Do You Really Believe That?

Noah’s Flood

Today I’m introducing a new post series on Daylight Atheism, “Do You Really Believe That?” The purpose of this series is to highlight religious claims that are so extravagantly bizarre, so manifestly at odds with everything we know about the universe, or so just plain ridiculous that even religious believers shouldn’t be able to take them seriously. I’ll begin today with one of the most obviously ludicrous and implausible parts of the Bible, the story of Noah’s flood. As absurd as this ancient tall tale is, it is taken literally by many believers even today. Consider the following from Answers in Genesis’ Statement of Faith:

The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.

There are far more absurdities in this story than a single post can cover, and regarding the perennial issue of where the flood waters came from and where they went, I refer readers to the excellent Talk.Origins article Problems with a Global Flood. This article will highlight some of the problems that would have arisen within Noah’s ark.

First: How in the world did Noah gather all those animals? The number of known, described species in existence has been estimated as 1.5 million, and there may be as many as ten times more that have not yet been discovered or described. The Bible is adamant that all land animals not on the Ark died in the flood (Genesis 7:21-23), so everything that survived must have been taken on board. Even if, as some creationists postulate, different species just represent variation within a smaller number of fixed “kinds” and the post-flood world underwent a period of ultra-rapid evolution to produce today’s present biodiversity, it is still clear that any plausible catalog of the pre-flood world must have included tens of thousands of animals from wildly different habitats all across the globe, including many that live on islands, deserts, mountains, jungles, and other remote and inaccessible habitats. Even granting the 900-year pre-flood lifespans the Bible mentions, there is no plausible way that Noah and his family could have trekked, climbed and sailed all over the planet to find all these animals, capture a healthy breeding pair of each species, and bring them all back to the Middle East in the allotted time. A hundred lifetimes would not be enough to do this. And even if Noah somehow did manage to gather that many, how would they all fit in the Ark?

Second: How did Noah keep the animals from killing each other, or from dying in the cramped conditions? By definition, for every prey animal, the Ark carried its predators – and not just large predators like lions and wolves, but every species of infectious microbe and parasite: bacteria, viruses, lice, fleas, ticks, worms, flukes, fungi, and many others that can only survive on or in the living bodies of their prey. In the necessarily cramped and unsanitary conditions, the Ark would have been a hothouse of sickness and disease. How did the Ark’s passengers not die off in droves?

But again, discounting such problems, there is the inherent hardship of the voyage itself. Few animals adjust well to captivity, even in conditions that attempt to recreate their natural environments. The Ark would have been a far worse environment: living in necessarily tiny cages, in densely crowded, dark, dirty conditions drastically unlike their natural habitat (did animals from the polar zones and from the tropics live side by side in the same temperature and humidity?), in the constant turmoil of rough seas for months on end. The stress and terror of such a voyage would certainly have killed many of these animals, and left many others so weakened and traumatized that their long-term survival would be in serious doubt.

Third: How did just eight people care for such an enormous menagerie for so long? Zoos today, which represent a far smaller fraction of the earth’s biodiversity than the Ark was claimed to carry, require thousands of employees just to keep the animals healthy and happy. For example, the U.S. National Zoo has a staff of 350 full-time employees and over 1,500 part-time volunteers to care for 2,000 animals representing 400 different species. Does it make any sense at all to claim that just eight people, for an entire year, could have seen to all the needs of a far greater number of living things requiring far more diversity of treatment and care? Feeding and watering the animals, cleaning their cages, keeping them healthy and exercised, treating medical problems that surely would have arisen – eight people working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week could not possibly have done this.

Fourth: How was the world repopulated after the flood? Once the waters receded, the Earth must have been in a terrible state: a dead planet of mud, debris, rotting bodies, and decaying vegetation. The smell would have been indescribable. Even discounting the months it would take to plant and harvest new crops, most would have died in the briny, salt-soaked soil. There would have been nothing to eat for the herbivores, and no food for the carnivores but the herbivores that had just disembarked – and once they consumed all their former shipmates, they would have starved in turn.

But even assuming this problem could be somehow surmounted, there is a more serious one. Living things are not islands – they can only exist and thrive in a complex, interconnected web of relationships that cannot just spring up overnight. Releasing all these animals into the wild and expecting them to spontaneously return to their correct habitats and reconstitute their former ecosystems would be ludicrous. The certain result would be not repopulation, but chaos. The serious problem of invasive species shows what happens when living things are thrown together at random without regard for the intricate relationships among them – multiplying these scenarios by a thousand gives some idea of what the post-flood world must have been like.

The flood story teems with impossibilities, and can be rescued only by postulating a parade of miracles at every turn. Maybe the animals obediently trooped to Noah’s side from all over the world, laid down side by side without harming or attacking each other, and went into hibernation for a year on the Ark without needing food, water or exercise. Maybe miracles produced all the water for the flood from nowhere, held the boat together in rough seas, and made the water drain back into nothingness at the end. Maybe more miracles cleared away the millions of rotting bodies, replenished the soil so it would give crops again, and then made those crops grow in super-sped-up time so that the Ark’s passengers would have had something to eat. Maybe yet more miracles prevented the deleterious effects of inbreeding so a whole species could be repopulated from just two individuals, resorted the animals all over the world, and recreated their former ecosystems.

If continual and arbitrary violations of physical law are invoked at every turn, any chain of events, no matter how ridiculous or impossible, can be allowed. But the sheer number of miracles that would be needed gives some idea of just how implausible the flood story is. Nevertheless, there are a significant number of theists who believe this silly story really happened and want to see it adopted into the scientific canon and taught in public schools as fact. Yet most of these people, I’d wager, want this only because they have been told by their trusted religious authorities that this story is true and have never thought through its implications for themselves. To theists who fit this description, I suggest you take a closer look at the story of Noah’s flood and all it entails, and then ask yourselves: Do you really believe that?

Other posts in this series:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Alex Weaver

    *claps*

  • Alex Weaver

    *claps*

  • E.B.

    I always did wonder what would have happened to all the plants if such a flood really had come to pass…

  • E.B.

    I always did wonder what would have happened to all the plants if such a flood really had come to pass…

  • http://www.skepchick.com writerdd

    >I suggest you take a closer look at the story of Noah’s flood and all it entails, and then ask yourselves:
    >Do you really believe that?

    This is actually a great approach to take when talking to religious people, particularly fundamentalists and evangelicals. Some of them won’t talk about some of these issues outside of their closed church communities because they know they sound ridiculous.

    Another good question to ask is “what do YOU think about XYZ?” And if they try to regurgitate scripture versus or sermons to you, say “I can read the Bible and go to church to hear a sermon myself. I’m interested in hearing what YOU think about this.”

    A lot of these people (and I speak as a former one of these people) are not used to thinking for themselves and forming their own ideas into sentences for conversations. Showing interest in their ideas and pressing them to talk to you in their own words is very effective.

