Noah’s ark, manna, and a convenient device for ignoring the inconvenient point

So shortly after writing a post about how the last thing the world needs is another bunch of Christians building a life-size replica of Noah’s ark, I learn that — you guessed it — yet another church is building a replica of Noah’s Ark.

This time it’s John Hagee’s church in San Antonio, Texas. Hagee’s son, Matthew (whose singing is much better than his theology), says the purpose of the $5 million project is to convince people “to say it happened,” because clearly the question of historicity is the only thing that matters in the story of Noah. And because building a replica proves something happened, just like the way Peter Jackson proved the existence of Rivendell.

And what else should Hagee’s Cornerstone Church spend $5 million on? I mean, it was either this or else waste all that money on something like feeding all the poor children in San Antonio for a year.

Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk posted this promotional poster from Cornerstone’s website:

If you can’t read the image, it says:

Cornerstone Church invites you to attend the unveiling of its newest addition, a 28,400-square-foot Noah’s Ark-inspired building!

The Ark boasts true-to-size animatronics animals, custom-designed wall murals, synthetic trees and grasses, LED shooting stars, custom wood-plank carpeting and more. The building will host the children’s church Sunday school as well as Mother’s Day Out program. With its unique, stimulating, and larger-than-life elements, the Ark experience will truly bring to life the famed Bible story and be an inspirational adventure to all who enter.

  • Continuous Tours
  • Carnival Rides
  • Biblical Puppet Shows
  • Story Readings in the classrooms by Sunday school teachers in Bible costumes
  • Moon Bounces, Face Painting & Balloon Clown Artists
  • Hot Dogs, Roasted Corn, Kettle Corn & Cotton Candy

I am dazzled by this. It’s so appalling that it almost wraps all the way back around into a kind of delight.

Here’s more from the delightfully appalling/appallingly delightful Christian Post article:

“I want them to say it happened,” Executive Pastor Matthew Hagee told mysanantonio.com. “The Ark was real. Salvation is real. What God desires for Noah, God desires for me. For Noah, it was a boat. And for me, it was Jesus Christ.”

… Hagee, son of founding pastor John Hagee, described The Ark, saying it has vestibule entrances with outdoor scenes of the ship’s hull, crafted with alder wood panels. At one vestibule will be a talking macaw playing host.

Each of the animals in the central area of the hull – from a tortoise, sheep and zebra to a rhinoceros, lion and elephant – will be named for a great church figure from history, as a springboard to lessons on John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Charles Wesley and others.

Nine of the 16 creatures will be animatronic, created by Animal Makers, a Southern California firm that specializes in robotic animals for Hollywood movies. Some are new, and some were formerly leased. The rhino, for example, had a short appearance in the John Cusack film 2012.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find any church with animatronics,” Michael Chanley, executive director of the International Network of Children’s Ministry, was quoted as saying. “It communicates so much value to the family, ‘We don’t just want your kids to come here and learn. We want them to experience God,'” he said.

You’ll recall that the Apostle Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for not having animatronics. That communicated such contempt for the family, and it denied children the chance to experience God the way one only can in a sacred space like the Hall of Presidents.

I’m not sure that moon bounces, kettle corn, or a talking macaw named Hudson Taylor will really help to achieve Matt Hagee’s goal of convincing visitors of the historicity of Noah’s ark. But those carnival touches — Chaplain Mike calls it the “Disney-ization of Christianity” — serve the same purpose as that preoccupation with proving the historicity of a story that never itself demands such an interpretation. The whole point of both of those is to distract from the whole point.

Fundies and inerrantist evangelicals like to pretend that they take the Bible more seriously — and more “conservatively” — than other Christians, and yet they’re always willing to go to outlandish lengths just to avoid engaging the meaning of the text. Read them the story of Noah and they’ll start talking about the carrying capacity of all those cubits, reciting arcane non-facts suggesting that the hydrological history of the Grand Canyon “proves” there was a global flood in antiquity, or whatever else they can come up with to change the subject and avoid dealing with the actual story the text actually gives us.

The story of Noah is one of many in Genesis where, as Tim O’Brien wrote, “absolute occurrence is irrelevant.”

“Did exactly this actually occur precisely in this way?” is probably the least interesting, least insightful, least helpful, least edifying, least inspirational questions one could ask about this story. Those who make it their first question, and their most important question, seem to be trying to hide, to evade, to distract themselves from actually engaging the actual story on its own terms.

They’d rather talk about historicity — by which they mean cubits and kettle corn.

Cara Sexton has a nice, rambly post up this weekend on being a rich Christian in an age of hunger. It’s titled “On Hoarding Manna.” The reference there is to a story from Exodus 16, in which God miraculously provides bread from heaven for the Israelites in the wilderness:

When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. … Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.'”

The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed.

And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them.

Sexton’s reference to this story tackles its meaning head-on. She doesn’t flinch from the implications of it and she wrestles with those in her post.

Her approach is very different from that of the literalist evangelicals I’ve heard preach and teach from this passage. For them, the key thing was, as Matthew Hagee put it, “to say it happened,” to believe the manna was real — that the above story from Exodus 16 is a historical account of actual events. That was what they preached on and taught about. That was the first question they brought to this passage and the thing they treated as most important.

With manna as with Noah’s ark, the whole point of this obsession with historicity seemed to be to distract from the whole point of the story.

 

 

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  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    … because proving that God once nearly wiped out all life on the Earth proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves each and every one of us!

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Love isn’t the thing to this kind of thinking. Power is the thing, threat is the thing, absolute authority and an overwhelming terror at not believing the right thing is the thing. The love is really just a spoon full of sugar to make the pants-darkening terror go down.
    God and unaired Wonder Woman pilot… hrm.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Y’know, LaHaye and Jenkins could have easily written that pilot. Especially the bit where everyone agrees that the evil company is evil for… discovering that one of their drugs had adverse side effects after it was released, then tracking down everyone who was afflicted and… giving them state-of-the-art medical care and trying everything they could to reverse the side effects and save the people who were hurt. Those FIENDS!

  • depizan

    What? O_o No wonder it never aired.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah. The pilot is sort of shockingly overt in its right-wing ideology. It opens with Wonder Woman beating the crap out of a petty criminal to cheers from a crowd, then berating the police for not, y’know, being brutal. Also, I think there’s a bit that is explicitly pro-torture.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Wait, Wonder Woman with Adrianne Palicki?

    I haven’t found a copy of the pilot yet, but I was so disappointed when I heard it wouldn’t air, and it’s got what?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There’s a Justice League movie that opens up with something almost as bad. Superman comes upon Wonder Woman in a camp full of armed women. She explains what happened (TW, sexual assault):

    JBAQRE JBZNA: Gur crbcyr urer urycrq gur Serapu. Gur eroryf qvqa’g yvxr gung. Gurl zheqrerq gur zra naq puvyqera naq gurl guerj gurz va gur evire. Gurfr jbzra jrer orngra naq craarq va gvtre pntrf sbe gur eroryf gb… hfr.

    FHCREZNA: Gur eroryf, ubj qvq gurl qvr?

    JBAQRE JBZNA: V bayl qvfnezrq gurz. V yrsg gurve thaf va n pyrnevat naq gura V yrg gur jbzra bhg bs gurve pntrf.

    FHCREZNA: Gurl qvq guvf?! Naq lbh whfg fgbbq ol naq jngpurq?

    JBAQRE JBZNA: V tnir gurz serrqbz naq n punapr sbe whfgvpr. Lbh xabj… gur Nzrevpna jnl.

  • The_L1985

    I can understand the appeal of that response, but…damn.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Yeah, that movie’s definitely for the adult fans.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Justice League: The New Frontier. I rather liked it.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    Yeah, I was going to say… a regular charge I see leveled by atheists (as part of the “even if your god existed, he would not be worth worshipping” fallback argument) is that the Christian God is complicit in genocide, because all these genocides and historical horrors have taken place over the centuries and any existing God has spent that whole time observing a strict non-intervention policy. There’s all these standard theodicy responses having to do with free will or… whatever, and I’m not really interested in litigating the merit of those responses, but the thing that interests me here is that all the defenses one might raise for God against that charge are founded on the idea *it wasn’t God personally committing the genocides*.

    But… “I want them to say it happened… The Ark was real.” If we do this then suddenly the debate changes dramatically, because suddenly the God character is not complicit in genocide, the God character *committed* genocide, not “genocide occurred and God did nothing”, not “genocide was committed in the name of God”, no, God personally just MURDERED everybody with God Powers. That’s… I don’t think you can explain that away or justify it. That changes everything and suddenly you really don’t have a god that can be loved, only submitted to

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    To be fair, even if one accepts that Sodom was full of wickedness, there’s that too, plus God vowing to drive out/destroy the various tribes in Exodus, declaring eternal war against at least one of the tribes in same, Deuteronomy 13, punishing a certain king for NOT committing genocide later on…

  • AnonaMiss

    I was going to bring up the tenth plague of Egypt because it struck a number of young children, but then I realized that flooding the entire earth and destroying Sodom & Gomorrha both resulted in all of the children in those places being killed as well.

    Which gives me a fridge moment wrt Sodom. God said for the sake of a handful of good people he would spare all of Sodom. Were there not 5 innocent children in the city? Or was ancient Judaism one of those “little children are evil until you beat it out of them” cultures?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Well, we have both the “spare the rod of discipline = hate the child” and “any child who curses their parents must be put to death” refraines, so odds are good, they weren’t exceptionally child-friendly.

  • The_L1985

    “Spare the rod” doesn’t refer to beating your kids. A shepherd’s rod was more of a spiky cudgel, and was used to defend the sheep by hitting predators with it. You don’t damage good wool and mutton by whacking it about with sticks, and they didn’t exactly have shotguns to use on the wolves.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There are arguments for it being a literal rod and an allegorical device. Given that this is the book that recommends putting children to death for being mouthy, I’m not sure it’s allegorical. A variety of interpretations are at religioustolerance.org though–

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/spankin13.htm

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > Were there not 5 innocent children in the city? Or was ancient Judaism one of those “little children are evil until you beat it out of them” cultures?

    Exodus 20:5 is typically the go-to verse here… “for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Ew, yeah, forgot about that one. That’s especially scary with the hate-centric interpretations of scripture that some of the scarier conservatives expouse. Someone says that Jesus only asks us to love God, they argue that you can’t actually love God if you’re sinning. Ergo, since you sin with every breath, you hate God and therefore God will punish you, your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren.

    That kind of theology makes me want to hide under bedsheets.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    1. Don’t be silly. Children aren’t people. They’re a kind of chattel.

    2. No, see all the men in Sodom were Teh Ghey, so they didn’t have children.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Lot had daughters and the daughters had husbands. I forget whether the daughters and their husbands had children, but the existence of not-Lot men in Sodom with wives is documented.

  • The_L1985

    Lot had virgin daughters. When they escaped Sodom, they thought they were the only people left in the world, with no one left to marry the daughters. So to perpetuate the species, Lot’s daughters got him drunk…

    Or at least, that’s how Lot told it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry [a] his daughters. [a] Or *were married to*

    I’m confused now.

  • The_L1985

    Is that before Sodom or after? Because it clearly states that Lot’s daughters were virgins when Sodom was destroyed.

    I’d guess that those “sons-in-law” were engaged to Lot’s daughters, but not married to them yet, and that they died when Sodom fell.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’s right before the destruction. The sons-in-law laugh and end up dead. Though maybe they’re attached to different daughters than the two virgin daughters? Because the next verse says ‘your two daughters who are here’, so maybe Lot lost other daughters in the destruction, and only saved the two who were young enough to be unmarried.

  • The_L1985

    That would also work.

  • Mary

    I have never figured out why they believed that they were the only people left on earth…

  • The_L1985

    Imagine that the only 2 large cities within a reasonable area have been utterly destroyed by an omnipotent deity. What reason do you have not to believe that he did this to every city, especially when your backstory mentions a global flood that wiped out everyone except your ancestors?

  • Lorehead

    Except the text says that they went to a nearby village, Zoar, which God did not destroy.

  • Lorehead

    Possibly an over-literal translation of a figure of speech. Many translations (such as the NIV and NET) take the daughters to mean that there are no men anywhere nearby to give them children, not that they believe there are no men left anywhere in the world.

    As for the real motive for including the story, the punchline is, “In this way both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also gave birth to a son and named him Ben Ammi. He is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.” It’s a racist slur on the Moabites and Ammonites.

  • MaybeKay

    It’s been a while since I read any of this stuff, so I could be wrong, but I think in the Epic of Gilgamesh this comes up, too? I seem to remember that way back in this time period, people really did believe there was a possibility they were the only people left on earth. Life was so precarious, travel was so difficult, and settlements so rare that if one city fell, its inhabitants thought there really was a good chance the human race would fall along with it. I have no sources off the top of my head for any of this, though, sorry.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them.

    Kitchen Nightmares, Bible edition.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And because building a replica proves something happened, just like the way Peter Jackson proved the existence of Rivendell.

    Hey, do not get all sacrilegious on us now, Fred!

    Peter Jackson was doing his part to spread the gospel of salvation, that one day we too will leave this fallen realm behind for the shores of the Undying Lands, there to join in the company of the Valinor eternal.

    I mean, mortals have not been there since Sauron deceived the last Númenorian King, Ar-Pharazôn, in the Second Age.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    But the important thing is that it exists. You need to interpret it literally, as described in the Scofield Reference Red Book of Westmarch.

  • flat

    Amen brother amen.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Heretic! The Gift of Men is the true way! None will return to the world, not even Valinor, until after Dagor Dagorath & the Second Music.

  • SisterCoyote

    The Trees are gone, thou servant of Morgoth!

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well, I can honestly say that animatronics is one thing I didn’t try while working through and ultimately leaving my faith…Maybe that’s God’s ultimate convincing device?

  • hostofwords

    I’m intrigued by the “Mother’s Day Out” program. Do they keep the kids or the mothers?

  • flat

    they keep the kids out and keep the mothers for Reproduction.

  • flat

    Well considering that I have been on the ark Huibers build, they also had an exposition about the ark in other cultures and a lift for the disabled, which was nice if you are in a wheelchair.
    But personally I find it annoying now that suddenly every American Megachurch decides to build an ark, just to compete with each other.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    They should all build arks, big, glorious, expensive arks. Every dollar spent on an ark is one that can’t be spent fighting gay rights or lobbying for anti-abortion legislation.

  • KevinC

    No, someone needs to give them the idea of competitively building replicas of the Heavenly City of the Book of Revelation! All that onyx and topaz and whatnot, not to mention gold–as a paving material–would go a long way toward sucking down their Lobby For Evil budgets.

  • Vermic

    “Ark Wars” would be the first reality show I would actually watch. Everyone would build a wooden vessel and fill it with robotic battle animals. The larger and more structurally sound your ark was, the more robo-critters it could hold and the better its chance of surviving the maritime free-for-all. Two arks enter, one ark leaves!

  • VMink

    Waterworld: Beyond Arkdome.

