tolerance is evident, if not downright cooperation. Pretty much no species wantonly attacks members of it’s species. Even the most fearsome predators, Alligators, crocodiles, sharks, tigers, cooperate and show affection for their own kind. I think the evolutionary basis for cooperation is very, very deep indeed.

        • avalpert

          Yep, I would recommend Cheating Monkeys and Citizen Bees by Lee Dugatkin as a good, easy for non-biologists, introduction to the biology of it all.

        • Norm Donnan

          Thats right evolution can mean whatever you want it to mean. Thats the good thing about imaginary science,it changes whenever new “evidence”proves the old evidence wrong.

        • avalpert

          Ha, ha – I really hope you aren’t so ignorant that you can’t appreciate the irony in what you say.

          In any case, you maybe would benefit from actually studying the science you know nothing about, it may be enlightening to you.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If it ain’t in the Bible, it ain’t worth knowing, sonny!

        • MNb

          Oh, my bet is that he is that ignorant indeed – and desperately tries to remain that ignorant. His blinkers are firmly girdled.

        • hector_jones

          The ignorance is strong with this one.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          evolution can mean whatever you want

          … said Norm, as he typed on a computer and communicated over the internet. “Show me something science has given us! Ever!” he said, shaking his fist.

        • MNb

          The stupid cop out when someone shows that evolution doesn’t mean what you want it to mean. You like your strawman too much to say goodbye to it, don’t you?

        • MNb

          Like I wrote above Kropotkin showed this more than 100 years ago when spending five years in Siberia.

        • Greg G.

          Your church-derived understanding of evolution is a trick. There’s more to evolution than “survival of the fittest”. If that was it, mammals and birds would eat their young instead of feeding them. Cooperation is a survival strategy, too.

          You should really stop paying that guy behind the pulpit to misinform you about everything.

        • avalpert

          Actually, the problem isn’t that there is more than survival of the fittest – it is that they don’t understand the meaning of ‘fittest’.

          Survival of the fittest means the genes that are the best fit for the environment are the ones which will survive to succeeding generations. The association with merely physical strength is a simple equivocation on the word.

        • Pofarmer

          It almost sounds as if you’re saying that religion might have miss-educated Norm? I mean, that’s kind of a shocking thought.

        • avalpert

          religion doesn’t miseducate people, people miseducate people…

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, but religious beliefs seem to be an aweful common tool.

        • Greg G.

          Guns don’t kill people. Bullet holes kill people.

        • avalpert

          I think the bullet more than the hole

        • Greg G.

          The phrase “survival of the fittest” is older than Origin of Species so its original intent was not about the genetic level. Norm’s Sunday school understanding of evolution isn’t prepared for Dawkins’ reformulation of the phrase.

        • avalpert

          Not that it matters but I can’t see in the wikipedia link where it says the phrase is older than Origin of Species – it seems to say Spenser introduced it in the fifth edition of the Darwin’s book.

          In either case, of course it wasn’t originally about the genetic level (at least not knowingly) as Darwin wasn’t aware of that level. But don’t let my use of genes confuse, whether we were talking at the genetic or individual level, Spenser’s original meaning was still about fit for the environment and not necessarily physical fitness – Dawkin’s didn’t, nor did he have any need to, reformulate the phrase.

        • Greg G.

          You are right. I saw the sentence that Darwin used the phrase in the fifth edition but missed that it was the fifth edition.

        • MNb

          Darwin corrected the phrase himself. Whenever a fundie begins to talk about “Survival of the Fittest” you know he/she is setting up a strawman.
          Evolution is about getting offspring, not about survival. Those female spiders who eat their partners after copulating prove it – those male partners still continue to commit suicide; the species doesn’t become extinct.

        • MNb

          Survival of the Fittest was an unfortunate mistake by Charles Darwin, one he corrected himself. Of course every single creacrapper prefers to neglect that, because facts are so inconvenient.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Think “puzzle piece fit” rather than “weight lifting” fit.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          survival of the fittest remember,didnt evolution teach you anything?

          Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you learn what things mean before you use something in a sentence?

          As Greg says, cooperation, the Golden Rule, and other nice stuff can aid in survival. I’ve written a post about this.

          Whoever you’re listening to isn’t educating you very well. Read more broadly and you can sit at the adult table.

        • Norm Donnan

          Ouch,why what comics do you read?:-)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The scientific consensus.

        • MNb

          “the Golden Rule, and other nice stuff can aid in survival”
          Piotr Kropotkin, who didn’t buy Herbert Spencer’s Survival of the Fittest, showed this when researching Siberian tribes more than 100 years ago. Also note that Spencer strived to reconcile science and religion; not the atheist Kropotkin.
          As so often your ignorance shows you walk a long time behind the facts as we know than anno 2014.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-morris/where-is-kropotkin-when-w_b_1267341.html

          “After five years examining wildlife in Siberia, Kropotkin wrote, “I failed to find — although I was eagerly looking for it — that bitter struggle for the means of existence”

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-prince-of-evolution-peter-kropotkin/

          It’s hard to swallow for you of course, Norm, as the faithful fundie you are, but your Bible got it wrong once again, this time about human nature.

        • Norm Donnan

          And as usual Mark your blinded by your evocrap.Take a walk with the oh so kind and friendly wildlife of Siberia and you will find they arnt as neighbourly as you have been led to believe.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Bears can kill you. Now how does that help show that evolution is crap?

          You should be behind a display case in a museum. It’s incredible that someone can live in the 21st century in the West, realize how much science and technology have changed society, and yet still give themselves license to dismiss whatever bit of science steps on their theological toes.

          I must not be smart enough to do that. Or arrogant enough.

        • MNb

          Yeah, of course you from Australia are in a much better position to describe how things go in Siberia than a scientist who actually spend five years overthere, because you have a sciencey wife who hasn’t studied substantial science but keeps on whispering in your petty fundie ears that you only should accept results if it suits your highly personal interpretation of your favourite Holy Book, only written 2000 years ago and never updated since.
          Convincing as always, Norm.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, c’mon Norm. surely you will be right about something some day.

          “The Golden Rule has a long history, and a great number of prominent
          religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal,
          bilateral nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[2] As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term “Golden Rule” (or “Golden law”, as it was called from the 1670s).[2][6]
          The ethic of reciprocity was present in certain forms in the
          philosophies of ancient Babylon, Egypt, Persia, India, Greece, Judea,
          and China.

          Examples of statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt, for example in the story of The Eloquent Peasant which is dated to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (c. 2040–1650 BCE): “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do.”[7] Rushworth Kidder states that “the label ‘golden’ was applied by Confucius
          (551–479 B.C.), who wrote, ‘Here certainly is the golden maxim: Do not
          do to others that which we do not want them to do to us.’” Kidder notes
          that this framework appears prominently in many religions, including “Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions”.[8]”

          https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Ethic_of_reciprocity.html

          The only thing radical was trying to apply it to the hateful, judgmental cult of Judaism.

        • MNb

          Like I wrote underneath it was not Jesus who tried this as first, but an unknown Pharisee some 100 years before, who wrote The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs …

        • Norm Donnan

          What Jesus did was say to a culture of people who were very strict with SOME laws is that your missing the point,If you love God with all your heart and your neighbour as you do yourself the you can ditch the law stuff because you will have it covered.
          Yes it was mentioned in Leviticus some 2000 years earlier along with a whole load of other good ideas but it was Jesus who highlighted it.

        • avalpert

          “If you love God with all your heart and your neighbour as you do yourself the you can ditch the law stuff because you will have it covered.”

          And don’t forget not to be gay…

        • Norm Donnan

          Being gay,a horny bloke or attracted to children isnt the problem,its what you do with it that counts.