  • http://www.skepchick.com writerdd

    >I suggest you take a closer look at the story of Noah’s flood and all it entails, and then ask yourselves:
    >Do you really believe that?

    This is actually a great approach to take when talking to religious people, particularly fundamentalists and evangelicals. Some of them won’t talk about some of these issues outside of their closed church communities because they know they sound ridiculous.

    Another good question to ask is “what do YOU think about XYZ?” And if they try to regurgitate scripture versus or sermons to you, say “I can read the Bible and go to church to hear a sermon myself. I’m interested in hearing what YOU think about this.”

    A lot of these people (and I speak as a former one of these people) are not used to thinking for themselves and forming their own ideas into sentences for conversations. Showing interest in their ideas and pressing them to talk to you in their own words is very effective.

  • http://stupac2.blogspot.com Stuart Coleman

    I’m sorry, but I think that this is a fruitless endeavor (at least for Noah’s ark), since the answer to every one of those is a nice honkin’ “Goddidit”. Easy as pie.

    I think that the actual mechanics of the rain are better, but I’m a physicist, and even for those it’s easy to say “Goddidit”.

    I think that Leviticus and Deuteronomy will be more fruitful ground than Genesis, since what God says is so much more absurd than what he does (since he is, after all, MAGIC!).

  • http://stupac2.blogspot.com Stuart Coleman

    I’m sorry, but I think that this is a fruitless endeavor (at least for Noah’s ark), since the answer to every one of those is a nice honkin’ “Goddidit”. Easy as pie.

    I think that the actual mechanics of the rain are better, but I’m a physicist, and even for those it’s easy to say “Goddidit”.

    I think that Leviticus and Deuteronomy will be more fruitful ground than Genesis, since what God says is so much more absurd than what he does (since he is, after all, MAGIC!).

  • marty

    Termites.

  • marty

    Termites.

  • Polly

    I, too, wondered about the complex ecosystems that needed to be inplace. The physics of so much water just “hovering” in the sky seemed to be from another universe.

    I remember my first encounter with the story of Noah. I was probablyabout 8 or 9. I automatically assumed it was a fairy tale. Then, my father, not a particularly pious man, assured me that this unbelievable story was from the BIBLE and was absolutely true for that reason. So, I believed it all the way from then until my deconversion.

    Answers in Genesis et. al. provide really convincing “evidence” for even the most ridiculous myths of the Bible. If only we weren’t shackled to these ancient myths as holy writ, we could press on with the business at hand, improving on our real science. What a waste of neurons!!!!

  • Polly

    I, too, wondered about the complex ecosystems that needed to be inplace. The physics of so much water just “hovering” in the sky seemed to be from another universe.

    I remember my first encounter with the story of Noah. I was probablyabout 8 or 9. I automatically assumed it was a fairy tale. Then, my father, not a particularly pious man, assured me that this unbelievable story was from the BIBLE and was absolutely true for that reason. So, I believed it all the way from then until my deconversion.

    Answers in Genesis et. al. provide really convincing “evidence” for even the most ridiculous myths of the Bible. If only we weren’t shackled to these ancient myths as holy writ, we could press on with the business at hand, improving on our real science. What a waste of neurons!!!!

  • sean

    Why does an all powerfull god even need to bother with this Noah nonsense when he could just start over? Maybe he was too busy and that’s why he needed Noah’s help, or maybe he realised how absurd the idea sounds and wanted to provide yet more ammunition for disbelief (maybe he’s a sadist).

  • sean

    Why does an all powerfull god even need to bother with this Noah nonsense when he could just start over? Maybe he was too busy and that’s why he needed Noah’s help, or maybe he realised how absurd the idea sounds and wanted to provide yet more ammunition for disbelief (maybe he’s a sadist).

  • Alex

    If I may play Devil’s Advocate (or maybe God’s):

    This series will likely lead to your being accused of setting up straw-men, unless you make it clear that you are not presenting this as evidence that it is impossible for any god or gods to exist (and you have). In fact, this series will draw such criticism whether you make that clear or not, because a lot of people don’t know what the term means.

    I should also point out – before somebody more hostile does – that most bacteria and all viruses fall biologically outside of the animal kingdom; and therefore Noah wasn’t required to save them. (My source, ironically enough, is The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins.)

    I was once taught by a person at a Bible camp I was conned into attending that before the flood, all the water was suspended in a bubble encompassing the earth. Really. What exactly it was doing there was not explained.

  • Alex

    If I may play Devil’s Advocate (or maybe God’s):

    This series will likely lead to your being accused of setting up straw-men, unless you make it clear that you are not presenting this as evidence that it is impossible for any god or gods to exist (and you have). In fact, this series will draw such criticism whether you make that clear or not, because a lot of people don’t know what the term means.

    I should also point out – before somebody more hostile does – that most bacteria and all viruses fall biologically outside of the animal kingdom; and therefore Noah wasn’t required to save them. (My source, ironically enough, is The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins.)

    I was once taught by a person at a Bible camp I was conned into attending that before the flood, all the water was suspended in a bubble encompassing the earth. Really. What exactly it was doing there was not explained.

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    Would it be helpful to point out in a postscript the possible origins of the flood epic in a regional flood of the Euphrates river about 3000 BCE and the adventures of Ziusudra, king of Shuruppak?

    Personally, as a former believer in a literal, global flood, hearing how the story might have started small but have grown with each telling was believable—much easier to believe than a global flood.

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    Would it be helpful to point out in a postscript the possible origins of the flood epic in a regional flood of the Euphrates river about 3000 BCE and the adventures of Ziusudra, king of Shuruppak?

    Personally, as a former believer in a literal, global flood, hearing how the story might have started small but have grown with each telling was believable—much easier to believe than a global flood.

  • ellen

    Seems to me the main problem with a global flood hypothesis is that we have uninterrupted historical records of other societies that existed before, during, and after the supposed flood. So these people obviously were not wiped out.

    The other thing that seems ludicrous is that god would go to all the trouble of having someone build this primitive ark and load up the animals. If god could do all these miracles, why not simply encompass a pair of each in a protective bubble? Why not simply “vanish” all but two of each kind off the planet? Or as sean suggested, just start over with a clean slate? Noah and his clan weren’t all that morally pure themselves as I recall.

    The story is a clear reflection of the technological and imaginative limitations of the primitive society that was telling it.

  • Darren

    I have a really hard time refraining from laughing in the face of somebody that claims to believe this story as fact. Even a small child can see that it’s preposterous; I simply cannot respect the intelligence of somebody that believes this palpable nonsense. Theists then complain than atheists have a condescending attitude towards them: well deserved it is too! Respecting such beliefs is like allowing a six year old child to become US President.

  • Darren

    I have a really hard time refraining from laughing in the face of somebody that claims to believe this story as fact. Even a small child can see that it’s preposterous; I simply cannot respect the intelligence of somebody that believes this palpable nonsense. Theists then complain than atheists have a condescending attitude towards them: well deserved it is too! Respecting such beliefs is like allowing a six year old child to become US President.