    On the plus side… hey, Tina Turner in chainmail and pre-douchenozzle Mel Gibson in leather.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659001961 Brad Ellison

    One of the many delightful touches in the rebooted Archer and Armstrong comic book is that Archer, raised as an assassin by his televangelist father and right-wing politician mother, literally grew up in an evangelical theme park featuring a full-sized Ark. In which he faces off against his score of adopted siblings to prove his worthiness to set out on a mission to assassinate what he’s told is the Antichrist.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    They rebooted Archer & Armstrong? Is it any good?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The tale of Noah’s Ark has to be allegorical. The worldwide flood, the storing away of animals on a boat, the landing on a mountain – those all mean things, probably a message about the losses that happen after great catastrophes and the importance of being prepared for them.

    This insistence on failing to concede that perhaps the Bible does contain mythical elements to it is really dismaying.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’d say that’s a more secular perspective, though. My take on it is that it’s meant to be a reassuring story, almost purely myth, but allegorical as you said. Double meaning:

    1) God’s watching out for his chosen people. If terrible things were ever to happen, God will protect his own, even if by means of designating a spokesperson and giving them a message. Trust God, trust your elders.

    2) God has promised never to flood the world again. No matter how bad it gets, that’s off the table.

    Imagine this story were told a bit south of Egypt, say, in Sudan, where they have a monsoon season. A story like this could be very reassuring to people afraid of it raining forever and drowning them all. “Now, now, if God were going to do that, he would have told us to build a boat for all of you! And he won’t, because he already promised never to do that, so there’s nothing to worry about. Have some waterlogged sugarcane.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

    1a) Maybe the chosen people will be just one family. I don’t find that so reassuring.
    2a) But He has a variety of other interesting fates in store – see Revelation.

  • reynard61

    “God has promised never to flood the world again. No matter how bad it gets, that’s off the table.”

    Yeah, next time (spoiler) He’ll kill it with fire!

  • AnonaMiss

    But if it had to perish twice…

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I always assumed that the story of Noah was a Hebrew adaptation of the Mesopotamian story of Atra-Hasis, changed in the telling to fit the Hebrew conception of the spiritual worlds. In the original, the god Endill regularly sent famine and flood to the humans to keep their population down, but when they grew too many he sent a really big one to wash away all of them. Enki, a much more compassionate god, secretly whispered to Atra-Hasis to tear his house down and use it to build a great boat, that humans might survive the great flood with his family and animals. The flood lasted for seven days, after which Endrill was furious with Enki for defying him. Enki argues that he simply ensured life was preserved, and they compromise on other means of controlling the human population.

    The old Israeli and Mesopotamian cultures were practically neighbors for quite a while, so I would be surprised if there was not more cross-cultural memetic exchange. Unpredictable floods were a fact of life along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, so naturally that got adapted into their own religious beliefs. Compare this with the religious beliefs with the Egyptians, who dealt with very predictable flooding, and how that shaped their idea of how the universe worked.

  • http://omorka.blogspot.com/ Omorka

    You left out the best part! Belet-ili, one of the goddesses responsible for the creation of mankind, shows up as soon as Atrahasis (Utanapishtim, in the Sumerian version of the story in the Epic of Gilgamesh) gets out of the boat and makes an incense offering. She takes off her necklace of lapis scarabs (hmm – rainbow, anyone?) and swears on it that Enlil will have no part of the incense offering, because he tried to destroy the human race. It’s the biggest “If you don’t want some, you can’t have any!” I know of.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    The flyer depicts tigers and lions as a mated pair, which has to be giving an unnatural and perverse message to impressionable children. (j/k; ligers are pretty damn awesome!)

  • misanthropy_jones

    they are bred for their skill at magic…

  • P J Evans

    and shows them as smaller than pandas, too. (Noah would certainly have not had pandas and bamboo around.)

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I suspect the flood narrative likely has something to do with the end of the last ice age. Sea level did rise quite spectacularly and that would leave a mark in the stories of the various groups effected which by the time they developed writing would have diversified and been embellished to “and the whole world flooded”.

    But I’m far more interested Cara Sexton’s piece because I know exactly how she feels.

  • Mrs Grimble

    Possible – the Black Sea may have have flooded in just this way.

    However, a much more likely explanation for universal flood stories is that early civilisations tended to have developed in fertile river deltas that were subject to flash floods, tsunamis and the like. Somebody riding out such a flood in 5000Bc in someplace like the Tigris-Euphrates basin may well have believed the whole world was under water.

  • Nick Gotts

    The end of the last ice age was, at a minimum, 10,000 years ago. Even if it caused sudden flooding, it’s most implausible that oral traditions should last the 5,000+ years between that and the invention of writing. The catastrophic Black Sea flood event Mrs. Grimble refers to is not supported by recent research, as her link records.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    In that case it must be even more implausible that Indigenous Australians have myths and stories going back 10,000 years without writing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_mythology#Antiquity

    Don’t underestimate the ability of an oral tradition to hold on to relevant details. Humans did without writing for most of their history.

  • Dash1

    I was going to reply to this statement, but I see Becka Sutton has done
    it first and better, so I’ll just add my 2 cents. The one thing we know about oral tradition is that it does
    more than we expect it to, and there is nothing implausible at all about
    oral traditions lasting thousands of years. We do know that tales can
    tend to grow in the telling, so it’s actually not at all unlikely that a
    somewhat traumatic, localized but unexpected flood will grow into a massive world-ending deluge in the telling.

    The Black Sea expansion was certainly more recent than 10,000 years ago. Point well taken about whether it was a sudden catastrophic flood or a period of fluctuating water levels. Either way, there are some settlements that ended up under water.

  • Anonymous

    It’s like when I saw the remastered “Star Wars,” looking for clues that might indicate why Han Solo said he made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs. I think he meant he found a physical shortcut that would enable him to get to Kessel without having to travel the same distance as most pilots, so I really wanted some evidence to back up that theory. Because if a space pilot mistook “parsecs” for a unit of time rather than distance, that would invalidate “Star Wars” as a whole.

    Meanwhile, everyone else who saw the remastered version was all hung up on some unrelated shooting incident that had nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not “Star Wars” was plausible as science fiction or Han Solo was a competent pilot.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Oh man, you know about The Maw & how the Extended Universe really actually did that exact thing, right? If not, you’re in for a treat.

  • Anonymous

    (Putting on snippy attitude)
    Oh, if you pay attention to all the apocrypha….
    (Taking off snippy attitude)
    Thank you! I like treats. I shall look into this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericrboersma Eric Boersma

    To save you the searching: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/The_Maw

    And yes, it is just as easy to get lost in Wookiepedia as it is Wikipedia.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you kindly for the link (and the warning)! I really had no plans for the rest of the month anyway….

  • Eamon Knight

    And on the same note: I always wondered how the TOS Klingons metamorphosed into the TNG Klingons. Just proves that Star Trek is a complete fiction!

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t someone on the show (might’ve been DS9) mention that to Worf and he got all starchy and said something like “We never talk about that.”
    Which really just makes one wonder all the more….

  • ohiolibrarian

    I thought they covered that. Wasn’t there supposed to be some kind of plague or disease that resulted in Klingons (those that survived?) developing the facial ridges?

    [edit] Obviously it would have to result in a genetic change. Otherwise Lamarckism.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The cure for the plague was gene therapy derived from human DNA. That’s why the klingons were so embarrassed by it and never wanted to talk about it again.

    But since smooth-headed klingons only appear for one generation, there’s no actual requirement that it be genetic. It’s just “Anyone who got the plague vaccine loses their ridges”.

    They even had the foresight to explain why the various TOS klingons who reappeared in DS9 all had ridges: the klingon doctor who caused and cured the plague predicts the rise of a lucrative cosmetic surgery industry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.e.szekely Robert Szekely

    Actually, it was eventually addressed in an episode of Enterprise, with Scott Bakula as Captain Archer, if memory serves. It had something to do with Dr. Soong’s experiments with genetic enhancement on Klingons.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    Which strikes me as a good example of something kind of awesome being ruined by overexplaining it…

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    DS9, the Tribbles episode that Forrest Gumped them into the original episode.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “Trials and Tribble-ations”. One of my favorite episodes, actually.

    Also, for bonus fun, here’s a fanvid with original 1960s Trek credits. :P

  • Carstonio

    And the look of the Klingons was inconsistent even within the TOS – in Day of the Dove they had branched eyebrows and bronze skin, and in The Trouble With Tribbles they looked like European humans with bushy goatees.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Maybe they were from different continents on Q’on’os (or even different planets in the Empire).

  • P J Evans

    Except for the one guy who looked like a normal human.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    People got hung up on who shot first because that said something about Han’s character. He wasn’t necessarily a bad guy in that situation, but he wasn’t a good guy, either. He was a survivor who put staying alive another day over doing what was right. By the end, he put doing what was right over staying alive another day.

    As for the Kessel Run, a friend of mine came up with an explanation. That being that the Kessel Run is a maneuver through/around the gravitational force of a black hole (probably a specific one, being that they vary in size themselves). The faster the ship, the closer it can get to the singularity while still maintainting the energy to break free of the gravity. So, being able to take such a shortcut while going past a specific black hole is, in and of itself, a testament to the Millenium Falcon’s speed.

    Oh… and “What the BLEEP is an Aluminum Falcon?”

  • Chris

    At that range, only a suicidal fool would wait to shoot.

    Or, my favorite way of putting it: “Shoot first, or shoot not. There is no second.”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    More, it says something about the people who can’t accept the idea that a smuggler working for a crime lord might not be the most honorable guy in the world. Greedo had just announced his intent to kill him. What was he supposed to do?

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    I don’t know. That’s part of what annoys people about making Greedo shoot first, in some attempt to make Han more sympathetic. I think he’s plenty sympathetic with shooting first in an attempt to, you know, not die. And, impossibility of surviving otherwise, I don’t see how making him shoot second makes him any better.
    But, you know George Lucas, he spent all this time building a great world for our childhoods in the plans of eventually destroying them. All hail the Lucas… else he may subject you to a remastered Howard the Duck.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Or bring back Warwick Davis to do another Wicket adventure!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    As far as I’m concerned, the reason Han says “parsecs” is because he’s just throwing out Big Fancy Space Words to Impress the Yokels without any thought to what they actually mean.

    It’s frankly WAY less ridiculous than all those backsplanations about “No no, you measure skill at the kessel run in how much distance you can shave off” (especially since a parsec is kind of a weird unit of distance, and you probably wouldn’t use it that way anyway. It’d be like saying “I know a shortcut that will shave one one-thousandth of the earth’s diameter off the trip!”)

  • arcseconds

    At one point, expressing the distance saved in terms of metres was saying something very much like that — the metre was defined as a 10 millionth of the distance between the Equator and the North Pole through Paris.

    Just because a unit has an odd definition doesn’t mean that people won’t use it. Just look at the continued use of the Fred Flintstone Memorial System in the US of A!

    (for the veleitously curious, a parsec is the distance required to get a parallax of one arcsecond :-) )

    EDIT: oh, and it’s the same as 3.26 light years.

  • arcseconds

    OK, so, you can’t get a parallax without moving somewhere. In this case the parallax is that caused by the distance between the Earth and the Sun, or alternatively an object at 1 parsec would have a parallax of 2 seconds of arc when measured when the Earth is on opposite sides of the Sun (i.e. observations are made 6 months apart).

    As I write this, I’ve just realised that presumably this is defined at a particular point in the Earth’s orbit, as the distance to the Sun varies across the year (it being an ellipse and all). But the eccentricity is very low, so it’s almost a circle, so I guess it doesn’t matter too much.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Word of God says you’re correct. The problem is that Word of God also says you’re completely wrong. In other words, Lucas is full of crap. :D

    Quoting from TVTropes:

    Artistic License – Physics: “It’s the ship that did the Kessel run in twelve parsecs.” A parsec is a measurement of distance (3.262 light years), not time. Lucas claims that a major factor in hyperspace travel times is navigation; with a good enough navicomputer and a shrewd enough navigation sense, you can shave huge amounts of distance (and thus time) off a trip, and that’s part of the reason why the Millenium Falcon is so fast. The EU elaborates on this, as it does everything else. (This seems to be something of a Flip Flop of God, since the script indicates the line was meant to expose Han as something of a braggard and thus was supposed to be nonsense.)

  • Carstonio

    That’s the explanation that I read later. In the 1997 re-release, Luke and Ben give each other a subtle sidelong glance when they hear Han’s claim, like they saw through his bluster.

  • Yasmin

    Yes, we caught the “parsecs” comment when the movie first came out. However, speaking directly to the point of this article, it didn’t affect the story at all. It was a human mistake and noted as such, but the story remained wonderful.

  • arcseconds

    Well, they might be thinking that this is about proving Noah’s ark existed.

    Or, they might be thinking: hey, we can make some money off this!

    Given that Fred is often inclined to point out how a certain visible form of American Christianity is big business, I’m surprised there’s none of this angle here.

  • Matri

    Given that Fred is often inclined to point out how a certain visible
    form of American Christianity is big business, I’m surprised there’s
    none of this angle here.

    Well, Fred’s biggest character flaw is that he would rather believe there is still some minuscule good left in a person, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    That makes him the most true Christian I know. I know I’m too cynical to do what he does.

  • Amtep

    You know, if I were unsure before, visiting this Ark would definitely convince me that all the animals would never have fit. It looks pretty full with just some giraffes and rhinos!

  • http://twitter.com/manwithaspork Karl Abrahamson

    There are too many other flood stories that appear in other cultures to say that “No cataclysmic flood” ever happened. And a guy probably got a forewarning, and put his family and a bunch of animals in a boat. Totally plausible. What is more important to my faith, believing a worldwide flood, and a literal story, or that God warns me, looks after me, and keeps his promises. (And that I had better listen) Its hard to explain to people though, that I can get more application from this story by believing it to be myth, than a literal account.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    For a given value of “cataclysmic”, of course.

  • walter comer

    for god so loved the world that he killed almost everybody.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    It’s the “almost” part that makes it loving. Oh, and that he promised not to do that again… with rain… appearantly horsemen of the apocalypse and 7 years of tribulation are a loophole.

  • The_L1985

    And the 7 years part isn’t even in the Bible!

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I think a big part of the issue here is one of dualism, which I think is a big problem with an ideology based in “eternal reward.” Sure, they could feed a city’s worth of starving children, but if even one child is saved & comes to eternal salvation forever & ever, amen, then isn’t the better than feeding actual real starving children? Man does not live by bread alone, after all! They NEED Mickey Jesus & his 200 cubit tall Cavalry Roller Coaster!

    Also, I like the up-vote Disqus system; Slacktivist gets a lot of comments & a high percentage of them are top notch, but I can’t go through every comment on some posts. The new system seems like it will help with that.

    (& I haven’t read that manna post but I’m assuming it talks about economic justice & wealth hoarding based on your quote so I’m excited to click through.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericrboersma Eric Boersma

    it also makes it much easier to work with semi-threaded conversations. I know there was a way to quote on the old system, but I could never figure it out, and attempting to follow a conversation without quotes was kind of tough.

  • Mark Z.