        • avalpert

          Ah, so you agree that can’t ditch the law stuff because you won’t have it covered – it’s just happens to be the laws you select…

        • Greg G.

          If what you do is with someone who is able to give consent and does give consent, there is no problem. It is a shame that your religion has poisoned your mind that you can’t make a distinction between what consenting adults do versus harming children.

        • MNb

          Creacrap is a nasty virus, very hard to fight against, both for the patient and the people who wants to cure that patient.

        • Norm Donnan

          Actually thats only your twist on it to justify behaviour. Consent doesnt make it right,what is a shame is the socierty we live in at this point in time has poisoned your mind to accept as normal what is un natural.

        • Kodie

          Your twist is to make up a sky fairy father to justify hating people who gross you out.

        • Greg G.

          Consent is part of “do unto others…” that you were arguing for yesterday. You are arguing today that

          this is the difference between the practicing Christian and the Orthodox Jew,we are under grace and no longer under the law.

          You are cherry picking the Bible to back up your own prejudices.

          You used the parable of the Good Samaritan that shows that following the Old Testament to the letter is wrong but going against it is a good thing. Just because the Bible says something is bad doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. It may well be just something a bigot wrote a few thousand years ago.

          So you argue that being a Good Samaritan who acts against the dictates of Leviticus to help another man feel better is good but a man doing unto others as he would have others do unto him to make another man feel better is wrong because Leviticus says so.

          The problem with getting your morals from the Bible is you have to understand morality to know which morals to get from the Bible. If you already know which morals to take from the Bible and which to leave alone, you don’t need the Bible because it will only leave you confused.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you already know which morals to take from the Bible and which to leave alone, you don’t need the Bible

          Well, yeah, but making the Bible into a sock puppet helps Christians think that God is on their side.

          Ain’t that right, Bible?

          (“Oh, yeah, Bob. You’re totally correct!”)

          See?

        • Greg G.

          That’s pretty good but I saw your lips move.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nuh uh. I can do it while drinking a glass of water (though the Bible does sound a bit gurgle-y, I’ll admit).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So when something doesn’t cause harm, why are you so fanatically against it?

          What is this “unnatural” thing you’re talking about? Homosexuality? Because we see that in nature all over the place. Gaiety is indeed quite natural.

        • Pofarmer

          If you get away from the crazy Thomist idea of “natural law” which is very unnatural indeed, things would make a lot more sense.

        • hector_jones

          “Love your neighbor as you do yourself” – God pretty much insists that we be gay.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Let’s make sure we understand what “neighbor” means. It means “another person of the same tribe as me.”

          The poor schlub of another tribe had better watch out!

        • Norm Donnan

          Im afraid the good Samaritan blows that theory out the window.
          All the “neighbours” walked by,it was the dirty foreigner who did what he would have done to himself.

        • Greg G.

          You were talking about Leviticus and what neighbor meant there. The parable of the Good Samaritan overturns Leviticus. The priest and the Levite would have been in a position of breaking one part of the law and thus the whole law, as I pointed out in James. Jesus in this story is taking Rabbi Hillel’s and Paul’s position that some parts of Leviticus are more important than other laws. So slavishly following the Bible is worse than doing things that are good.

        • Norm Donnan

          Yes, your right and this is the difference between the practicing Christian and the Orthodox Jew,we are under grace and no longer under the law.

        • Greg G.

          Jews are only under the law because they put themselves under the law. Christians pretend to have grace that gets them out of a law they would have to pretend to be under.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          we are under grace and no longer under the law.

          Good one. Now help make clear that Christians need to jettison all that anti-gay stuff.

        • MNb

          I’m afraid that anonymous Pharisee who wrote the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs blew it out the window some 100 years before Jesus did.

        • MNb

          “it was Jesus who highlighted it.”
          some 100 years after the anonymous Pharisee who wrote the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, we have a third person story saying that some dude named Jesus highlighted it.