  • http://agnosticatheism.com AgnosticAtheist

    Plus Noah sacrificed some of the animals as a blood offering to God after the flood. Hopefully those animals had babies during their time on the Ark.

  • anti-nonsense

    It took me untill 9/11 to realize that religion was more then a ritual people engaged in out of tradition, I was raised in a non-religious family so I never quite got the fact that people take religion seriously, I always thought it was just a traditional thing and nobody took it seriously. Oh for the days before I learned about religious fanatics, even then I thought that kind of thing was rare, then I learned that there are still people that believe that the earth was created in 6 days and don’t believe in evolution, to this day, I find it hard to understand how people could believe that, especially when presented with the facts. Religion makes no sense to me and has never really made much sense to me.

  • Alex Weaver

    Respecting such beliefs is like allowing a six year old child to become US President.

    On behalf of my fellow Americans… “yeah, sorry about that.” x.x

    As for the flood, I have a few ideas for people to bounce this off… ^.^

  • Alex Weaver

    Respecting such beliefs is like allowing a six year old child to become US President.

    On behalf of my fellow Americans… “yeah, sorry about that.” x.x

    As for the flood, I have a few ideas for people to bounce this off… ^.^

  • Loren Petrich

    And why hasn’t anyone ever tried to re-enact that legendary voyage? People have re-enacted so many other notable ones:

    St. Brendan
    Leif Ericsson
    Zheng He (Treasure Fleets)
    Christopher Columbus
    Ferdinand Magellan
    The Pilgrims (Mayflower)
    Captain James Cook
    Lewis and Clark

    Some religious rituals may be interpreted as re-enactment, like the Catholic Stations of the Cross, and those young men in the Philippines who get themselves crucified each year.

    So why not a re-enactment of the Noah’s Ark voyage? Even an approximate one like the Zheng He re-enactment? Given the fervor that many fundies pride themselves on, why not?

  • James Bradbury

    As Eddie Izzard once pointed out, the Noachian flood does explain why there are so many evil ducks. :)

  • James Bradbury

    As Eddie Izzard once pointed out, the Noachian flood does explain why there are so many evil ducks. :)

  • http://corsair.blogspot.com corsair the rational pirate

    Well then Mr. Smarty Pants, let me just answer your questions from a fundamentalist (can’t be a fundamentalist without the mental!) point of view:

    1. How in the world did Noah gather all those animals? God brought the animals to Noah! And, no, they didn’t have to cross mountains and seas and everything ’cause all the ground was flat and there was only one continent. So there.

    2. How did Noah keep the animals from killing each other, or from dying in the cramped conditions? Well, bears can hibernate, can’t they? So why can’t other animals? Most of the critters were sleeping the whole trip.

    3. How did just eight people care for such an enormous menagerie for so long? Maybe the gorillas and orangutans helped out! Did you ever think of that! You are the one to claim that we are so closely related to monkeys, why not get them to do the dishes and muck out the stalls of the few animals that weren’t sleeping? Duh!

    4. How was the world repopulated after the flood? Everyone had babies! And they were so busy having babies they… ah… forgot to eat each other. Whatever! Why do you ask such silly questions anyway!?

    Look, it says it in the bible and so therefore it must be true. No go away, I have to rescue my rabbit, it’s choking on it’s cud again.

  • http://corsair.blogspot.com corsair the rational pirate

    Well then Mr. Smarty Pants, let me just answer your questions from a fundamentalist (can’t be a fundamentalist without the mental!) point of view:

    1. How in the world did Noah gather all those animals? God brought the animals to Noah! And, no, they didn’t have to cross mountains and seas and everything ’cause all the ground was flat and there was only one continent. So there.

    2. How did Noah keep the animals from killing each other, or from dying in the cramped conditions? Well, bears can hibernate, can’t they? So why can’t other animals? Most of the critters were sleeping the whole trip.

    3. How did just eight people care for such an enormous menagerie for so long? Maybe the gorillas and orangutans helped out! Did you ever think of that! You are the one to claim that we are so closely related to monkeys, why not get them to do the dishes and muck out the stalls of the few animals that weren’t sleeping? Duh!

    4. How was the world repopulated after the flood? Everyone had babies! And they were so busy having babies they… ah… forgot to eat each other. Whatever! Why do you ask such silly questions anyway!?

    Look, it says it in the bible and so therefore it must be true. No go away, I have to rescue my rabbit, it’s choking on it’s cud again.

  • http://www.wanderingprimate.com wanderingprimate

    “hearing how the story might have started small but have grown with each telling was believable”

    This seems an intersting approach for those where cracks are beginning to show in a “cartoonish” world view. However, turning on of the brain when discussing this needs to happen first…

  • http://mcv.planc.ee mcv

    About the re-enactment via BBC

    But it seems to me that considering the fact how big the World was in the times when the Bible was written (no America nor Australia etc.) you should look at the flood story (as most if not all stories of the Bible) with some reservations.

    The movie Braveheart has one very good montage of how the legend of William Wallace is born. How 10 men killed becomes 50 and then 100 men. The stories of Bible are like 2000 years old and people have tendency to exaggerate.

  • http://mcv.planc.ee mcv

    About the re-enactment via BBC

    But it seems to me that considering the fact how big the World was in the times when the Bible was written (no America nor Australia etc.) you should look at the flood story (as most if not all stories of the Bible) with some reservations.

    The movie Braveheart has one very good montage of how the legend of William Wallace is born. How 10 men killed becomes 50 and then 100 men. The stories of Bible are like 2000 years old and people have tendency to exaggerate.

  • Louis Doench

    Heh….

    One of my first experiences leading to leaving Catholicism as a 19 year old was when I realized that my little brothers and sisters were being taught this fairy tale as fact at a very young and impressionable age. How unfair, expecting children to take this preposterous story seriously, then chastising them for disbelief later in life. It’s like the church is specifically setting a trap. “If they’ll believe this crap they’ll believe anything! Mwahahahaha!!

  • http://thereisnobeep.blogspot.com heliobates

    I would also like to know how a population of 8 people can result in the amount of human genetic diversity visible today within about 230 generations.

    And even if it could, why does MDNA evidence suggest that humans came from Africa, not northern Turkey?

    The Flood would be the ultimate in “punctuated equlibria”. Why doesn’t that show up in every single genome?

    Run along now, there’s a good lad.

  • http://thereisnobeep.blogspot.com heliobates

    I would also like to know how a population of 8 people can result in the amount of human genetic diversity visible today within about 230 generations.

    And even if it could, why does MDNA evidence suggest that humans came from Africa, not northern Turkey?

    The Flood would be the ultimate in “punctuated equlibria”. Why doesn’t that show up in every single genome?

    Run along now, there’s a good lad.

  • Amissio

    Brilliant!