    Eric Boersma: I know there was a way to quote on the old system, but I could never figure it out, and attempting to follow a conversation without quotes was kind of tough.

    Like that. Any other way of quoting or linking to the post you’re replying to is unreliable and should be avoided.

  • arcseconds

    You could sort on ‘best rating’ or ‘most popular’ now under the old system… how is the new one different from that?

  • banancat

    The new system is actually worse because replies don’t count under the “best rating” or “most popular”; only the main comments do.

    Also, best rating applies to comments that have the most up-votes without even taking into account down-votes, so a new comment with no votes at all will rank below an older troll comment that has one up-vote (from the troll up-voting their own comment). It really is quite ridiculous.

  • arcseconds

    Oh yes, I totally agree.

    What I meant was ‘you still could get the best rating – so that’s not a new feature, hence as far as I can see it’s not an improvement’.

    It seems that it’s threading that Mordicai really likes. I agree it’s nice to be able to get threading, but it should be an option!

    Practically every newsreader written in the last 20 years or more have had these capabilities. One of the things that I find incredibly irksome about IT in general and the Web in particular is that everyone seems intent on reinventing the wheel, badly.

    I mean, I don’t mind that so much if you get a better wheel out of it. Sometimes you even have to reinvent it because the original inventors didn’t do it very well. I could even see it if it was a different take on the wheel. But to just be rediscovering the same design principles through trail and error is some kind of stupid.

  • arcseconds

    Oh yes, I totally agree.

    What I meant was ‘you still could get the best rating – so that’s not a new feature, hence as far as I can see it’s not an improvement’.

    It seems that it’s threading that Mordicai really likes. I agree it’s nice to be able to get threading, but it should be an option!

    Practically every newsreader written in the last 20 years or more have had these capabilities. One of the things that I find incredibly irksome about IT in general and the Web in particular is that everyone seems intent on reinventing the wheel, badly.

    I mean, I don’t mind that so much if you get a better wheel out of it. Sometimes you even have to reinvent it because the original inventors didn’t do it very well. I could even see it if it was a different take on the wheel. But to just be rediscovering the same design principles through trail and error is some kind of stupid.

  • Lori

    You can’t actually up vote yourself. You can click the up arrow on your own comment & that will add one to the vote total, but when you refresh the screen your vote disappears & you see only the total number of up & down votes received from other users.

  • banancat

    I’m pretty sure you can vote as a guest though, which is as simple as logging out. At least that was possible for “likes” on the older version. In any case, troll comments frequently get one or a few likes for whatever reason (accident, other trolls), and even with many down-votes they’ll still rank above completely unrated comments.

    It has the effect of new, unrated comments never getting read because nobody will scroll past all the troll comments to get there, so they never get any ratings and remain at the bottom of the list. In effect, it shuts down all new conversation after a very short window.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I don’t…have to sort by anything now? & I don’t know, the threading makes intuitive sense to me.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The problem is the sheer comment volume on Slacktivist. On smaller blogs (like mine) threads don’t really mess things up too much in the way of keeping track of what’s new.

    But on this blog? Unless you are SO on top of it from the beginning, forGET it.

  • Turcano

    So, um… What the everloving fuck is “wood-plank carpeting?”

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I would expect carpeting that looks like wood. So…what’s the rest of the ark made out of? I can’t think they’d use real wood, but if they didn’t that sort of makes it useless as any kind of ‘proof’, no?

  • Lori

    I love that they note that it’s custom wood-plank carpeting. No run of the mill, off the shelf wood-plank carpeting for them. No siree, Bob. They got their wood-plank carpeting made just for them.

    I guess “custom” sounds better than “We couldn’t just get Pergo like normal people, and since we’re the only idiots who want carpet that looks like wood planks we had to have someone make it for us. You can get anything if you’re willing to throw enough money at the problem.”

    In a weird way wood-plank carpeting makes sense for a “Noah’s Ark-inspired building.” Not a replica of Noah’s Ark. A Noah’s Ark-inspired building. It’s like the world’s most OTT baby nursery. I have no idea how that’s supposed to prove anything about the “real” Noah’s ark, even supposing that a replica would prove what they want to prove (which obviously it wouldn’t).

  • Matri

    I have no idea how that’s supposed to prove anything about the “real”
    Noah’s ark, even supposing that a replica would prove what they want to
    prove (which obviously it wouldn’t).

    Well this way they can claim that they “proved the Bible is 100% true by building Noah’s Ark according to their exact specifications”.

    Oh, and then they had to make some “adjustments to the measurements to bring it in line with modern measurements and standards”.

    And also “added more rooms to accommodate the bigger animals so that they will actually fit in there.”

    Just like con artists, they will say literally anything to get gullible people to part with their money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    It doesn’t even have the decency to feature living animals, just fancy-schmancy animatronic imitations! As the article mentioned, the money spent on this enormous clubhouse could have just as easily fed San Antonio’s children, or at least go to protect endangered animals, living, breathing things. Why spend it on toys no else can play with? “And you can’t even touch them because God loves ME best, nyah!”
    I will confess right here that the idea of a real zoo, with a Noah’s Ark theme, would be fun. Moreso, the Biblical story of the Ark mentioned saving two of EVERY species, not just the useful ones, not just the pretty ones, but two of every creature on earth, even things like carrion flies, horseflies, killer bees, wombats, vampire bats, starlings, black rats, etc.
    How literal the Flood was is always going to up for conjecture, but the point was that, when the chips were down, God was looking out for everything, not just humanity.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    There was a throwaway bit in a book I read once about circus sideshow-type displays of a live lion lying down with a lamb. Very impressive to the marks, but they did go through a lot of lambs.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    …and large animal sedatives?

  • Alexander von Humbug

    This reminds me of a great lyric by the band The Mae Shi, from an album that should be Slacktivist-essential: “I predict a decline/In the price of Lamb and Lion International/The lamb’s gone missing and the lion’s sleeping peacefully/We’ve lost our quorum”

  • Eamon Knight

    But, but….it has *LED shooting stars*!!!1111!!!eleventy!!!
    What’s not to like?

  • zoie

    They will know you by your ark…

  • Alanlionheart

    I am tempted to ask …………………. and the point of this article is exactly what???????

    All you seem to be doing is taking a swipe at those that have a different view. Is your view the correct one or is anyone allowed to disagree?

    It’s like the old issue of freedom of speech, we are allowed free speech only if it agrees with the establishment’s view

    Taking swipes at brothers and sisters in Christ who hold a different view is NOT showing any love towards them. Quite the opposite in fact and is more akin to the
    Pharisees who were so caught up in “religion” that they missed the truth and ended up rejecting the Messiah.
    If you are going to criticise a brother in Christ, do so Biblically and to their face.
    No one has all knowledge and truth, not even you or I.

  • Asha

    You’re new here, aren’t you?

  • Alanlionheart

    Hi Asha
    Yes I am, is it that obvious? :)

  • flat

    absolutely.
    For the record there are often moments I do not fully agree with Fred Clark and I am worried that sometimes I am rather sitting in my comfort zone than too change something I don’t like.
    But anyway welcome at slacktivist.

  • Alanlionheart

    Hi Flat

    I’ve not browsed the site yet. Whether I’ll have the time is another matter but I agree with you. I’ve got the T shirt on judgementalism and by God’s grace was delivered from it some years ago. I still have to watch not only what I say but how I say it, and I do get it wrong at times.
    But I can tell you one thing that I hope will encourage you, get out of your comfort zone and smell the coffee.
    As the Bible says, we are to be ready to give to everyone a reason for the hope that is in us. So what if they disagree? That’s their prerogative and God will show them HIS truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Welcome, please do not kill us with sheep.

  • Beroli

    That is a fascinating argument, considering your first post here was criticizing an article…

    …which was criticizing someone who…

    ..spent five million dollars–as Fred noted, not feeding the poor–but in a bid to convince people that Noah’s Ark had a literal, physical existence.

    So, criticizing how “brothers and sisters in Christ” exercise their freedom of speech is an exclusive privilege of yours, or what?

  • Alanlionheart

    There seems to me to be a subtle distinction here that is being missed. Criticising and article and not the person.
    So far I didn’t think I had criticised the person. You and others seem to disagree and that is OK.
    The author of the article was getting quite personal (it seemed to me).
    And I don’t think I opposed Fred’s right and privilege to speak his mind, just the terminology he used.
    Surely one can disagree in a public debate without getting offensively personal.

  • Beroli

    Surely one can disagree in a public debate without getting offensively personal.

    …I’d have a hard time proving it by you.

    Let me get this straight. Your claim, now, is that:

    Hagee’s son, Matthew (whose singing is much better than his theology), says the purpose of the $5 million project is to convince people “to say it happened,” because clearly the question of historicity is the only thing that matters in the story of Noah. And because building a replica proves something happened, just like the way Peter Jackson proved the existence of Rivendell.

    And what else should Hagee’s Cornerstone Church spend $5 million
    on? I mean, it was either this or else waste all that money on something like feeding all the poor children in San Antonio for a year.

    […]

    You’ll recall that the Apostle Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for
    not having animatronics. That communicated such contempt for the
    family, and it denied children the chance to experience God the way one only can in a sacred space like the Hall of Presidents.

    I’m not sure that moon bounces, kettle corn, or a talking macaw named Hudson Taylor will really help to achieve Matt Hagee’s goal of convincing visitors of the historicity of Noah’s ark. But those carnival touches — Chaplain Mike calls it the “Disney-ization of Christianity” — serve the same purpose as that preoccupation with proving the historicity of a story that never itself demands such an interpretation. The whole point of both of those is to distract from the whole point.

    Fundies and inerrantist evangelicals like to pretend that they take the Bible more seriously — and more “conservatively” — than other Christians, and yet they’re always willing to go to outlandish lengths just to avoid engaging the meaning of the text. Read them the story of Noah and they’ll start talking about the carrying capacity of all those cubits, reciting arcane non-facts suggesting that the hydrological history of the Grand Canyon “proves” there was a global flood in antiquity, or whatever else they can come up with to change the subject and avoid dealing with the actual story the text actually gives us.

    The story of Noah is one of many in Genesis where, as Tim O’Brien wrote, “absolute occurrence is irrelevant.”

    “Did exactly this actually occur precisely in this way?” is probably the least interesting, least insightful, least helpful, least edifying,
    least inspirational questions one could ask about this story. Those who make it their first question, and their most important question, seem to be trying to hide, to evade, to distract themselves from actually engaging the actual story on its own terms.

    …is a morally invalid, offensively personal criticism of a person…

    but,

    I am tempted to ask …………………. and the point of this article is exactly what???????

    All you seem to be doing is taking a swipe at those that have a
    different view. Is your view the correct one or is anyone allowed to
    disagree?

    It’s like the old issue of freedom of speech, we are allowed free speech only if it agrees with the establishment’s view

    Taking swipes at brothers and sisters in Christ who hold a different
    view is NOT showing any love towards them. Quite the opposite in fact and is more akin to the Pharisees who were so caught up in “religion” that they missed the truth and ended up rejecting the Messiah.

    …is a morally legitimate criticism of an article, not a person?

    What you posted was nothing but personal. You don’t like Fred’s tone, so he’s taking a swipe at “those who disagree,” and that’s all he’s doing; he’s restricting other peoples’ freedom of speech in some way; he’s taking swipes at brothers and sisters in Christ who “hold a different view” (again), and he’s “more akin to the Pharisees.”

    I’m not a Christian. But I don’t need to be one to observe a massive beam lodged solidly in your eye, Mr. Tone Argument.

  • SisterCoyote

    Welcome, don’t kill us with sheep, etc. I feel I should point out that, unless there has been a massive misunderstanding, this church may not be what you are thinking of. You speak of it, Alan, as though it was a one-building little congregation led by a handful of struggling pastors, who Fred has ungraciously attacked – this is not the case. For pity’s sake, they don’t have a pastor, they have Executive Pastors. This is a corporation type of thing, wherein they try to recruit families to the team/tribe.

  • Alanlionheart

    What is the meaning of this saying about killing you with sheep?

    As a Brit I’m just not familiar with it apart from one of our MPs some years ago talking after being verbally attacked by another politician said it felt like he was being ravaged by a dead sheep.

    I’ve just looked them up on the internet. 19,000 members is good, I see that John Hagee ministries has donated $69million over the years primarily to support Israel outreach.
    Having fancy sounding job titles is nothing. It’s what they stand for and what they do that counts and they state that reaching people with the gospel is their primary aim throughout the world. If that is what they are doing then there is nothing wrong with that either because they also back up their outreach with other kinds of support in terms of aid etc.
    But this brings me back to why I joined this thread. People are so quick to make assumptions about so much and those assumptions can lead to wrong conclusions.
    So what if they have fancy sounding job titles; so what if they spend millions on a project; so what if they do this and that?
    So far I have seen nothing wrong with any of it

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    “Please don’t kill us with sheep” is a very old Slacktivist in-joke resulting from someone misreading the phrase “killed in my sleep” as “killed with sheep.” A list of this and various other terms can be found here: http://slacktiverse.wordpress.com/fnes/

  • Alanlionheart

    Thank you Sam

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I don’t know about you, but spending millions of dollars on a theme park to bring in millions more is not what brings me hope. Altruism, generosity, making someone you’ve never met your neighbor with mercy and compassion? Those bring me hope.

  • Alanlionheart

    I understand. But the bringing of hope comes from what Jesus proclaimed and who He is. He set the example and was a probably the biggest giver of all time.
    Personally I think that if we concentrate too much on what Hagee’s church is doing with this investment we will be in danger of missing the point.
    Frankly, I know nothing of him or his church, but I know just a little of what example his father set and which has been emulated by many others. And that is they are givers.
    So if this investment is to raise money for increased giving then I don’t have a problem with it, plus it makes a very bold statement that the Ark in Genesis was not a figment of someone’s imagination but a historical reality.
    So far as I am aware there are at least two other Arks either being built or in existence so this is nothing new.
    That will not diminish in any way the other issues you raise but will enhance them I think

  • P J Evans

    When you’re building fake Noah’s Arks to get people to come and visit, you’re doing something wrong as a church.

    Also, if you read previous posts, Fred has shredded Biblical literalism, which is a mainstay of most megachurches.

  • Alanlionheart

    “Doing something wrong”
    On what basis?
    I don’t have the time to trawl through to read Fred’s posts but I doubt he’s shredded anything, just given his opinions

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    What is the point, precisely? To me, it looks very much like he’s a Bible literalist and wants to prove the Bible is literally true by creating a quasi-standard replica of the Ark (which, as Fred points out, proves that the Ark was real just like Peter Jackson creating a replica of Rivendale proved that the Lord of the Rings was literally true). Literalists tend to focus on the Flood as a wink-and-nudge to premillennial dispensationalists that if God can destroy the world once, he can damn sure do it again.