        • MNb

          In cases like this “Jesus” can mean both a historical and fictional character, so your comment is rather superfluous.

        • Norm Donnan

          Yes it was radical applying it to Judaism,the point is stating it and applying it are two different things,the Irish catholics and prodestants are a good example.
          Then again if the Muslims knew it then Iraq with the kurds,sheite and sunnis not to mention Syria means they have long forgotten it.
          Then the Hindus in India with their system of castes and heck people like to think Buddism is all peaceful and contemplative until your in a neighbouring country then its up yours shelbyville.
          Point is Po,we all know what is right to do,choosing to do it is the challenge eh!

        • Pofarmer

          ,”the Irish catholics and prodestants are a good example.”

          How so?

        • Norm Donnan

          Because here we have people who are the same nationality,same religion,same culture,have 99% of things in common and yet fail in the one thing Jesus said was so important that it has kept their country in termoil for generations.It should have been so easy,they knew it but never practiced it.
          Same with the Sunnies and Sheites in Iraq.

        • Pofarmer

          The ireland situation goes farther than religion.

        • Greg G.

          Rabbi Hillel the Elder was a first century BC teacher who said “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn”, based on Leviticus 19:18. His grandson, Gamaliel is mentioned in Acts 5:34 as speaking on behalf of the apostles and in Acts 22:3 as being a teacher of Paul.

          Paul agrees with Rabbi Hillel in Galatians 5:14

          For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

          James 2:8-10 agrees that loving your neighbor is a good start but completely disagrees with it being the whole of the law.

          8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

          If the Golden Rule was such an important teaching of Jesus, how could one of his followers who supposedly knew him miss it so badly?

          That’s just one more thing Paul said that got attributed to Jesus later.

        • Norm Donnan

          The problem as I see it here and is the perpetual problem with blogs like this is that there is a lot of study done looking for percieved faults in scripture to justify ones position to oneself.
          If only a fraction of the effort was applied to seeking out the truth you would be much better off.
          The example you give is (as usual) out of context,Jim is right in what he is saying,that is if your not going to treat others like you want them to treat you then you are choosing to stay under the law and if your under law and not grace then its the whole law.
          This is a common trait with de converted christians who by nature are interlectual is to go to a lot of effort to convince yourselves that it was the right decision because faith is so much harder to comprehend than academia.

        • Greg G.

          The problem as I see it here and is the perpetual problem with blogs like this is that there is a lot of study done looking for percieved faults in scripture to justify ones position to oneself.
          If only a fraction of the effort was applied to seeking out the truth you would be much better off.

          Of course you see it that way, Norm. You are in a Christian fantasy bubble. When you step out of it, you can see it more objectively. You can understand your former subjective perspective from an objective perspective.

          The perceived faults in scripture are actual faults. The efforts of apologists to cover them up is futile.

          The example you give is (as usual) out of context,Jim is right in what he is saying,that is if your not going to treat others like you want them to treat you then you are choosing to stay under the law and if your under law and not grace then its the whole law.

          You hear apologists say “out of context” and you are mindlessly repeating it. Any quotation is taken out of context. That is only a problem when the strategic removal changes the meaning. The meaning of the James quote is not changed as quoted. The meaning of the Galatians quote is not changed. They conflict when quoted separately and they conflict in context. The James quote diminishes the “shall love your neighbor as yourself” quote. If Jesus taught that as the second most important teaching, as in Mark 12:31, then James should have embraced that instead of refuting Paul.

          This is a common trait with de converted christians who by nature are interlectual is to go to a lot of effort to convince yourselves that it was the right decision because faith is so much harder to comprehend than academia.

          Yes, many people who leave religion are pissed when they realize they have been lied to for so long by so many. I went through that decades ago. The Bible is far more interesting when you read it for the literature that it is and its historical influence instead of the fantasy you wish it was.