    I’ve heard a lot about the possibility of an ancient flood in the Middle East, and there’s enough evidence that lets me think that it’s not outside the realm of possibility. That being said, I always had a bit of a time trying to explain my point of view to KKKs (krazy kristian kooks); yes, there might have been a flood… but it wasn’t the one you’ve read about.

    What I think is the best little bit in there is the sheer number of species today: KKKs have quoted the dimensions of the ark to me, and it’s obviously impossible for them to turn around and say there was enough room for the 1.5 million species that we have today. Which leaves them with claiming uber-fast evolution, which completely destroys their argument that evolution is a load of hogwash.

    Well done, sir, well done.

  • Amissio

    Brilliant!

    I’ve heard a lot about the possibility of an ancient flood in the Middle East, and there’s enough evidence that lets me think that it’s not outside the realm of possibility. That being said, I always had a bit of a time trying to explain my point of view to KKKs (krazy kristian kooks); yes, there might have been a flood… but it wasn’t the one you’ve read about.

    What I think is the best little bit in there is the sheer number of species today: KKKs have quoted the dimensions of the ark to me, and it’s obviously impossible for them to turn around and say there was enough room for the 1.5 million species that we have today. Which leaves them with claiming uber-fast evolution, which completely destroys their argument that evolution is a load of hogwash.

    Well done, sir, well done.

  • AJS

    Another thing to think about: rainbows. We learn in third year physics class that white light is made up of different colours which can be separated by refractive dispersion. Different wavelengths of light, which are perceived as different colours, are refracted by different amounts when entering or leaving the same material.

    If the jewish flood myth is true, then there would have been no such things as rainbows before Noah’s voyage in the ark. So how would this be done? Was the sun’s light monochromatic before the flood? Did the dispersive properties of every light-transmissive material change? Was there no refraction at all before the flood?

    For me, though, the biggest hole in the plot is that god went to all this trouble: fart-arsing around, flooding the whole world, relying on one family with just a 150-metre wooden boat to save all the animals, propping them up right, left and centre with miracle after miracle; as opposed to just selectively smiting the evil humans. Even for an omnipotent being, that would have been less effort (in the same sort of way as it’s less effort to recite all the integers between zero and infinity, than to recite all the numbers between zero and infinity to two places of fractions).

    Looked at in the light that the people of the time had only a limited understanding of science and geography, however, it all becomes much clearer. They wouldn’t have seen the bigger picture we can see today.

    Also, flood myths are fairly common in cultures around the world. This should not be surprising, since we have always tended to build our settlements close to watercourses. A theory of many disparate floods is much more plausible than the jewish myth.

  • http://thereisnobeep.blogspot.com heliobates

    And why hasn’t anyone ever tried to re-enact that legendary voyage?

    PETA would crucify them.

  • http://thereisnobeep.blogspot.com heliobates

    And why hasn’t anyone ever tried to re-enact that legendary voyage?

    PETA would crucify them.

  • Polly

    @Corsair:

    I have to rescue my rabbit, it’s choking on it’s cud again.

    LMAO!!! Hilarious! I’d definitely steal this one for cocktail conversation except that no one I know would get it.
    I was asked not too long ago at lunch, out of sheer curiosity no doubt, what was kosher and what wasn’t. (I’m a walking Levitical reference even though I was Xian.)

    As for the PURPOSE of the flood. It seems it was all for naught. The primary goal was to rid the world of EVIL. Hmmmmm…was it effective? Did the world remain pure for even a single generation? NO. So what was all that for? Did humanity learn its lesson? Obviously not. It was a totally ineffectual, global act of genocide. Very all-wise and loving.
    No sooner do they disembark biosphere -MMMCCXXVI, then Noah gets drunk, Canaan’s son does something really questionable, and whole races are consigned to slavery. Cue the cumulonimbuses.

  • Judy Williams

    Excellent post! Another ridiculous religious claim that should be exposed is the story of how “Satan” came to be and how he and the other bad angels got kicked out of heaven to torment and lead us humans into eternal damnation. If I’m not mistaken, this crap is not in the bible anywhere. So where did the story come from? Whom did god tell this to so it could get passed along to other people?

  • Judy Williams

    Excellent post! Another ridiculous religious claim that should be exposed is the story of how “Satan” came to be and how he and the other bad angels got kicked out of heaven to torment and lead us humans into eternal damnation. If I’m not mistaken, this crap is not in the bible anywhere. So where did the story come from? Whom did god tell this to so it could get passed along to other people?

  • Polly

    RE: the DEVIL

    Garden of Eden – the Serpent is assumed to be Satan, though it’s not explicitly stated in the OT, Revelations makes the connection.

    Book of Job – “The Accuser” is assumed to be Satan. NT theology makes the connection between an accuser and JC as defender.

    Ezekiel 28 – the King of Tyre (North of Israel) is condemned and in the description of his ascent and fall, there is a metaphor that has been taken for the description of the great rebellious angel, Lucifer, though no direct name is given to the annointed cherub.

    JC mentions a house divided saying that Satan must be bound in order to ransack his house. Of course, demons are also introduced in the synoptic gospels and Acts.

    NT references are made to an Anti-christ at the end. Devil is likened to a prowling lion looking for victims to tear up.

    Revelations 12 goes into the most detail, describing a war in heaven at the end of the age(?) wherein the devil and his army are finally thrown out of Heaven. So, technically one could argue that Satan and his rebel horde are still in Heaven right now, even after leading Adam & Eve into the Fall. Stars are sometimes symbolic of angels or “fallen” angels, i.e. demons.

    Daniel 10: A powerful “prince of Persia” is mentioned, who blocked the way of the angel Gabriel. Also a Prince of Greece is mentioned as detaining the angel so that Michael, another angel had to provide backup. These are powerful beings that are resisting God’s angels, but they aren’t called demons or Satan or any of the other familiar terms.

    That’s it for the big D. It’s pretty scant and is usually associated with prophecy or is metahporical.

  • http://goddesscassandra.blogspot.com Antigone

    Judy,

    Satan, as we know “him” came from Dante’s Inferno. Might as well, both the Bible and Inferno are works of religious fiction, and at least Dante’s a good writer.

  • Judy Williams

    Thank you, Polly. This is exactly my point about the bible – the story about Satan/the devil coming into being seems important enough to me that god (or those supposedly divinely inspired to write the bible) should have included it at the start, in clear, concise language that could not be misunderstood. What I mean is, if god decided that he would allow the devil to roam the earth and torment his humans, I as one of his supposedly-loved creations would like to know his reasoning for this; after all, I’m the one having to live this “devil-tortured” life and I didn’t ask to be created. If god felt the need to burden us with details of how he ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son as a test or how he plagued and murdered Egyptians for their “sins” against the Israelites, not to mention numerous other atrocities god assisted in, surely we can withstand the details of how the devil came to be and why.

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    Great post – a real demolition!

    By definition, for every prey animal, the Ark carried its predators…

    Yes, including dinosaurs! I saw a documentary once where a creationist was explaining in some detail exactly how Noah got the dinosaurs on to the ark.