    Such twisting of scripture almost inevitably leads into rich men making bargains to get richer. What is John Hagee’s income? Oh, at least $125,000,000 for running a non-profit organization (which drew $18,300,000 that same year). That’s $842,005 in cash and $414,485 in benefits, which include a $2.1M ranch with five lodges and a sizeable gun locker. Yes, Hagee is suffering for his craft. :P

    The fact is, such a building (not even a proper ship — I kind of want to call it a themep-Ark) doesn’t prove the Bible is true. Aside from making their owners rich, the point of these places is to awe impressionable minds into accepting the argument through the grandeur of the production (also called the Noble Effort fallacy). Such productions almost inevitably like to take swipes at science and scientists, such as in Ken Ham’s Creation Museum, which repeatedly asserts that scientists are not only wrong about the Flood, they are also lying in order to sway people away from God.

    If someone thinks a multi-million dollar building is a better argument for Christ than behaving like Christ and teaching his word, I think they’ve forgotten to read about a man named Jesus.

  • Alanlionheart

    I agree that building a replica ark does not of itself prove the ark existed. But most people, including you in this reply, have a problem with the ark being a “real ship” or that it was not possible to build because it was made of wood, or it couldn’t have held all the animals etc etc.
    This of itself throws doubt on God’s word. If God got it wrong here then where else did He get it wrong? Therefore God cannot be trusted.
    The simple fact is that either God’s word is true or it isn’t. If it isn’t then why are we all wasting our time even discussing it? Surely we have better things to do. I know I have.
    The truth is that the ark was never meant to be a “true ship”, whatever that means, but a stable floater. The fact that it was capable of doing what it was designed to do is self evident from the full size replicas that have been built like the one in Europe that is floating although not loaded up.
    It all comes down to a plain reading of the text in context and why people read into the account what they want to believe rather than what is there.
    It doesn’t matter in one sense whether you believe it or not. It is either true or it isn’t. If you don’t believe it then get on with your life and don’t waste your time trying to justify something you don’t believe in. If it is true then perhaps the rest of the Bible is true, in which case, perhaps we should start to pay attention and get to grips with it.
    None of this is rocket science but simple logic.
    God never made us as automatons but as reasoning human beings, so you decide, deal with it and move on.
    As for taking swipes at science and scientists, that’s just plain silly.
    Science doesn’t get it right all the time and we have evidence of that all around us. On the other hand, when they do get it right we progress.
    The Bible is not anti science but science can often be anti Bible. If you don’t believe me then look at the history of medical science and washing hands to stop the spread if disease as just one example of many.
    I have looked at Ken Ham’s site and whilst they say that the geology is wrong they don’t make the other comments – at least I have not found them.
    Perhaps you can point it out to me

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There’s a lot to parse here. Pardon me if I pull it apart a little.

    This of itself throws doubt on God’s word. If God got it wrong here then where else did He get it wrong? Therefore God cannot be trusted. The simple fact is that either God’s word is true or it isn’t.

    I don’t subscribe to an all-or-nothing view of scripture. If the bar is as low as “if God got something wrong, then he may be wrong about everything”… then that ship has sailed (pun not intended). There are many parts of the Bible which establish concepts which are simply not true, but which people like to try and twist into references to germ theory, astrophysics, etc. This doesn’t invalidate the importance of Luke 10:25-37, or 1 John 4:7-21, or lessen the rebuke of Matthew 19:21-24.

    There’s also the simple fact that the writers of the Bible were humans, and humans are fallible no matter what their inspiration.

    If it isn’t then why are we all wasting our time even discussing it? Surely we have better things to do. I know I have.

    I consider whether Jesus was a real person or not to be completely and utterly irrelevant, and yet I think discussing his words is quite important.

    The truth is that the ark was never meant to be a “true ship”, whatever that means, but a stable floater. The fact that it was capable of doing what it was designed to do is self evident from the full size replicas that have been built like the one in Europe that is floating although not loaded up.

    I don’t agree that the ark was never meant to be a sailing vessel. Scripture doesn’t really specify, but people have already posted links about how the ark couldn’t have actually functioned as described. Also, moving the goalposts — “it floats, even though we’re not using it as an ark” isn’t proof that it works exactly as the ark would have had to. Until you can load two of every animal on the planet into it and get on just fine, well…

    It all comes down to a plain reading of the text in context and why people read into the account what they want to believe rather than what is there.

    I take it you believe in Biblical inerrancy and literalism then?

    It doesn’t matter in one sense whether you believe it or not. It is either true or it isn’t. If you don’t believe it then get on with your life and don’t waste your time trying to justify something you don’t believe in.

    In other words, “You have a choice. You can believe exactly what I do, or you can be wrong.” Life isn’t binary, you know.

    If it is true then perhaps the rest of the Bible is true, in which case, perhaps we should start to pay attention and get to grips with it.

    And what if it were true? You seem to want to build a house of cards out of this by emphasizing that any proven detail renders the entire Bible (which one?) potentially true as described, but it’s neither necessary nor particularly wise (hasty generalization fallacy). If we accept the premise “if any part of this is true, then it all may be true and we should act accordingly”… then okay, let’s illustrate why that’s a bad idea. 2 Nephi 5:21-23 describes God cursing the Lamanite race with dark skin and describes white skin as being “exceedingly fair and delightsome,” so from this, we know that whites are superior to blacks and should act accordingly. No? I suppose none of us are particularly keen to embrace racism and slavery, but they can be found throughout scripture.

    The Bible is not anti science but science can often be anti Bible. If you don’t believe me then look at the history of medical science and washing hands to stop the spread if disease as just one example of many.

    The Bible does say that washing things with water will make them clean. It has a tendency to recommend washing in water after diseases are cured by killing animals (Leviticus 14:5-9). It also says that allowing leprosy to spread until it covers the entire body renders the person cured of leprosy (Leviticus 13:12-17). If you don’t see an issue here, then I’m not sure what to say.

    I have looked at Ken Ham’s site and whilst they say that the geology is wrong they don’t make the other comments – at least I have not found them. Perhaps you can point it out to me.

    Ken Ham explicitly argues that the Earth was created about 4000 years ago, that natural selection and evolution are lies, and that “human reason” is what led to the fall of mankind. That’s printed all over the Creation Museum as admonitions that the Bible is to be trusted first and foremost over any other authority. Does he actually say that scientists are lying? Yes. And he’s making money off it too.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Anonymous Sam – I agree with a lot of the points you’re making here, though not all – but quoting 2 Nephi? Isn’t that part of the Book of Mormon, not of the Bible? Non-Mormon Christians consider the Book of Mormon irrelevant to our faith.

    On the other hand, Alanlionheart, I can assure you that there are many, many Christians who maintain our faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit without needing to insist that everything was created in six twenty-four hour days or that a talking snake persuaded Eve and then Adam to eat an unidentified fruit or that God drowned everybody except the passengers in an improbable boat.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That’s exactly my point. If we establish “if any part of this is true, then it all must be true” as acceptable logic, then where do we draw the line? Which parts of the Bible should we follow, and which Bible? For that matter, which scripture? If we prove the Flood story is true, does that just mean the Torah is true and we have to separately prove that the New Testament is true? If not, then what about the Book of Mormon, or the Qur’an?

    To me, a single story can be irrelevant without knocking down the whole foundation of someone’s beliefs. It’s only this “all or nothing” belief that leads us to these issues. In fact, Fred has spoken on it before…

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/12/03/the-all-or-nothing-lie-of-fundamentalist-christianity-part-1/

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Ah, now I understand your point. I assumed you were trying to convince Alanlionheart that his argument was flawed, and felt that introducing material that isn’t part of the standard Christian canon(s)* was likely to reduce your chance of persuading him. As for the “all or nothing” problem, I’m totally with you on that point – fundamentalists are very fond of that argument, and somehow fail to see how much it weakens their position.

    * As I understand it, there are some books which appear in the Septuagint but not the modern(ish) Tanakh and are considered canonical by Roman Catholics, but not by most Protestants – 1 through 4 Maccabees, for instance.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Nods* Even if we agreed that the entire Bible is based on truth and should be followed (which is a huge stretch), then we’d have to agree on which Bible, which translation and even which specific interpretation — because just saying “a plain reading in context” does nothing for the many parts of scripture which make no sense in context, due to dropped story threads, nonsensical interjections (suddenly God appeared and tried to kill Moses!) , hepaxs, contradictions…

    Worse than being a house of cards, then we get to debate whether to use Aviator playing cards, Uno cards, the paper cards from Monopoly…

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Of course, “how do I determine what texts to take seriously and how to interpret them?” is a somewhat moot question for certain types of Bible-interpreters. There’s a big difference between analyzing a text with the intention of extracting information from it I didn’t have before, after all, and with the intention of justifying a belief I started out with.

  • Alanlionheart

    Pull away Sam :)

    I beg to disagree. God says that He is The Way, The Truth and The Life. If one of these is wrong, then God is a liar.

    God is absolute so cannot & does not entertain shades of grey

    So when you look at particular verses of Scripture it is a bit daft (if you don’t mind me saying so) to pick and choose which ones you will adhere to or not. If one sets themselves up to be The Truth, one cannot then expect to get away with little white lies and still hope that a person trusts in them. In short it’s an oxymoron.

    This is not me setting the standard. God has done that. He sets the rules. If we choose alternative ways to follow Him then they are rejected by Him. One comes to God on His terms not ours. If that were not so then where is one’s hope? In our efforts or God’s?

    Similarly, just because Cinderella wore glass shoes, does that mean we should follow her example just because she was a good woman and found her prince? Of course not.

    So it is with Jesus, just because He (allegedly) said some nice things, should we adopt them into our lifestyle? I suggest not because they would be meaningless without the person.

    BTW a simple look at white leprosy will answer your point on Leviticus. The issue here is whether the disease was contagious or not and white leprosy isn’t

    On Ken Ham, I think you are wrong

    1. He doesn’t argue that the earth is 4,000 years old but around 6,000

    2. He doesn’t deny that natural selection and evolution are lies. In fact he says they are true. What he does say is that molecules to man evolution is a lie. We have to be very clear about our terminology otherwise we misunderstand the points.

    3. Yes he does say some are wrong, especially when they get their facts wrong but your link is to the book review rather than his site

  • AnonaMiss

    God is absolute so cannot & does not entertain shades of grey

    non sequitur

  • Alanlionheart

    My grammar must be a bit suspect AnonaMiss so perhaps you could enlighten me how an absolute God can entertain shades of grey

  • AnonaMiss

    If God could not entertain shades of grey that would mean God was not all-powerful. An God can entertain whatever colors He likes.

    As for whether or not he does entertain shades of grey, the fact that humans can comprehend and produce shades of grey, double meanings, works with layers upon layers of meaning, fiction which is truer than life and life which is stranger than fiction – well, it’s pretty awesome. A more perfect Being, the creator upon whom humanity is modeled, would be both absolute and subtle, all colors, hypercolors, each individually and also blended.

    Consider the Trinity. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always all of them, separate and yet one. While an argument could be made that “black and white at the same time” isn’t the same as “grey”, “grey” is about as close as human understanding can get to it.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > God says that He is The Way, The Truth and The Life. If one of these is wrong, then God is a liar.

    If an infallible God has spoken to you and said these things, and one of these things is wrong, then yes, it follows that God is a liar.

    If, instead, books you have read and humans you have listened to have said these things, and you’ve somehow convinced yourself that these books and humans speak for God, and one of these things is wrong, then no, it does not follow that God is a liar. It may be that the people you listen to, and the people who wrote the books you read, are lying. Or that they’re mistaken. Or that you misunderstood them.

    Blaming God for human errors, especially our own, is at best impolite.

  • The_L1985

    No. John the apostle said that Jesus called himself the Way, Truth and Life. It’s equally possible that John was a liar.

    Also, I have yet to hear any scientist describe anything as “molecules to man evolution.” There is exactly ONE Theory of Evolution that is currently believed, and that is Darwin’s. http://www.livescience.com/474-controversy-evolution-works.html

  • EllieMurasaki

    Or mistaken.

  • Dash1

    This isn’t a private disagreement of the sort that is meant to be handled face-to-face. What Fred is doing here is providing good teaching to counterbalance bad teaching. It’s not really very different different from what Paul does in some of his letters when he criticizes bad teachers.

  • Alanlionheart

    Hi Dash1

    Mmmmm

    Not sure I totally agree. It’s the use of the language that does it for me and the way it has been done. Don’t forget that Paul wrote to the church first. After that his letters went “viral”. What we are not always told is how he dealt with people, but I doubt that he would not have spoken to them face to face because that is how he teaches we should act. First face to face, then with witnesses, then to the church.

    With this site – and indeed, sadly with many others under the guise of being “Christian” – the exact opposite is true. They go “viral” first.

    This is how the enemy causes dissent and division.

    Whether Fred is providing “good teaching” or not is a matter of opinion.

  • Dash1

    That being the case, aren’t you departing from your own requirement of private face-to-face criticism by publicly accusing Fred of helping Satan?

    (There’s more to be said on the subject of “dissent and division,” but I’ll hold off on it for now.)

  • Alanlionheart

    As I mentioned to Dave (above) it was the article in the public domain I was responding to not Fred. And I certainly have not accused him of helping Satan.
    Why would I do that?
    I don’t even know him or what he stands for.

  • Dash1

    With this site – and indeed, sadly with many others under the guise of being “Christian” – the exact opposite is true. They go “viral” first.
    This is how the enemy causes dissent and division.

    “The enemy” is who, if not Satan?

  • Madhabmatics

    Man don’t correct him, as long as “Acting like Christians aren’t 100% unified is satanism” is a thing, that means more converts for the rest of us!!!!

  • Madhabmatics

    “Everyone can only disagree privately, otherwise you have to accept John Hagee as the authority” is like the greatest advertisement for other religions ever

  • The_L1985

    He is saying that if the ONLY questions you have about the flood story are along the lines of “Did this really, historically happen?” then you’re asking the wrong questions.

  • Alanlionheart

    Well I agree with your additional questions but if the passage is historical then it tells us exactly about the nature of God and His attitude to wrongdoing as well as His patience, His tolerance, His wanting to have a relationship with people and His willingness to forgive.
    So most of your questions are addressed

  • The_L1985

    And how are these questions NOT addressed if the passage is myth, but only if the passage is history? I fail to see how a symbolic story could be any less revealing about such things than a factual account.

    Also, this is what I get about all of those things, based solely on the story of Noah’s Ark:

    1. God is completely intolerant of any wrongdoing. Any misstep, no matter how minor, is punishable by death. Infants and nonhuman life are also destroyed for the sins of adult humans.

    2. God has no patience with people. Mess up and you DIE.

    3. God has no tolerance. Mess up and you DIE.

    4. God only wants to have a relationship with people who are lockstep with a very rigid set of commands. He cares nothing about anyone else, instead wanting them to DIE.

    5. God has no willingness to forgive. If you aren’t one of his special chosen, then you DIE, with no chance to repent.

    Think about it. We are never told once what any of the people who died ever did wrong. And all of the plants, animals, and infants never exactly had a chance to make the conscious choice to do wrong. Also, it clearly says that Noah was “perfect,” both in the original Hebrew and in a large number of Jewish and Christian translations of Genesis. So…the sins of the people who died were basically either being born Nephilim (angel-human hybrids, as mentioned earlier in Genesis 6), which was hardly their fault; or being imperfect, which is pretty much a universal condition. Notice it doesn’t say that any of Noah’s family was “perfect,” only that they were just sort of chosen to go along, possibly arbitrarily. Also note that if the Deluge is real, then millions of plants, animals, and fungi perished for nothing more than existing at the wrong time. That is unspeakably cruel.