        • Pofarmer

          The problem as I see it here and is the perpetual problem with Christians like this is that there is a lot of study done looking for perceived meanings in scripture to justify ones position to oneself. If only a fraction of the effort was applied to seeking out the truth you would be much better off.
          The example you give is (as usual )cherry picked, Jim is right in what he is saying,that is if you’re not going to treat others like you want them to treat you then you are choosing to stay under the law and if your under law and not grace then its the whole law. This is a common trait with Christians who by nature are non-questioning. They go to a lot of effort to convince themselves that it was the right decision because reason is so much harder than blind faith.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If only a fraction of the effort was applied to seeking out the truth you would be much better off.

          Translation: Adopt my worldview and then hammer any contradicting evidence to fit. Or just ignore it.

          Just be a sheep, is that it?

        • MNb

          Especially the L-word? The most powerful L-word in Dutch is “lul”, which means dick. Especially when expanded, like “lul de behanger” (dick the decorator) and “hondelul” (dog’s dick) you can wield a lot of power on Dutchies. Actually so much that you might get smitten when you direct these words to Dutch hooligans.
          Or do you mean the English L-word, lord? That translates as “heer” and is by far not as powerful. This one is a lord for instance:

          http://www.aarth.nl/bommel/images/4700f.jpg
          Heer Bommel translates as Lord Bumble. And don’t be mistaken – he is a lord of good position, with a castle and lackey and everything.

      • wtfwjtd

        Speaking of not being able to take Christian claims seriously. How about a God who says that blasphemy against him is the worst, most unforgivable sin imaginable? Child rape? Ok, I can forgive that. Genocide? NO problem, you talkin’ to a master here dude, it’s forgivable! Rape? Murder? Theft? Lying? ALL forgivable, multiple counts, no problemo! But blaspheme my name, hurt my feelings? You’ll burn in HELL forever and ever for such a horrific offense! Duh! Do you even need to ask?

        And Christians wonder why I blow off their “objective” morality as nonsense…

        • Greg G.

          Actually, the Bible says you can blaspheme God and Jesus but only blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable.

          Matthew 12:31-32
          31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

          Gospel of Thomas 44 Jesus said,
          “Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven.”

        • Pofarmer

          Is there anything there isn’t a bible verse for?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s the one-size-fits-all Big Book of Morality! You can support just about anything you want. Just ask Phred Phelps.

        • Greg G.

          You can show almost anything with a Bible verse. For example, the Disciples were a circus of clowns:

          Acts 1:14 (KJV)
          These all continued with one Accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

          How else could they get that many in a Honda?

        • Pofarmer

          Got a question. The other day I mentioned Bart Ehrman to Jenna, and she dismissed him as being non-authoritative. I mentioned him again today and his book”lost christianities” on a Catholic blog here on Patheos and was told he was”outside of the main stream.” My take on Ehrman is that he pretty much is the main stream. Most of what he makes are safe conclusions, from what I’ve observed. Am I all wet here or just biased?

        • Greg G.

          Ehrman is a qualified scholar. What he writes is usually very much mainstream for critical scholars. But there are critical scholars and conservative scholars. Those who listen to conservative scholars will consider everybody else to be outside the mainstream.

          Ehrman insists that 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 was written by Paul. I think most critical scholars consider it to be an interpolation.

          I’ve read at least a dozen Ehrman books and most of the criticism comes from the conservative faction for most of his books, not mainstream, AFAICT.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          He’s the head of the Dept. of Religion at the Univ. of NC (Chapel Hill). Every conservative podcast that I’ve heard always acknowledges the impeccable nature of his credentials before they complain about his conclusions.

        • Pofarmer

          That Gospel of Thomas passage kind of makes an ass out of the Trinity.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, I’m aware of that. I watched his “doco/movie,” and that’s 30 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

      Have you watched it? It’s the same tired old crap as always. He has 10 verses that he says spell out the end times, and he plays his Ten Commandments game where he asks random people on the beach if they’ve ever broken any.