  • http://www.maulis.com Ben Maulis

    There are many rational atheists who agree that life on earth is at ever-increasing risk today. Some notable academics like Stephen Hawking have gone as far as proposing that permanent escape of some people from the planet is imperative for the survival of humankind.

    It is hard to imagine the condition of the planet being more hostile to life than space, but if it could be, then it is quite credible that it was before. Nevertheless, the scriptures tell us that there are those who are *willingly* ignorant of this.

    “By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”

    Much to the chagrin of those who might hope to escape the condemnation of the Earth, according to the Word of God, the coming judgment will destroy both the heavens and the earth.

    “The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

    Amen, Amen, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

    Now we do not know the hour, but it is quite apparent that the Lord’s arm is not short that he cannot save his elect should they eventually travel into outer space.

    “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

    So, what I would ask those who do not believe is simply this:

    “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?”

    The Word of God tells us that he “has appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.” What about you? Are you ready for that day? Whether you are ready or not, you can be assured that, “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.”

    See Publicly
    Preaching the Judgment of Christ
    on the street and on the web.

  • AJS

    Ben,

    I have just one question to ask you.

    Is it hard work being such a dickhead, or does it come naturally?

  • AJS

    Ben,

    I have just one question to ask you.

    Is it hard work being such a dickhead, or does it come naturally?

  • Polly

    @Judy: I find the cosmology of supervillains and the ultimate supervillain fascinating. Unfortunately, looking for some kind of overarching theme in the Bible is impossible since there is no one, single source for these ideas. Rather, it seems as if different ideas about an ultimate enemy for humanity crept in at various times. Sometimes, it seems that D. is working for god. Other times he’s like a neutral 3rd party…or even a jealous, tattle-tale, older brother to humanity.

    Only in the NT, does he really get his hooves and tail, so to speak. That’s when good and bad really get delineated into clear categories. The OT, I would say is mostly amoral from a modern POV: lots of ritual and ceremony but not a lot of emphasis on character. Even the 10 commandments emphasize religion more than morality. Don’t MURDER gets 6th place?!? With lying, stealing, and adultery coming after.

    As far as writing I rather enjoyed the Ezekiel 28 passage, especially the bit about the fiery stones. I really wonder what they might have had in mind. molten rock? large, gleaming diamonds? those energy cubes from the Transformers?
    Dante, though, I agree, probably contributed the most to our popular conception.

    @tobe: Did the documentary posit “eggs” or something different? Just curious.

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    Ben Maulis

    Your entire post begs the question. You quote the Bible as if we accept it as the word of God. We (atheists) don’t. You’ll have to present evidence from other, preferably objective, sources, if you want to be taken seriously.

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    Ben Maulis

    Your entire post begs the question. You quote the Bible as if we accept it as the word of God. We (atheists) don’t. You’ll have to present evidence from other, preferably objective, sources, if you want to be taken seriously.

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    Polly said:

    @tobe: Did the documentary posit “eggs” or something different? Just curious.

    No, it wasn’t about eggs. I’be been looking for it on Youtube so I could link to it, but I can’t find it. This fella was talking about actually getting dinosaurs on to the ark. He really didn’t seem to understand just how big some of them were (because of course, Noah would have needed two from each species of dinosaur).

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    Polly said:

    @tobe: Did the documentary posit “eggs” or something different? Just curious.

    No, it wasn’t about eggs. I’be been looking for it on Youtube so I could link to it, but I can’t find it. This fella was talking about actually getting dinosaurs on to the ark. He really didn’t seem to understand just how big some of them were (because of course, Noah would have needed two from each species of dinosaur).

  • Judy Williams

    Polly,

    Some background: The story about Satan’s rebellion and his casting out of heaven was told to me by my mother, when I was younger and she was trying to teach me and my siblings about the bible and god, and we had questions about where the “evil spirit” came from that inhabited the serpent (in Genesis). Later on, when I decided to read the bible on my own, I could never find this explanation for Satan in exactly the way she told it to me. So I thought, if this story about Satan is not in the bible, how the hell does she know what happened? When I was still a Christian and going to church, over the years I continued to hear this explanation/story for Satan from many others.

    It’s clear now that it’s a fallacy, passed down to her and others like her (believers), who themselves continue to tell the lie.

  • Polly

    Judy,

    It always amazes me how mere crumbs of passages sprinkled throughout the Bible can be weaved into a (seemingly) coherent narrative and then turned into dogma. I, too, thought the seprent was Lucifer, Satan, etc. Of course, it took 1000′s (or 100s if you count from the time of writing) of years for the Xians to slap that label onto the serpent from Eden. My mother to this day believes that evil forces are at work in our (mine and hers) lives. I just listen politely and nod gravely. (alas, I have no plans to “come out” anytime soon)

    @tobe:
    HA! that’s too funny. At least the theory that Noah brought aboard eggs tried to account for the implausability of getting them in the ark due to their size. An alternative, of course, would simply be to say that the flood is what killed all the dinos. After all, if they’re going to ignore the need for a literally boiling hot atmosphere to support enough water vapor for a “canopy” like the one they think the Bible describes, what’s a little inconsistency in whether or not “EVERY kind” inlcuded dinos?

  • Polly

    Judy,

    It always amazes me how mere crumbs of passages sprinkled throughout the Bible can be weaved into a (seemingly) coherent narrative and then turned into dogma. I, too, thought the seprent was Lucifer, Satan, etc. Of course, it took 1000′s (or 100s if you count from the time of writing) of years for the Xians to slap that label onto the serpent from Eden. My mother to this day believes that evil forces are at work in our (mine and hers) lives. I just listen politely and nod gravely. (alas, I have no plans to “come out” anytime soon)

    @tobe:
    HA! that’s too funny. At least the theory that Noah brought aboard eggs tried to account for the implausability of getting them in the ark due to their size. An alternative, of course, would simply be to say that the flood is what killed all the dinos. After all, if they’re going to ignore the need for a literally boiling hot atmosphere to support enough water vapor for a “canopy” like the one they think the Bible describes, what’s a little inconsistency in whether or not “EVERY kind” inlcuded dinos?

  • G

    the problem with claiming he just brought eggs is the Bible itself says he lead the animals onto the ark and you obviously wouldn’t “lead” eggs onto an ark!

  • http://max.rouge8.com MAx Frank

    Unfortunately, a simple counter to all of these arguments, is that with the help of God, man can do anything.

  • The Vicar

    @MAx Frank:

    Okay, with the help of God, which I presume you claim, go back in time and stop hurricane Katrina. If you can do that, you’ll have atheists lining up to convert. Until you manage that, you merely talk a good game.

  • http://www.maulis.com Ben Maulis

    tobe38,

    I am not sure what you are asking for. Do you want more objective evidence on the fact that the earth will burn up, or that you will die?