    So if you really want to argue that the Deluge is a good passage to tell us exactly about the nature of God…well, it doesn’t really make your god seem worth worshiping.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    If you are going to criticise a brother in Christ, do so Biblically and to their face.

    Sometimes that’s the right thing to do.
    And sometimes the right thing to do is speak to a broader audience (as you chose to, when you commented publicly rather than email Fred privately).

  • Alanlionheart

    Hi Dave
    You have a very good point and if I am wrong then I will of course apologise to Fred. Presumably I can contact him through this site, I haven’t checked yet to find out.
    But, if you read my post I didn’t think I was actually criticising him but the way in which these sites tend to be used to slag off other brothers in Christ that don’t tow the “party line”. So, I’m not trying to wriggle out of responsibility here and I will try to contact him direct if I can find his details

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I did read your post.

    All you seem to be doing is taking a swipe at those that have a different view. [..] Taking swipes at brothers and sisters in Christ who hold a different view is NOT showing any love towards them. Quite the opposite in fact and is more akin to the Pharisees who were so caught up in “religion” that they missed thetruth and ended up rejecting the Messiah.

    I hope you can understand how describing the behavior of one of your brothers in Christ as the opposite of showing love, and equating it with the behavior of the Pharisees who rejected Christ, could be seen as criticism.

    And the fact that you felt it appropriate to respond here before checking to find out if you could respond privately is precisely my point. Rather than even attempt to respond privately, your instinct was to respond publicly, just as I’m doing now, just as Fred did.

    I endorse that instinct. Sometimes a public response to public behavior is appropriate.

  • Alanlionheart

    Thank you Dave.
    I have written a pm to Fred just a few moments ago and apologised for the error of my ways.
    I’m not against what Fred wrote, whether I agree with him or not is irrelevant. It was the tone of it I was objecting to and that is and has been from the start the point I was trying to make.
    Note to self ……………………….. must try harder :)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (nods) I understand that your objection is to Fred’s tone, and that you’re not responding to the content of what he wrote.

  • P J Evans

    At least try reading the comments before you start throwing out complaints. You might learn more that way. It also makes you look better to others.

  • Hth

    I am going to believe that the rhino is named after Dietrich Bonhoeffer and nobody can stop me. Because there *should* be a Dietrich Bonhoeffer the Rhino somewhere in the world.

  • flat

    You know that sounds awesome.

  • Dash1

    One of the curious things about these various arks is that what they’re building isn’t really an ark. It’s a big building, sometimes sitting on the water or on some water. But it’s not a ship. I am not a naval engineer, but my understanding is that, as described, Noah’s ark would not be seaworthy. Ships couldn’t be made that long until they developed steel to reinforce the structure, and even then, you don’t want wood (which is flexible and hence likely to leak) for your hull.

    There was a journal called Creation/Evolution, which did a superb special issue looking carefully and in detail at the claims of “literalists,” including one co-authored by a guy named, um, it says here, Tim LaHaye–anybody heard of him? I was delighted to see that the journal has been incorporated into the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and I think it’s searchable online. The issue is well worth reading. It’s Winter 1983, Issue XI, special issue by Robert A. Moore, “The Impossible Voyage of Noah’s Ark.”

    Moore analyzes the claims about the vessel and it’s structure (completely unseaworthy), the number of species and how they fit, the management of parasites which require a host, species that require more than two for procreation, those that will only eat live and active prey (which is a problem if you’re taking only two of every kind of unclean animal, ’cause the wolf spiders are going to eat all the insects the first week), the management of that amount of livestock, and whether the 8 people on the ark (sick as dogs from all those parasites) could in fact do care and feeding of the number of animals that would have to be there. It’s a fun read and well supported.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Reading your description of Moore’s analysis, it just suddenly flashed across my mind that Noah’s Ark was an example of the science fiction of its day.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    I have found the article: http://ncse.com/cej/4/1/impossible-voyage-noahs-ark

    It’s a fascinating read, showing just how impossible the Ark is from just about every possible angle. However, if one subscribes to a sci-fi vision of the Bible with angels as aliens and so on, it indirectly answers the question of what God would want with a starship, bearing in mind that the Enterprise is capable of time travel.

    It also shows that it’s a good thing the whales were only aboard the Bird of Prey in Voyage Home for something like an hour.

  • Albanaeon

    I’ve been thinking of trying to insert “Noah built a spaceship” into funditology for a while now. Particularly with a few trying to insert a couple billion years of plate tectonics and radiometric decay into the flood, which would have made a whole bunch of water the LEAST of Noah’s problems.

    I haven’t yet because of a fear that it would actually catch on and I’d have to argue against my own creation one day.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The ship has already sailed on that one. The Science, Sy-Fy and History channels run stories like that all the time.

  • RJ (TO)

    I have a christian mother who, when the scientific impossibilities/improbabilities in these bible stories are pointed out to her will quite confidently reply that “with god, all things are possible.”

    In other words, don’t go talking about how certain species of animals wouldn’t get along on the ark or how they wouldn’t all fit or how did Noah get across the oceans to gather animals indigenous to certain geographic areas inaccessible (and unknown!) to him at the time, or a wooden ship that size would leak etc…

    God controlled all the scientific hurdles in order to make these things possible, you see. After all, if god is god and the author of all science, than of course he could alter “the rules” when he needed to. How can you argue with that??

  • Dash1

    Your mother would probably get along just fine with mine. One of Moore’s points is that the fundamentalists who insist on a “literal” reading have to constantly invoke special miracles: God somehow gets all the animals into the Ark in the 24 hours specified (without anybody getting trampled or eaten); God miraculously inhibits the nature of the carnivores so they don’t eat the others; God miraculously puts all the animals into hibernation so they don’t require exercise or food while on the Ark. These are all apparently claims made by actual “literalists” about how the Ark might have worked. And Moore’s point is that God could have handled the whole thing with just the one miracle. Or, y’know, not have destroyed the earth at all.

  • Lori

    All that is actually a step up from my family. Their approach is more or less to say that it’s in the Bible therefore it obviously literally happened and asking any questions about it that make them uncomfortable is in and of itself either a horrible thing to do or irrelevant and purely a symptom of lack of faith. At least your mom is putting in the effort to make up a bunch of crap. Mine just says, “Shut up, that’s why.”

  • RJ (TO)

    I remember saying to my mom one time when discussing the ark story, “Ma, if god was going to do all these miracles to help Noah out why not just give him an ark? Couldn’t god just sneeze it into existence and save poor 600 year old Noah the trouble? Or better yet, since god obviously didn’t give a crap about the animals anyway since all but 2 of each were to perish in the flood, why not just kill ALL the animals and make all fresh ones afterward? Then Noah would only have needed a little boat. Seriously, god is trying to save himself the trouble of remaking each animal by having 2 of each saved? He just spoke them into existence the first time.”

    “Who knows the mind of the lord? His ways are not our ways!”

    I don’t argue with her anymore. Just nod and go “Mm-Hm” a lot.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I hate that phrase so much. When I’m especially annoyed, I fight it with more Bible.

    It defies logistics and physics. Since I don’t comprehend this, I asked God, but he didn’t give me understanding (James 1:5). Not knowing made me anxious, but no matter what I prayed, he didn’t give me peace for my incomprehension (Philippians 4:6-7). I know it’s not a matter of faith because Jesus said even those with insignificant faith can call upon God to work miracles (Matthew 17:20). Since God cursed or blessed me with this inquiring mind and the need to speak it (Exodus 4:11), surely there is a great purpose for my need to have this ignorance fulfilled. And lo, science gives me answers…

  • arcseconds

    that’s pretty good… I’m stealing it :]

  • RJ (TO)

    So, the logic is: If they can build it with a large crew, modern equipment, materials and technology that proves they could’ve done it thousands of years ago without all that stuff??? How do these people get through a day with such appalling lack of logic?

    If they want to be truly authentic, they should build that thing with only a crew of 4 (like Noah did), no modern equipment/technology (cranes, buzz saws, etc.) and no metal (nails, bolts, reinforcements). How can they prove Noah did it back then if they don’t build it with only what he had to work with back them?

    P.S. To Mr. Clark: I know authenticity was not the point you were making. I’m just venting—and appreciate you providing a forum for which I can do so.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’s bad theology. It’s not even a particularly good History Channel show.

  • Matri

    I know authenticity was not the point you were making.

    Authenticity IS the point here. These conmen want to prove that this is authentic and possible.

    While doing everything they can to avoid being actually authentic.

  • RJ (TO)

    Well…I felt the essence of Mr. Clark’s original post was that the scientific logistics aren’t the point. It’s what the story is meant to tell us spiritually that gets lost in the focus on the physical practicalities…no?

  • misanthropy_jones

    hagee and his ilk seem unable to accept any truth that cannot be shown to literally exist. sorta like doubting thomases, they only have faith in what is seen and proven.
    as to the piece by cara sexton, i know just how she feels…

  • Dash1

    I would just like to add that one thing we DO know is that, with the technology of 1200 B.C.E., it would have been possible to construct a large wooden horse inside of which, say, a bunch of men could sit for 18 hours or so. This proves that the Trojan Horse was real.

    This is fortunate, because without being sure that it was connected with a real event that happened exactly as described, the story of the Trojan Horse would carry no lessons and contain no useful concepts that we could use today.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It must have gotten unpleasantly hot in there. Were there any venting holes? O_O

  • Isabel C.

    18 hours with a bunch of 1200-era warrior guys, with 1200-era warrior food and access to baths and deodorant? I’m thinking the heat is the *least* unpleasant environmental factor there. Ooooof.

  • Dash1

    OK, that does it! I’m going to prove it. (Thank you, Matthew Hagee!) I’m gonna get me some animatronic Greek warriors, and, once you see them all sitting there in their animatronic Greek armor, you’ll have to admit it really happened! Because animatronics are special that way.

    Also, this.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, all the more reason to have ventilation! :O

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Yes, and since it was horse-shaped, the exhaust vent was in the obvious location.

  • P J Evans

    And the intake was in the other obvious place?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Aside: The fact that the “flat” format persists when you disable Javascript sounds like someone could write a surrogate script that a JS blocker runs in place of the actual JS, that renders the Disqus posts in a flat format.

  • banancat

    Oh, please please, somebody do that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericrboersma Eric Boersma

    Are you looking for something that keeps the current reply structure in place but doesn’t indent replies, or something that reorganizes the replies in a time-based format like the old system used to?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Chronological.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericrboersma Eric Boersma

    That would be possible, but it might not work well without being able to access Disqus’s API directly. The doing probably wouldn’t be terribly difficult (Disqus helpfully earmarks all posts with what looks to be some sort of chronological identifier), but considering the shape of Disqus’s Javascript on this page (14 errors), I’m not sure what else you’d break, nor what it might look like as you tried to fix it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    No idea, but here’s a fairly accessible description, in generalities, of how NoScript uses surrogates.

    http://jake.kasprzak.ca/2009/03/23/the-importance-of-noscripts-surrogate-scripts/

  • banancat

    There are many, many problems with the new format, but all I really want is to see new replies easily, after coming back to the page. Un-nested comments with the most recent all at the end or all at the beginning are the best way, but I could tolerate some other system that just highlighted them a different color or something.

  • Narcissus

    I enjoy Fred’s reminder that this entire discussion is a distraction. A purposeful avoidance of deeper questions. Questions to me. Kierkegaard might also chime in and say that very much like Abraham, the ethical is suspended. What ever duties Noah has he is now tempted to KEEP them instead of building an ark. An ark that God has told him, and him alone to build. No visions or angels appear to his family to help ease the despair over what their father, Noah is doing day in and day out.

    He is left alone to follow God, to be, in Kierkegaard-ian terms, a Knight of faith. A “perseverance in expectancy”. Which is to say that convincing the world around us that God spoke to us is the LEAST of our concerns. Rather the acting out, in our lives the commitment of the word heard does all the talking.

    Building modern arks is asking Noah and even later Abraham to explain their inward commitment to the God they heard. Something neither could do. Nor could any of the examples of Faith including Mary and Jesus himself. What could any of them say when asked, why are you doing this and saying this?

    Whatever they answer is, I’m doubtful it includes theme parks and kettle corn. But then again, I wasn’t there when corporate spoke to Cornerstone.

  • Helena Constantine

    Rivendell was built as a fortress at the time the Witch King of Angmar had a large army laying waste to the remnants of the Northern Kingdom. I understand that in the following centuries there would have been a growth of outbuildings, but I’ve never understood why no graphic depiction of the place ever shows any military architecture.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Because Rivendell was preserved by the power of the ring (one of The Three) held by Elrond rather than by military force alone.

  • banancat

    And what else should Hagee’s Cornerstone Church spend $5 million
    on? I mean, it was either this or else waste all that money on
    something like feeding all the poor children in San Antonio for a year.

    I encountered something very similar in my own church as a teenager, so I know exactly how this concern would be hand-waved away. We raised a bunch of money to build a new addition to the church, including a fancy new gym. I was, and still am, completely ok with this. The church had grown and needed more capacity.

    But at the very same time, the church leaders decided to turn out a homeless man who had been allowed to sleep in the church hallway on cold nights or when weather was bad. Oh sure, they referred him to some program, but he probably already knew of that program and didn’t participate in it for one reason or another. And the understood justification for doing this was that our shiny new building couldn’t be tainted by a homeless man in it, who might even steal our shiny new stuff.

    So I actually brought up this objection. I got the answer that the shiny new building was more important because people would come for events, start asking questions, and possibly be “saved” because of it. Yes, our goal was to lure in unsuspecting people with the intent to convert them. (Nevermind that the homeless man’s view of the church must have decreased; I guess his soul wasn’t worth saving.) But the justification for all this is that helping needy people isn’t important because they might just end up in Hell anyway. Jesus never said to only help the people that you have a chance of converting, but I’m sure that Hagee’s church thinks they’re doing more overall good by converting people than by helping them. And they get a fun carnival to boot.

  • Alanlionheart

    That’s a sad story but indicative of the condition of the church and is not uncommon. One shouldn’t use the story to judge Hagee’s church unless you know them well enough to do so.
    The Church is and never has been a building. It is the people who are the church so to give a building that level of importance seems to me to show that one’s priorities are wrong. So what was the outcome?

  • Dash1

    Hagee’s church is not being criticized for something that is super-secret or that people are making up. They have put this material out there for people to see. The people who criticize them (and presumably those who support them) are taking their public self-presentation seriously.

  • otrame

    Can I criticize Hagee for being a bald-faced liar? I only very occasionally watch one of his shows (because I live in San Antonio and like to know what my enemies are up to), and yet I have seen him tell a flat-out lie at least twice. Lies he could not possibly believe were true.

    He is a hate-monger and a liar.