      The only bright spot is that he looks just like Wolfman. (Whoa–who does your hair, dude?)

      • Ron

        It appears that Ray believes in evolution after all. He claims the ark contained just one of each kind of animal, yet the Genesis narrative tells us that towards the end of the journey there were already two different bird species: ravens and doves.

  • Greg G.

    Is it deja vu or have I already seen a movie starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly about a man whose name begins with “N” and ends with “h”? Maybe that was just a delusion and I have lost my equilibrium.

  • Brandon Roberts

    look it’s just a movie it’s bringing attention to the bible and aronfronsky is a director it’s his job too make a movie that people watch too make money yes he’s athiest/agnostic i think but he was raised jewish this is his midgash i believe it’s called his own take on a classic bible story.

  • Justin Thyme

    For a really good flood story, read ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh”, from which the Moses story was taken.

    Incidentally, if the flood story of the Bible was true, then we are all not descendants from Adam and Eve, but from Moses.

    • MNb

      If you had come overhere some months before you would have realized you are kicking an open door, because this is not really the first time I provided this link:

      http://www.livius.org/fa-fn/flood/flood1.html

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Moses? You mean Noah?

      • Justin Thyme

        Sorry, I stand corrected. Mosses was the ‘dividing of the waters’ story. Noah was the ‘Flood’ story. Must remember to keep them straight.

        Or must stop leaving traps for MNb to get caught in.

        • Justin Thyme

          The true origin of the Flood story has a much more mundane history. The Euphrates river in Mesopotamia floods on a regular basis. On occasion, it floods so extensively that the land horizons are lost, especially when one is swept out into the Persian gulf. It was not unusual for Mesopotamian merchants to build very large rafts, on which they carried animals, crops, and goods, traveling up and down the river, living on the raft with their family full time. When these rafts were swept up in a flood, legends and tales of survival were born. Noah is but just one of these legends. There have been early documents discovered about the exploits of one such Mesopotamian trader who ended up somewhere on the shores of the Persian Gulf – a trader of such wealth that his legend survived him into history.

          This exemplifies the problem with searching for the historical accuracy and authenticity of stories related in the bible. People look for a religious, or mythical, origin, forgetting that most myths are based on some actual occurrence that has been ‘legendized’.

          Take Mosses, for instance, The Red Sea DID dry up, in a temporary freak occurrence, at about the same time the sky turned black and temperatures fell to unheard-of lows.
          Due to a certain famous volcano erupting with great suddenness and ferocity in Italy and resulting in earthquakes, tsunamis, and darkened skies in the area from volcanic ash that blocked out the sun for a great long time, Not to mention black rain. Residents of the Middle East, not yet having the Internet, would not know these events were tied to a volcanic eruption (they would hardly know what a volcano was) and would certainly have created their own legends to record the historical event.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Another bit of relevant history might have been the Black Sea, which had been an inland sea like the Dead Sea. It was blocked at the Dardanelles. The water from the Mediterranean poured in 7000 (?) years ago. It would’ve been a slow-motion flood from the standpoint of the people living on the edge of that inland sea.

        • hector_jones

          I find this about as profitable as speculating which actual murder might have been the one that inspired this past season of True Detective, or speculating about which shark attack or tornado was the inspiration for Sharknado.

          Ancient people knew that floods happened. That much is pretty obvious and sufficient to explain the flood story. I don’t understand why we need to posit any particular major flood as the one that inspired the story that ends up in the OT, especially when the evidence is non existent.

          Furthermore, I can’t at all see how a slow-motion flood is a compelling model. Just because it was big? The fact that floods happened from time to time with devastating effects to human life would have been all that was required for an author to imagine an even bigger flood for the purposes of a story. What about the ‘flood’ that occurred in slow motion as Great Britain slowly detached from mainland Europe? Since we are going to speculate …

        • Justin Thyme

          How about, the fact that it actually happened is compelling enough? Major events such as the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the Black Sea flooding were NOT everyday occurrences. It would be EXPECTED that since they were such a colossal event, they would end up in myths and legends. Highly unlikely they would have occurred, and the people would have just ignored them, just said ‘Ho Humm, another major calamitous event that has changed the wold we live in’.