  • The Vicar

    Ooo, ooo! Here’s a better idea! If “with God, all things are possible” then perhaps with God’s help you can come up with undeniable logical proof, not based in the Bible, that God exists and post it to this board! Or you could have God manifest himself in person! Or you could have us all convert to Christianity without even speaking to us! (“Conversion without persuasion” falls under the heading of “all things”, after all!)

    In fact, now that I think of it, the mere existence of atheists is proof your God can’t exist!

  • The Vicar

    Ooo, ooo! Here’s a better idea! If “with God, all things are possible” then perhaps with God’s help you can come up with undeniable logical proof, not based in the Bible, that God exists and post it to this board! Or you could have God manifest himself in person! Or you could have us all convert to Christianity without even speaking to us! (“Conversion without persuasion” falls under the heading of “all things”, after all!)

    In fact, now that I think of it, the mere existence of atheists is proof your God can’t exist!

  • The Vicar

    And as long as I’m posting:

    @Ben Maulis:

    The former. Atheists don’t believe the Bible, and they don’t take the word of worshippers without evidence. Unless you produce some grounds for belief that the earth is a-gonna burn — and, more importantly, that it will happen because of a god — then you convence nobody.

  • Polly

    For those who are curious about the apologetix of Noah’s Ark, this is a link to Answers in Genesis (it’s thoroughly unconvincing):

    Noah’s ark

    Ironically, the first time I read this, I was a Xian, and it pretty much blew away any last faith I had in the literal, historic, truth of Noah. Not exactly the intended result of the site’s authors.
    They go into a lot of detail about the differences between Noah and the Epic of Gilgamesh, but the similarities ended up being far more convincing, IMO, to make the case that these were all just interrelated myths. As far as which was earlier, the actual texts of the judaic version are far, far more recent. A few references to old sites, doesn’t prove the rest of the story hadn’t mutated from the original, which was probably “Gilgamesh”, or a shared source for both.

    Note that no substantive issues (e.g. limited space or ecosystems being destroyed) are even addressed. Instead they go into a whole discussion about the sea-worthiness of such a vessel. As if ship building could’ve only been introduced to the human race through divine revelation.

    See the Talkorigins link in Ebon’s original post for the rational side of the story.

  • http://byzantium.wordpress.com Kullervo

    Maybe the Ark was like a big, wooden TARDIS?

  • http://byzantium.wordpress.com Kullervo

    Maybe the Ark was like a big, wooden TARDIS?

  • Alex Weaver

    I am not sure what you are asking for. Do you want more objective evidence on the fact that the earth will burn up, or that you will die?

    The incineration of the earth by the eventual death throes of the sun, millions of years down the road, and the mortality of each individual human, much sooner, are not in question. What is very much in question is what the hell these facts have to do with the Bible verses you quoted.

    Try to imagine how this argument looks from the perspective of someone who doesn’t already presume the Bible to be literal truth. (Hint: unconvincing)

  • Alex Weaver

    I am not sure what you are asking for. Do you want more objective evidence on the fact that the earth will burn up, or that you will die?

    The incineration of the earth by the eventual death throes of the sun, millions of years down the road, and the mortality of each individual human, much sooner, are not in question. What is very much in question is what the hell these facts have to do with the Bible verses you quoted.

    Try to imagine how this argument looks from the perspective of someone who doesn’t already presume the Bible to be literal truth. (Hint: unconvincing)

  • Alex Weaver

    After a moment’s reflection, I think where you’re coming from is more or less “both science and the bible say that people will die and the earth will cease to exist; therefore science supports the bible.” Unfortunately for that conclusion, the bible also says that all plants (including flowering plants and grass) came into existence before both sea creatures and the sun, that rabbits chew cud, that bats are birds, and implies that the sun orbits the earth. This is a classic example of cherry-picking, also known as “counting the hits and forgetting the misses.” It’s unimpressive as a demonstration of the bible’s authenticity and veracity; anyone can throw claims against the wall until one of them sticks.

  • Alex Weaver

    After a moment’s reflection, I think where you’re coming from is more or less “both science and the bible say that people will die and the earth will cease to exist; therefore science supports the bible.” Unfortunately for that conclusion, the bible also says that all plants (including flowering plants and grass) came into existence before both sea creatures and the sun, that rabbits chew cud, that bats are birds, and implies that the sun orbits the earth. This is a classic example of cherry-picking, also known as “counting the hits and forgetting the misses.” It’s unimpressive as a demonstration of the bible’s authenticity and veracity; anyone can throw claims against the wall until one of them sticks.

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    Ben Maulis said:

    Do you want more objective evidence on the fact that the earth will burn up, or that you will die?

    Hey, I know I’m good, but I’ve never claimed to be immortal.

  • 1918underwood

    I have to correct this. The story of Satan’s fall from heaven does not come from Dante’s Inferno. The roots of this story probably go back to ancient myths, but it was formulated and popularized in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Milton coined himself “God’s Poet” and gave us one of the most widely read pieces of apologetics–one that indeed shaped popular conceptions of Christian religion. Ironically, the character of Milton’s Satan is one of the most interesting in literature and often interpreted as a heroic figure rebelling against the “tyranny of Heaven” where God rules (in Satan’s opinion) through sheer power, arbitrarily, without consideration. Milton’s Satan desired independence and freedom from being a puppet of God–but this desire for freedom is confused with an ambition for power, to put himself in God’s place as ruler. His sin was that of pride (while he accused God of the same sin). This work gave us Satan’s philosophy in its first book: “To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.” “The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.”

  • 1918underwood

    I have to correct this. The story of Satan’s fall from heaven does not come from Dante’s Inferno. The roots of this story probably go back to ancient myths, but it was formulated and popularized in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Milton coined himself “God’s Poet” and gave us one of the most widely read pieces of apologetics–one that indeed shaped popular conceptions of Christian religion. Ironically, the character of Milton’s Satan is one of the most interesting in literature and often interpreted as a heroic figure rebelling against the “tyranny of Heaven” where God rules (in Satan’s opinion) through sheer power, arbitrarily, without consideration. Milton’s Satan desired independence and freedom from being a puppet of God–but this desire for freedom is confused with an ambition for power, to put himself in God’s place as ruler. His sin was that of pride (while he accused God of the same sin). This work gave us Satan’s philosophy in its first book: “To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.” “The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.”

  • rob

    I recall reading science fiction story in English class that sounds like it might be a re-imagining of Milton’s Satan. In it, Satan rebels against God because he pities humans, and the senseless suffering God inflicts upon them. God basically has no frame of reference for suffering, being omnipotent, so even though he knows all the facts of the universe, he is totally unable to comprehend the physical, or even emotional suffering, that humans feel on earth. At first God banishes Satan to hell, where he is compelled to torture his beloved humans against his will as punishment for loving them. Eventually, though, Satan convinces God to incarnate himself in the person of Jesus, so that he can experience suffering first-hand. Jesus’ love for his people as well as the physical suffering of crucifixion break God’s heart. He welcomes Satan back into heaven and begins to slowly change the universe to eliminate suffering, a process that unfortunately will probably take an infinite amount of time, because while God can do anything, it is not necessarily easy for him. In fact, just maintaining the universe becomes an agonizing experience for god, because after the death of Jesus he “plugs in” to every soul on the planet, simultaneously experiencing all the suffering of every human on earth (and, supposedly, lessening everyone’s individual burden by a tiny bit due to his companionship – misery loving company and all). This also explains the need for regimental physical laws (a willy-nilly universe being more difficult to maintain than one with a carefully arranged system), why god originally created humans (for his own glory, because he was damn full of himself), why there is suffering in the world, and why he would need to rest after the exhausting six-day act of creation.