  • Alanlionheart

    Calling someone a “hate monger & a liar” is a matter of opinion and very subjective. Having the evidence to back it up is another issue altogether and no doubt you have confronted him about it?

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the truth is one thing and the speaker is saying another, then whether the speaker is lying is a matter of objective fact, not subjective opinion.
    The ‘please don’t kill us with sheep’ thing is a community greeting to newbies that’s been around so long I forgot where it came from.

  • Alanlionheart

    But isn’t that how the majority of misunderstandings occur?
    I hear something said one way you hear it another. Which one of us is right?
    Still doesn’t mean the speaker was lying

  • EllieMurasaki

    True. If he doesn’t know what he’s saying is false, then it’s not exactly a lie. It’s still false.

  • Alanlionheart

    No. If he’s lying, he’s lying whether he realises it or not. But first the fact has to be established by evidence not opinion.
    And so far we have only had opinions

  • EllieMurasaki

    …it’s only my opinion that my Summoning Spell didn’t summon you?

    I’d better duck and cover.

  • Alanlionheart

    Hate to disappoint you Ellie.
    I am immune to such nonsense because I am protected by the Spirit of God
    Did you duck or is my aim that bad?????

  • arcseconds

    What would count as evidence that Harry Potter teaches witchcraft, or not teaches witchcraft?

  • The_L1985

    According to Alanlionheart, the only evidence you need is that some famous guy said so.

  • Alanlionheart

    I have absolutely no idea other that to monitor trends focussing on people who read that stuff. But that’s almost impossible I guess

  • Mrs Grimble

    I knew that your ‘nym rang a bell! Is this you, Alan?

  • Alanlionheart

    What an interesting site
    But no it isn’t me
    I will have a little browse around it though

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I would have guessed Alan Sargent, myself.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    So when John Hagee says something like “we’re in a moral free fall where your children can be taught witchcraft by Harry Potter,” there’s just a misunderstanding somewhere and he’s not bearing false witness?

  • Alanlionheart

    It’s a matter of opinion. I would say the same about the moral state of the UK, someone else might disagree. It’s still opinion judged against one’s worldview.
    However, if one backs the statement with statistics the two might end up agreeing if they set aside their respective world views.
    John Hagee might be proved to be right ………… who knows?

  • EllieMurasaki

    “Accio Alanlionheart!”

    Since you’re not in fact zooming from wherever you are to where I am, I think we can safely conclude that it is not in fact possible to learn witchcraft from Harry Potter. Therefore, when Hagee says it is, he is, at the most generous to him, making a statement that he’s too ignorant to know is false.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Now, now Ellie, you have to have a wand that includes a unicorn hair or phoenix feather or some other bit of mythical beast at the core. Since I assume you don’t have one (you don’t do you?) you can’t do the magic.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Pbbbbt.

  • Alanlionheart

    “Accio” now that isn’t in the blog definitions Ellie LOL
    But I’ll take it as a compliment and thank you for it :)
    But I disagree with you on your point insofar as anything that detracts us from God falls under the general category of “witchcraft”. It was the stuff of the original sin of Adam & Eve and has continued throughout history ever since.
    Your particular stance on it is partly true but only as it falls under the general category. It’s just another branch of it.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    anything that detracts us from God falls under the general category of “witchcraft”.

    Are you under the false impression that this is what anyone else in this conversation means by the term? Or are you simply choosing to use terms in a way that nobody else in the conversation does, just because it’s the usage other communities are accustomed to?

    Si el segundo, te sugiero que repenses esa decisión.

  • Alanlionheart

    No
    I don’t know what others understand by the definition on this community. I am just using the general Biblical terminology since we are discussing a Biblical issue

  • AnonaMiss

    You appear to be confusing subcultural terminology with Biblical terminology. Many people here aren’t Christians, and those who are would likely take umbrage at the implication that, for example, knowing the difference between witchcraft and Tibetan Buddhism is un-Biblical.

    Though I guess arguably it is, because like you, the authors of the Bible knew jack squat about Tibetan Buddhism.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Well, you’re free to use whatever terminology you wish, of course.

    But if you insist on using words in ways nobody else in the conversation does, you’re unlikely to communicate especially clearly with them.

    And if you cannot communicate clearly, how can you clearly communicate the Word of God?

  • EllieMurasaki

    anything that detracts us from God falls under the general category of “witchcraft”

    So you’re not using the same definition of the word that the rest of us are. Which at least explains why you think a book of fiction using fictional magic (such as “Accio”, the spell to summon a thing from where it is to where the wizard is) can teach real magic to real people.

  • Alanlionheart

    Come on Ellie, you’re reading something into my response that isn’t there.
    I never said it teaches anything, but I do believe it heightens interest in the supernatural/spiritual detracting one from the Truth of God

  • banancat

    anything that detracts us from God falls under the general category of “witchcraft”.

    So you’re witchcraft? You and others like you have done far more to push Christians away than any outside force has done to lure people away.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t know about that. I was sold the first time I heard “Come to the dark side; we have cookies.”

  • The_L1985

    Oh, but that’s not possible for a good Christian to do. Because reasons.

    Seriously, though, there are several damned good reasons that I’m not a Christian anymore, and foolishness of the “We don’t have to self-examine because we’re HOLY!!” variety is one of them.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I agree with you that, in theory, John Hagee might be shown to be right that your children can be taught witchcraft by Harry Potter, for example if someone were to back the statement with statistics.

    By the same token, he might be shown to be wrong, for example if someone were to counter the statement with statistics.

    Do you have any sense at all of what either of those things might look like? Do either of them look like the world you live in?

    For my own part, the second one looks rather a lot like the world I actually live in, which is why I conclude that John Hagee has in fact been shown to be wrong, and that your children cannot in fact be taught witchcraft by Harry Potter.

  • Alanlionheart

    I think that you only have to look at the resurgence of all things spiritual that is happening now with the rise in emphasis in the supernatural and yet with it there is a strong anti Christianity slant to it all.
    So yes it very much looks like the world I live in – at least the UK side of it – and I suspect the US side as well

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Now that I understand what you mean by the word “witchcraft” this is less absurd than it would otherwise be.

    Yes, I agree that the world we live in is one where there are all kinds of spiritual influences, not just a particular set of denominations of Christianity. If that’s all “witchcraft,” as you assert, then I’m all in favor of “witchcraft,” I endorse children being exposed to it, and would like to see more of it spread more widely.

  • The_L1985

    Oh wow. I heard this exact same malarkey in middle school.

    I quickly figured out that it was all hokum when I learned that the peace symbol was developed in the 1950’s from the semaphore signals for the letters “N” and “D,” and was originally a symbol for total nuclear disarmament, NOT an ancient Satanist symbol of a broken cross.

    You’re being fed snake oil, Alan. The people who taught you such monstrous lies ought to be deeply ashamed of themselves.

  • Alanlionheart

    Nothing to do with what I’ve been taught.
    I see it every day with the broken and unhappy lives people live. I see it when they tell me they have no hope, I see it in the breakdown of family, when people are out on the streets on a Friday night getting drunk to drown their sorrows, I see it in their wrong views of church and Christianity, I see it when they are experimenting with all kinds of stuff that is designed to numb their brains and keep them captive to all kinds of ungodly entrapment.
    So please don’t tell me I’ve been fed snake oil. You have no idea.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I infer that you believe the various bad things you list here didn’t exist before this “rise in emphasis in the supernatural” that you reference, since you seem to be asserting that the latter caused the former.

    So, OK. When did this “rise in emphasis in the supernatural” begin?

  • Alanlionheart

    Of course they existed Dave but like most things in life trends change so it would be impossible to say when it began

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Well, OK, let’s go with something easier then. When you say there’s been a “rise in emphasis in the supernatural,” do you think there’s more emphasis on the supernatural in 2013 than there was in 1913? Less emphasis? Do you not know?

  • AnonaMiss

    And you interpret this as a decline for what reason?

    As a British Christian I assume you’re familiar with John Wesley. Isn’t what you just described, pretty much exactly what Wesley described? If this suffering has been around for hundreds of years, doesn’t that pretty effectively demonstrate that Harry Potter had jack squat to do with it?

    If anything, it’s better now than it used to be. For example, people are able to obtain medical treatment without being obscenely rich. Debtors’ prisons are, I believe, a thing of the past; certainly orphans aren’t put to work as slave labor, as they once were. Has rising interest in witchcraft – and please understand, I am entertaining this idea to point out the logical inconsistencies in your argument, not because I agree with you – caused these improvements in the lives of the poor?

  • Alanlionheart

    Times change, circumstances change, even people change so yes of course there have been many improvements in society. I guess one could argue that drug addiction was around in Wesley’s day but certainly no to the extent is it today, suffering has been around since the fall to nothing has changed there but I have never said that Harry Potter had anything to do with it.
    So far as I know witchcraft as a movement has not caused any improvements to the lives of the poor. The church has an outstanding record in this regard in terms of hospitals, schools and generally caring for society

  • EllieMurasaki

    So far as I know witchcraft as a movement has not caused any improvements to the lives of the poor. The church has an outstanding record in this regard in terms of hospitals, schools and generally caring for society

    Are unions churches or part of the witchcraft movement?

  • The_L1985

    I Googled “Wiccan charities” and got a nice long list right off the bat, which I then provided to Alanlionheart. See my comment above. :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, that wasn’t my point, though it’s a good point in itself. And he hasn’t answered my question, has he?

    Alan? Unions. Churches or witchcraft?

  • AnonaMiss

    If you consider alcohol addiction to be a form of drug addiction – and honestly we only distinguish the two because alcohol is so easy to get a hold of – then yes, drug addiction was a huge problem in Wesley’s day. The evils that alcoholism wrought among the poor was the major reason why temperance was a founding principle of the Methodists. Remember, Methodism was a direct response to the rise in popularity of cheap corn whiskey – wine had been too expensive to get drunk off of, but whiskey hit the cities of England like crack did in the 1990s.

    As for the charity of churches, that’s irrelevant to my argument. I wasn’t trying to make any claim about any religion, Christian or non, helping or harming society as a whole. I’m not implying causation, I’m just showing that there isn’t even a correlation. Even if it were true that people becoming interested in non-Christian spiritualities!!, was a recent phenomenon, the fact that (English) society is taking better care of its poor now than ever before indicates that England is not in moral free fall.

  • The_L1985

    “So far as I know witchcraft as a movement has not caused any improvements to the lives of the poor.”

    Then let’s educate you, shall we?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2011/07/pagan-charity-in-missouri-and-australia-plus-other-pagan-news-of-note.html

    http://atheism.about.com/b/2006/04/19/daily-poll-should-charities-accept-the-donations-of-wiccans.htm

    And here’s a long list of Wiccan- and Pagan-run charities, most of which include food and/or clothing drives for the poor, along with their websites so that you can look at them directly:

    http://www.moondragon.org/pagan/pagancharities.html

  • The_L1985

    Some of the people living broken and unhappy lives are Christians.

    By the way, I have hope. I have a man I intend to marry and start a family with, and we love each other and are deeply committed to each other. I rarely drink, and never to excess. I know the Church and Christianity intimately, having been inundated in the exact same form of Christianity you follow from age 3 to age 22. I dislike the idea of doing drugs, because drugs are what killed my (Christian) uncle.

    You are being lied to and told that a belief in Jesus as the Christ, who forgives sins, is somehow contingent on Genesis being a history book. This is demonstrably untrue, as most Christians around the world do not consider Genesis to be a history book. They believe God created the world, and that life was put here by God through the agency of evolution.

  • Alanlionheart

    That’s true, sadly. But it is not God’s will for that to be the case.
    I am glad you have hope and have found someone to share you life with.
    My wife and I have been happily married for over 40 years and we I love each other as much today as we did back then.
    I’m sorry to keep on disagreeing with you about this next bit but no one has lied to me at all. I absolutely agree with you that a belief in Christ is not contingent upon a belief in Genesis 1 – 11 as history. Whoever told you it was, was lying to you. Even Answers in Genesis do not say that although opponents often lie and say that they do.
    The issue with Genesis being history is an issue of the authority of God’s word. It is definitely not a salvation issue.
    Theistic evolutionists would have you believe it is a salvation issue and they are wrong. But IMHO they are also wrong to say that God created through the evolution process.
    Having said that we then have to understand what we mean by evolution because the goal posts move according to the points at issue.
    If we talk about mankind’s origins then molecules to man evolution is quite clearly wrong. If we are discussing how plants and animals adapt to a changing environment and “evolve” in that way then yes we agree.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    The issue with Genesis being history is an issue of the authority of God’s word.

    No. It’s not.

    From desert cliff and mountaintop we trace the wide design,
    Strike-slip fault and overthrust and syn and anticline. . .
    We gaze upon creation where erosion makes it known,
    And count the countless aeons in the banding of the stone.
    Odd, long-vanished creatures and their tracks & shells are found;
    Where truth has left its sketches on the slate below the ground.
    The patient stone can speak, if we but listen when it talks.
    Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks.

    There are those who name the stars, who watch the sky by night,
    Seeking out the darkest place, to better see the light.
    Long ago, when torture broke the remnant of his will,
    Galileo recanted, but the Earth is moving still.
    High above the mountaintops, where only distance bars,
    The truth has left its footprints in the dust between the stars.
    We may watch and study or may shudder and deny,
    Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the sky.

    By stem and root and branch we trace, by feather, fang and fur,
    How the living things that are descend from things that were.
    The moss, the kelp, the zebrafish, the very mice and flies,
    These tiny, humble, wordless things—how shall they tell us lies?
    We are kin to beasts; no other answer can we bring.
    The truth has left its fingerprints on every living thing.
    Remember, should you have to choose between them in the strife,
    Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote life.

    And we who listen to the stars, or walk the dusty grade,
    Or break the very atoms down to see how they are made,
    Or study cells, or living things, seek truth with open hand.
    The profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.
    Deep in flower and in flesh, in star and soil and seed,
    The truth has left its living word for anyone to read.
    So turn and look where best you think the story is unfurled.
    Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-vDhYTlCNw

  • arcseconds

    nice poem, but Galileo was never tortured.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    True. But “intimidated by being shown the implements of torture” doesn’t fit the meter.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I would call that psychological torture of Galileo, myself. If he hadn’t imagined the physical torture that would ensue with the implements, he couldn’t have been intimidated by the implements.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    “Long ago, when threats of torture broke his shattered will” scans well enough. The poem is gorgeous either way, though.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    That might be worth sending to Ms. Faber, if she’s findable online.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    You’re not being intellectually honest here. You just said “belief in Genesis is not contingent upon belief in Genesis,” but just a couple days ago, you were arguing that if Genesis were wrong, then that challenges God’s authority and therefore the entire premise of Christianity. You argued this to the point of refusing to accept the simple explanation that Genesis could be a parable intended to teach people about mankind’s early relationship with God. You said that if it were not historically true, then it would be “just a fairy tale” and of no more value than Cinderella.

    This is cognitive dissonance.