          The events were so catastrophic, if they did NOT show up in myths and legends, THAT would be unusual.

          Oh, wait, you mean Atlantis?

        • hector_jones

          How about, the fact that it actually happened is compelling enough?

          What happened?

          The events were so catastrophic, if they did NOT show up in myths and legends, THAT would be unusual.

          Perhaps. Perhaps not. Furthermore, we probably don’t know about every myth or legend that ever was told, only the ones that have survived in some form to the present day. So you can’t talk about what is usual or unusual.

          People look for a religious, or mythical, origin, forgetting that most myths are based on some actual occurrence that has been ‘legendized’.

          This doesn’t follow. I very much disagree that this is how myth and legend operate. It will require proof (unless you want to argue for ‘some actual occurrence’ in a very broad sense, in which case the point is trivial).

        • Justin Thyme

          Oh, wait, maybe you have me there. Maybe the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was a myth, total fiction. Didn’t happen at all. And the alignment of the planets over the Middle East – around the time of JC’s birth – just a myth, astrologers have no idea what they are talking about. And the layer evidence in architectural digs, indicating a period of prolonged famine about the same time as Mt. Vesuvius, purely anecdotal. And Toy and Cleo were fictional characters, created by Shakespeare. And, heaven forbid, the Tooth Fairy – please don’t tell me that’s a myth?Not the Tooth Fairy? Please!!!!! My world will collapse if I find out the Tooth Fairy is a myth.

        • MNb

          “the alignment of the planets over the Middle East – around the time of JC’s birth”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! The problem here, my dear JT, is that there are way too many astronomical events around the time of JC’s birth. This page counts 16:

          http://www.bijbelaantekeningen.nl/bn/#View=Subjects&action=762

        • Justin Thyme

          Any one of which will do. Thank you for pointing out that the ‘Bethlehem Star’ could be any ONE of them. Indeed, get your act together with hector_jones. One of you says ‘what events?’ the other says ‘choose which one’.

        • MNb

          Yeah, the good old “it explains everything hence nothing” approach. Hec can take care of himself, no doubt. You not so much.

        • Justin Thyme

          Ho, humm, beam me up, Scotty, no signs of……

        • hector_jones

          I haven’t a clue where you are going with this. I’m starting to doubt your sanity.

        • Justin Thyme

          Or perhaps split personalities.

        • Justin Thyme

          Thus perhaps the flood stories of the Epic of Gilgamesh, though it’s at the opposite side of Mesopotamia,

  • Bemused

    [Christians are] mad because this made up story
    doesn’t stay true to their made up story.
    — Bill Maher

    Brilliant comment! (I’m not religious)

  • God

    No one ever thought about the fact that when and if this story is true, every living being is a offspring of incest? Which would be impossible as leads to deformities and infertility.. Same goes for that Adam and Eve bullshit.. Wake the fuck up all you stupid believers..Can’t believe that millions of people all over the world believe in such crap and nonsence.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      They’ll say that Noah’s 3 sons had 3 non-incestuous wives.

      Adam’s kids, however–that’s another story. But when you read it, you read about Cain being concerned about foreign tribes killing him. (Where did these tribes come from if mankind had just been invented a few decades before?)

      • God

        Exactly! Too many contradictions..

    • MNb

      “No one ever thought about the fact that when and if this story is true, every living being is a offspring of incest?”
      I realized this problem (but regarding Adam and Eve) when I was 9 or 10. I was too young to think it through though, so I just postponed the problem.

      • God

        lol

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    I’ve only read snippets of Enoch. Thanks for sharing that–weird stuff.

    If you’re going to take a Bible (loosely defined) story, that sounds like a more interesting jumping-off point.


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