    I remember thinking it was a fascinating exercise in the Christian religion, one that even I, a totally irreligious person, could almost believe. It more than pissed off at least one Christian student in the class, especially since it was taught right alongside the Bible as literature, which offends a lot of Christians already.

    Anyway, I was hoping one of you smart people might have read the same story and could tell me who it was by and what it was called, because I’d love to read it again and see if it’s still as fascinating to a 26-year-old atheist as it was to a 14-year-old agnostic.

  • http://www.maulis.com Ben Maulis

    I do not recall making any argument for the bible’s credibility. Am I being attacked using an argument against a strawman?

    Allow me to rephrase my post in simpler terms since there are some who are having trouble understanding longer sentences.

    The earth will burn up.
    You will die.

    How are you going to escape hell?

  • http://www.johnnysstew.com/cool/coolwet J

    Allow me to rephrase my post in simpler terms since there are some who are having trouble understanding longer sentences.

    The earth will burn up.
    You will die.

    How are you going to escape hell?

    Hmm, I don’t quite believe you yet, Ben. But I’m sure if you just keep saying those words louder and more dogmatically, I’ll eventually come around. After all, it’s only my stubbornness that keeps me from believing the same way you do, right? That or the demon who lives on my left shoulder. It has nothing to do with my intelligence, experiences, intuition, upbringing, or education. Really, let me assure you: I have no good reasons not to agree with you.

  • Polly

    @Ben:

    How are you going to escape hell?

    You’re absolutely right. You made no arguments for the Bible’s credibility…you assumed it. In asking how we will escape Hell, a Biblical concept with not a shred of evidentiary support, you are implicitly making a pretty grand presumption. Loaded questions are poor shelter for presuppositions. Unless you’re defining hell as a supernova, your point escapes me, and I imagine most others, here.
    Actually, your point is lost on me either way. We will all die long before the Earth and solar system do. By the time the sun finally belts out its swan song, none of us will be around to need to make any kind of escape. We here today will have ceased to exist eons beforehand.
    No spirit, no ghost no consciousness living on forever. But, even if I believed in those things, I certainly don’t think there’s some powerful being so full of himself that he’s anxiously waiting to toss my surviving essence into a burning pit for denying his existence. There is no Hell; prove me wrong!

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    Thanks Polly, for pretty much beating me to it in response to Ben, but just to reiterate.

    @Ben,

    By citing the Bible as evidence for your beliefs, you are presenting it as a credible source. I don’t accept it.

    If I wrote on a piece of paper, “Ben is wrong”, and cited it, you wouldn’t accept it as good evidence, and rightly so. But at least my piece of paper would be recent! At least we could talk to the author and ask him how he knows what he claims to know. At least it wouldn’t contradict itself.

    The Bible is not the word of God, nor is it an accurate account of historical events. You will have to convince me otherwise before you can present the Bible as evidence for your beliefs.

    The earth will burn up.
    You will die.

    Not an argument. Just two unsupported assertions. Evidence (besides the Bible)?

    How are you going to escape hell?

    As Polly said, a loaded question. Prove that hell exists and that we will go there, then ask us how we will escape.

  • anti-nonsense

    Ben – hell doesn’t exist as far as I can tell – prove that hell exists then maybe we’ll talk about what I’m going to do to stay out of it.

    Also if you mean how am I going to escape being swallowed up by the sun after it leaves the main sequence in 5 billion years, I’ll be long dead therefore i have no reason to worry about that. You will be long dead too. None of us has to worry about that so I don’t even know why you are asking the question if that’s what you mean.

  • Ric

    Ben, hell scares me not at all. Did it ever cross your mind that hell is suspiciously similar to boogie-man stories parents tell little children to get them to behave?

  • The Vicar

    @rob:

    That’s an interesting story. However, it necessarily implies that god is limited in both power and knowledge, and also has god making a big mistake, and therefore would be acceptable to neither the orthodox nor the fundamentalist. (Yes, I know the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, implies that god is limited in power and knowledge, and there are points at which god at least changes his mind, which implies that god’s initial opinions are wrong. These contradictions are rationalised by the faithful in a way that a new story would not.)

  • LogicalCon

    Ben, can I switch your phrasing around a little to better fit the known timeline? Let’s try:

    You will die.
    The earth will burn up.

    I’m sure nobody here would deny the truth of both statements. They’re fairly incontrovertable: every human being will die at some point, unless an elixir of life is discovered or a race of benevolent aliens descends to provide one. And the Earth will indeed burn up in approximately 5 billion years as pointed out quite well in the preceeding comments. (Unless the aforementioned benevolent aliens helpfully use their gravity rays to gently move Earth out of harms way)

    But then you offer the enigmatic question of escaping hell. This, after you stated, “I do not recall making any argument for the bible’s credibility. Am I being attacked using an argument against a strawman?”

    You postulate a need to escape hell, yet you aren’t arguing for Biblical inerrancy?

    As Ricky Ricardo might say: Ben, you have some splain’in to do.

  • AJS

    The earth will burn up.
    You will die.
    How are you going to escape hell?
    Comment by: Ben Maulis

    That’s just the thing. I’m not. If, and it’s a big if, I’m around at the moment the Sun explodes, I won’t feel a thing. The molecules that make up my body will go from solid to gas with barely time to stop at liquid, and probably be further reduced to assorted lighter nuclei and sub-atomic particles. There won’t be anything I can do about it when it comes, so why even try?

  • Alex Weaver

    I do not recall making any argument for the bible’s credibility. Am I being attacked using an argument against a strawman?

    Your argument necessarily presumes the Bible to be a credible source, or at least incidentally correct. Otherwise, there’s no hell to escape.

    Allow me to rephrase my post in simpler terms since there are some who are having trouble understanding longer sentences.

    Didn’t Jesus preach the virtues of humility?

    The earth will burn up.
    You will die.

    How are you going to escape hell?

    Why, the same way I’m going to escape the Magical Land of Frollicking Naked Nymphs, of course.

  • Ric

    Why, the same way I’m going to escape the Magical Land of Frollicking Naked Nymphs, of course.