  • Alanlionheart

    No I said that Belief in Christ is not ………..
    When we were discussing Genesis a few days ago we were doing so from a historical angle basically saying that if Genesis was not true the God was lying thus throwing doubt upon everything else that follows. The fact that it is true regardless of whether one believes it or not id NOT a salvation issue.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    God would not be lying if Genesis were proven to be 100% false. The people who taught you that Genesis must be historically true in a manner literal to its writing would be either mistaken or lying.

  • The_L1985

    40 years…wow. Congratulations on that!

    I have a bit of an apology to make as well. I saw you using a lot of the same arguments I used as a teen, and wrongly assumed that you were a teenager as well. Sorry for that.

    And…”Molecules to man evolution” is not a thing. Evolution, in the field of science, refers solely to one life form evolving into a new form. It does not concern the origins of life or the planet.

  • Alanlionheart

    Thank you
    No apology necessary……… I don’t “do” age so in effect I am still a crazy teenager at heart :)
    I know that evolution doesn’t concern itself with the origin of life but that doesn’t excuse it from what I consider to be the crazy notion that after life started we just evolved from molecules to man.
    For me the whole process falls flat on it’s face as there simply is no clear evidence for it other than in the vivid imaginations of artists and hopefuls looking for explanations in bone fragments and trying to make connections to show imagined “evolving” along the way. So we get all kinds of fraud taking place that are still in text books today.
    The Biblical creation account is so much more logical

  • EllieMurasaki

    The Biblical creation account is so much more logical

    Tell me, were man and woman created at the same time, or was woman created from the already-created man?

  • Alanlionheart

    From the already created man as in Genesis 2

    21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you also go by the Genesis 2 account that all the animals were created after man?

    Observe Genesis 1, wherein all the animals are created, followed by the simultaneous creation of man and woman.

  • Alanlionheart

    Not at all Ellie
    There is no contradiction between ch 1 & 2 as some seem to imply
    As you say, Genesis 1 is the creation account giving the order of events etc culminating in the creation of Adam

    Genesis 2 picks up the account and develops it.
    The creation of man and woman simultaneously as you state did not happen otherwise Genesis 2 would certainly contradict Genesis 1

  • EllieMurasaki

    Imply? I’m flat-out stating it. Genesis 1: plants, then animals, then man and woman simultaneously. Genesis 2: man, then plants, then animals, then woman.

    There’s a midrash to the effect of the Genesis 1 woman was Lilith and the Genesis 2 woman was Eve, but, one, to accept that as removing the contradiction you’d have to accept that Jews know something about the Torah, and two, it doesn’t remove the contradiction between ‘plants and animals before man’ and ‘plants and animals after man’, just the one between ‘man and woman simultaneously’ and ‘man before woman’.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    So the bible doesn’t say the actual literal things that it says?

  • Alanlionheart

    If you read the text in its correct context there isn’t a problem as some would have us believe

  • EllieMurasaki

    Plants. Then animals. Then “man and woman he created them.”

    Man. Then plants. Then animals, because “it is not right for man to be alone”. Then woman, because none of the animals were suitable partners.
    The Bible contains contradictions, Alan. Your life will be much simpler once you work through the ramifications of having admitted that.

  • Alanlionheart

    Your thoughtful consideration of my well being Ellie is greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

    But I hate to disappoint.

    I don’t see the problem. Genesis 1 gives us a brief account of God’s creative work culminating with its completion in 6 calendar days and His pronouncement that it was very good and God’s Blessing was upon it.

    Ch 2 carries on, starting first with the reminder that God’s work was completed then it veers off to focus in on the Garden, its purpose and how God created Eve out of Adam’s side.

    So in Ch 1 we have God telling us that He did it and lays out His mandate for mankind to be blessed and to prosper. In Ch 2 we have God showing us how He started it off with the creation of Eve out of Adam and the role she was to play.
    This also reminds us how important marriage is in that Adam was complete until Eve was taken out of him and created as a separate person and how when joined together in marriage they become as one flesh again.
    What is also important in these early chapters is God’s Blessing. Here we see that the couple were naked and not ashamed. This is because they were covered by God’s Glory. Being made in God’s image they shared in His Glory in every sense of that word. When they sinned, they became naked because they lost God’s Glory have sold out to a lie. The close relationship with God was gone and the bond between God and Adam was dead not because of anything God had done but because of what Adam had done. This is why for example Moses was not allowed to see God face to face. Pre fall, Adam did, Post fall even he could no longer see God face to face because of sin.
    Under the new covenant we as Christians have, that glory has been restored because we are no longer sinners but people who have been recreated in the glory of God just as Adam was.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You aren’t even bothering to read my posts anymore, are you.

  • Alanlionheart

    I most certainly am reading them. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with you does it?
    I also looked up Lilith and read that the story is a myth. In any case it cannot be true otherwise Genesis is most definitely wrong. Two women did not sin, only one and that was Eve not Lilith

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you are asserting that, one, there are no contradictions in Genesis when there CLEARLY ARE, and two, you know more about Genesis (part of the Torah) than the entire history of Jewish rabbis do (when they’ve had the Torah longer than Christianity’s existed).

    Nice arrogance you’ve got going there.

  • Alanlionheart

    Ellie, I agree that there are differences of emphasis but certainly no contradictions. For a concise refutation in detail I can do not better than refer you to this site https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/162-critical-theory-attacks-genesis-1-and-2
    The author certainly explains the issue better than I can and I think you over emphasise the rabbinical point.

  • P J Evans

    So Lilith is a myth, but Eve is true.
    Yet there’s exactly the same amount (and type) of evidence for both.
    You’re *so* not making your case.

  • Alanlionheart

    Lilith isn’t even mentioned in the Bible so all you have is an unsubstantiated assumption mentioned in books on mythology :)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Lilith appears in the Talmud, in various translations of Isaiah 34:14 and in the Dead Sea scrolls. Why should Lilith’s existence be myth when there is exactly as much evidence for her existence as Eve’s?

  • Alanlionheart

    Lilith is part of Jewish folk lore

    This may help explain better than I can http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/lilith_in_the_niv.htm

    It also arises out of an incorrect understanding of Genesis. God doesn’t make mistakes and He Blessed his creation and commanded it to be fruitful and multiply
    To say that Lilith was Adam’s first wife is ridiculous and has no basis in fact in the Bible
    The fact that it is described as Jewish folk lore speaks volumes

  • The_L1985

    So, Isaiah 34:14 and the Dead Sea Scrolls aren’t the Bible anymore?

  • alfgifu

    Alanlionheart, I am a Christian living in the UK at the moment, and the world I live in looks very different from the world you live in.

    I don’t see any rise in emphasis in the supernatural. As far as I can tell, there has been a constant level of interest in the supernatural for decades.

    I am also not seeing any anti Christianity slant to the interest in the supernatural that does exist. Much of it is based on, or derived from Christian mysticism. Followers of other faiths remain a tiny minority, without the cultural, legal, or social level of recognition and acceptance that Christianity is granted.

    One particular problem with using the term ‘witchcraft’ as a synonym for ‘any non-Christian form of spirituality’, and further conflating that with ‘always a bad thing’ is that it falls apart when you encounter actual witches. I’m not going to try to define or describe witchcraft to you as it actually works, partly because I am not a witch and will probably get things wrong, and partly because I think you will find it more enlightening to set aside your preconceptions and talk directly to people who are witches.

    Actual self-identifying witches are pretty rare (as above, followers of non-Christian faiths are in the minority in the UK) and you probably did not realise that several posters in these comments are witches. For the record, a number are atheists, there are Christians from a variety of backgrounds, and there are also Muslims and (probably, I can’t bring to mind any specific examples) members of other faiths as well. All of these people have gathered together because they value the wisdom and insight that Fred – who is an Evangelical Christian – has to share. That is hardly anti Christian behaviour!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Um, so it’s a matter of opinion that you can be taught witchcraft by reading Harry Potter?

  • The_L1985

    I am a witch, and I can assure you that nothing in the Harry Potter universe bears any resemblance to what I do. So no, the Harry Potter books most emphatically do not teach witchcraft. They talk about a fictional form of magic.

    The Wingardium Leviosa spell is as make-believe as Cinderella’s fairy godmother or Puss in Boots. Yet I have yet to hear anyone complaining about fairy tales teaching our children to wait for magical fairies and talking cats to come and solve their problems for them. Funny that.

  • Alanlionheart

    One might then be forgiven for asking what on earth you are doing on an allegedly Christian forum?
    The issue with Harry Potter and the like is that there is a resurgence in spiritual matters. All these and others do is mislead people in terms of the truth.
    Anything that detracts from God is witchcraft because it is a cheap imitation of the real thing

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    One might then be forgiven for asking what on earth you are doing on an allegedly Christian forum?

    Absolutely. Indeed, I hereby forgive you for asking that.

    If you don’t understand why The_L1985 is on this forum, and you actually care about the answer, I recommend you spend some time reading this forum and The_L1985’s contributions to it.

  • The_L1985

    He’ll really boggle once he reads enough to realize that I used to be a Christian, and that attitudes like his own are a large part of what drove me away.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Too bad our visiting Satanist is either in deep lurk mode or departed for other shores. A brush with an actual Satanist could be entertaining to watch.

  • The_L1985

    This is a Christian blog. It is a Christian blog because the blogger, Fred, is a Christian.

    Believe it or not, there are those of us who are not Christians, but are still interested in what Christians have to say.

    And frankly, if anyone is led astray by a fairy tale about a boy who flies around on a broomstick and has a funny-looking scar on his forehead, then that individual was extremely foolish to begin with, and would have been led astray just as easily by reading Grimm’s fairy tales.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Ah, but there’s no point in discussing fairy tales, as Alan said above. Anything which could conceiveably lead one to imagine a spiritual world that isn’t Christian is inherently teaching witchcraft and thus the worship of Satan.

    Those poor Jews, learning witchcraft from their witchcrafty Torah!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Damn it, Sam, don’t make me laugh out loud at work!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Now I want to memefy the phrase “witchcrafty Torah” to refer to a fundamentalist logical fallacy wherein a premise can be considered true by examining its individual components while simultaneously regarding those components as heretical when examined as individual pieces.

    “A + B = C, but C – B ≠ A”

    Just to make this phrase run through your mind at the least opportune moments. You’ll be attending a funeral someday and “witchcrafty Torah!” will pop into your mind and you’ll be desperately trying not to snicker through the whole eulogy.

  • P J Evans

    well, if you get into vector math, it might actually be a true statement. I can explain it in more detail, but this text box is far too small. *g*

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    This is no euclidean vector — it’s keter class if I’ve ever seen it. </incredibly lame pun>

  • EllieMurasaki

    Can we please not use ‘lame’ to mean ‘pathetic’ or ‘deficient’ or any such thing? That meaning of the word is reliant on the other meaning of ‘lame’, having a mobility disability, and the belief that people who have a mobility disability are defective in some way.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Oops, sorry! I was invoking the TVTropes article “IncrediblyLamePun” and didn’t even think about cross meaning. Completely unintentional — and if I’d been thinking of it outside of TVTropes context (where use of the article name might as well be a password to a mental archive of everything having to do with it), I wouldn’t have used the word at all.

  • cyllan

    I beg your pardon. My faith is neither cheap nor an imitation.

  • banancat

    One might then be forgiven for asking what on earth you are doing on an allegedly Christian forum?

    First, it’s not an allegedly Christian blog. Fred is a Christian, and an Evangelical one at that. I’m sure you think he’s not a Real, True Christian, but silly me, I thought that was for God to decide and not other Christians.

    Second, I’m an atheist following a Christian blog because I value many of the things Fred has to say. I also follow blogs of others that aren’t the same as me, such as men and people of different races. Unlike you, I can value opinions and insight from people who aren’t part of my tiny exclusive InGroup.

  • Alanlionheart

    I am not questioning Fred’s faith banancat. Being an evangelical Christian does not make him right any more than it does me.
    On the other hand he has as much to say what he thinks as does everyone else. It doesn’t mean we have to agree

  • ohiolibrarian

    So, are you saying that opinions are all equal no matter how uninformed or lacking in basis? Wow. You don’t believe in facts at all? So, gravity is just “an opinion”? Are you someone who denies the Holocaust? Evolution? Germ theory? All just “opinions” that you can ignore if you don’t like them?

  • Alanlionheart

    No I’m not saying that at all. If you read the previous posts you would have seen that all the opinions were just that and lacking in substance

  • Alanlionheart

    Well that again is a matter of opinion surely. In your view is America in a moral free fall? You may think not and so, so you disagree but that does bot mean that either of you is bearing false witness.
    As to Harry Potter and witchcraft I personally think he’s right. It doesn’t matter in one sense whether the portrayals of witchcraft are right or not. The fact is that they portray a spiritual dimension that arouses interest in spiritual matters that is not Godly and anything that is spiritual but not Godly is witchcraft by definition.
    As the Bible puts it, one cannot serve two masters. This tells us that like it or not there are two masters. One is God and the other is Satan. There is no in between.

  • AnonaMiss

    anything that is spiritual but not Godly is witchcraft by definition.

    lol

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    So reading Harry Potter = learning witchcraft = worshiping Satan.

    We’re done here. You are not arguing in good faith.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    And for the record, the actual verse is “you cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is money, deriving from mamonas, meaning wealth and riches.

    The people you’re defending are millionaires.

    Think about that awhile.

  • Alanlionheart

    Sam I’m not defending anyone actually. I’m just questioning people’s opinions and views. I don’t actually care whether a person is a millionaire or not.

    What I do care about is whether they are a Christian or not and whether they are walking in obedience to what God is saying to them.

    There is no way I can judge whether John Hagee is or isn’t since I don’t know him
    BTW you are partly right as I am about the biblical reference. Here are both

    Matthew 6:24
    “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:23-25
    Luke 16:13
    “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:12-14
    Jesus never condemned the rich young ruler who loved his wealth more than Jesus and he doesn’t condemn anyone who follows Him and puts Him first.

  • The_L1985

    Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

    “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

    “Which ones?” he inquired.

    Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

    Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

    Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again
    I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
    than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
    –Matthew 19:16-24

    He who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.

    –Mathhew 23:12

    And don’t even get me started on Matthew 25:36-44.

  • Alanlionheart

    That’s not condemning the man. Jesus was just confirming what He had already stated showing that a person cannot serve two masters. He showed the ruler where his heart really was

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    “he went away sad” does not speak to me of the man being embraced as a newly christianed brother of Christ.

  • The_L1985

    “The fact is that they portray a spiritual dimension that arouses
    interest in spiritual matters that is not Godly and anything that is
    spiritual but not Godly is witchcraft by definition.”

    That is not the definition of witchcraft at all. Please get a dictionary.

    As for “no man can serve two masters,” that passage clearly says “God and mammon,” not “God and Satan.” Mammon = physical wealth.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Silly The_L1985, expecting evangelicals to read the Bible! The Bible’s only meant to be read by people who aren’t evangelical! Using its magical powers of conversion-to-evangelicalism on people who are already evangelical would be a horrid waste.

    Let’s not even discuss the dictionary.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    > anything that is spiritual but not Godly is witchcraft by definition.