    Whoa, WHOA! Why wouod you want to escape that land? ;)

  • Shawn Smith

    Ric,

    Alex has said before he is married, and has a kid. It would be better for him to escape the Magical Land of Frollicking Naked Nymphs (MLoFNN) than to have his wife find him there having a good time. And who knows, maybe the Nymphs there look like 700 pound guys who have thicker hair on their backs than on their heads. How can they be frollicking? I don’t know–it’s PF MAGIC.

  • Alex Weaver

    Not to mention that all the descriptions of nymphs suggest the conversation before and afterward would put me to sleep in an instant x.x

    But the main point is that, like hell, no such land exists.

  • heliobates

    Why, the same way I’m going to escape the Magical Land of Frollicking Naked Nymphs, of course.

    Not me. I’m going to that great Spaghetti Factory in the sky.

    R-AMEN.

  • Alex Weaver

    Snag me a Roy Rogers and some pasta carbonara, wouldja?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    I blogged about the Noah’s Ark story last November. It is a two part series called “Punishing Humanity the Rube Goldberg Way” and I raised many of the same points as Daylight Atheism.

    If everyone was wicked other than Noah and his immediate family, than all God had to do was make the bad people spontaneously combust like the drummer in “This Is Spinal Tap” or make them all sterile like in “Children of Men”.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    I blogged about the Noah’s Ark story last November. It is a two part series called “Punishing Humanity the Rube Goldberg Way” and I raised many of the same points as Daylight Atheism.

    If everyone was wicked other than Noah and his immediate family, than all God had to do was make the bad people spontaneously combust like the drummer in “This Is Spinal Tap” or make them all sterile like in “Children of Men”.

  • http://byzantium.wordpress.com/ Kullervo

    In Mormonism, the world flood was supposed to be a baptism for the earth, too. Because the earth has a spirit like ours and will also die and be resurrected. And it will also have a baptism by fire.

    Not sayin’ I believe it; just sayin’ it’s what they teach, and it provides at least a superficial answer to Tommykey’s question.

  • rob

    Vicar-

    Yeah, there was a lot in the story modern fundamentalists would take serious issue with, and I seriously doubt it was written in an actual attempt to reform modern religion. Truth is, though, I really have no context other than the class for the story. It was distributed as photocopies, so I don’t even know when it was published. This has been bumming me out for years, man. I guess I should just get in touch with my ninth grade English teacher. I just get a kick out of the depiction of God that is consistent with what he does, rather than what he says.

  • anti-nonsense

    I’d like to know about that story too Rob it sounds really interesting.

  • anti-nonsense

    I’d like to know about that story too Rob it sounds really interesting.

  • Sarah

    I don’t think I’ve ever read the story of the flood, but from what I can gather, it talks a lot about animals. I was just wondering what it says about the plants. Did Noah bother about them or did they just reappear once the waters had retreated?

  • The Vicar

    @rob

    Why not ask one of the various organizations of librarians and so on for help? I know of such a group that accepts questions from anyone, and there are probably others as well. (In fact, you could probably ask the first list to cross-post to other lists.)

  • rob

    Thanks Vicar. That probably never would have occurred to me. (Which is why I asked.)

  • http://aloadofbright.wordpress.com tobe38

    By the way, everyone, please look at this clip of Eddie Izzard talking about the Old Testement. He talks quite a bit about Noah’s flood. Very clever and very, very funny. Well worth a look.

  • goyo

    Excellent post Ebon, and really good commentaries, everyone. I was always fascinated by the demons and evil spirits floating in the air, continually praying and doing “spiritual warfare” against them. I remember once, a fellow xtian coming against the evil spirits that had caused the coke machine to eat his money. After I deconverted, I asked him if the spirits were indeed surrounding us everywhere, was I actually breathing them in, when I took a breath? Do they wear clothes? Do they have governments, and hierarchies? Had he ever really met the devil, after all, he is the “big guy”. I look back on that time in my life with embarrassment, and shame. Here I was, a college-educated person believing fairy tales over obvious scientic fact. And I used to teach others the same crap. Ben, wake up!

  • http://www.auniversenamedbob.com Matt R

    Hello All,

    There are actually a lot of flood stories from many different people groups. Some are rather interesting.

    Matt

  • norman ravitch

    It is easy enough to make fun of the Old Testament, old as it is. Even Christians don’t always take it too seriously, but they do take the New Testament seriously and that is why the NT needs to be deconstructed.

    The Gospels do more to conceal the real Jesus than to reveal him. They were written partly to make the Romans less hostile to the new sect of Christians, that is why the actions vs. Jesus are ascribed more to the Jews than the Romans. In any case, Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who bet wrong on God saving him and Israel. God usually lets people down more often than not. Jesus died a victim of Roman belief that he was a rebel. And he was, in the sense that he accepted the acclamations of the crowd, Hosannah Son of David, which means Save us King. His proclamation as king was treason. The Jewish authorities had no choice but to denounce him to Pilate and Pilate had no choice but to execute him forthwith.

    Jesus as some sort of divine or semi-divine saviour whose death somehow can wash away sins is an invention of Paul of Tarsus who himself had never met Jesus. Paul may have been sincere but he was deluded. Christians as a result do not know the real Jesus and the Gospels do not reveal him as he really was. You need to read the Old Russian translation of Josephus’ Fall of Jerusalem to get the real picture.

    So, stop making fun of Noah and his flood, the 7 days of creation and all that myth. Focus on the lies taught for 1900 years by the churches.

  • Peter

    Why would god need Noah to begin with. For any of this to happen it couldn’t include a mortal. Like you said no matter how impossible the story the religous side will come up with a reason it happened. Mr. the earth will burn up, it will burn up at the hands of mans own stupidity no help is needed for that.

  • Chris

    1918underwood:The roots of this story [Satan] probably go back to ancient myths.

    Zoroastrianism?

    In addition to Polly’s list of the mentions of the devil in the Bible, my parents also referenced Isaiah’s prophecy against Babylon:

    How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star [Lucifer], son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost height of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depth of the pit.

    -Isaiah 14:12-15

    Also, in regards to the lack of evidence for the flood, wouldn’t there be some sort of major cataclysmic event in the geological record?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Preaching spam deleted. Don’t feed the trolls, folks.

  • http://fancy-plants.blogspot.com fancyplants

    Ben Maulis:

    So, what I would ask those who do not believe is simply this:

    “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?”

    The Word of God tells us that he “has appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.” What about you? Are you ready for that day? Whether you are ready or not, you can be assured that, “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.”

    Oh no not the Day of Judgement rubbish again. Have you religious lot ever looked at these things from a psychological point of view?

    ‘Quickly! Make your decision now on whether to become a Christian! The judgement is right around the corner its nearly here! If you’re not a Christian by then its gonna be really bad for you! Quickly quickly quickly!!..’

    Simple psychological hurry-ups. A great way to get people to make decisions without applying rational thought by taking thinking time away from them. It is neither original nor noble to stoop to such methods, and yet you do. Might want to think how much you’ve relied on such underhand tactics as you stand in the queue at St. Peters’ gates with your little golden ticket.


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