    Sounds like my ex-boyfriend. And that quote is exactly why he’s ex.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Someone (I forget who) on the old site (now Slactiverse) was very tired one night and in trying to say something about “not being killed in her sleep” said instead that she “didn’t want to be killed with a sheep”. Hilarity ensued (how exactly do you kill one with a sheep?) and it became a running gag (among others).

    So now you know (more or less). Don’t kill me with a sheep.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Oh yes, John Hagee lies and spreads hate. It’s one of his things.

    http://lefthemispheres.blogspot.com/2011/10/sunday-morning-hate-john-hagees-lies.html

  • Alanlionheart

    There’s a clue in the link Sam that explains it.
    The blogger is entitled to his opinion just as much as Hagee is. Still doesn’t prove anything.
    BTW in case you missed it the clue is in the heading of the blog site showing what it stands for

  • banancat

    I judge people by their actions. Blowing millions on a carnival instead of helping people in need is reprehensible, but far worse coming from someone who claims to be a follower of a man who insists that helping the unfortunate is the most important part of life. So I don’t need to know Hagee personally; I can easily see why he’s terrible for doing this.

  • Alanlionheart

    But what if he’s doing BOTH?

  • P J Evans

    Shouldn’t someone who claims to be a Christian actually follow the teachings of Jesus instead of the teachings of Disney?

  • Alanlionheart

    Of course
    But what’s to say he isn’t?
    OK Disney wasn’t around in Jesus day
    On the other hand God told Noah to build the ark. Do you know whether God told Hagee to build his?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I assume not, since I know with 99.9% certainty that there are no gods. And even if I’m wrong, I should hope that no deity with concern for the wellbeing of anyone other than John Hagee would tell John Hagee to do anything with his buckets of money other than donate to, to name two of many possibilities, a collection of local food banks or a collection of local Habitats for Humanity.

  • Alanlionheart

    I may have misunderstood one of your comments Ellie (in which case I apologise) but I thought you were into witchcraft
    If that is the case then your comment is a bit of an oxymoron because you cannot be into that without believing in a god – in this case satan.
    BTW I’ve good news for you. (1) There is a God, (2) He is interested in the well being of everyone (3) and that includes you, me and John Hagee. How Mr Hagee spends his money is up to him surely. Presumably you take your own advice on that too.
    Why can’t you be 100% sure about “no gods”?
    That’s just trying to hedge your bets. What’s the good of that?
    There either is a God or gods, or there isn’t. Make your mind up!!!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    You can believe in witchcraft without believing in Satan. That you suggest otherwise speaks only to your severe ignorance and willingness to bear false witness.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m just entertained that he thinks I can’t be a fantasy fan without being a theist.

  • The_L1985

    Or that you can’t read fantasy novels without attributing spiritual importance to them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …to be fair, the climactic chapters of Deathly Hallows show that Harry’s a Christ figure.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’m vaguely disturbed, myself. The implication appears to be “having a variety of perspectives of any kind is inherently worshiping Satan.”

    You saw it here, folks, the evangelical bubble live in action.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I guess we’re all Satanists here, then, except Alan. Or Enigma Babylon practitioners. Shall we assemble for the ritual proclamation of faith in Athena-Ba Chua Xu-Chia-Durga-Erzulie?

    (you know, if I believed in any of them, I would be running now. Athena can be scary. Kali Durga’s always scary. And Erzulie ain’t exactly 100% sunshine.)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Including all the Christians, which I find especially telling.

    Although once again, I’m probably one of the worst people here. I don’t just write fiction — I write Christian-themed fiction that doesn’t paint God in a positive light! The horrors!

    I guess I’m just doing my job as earthly surrogate for Satan. Namesake and whatnot. ¬¬

  • Alanlionheart

    OK
    so who is the god witches serve?

  • AnonaMiss

    That would depend on the witch, I believe. And I think they generally don’t so much serve them, as just try to stay on good terms. I believe one of our pagans (who may or may not identify as a witch) is primarily a follower of Coyote.

    You’d be better off directing that question at one of our witches, or possibly at Google.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    The people I know who identify as witches worship a variety of gods. That said, most of them are also broadly pantheists… that is, they consider the gods they worship expressions of a common immanent divinity, which is sufficiently larger than what the human mind can conceive that there’s no point in trying to conceive of it..

  • The_L1985

    There are many. Gardnerian Wiccans generally worship Diana and Herne. There are witches who worship gods and goddesses of the Greco-Roman, Voudun, Germanic/Nordic, Celtic, Chinese, or Japanese pantheons. There are witches who consider all gods mankind has ever worshiped (including yours) to be part of one great being often called the Dryghton. Still other witches are atheistic, and believe the gods to be representations of Jungian archetypes rather than actual beings.

    There are so many different kinds of witches that it’s really hard to make generalizations about us all. If you want more information about witches in particular, I would recommend The Truth About Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham, or Pagans & Christians by Gus DiZerega, Ph.D.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    There either is a God or gods, or there isn’t. Make your mind up!!!

    Right! Because it’s not like observed evidence is relevant to how much confidence we should have in various assertions. We just believe things! Emphatically! With exclamation points! That’s how epistemology works!

  • Alanlionheart

    Not quite Dave

    Epistemology is to do with the nature and scope of knowledge. It’s not just about belief although that can come into it. It does include understanding.
    The issue of knowing God however is even wider and deeper. The knowing includes relationship which cannot be so in a simple belief system

  • The_L1985

    Witchcraft =/= Satanism. I am so sick of that.

    As for the “Why can’t you be 100% sure?” it is IMPOSSIBLE to be 100% sure about anything outside of the field of mathematics. There is uncertainty about everything in the universe.

  • Alanlionheart

    It isn’t impossible to be 100% sure about anything
    I am 100% sure that God loves you and me
    I am 100% sure that I am a blessed person as are all Christians
    I am 100% sure that God loved you and me enough to allow His Son Jesus to be offered up as punishment for your wrong doing and mine
    I am 100% sure about so many things outside of mathematics

  • EllieMurasaki

    You’re wrong on at least one of those. I am 99.9% confident you’re wrong on at least three.

  • The_L1985

    No, you’re not 100% sure about any of those things.

    You believe them very firmly, but it’s not like you saw Jesus being crucified and resurrected right in front of you. Therefore, you don’t have 100% proof. You believe. You have faith.

    By the way, doubt is something to be investigated and, if necessary, overcome. It is not something to deny you ever have.

  • Alanlionheart

    But I am sure 100%
    And yes I have faith and I believe
    But as the Bible says, faith comes by hearing the Word of God. So when God speaks to us individually, that causes faith to rise up within us and we respond to it knowing that God is true to His Word and we see the evidence as that word comes into being.
    Without God speaking in this way we cannot have faith and it certainly isn’t blind

  • EllieMurasaki

    So it is not possible to have religious faith if one’s religion is not Christianity?

  • Alanlionheart

    Not faith as described in the Bible. Faith in the “religious” sense is not the same

  • EllieMurasaki

    You put quote marks around ‘religious’. Do you then mean to say that only Christianity is a religion?

  • Alanlionheart

    I don’t think that any Christians regard Christianity as a religion with or without quotation marks

  • EllieMurasaki

    Is there, then, any such thing as ‘religion’?

  • Alanlionheart

    Well clearly there is as most people use the term to describe all kinds of belief systems

  • EllieMurasaki

    Define ‘religion’ as you use the term, please, Alan.

  • Alanlionheart

    I thought I had in the above comment. I looked it up and found this
    although I have edited it a little because you asked me how I would use the term
    re·li·gion
    noun
    1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    2.a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

    3.the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

    5.the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of a faith.

    You can see the full definition here http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion

  • EllieMurasaki

    So, uh, Christianity by your definition is a religion?

  • The_L1985

    OK, let’s look at this again, using the very definition you have just quoted. What exactly do you mean that Christianity isn’t a religion?

    1. Christianity isn’t a set of beliefs that concerns the cause, nature and purpose of the universe? Christianity doesn’t describe the universe as being created by a god? Christianity doesn’t have devotional observances? Christianity doesn’t have a moral code?

    2. Christianity doesn’t have a fundamental set of beliefs? There are no Christian practices that anybody agrees on, like prayer and weekly church services?

    3. There are no groups of people who adhere to the beliefs and practices of Christianity?

    Since when? I experience ALL OF THE ABOVE as describing Christianity to a T.

    If Christianity isn’t a religion, then I don’t have a religion either; I have a personal relationship with Thor, Bast, and Diana. Since having a personal relationship with one’s deity somehow makes it not a religion, despite following all the dictionary definition of a religion, this must be a true statement.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh, damn, you beat me to it and you did it better.

  • Alanlionheart

    “””OK, let’s look at this again, using the very definition you have just quoted. What exactly do you mean that Christianity isn’t a religion?”””

    I think I’ve just covered this in a previous response

    “””. Christianity isn’t a set of beliefs that concerns the cause, nature and purpose of the universe? Christianity doesn’t describe the universe as being created by a god? Christianity doesn’t have devotional observances? Christianity doesn’t have a moral code?”””

    I don’t think I stated this at all ……………….. but to respond …. yes it does talk about all these things and much much more. But IMHO its primary purpose is Jesus. It’s all about Him.

    “””2. Christianity doesn’t have a fundamental set of beliefs? There are no Christian practices that anybody agrees on, like prayer and weekly church services?”””

    I don’t think I’ve said otherwise either. Of course there are

    “””3. There are no groups of people who adhere to the beliefs and practices of Christianity?”””
    Yes again

    “””Since when? I experience ALL OF THE ABOVE as describing Christianity to a T.”””

    Well OK if you want to go down that route the I won’t disagree. All I’m trying to do is get you to look at the much wider picture and focus on the relational nature of our God

    “””If Christianity isn’t a religion, then I don’t have a religion either; I have a personal relationship with Thor, Bast, and Diana. Since having a personal relationship with one’s deity somehow makes it not a religion, despite following all the dictionary definition of a religion, this must be a true statement.”””
    OK

  • EllieMurasaki

    Alan, I’m not ignoring this, I just can’t see the whole comment (fuck Disqus and fuck work IE and fuck Disqus some more), so any response I give will have to wait several hours. In case you were going to worry.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Is there some way I could help you get around this while you’re at work? I could send you the full text of replies through e-mail or something, if you’re impatient to see their contents. I’ve got an e-mail set up purely for slacktivist and blog interaction that we could use for correspondence.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I appreciate the offer, but no thank you. Waiting a few hours won’t actually hurt me any.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Offer’s there if you ever need it. Today actually wouldn’t be a good day to try this anyway, since Comcast just spontaneously decided that DNS is no longer in vogue and therefore I’m going offline and online like a slinky.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I lied, I came to the library on lunch.

    All I’m trying to do is get you to look at the much wider picture and focus on the relational nature of our God

    So Christianity is a religion, even though you say it’s not, and it’s a SPECIAL religion?

    Why should we believe you when you say Christianity is SPECIAL?

  • cyllan

    Wait, what does that even mean? You don’t think that Christians — that is, people who profess to be of the Christian Religion — regard their religion as a religion?

    I’m calling Poe.

  • Alanlionheart

    Most Christian I know regard Christianity not as a religion but as a relationship with the living God.
    But if you want to call it a religion, that’s up to you. To me religion implies that my salvation is not of the grace of God but by my own efforts. And that is most certainly NOT Christianity

  • EllieMurasaki

    What then distinguishes Christianity from religion? Is it not ‘a set of beliefs’? Does it not ‘[concern] the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe’? Does it not involve ‘creation of [the universe by] a superhuman agency? Does it not ‘involv[e] devotional and ritual observances’? Does it not ‘[contain] a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs’? What makes Christianity not a religion?

    And the Christians who say Christianity is BOTH a religion and a relationship with God, why are they wrong?

  • Alanlionheart

    I’ve answered this in an earlier post a few minutes ago
    BTW I am not saying that Christians who say differently are wrong at all. I personally don’t know any that disagree with me but then the Christian world is a pretty big place and I respect their opinions

  • The_L1985

    The dictionary definition of “religion”:

    A system of belief and ethics, generally involving one or more gods.

    Please explain to me how Christianity doesn’t involve belief, ethics, or the existence of any gods, because that does not match with my experience of Christianity at all

  • Alanlionheart

    Of course it involves these things but only including the belief in ONE God. But that was not the main point I was trying to make. If one just thinks of Christianity as a “religion” one misses out on the fundamental issue of relationship.
    Our God is a relational God That was the whole purpose of the Creation where Adam & Eve were the crowning glory of it. God’s heart then and still is now to Bless His people under the Covenant relationship He has ordained for them and for the whole world if they will receive Him as Saviour and Lord.
    So the issue of Christianity being a “religion” pales into insignificance when one begins to have an understanding of what God is all about and who He makes us in Christ ……….. heirs of the Kingdom of God and joint heirs with Jesus.
    Everything that was Jesus’ belongs to Christians, the same rights and privileges He has, we have.
    I am saddened by your experience if you have been told differently

  • EllieMurasaki

    ‘One god’ is included under ‘one or more gods’, FYI. And the people who get up in arms about infringement of Christians’ religious freedom (I’m thinking in particular of the people who think companies have religion that is offended by the contraception coverage mandate) disagree with you on whether Christianity is a religion; if it weren’t, if it were merely a relationship with a god, religious freedom of Christians wouldn’t be an issue.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    You’re conflating “this is a profound experience for me” with “and therefore not at all like anything anyone else has by the same name.”

    This is a sign of living in an evangelical bubble. It’s a state of externally imposed, eventually internalized social isolation, wherein one is taught to perceive the world through a filter which allows in only that which affirms what the person inside already believes. You’ll know it for what it is by the feeling of cognitive dissonance as you try to force an idea to make sense with what you were taught when it doesn’t conform to what you’ve been told is the truth.

    In this case, you’re looking at what you consider a religion and trying to make it seem less significant compared to your beliefs, when, in fact, they are the exact same thing. You don’t think the Jews feel they have a relationship with God? You don’t think Muslims feel they have a relationship with God?

    Before trying to doublespeak through this, self-analyze that feeling. You’re looking at people whose experiences are identical to your own and trying to make them different, make them Other, to uphold the virtues of your own faith as somehow unique and therefore superior.

    It’s going to pop some day. Better sooner than later, so that you can get on with a real relationship with God instead of a proxy relationship that was established by others and handed to you only when you were deemed well enough indoctrinated not to question it.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    You don’t think the Jews feel they have a relationship with God? You don’t think Muslims feel they have a relationship with God?

    Not just monotheists, either. I remember some of the posts that one of our currently-absent Pagans made describing her interactions with Hecate, and I’d say that her religion certainly includes a personal relationship with her goddess.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Yes, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m intentionally referring to three different religions all sharing the same root God(s). Like the above (witchcrafty Torah!), it’s inane to assume that only one religion is capable of having a personal relationship with God — when talking about the same God who appears in multiple religions.

    That’s like saying that of three loving children, only Brandon has a relationship with his father.

  • The_L1985

    I have relationships with my gods as well. It’s offensive when people insist that because they have a personal relationship with their own god, that I somehow can’t.

  • The_L1985

    Yes, it is. As I said before, you’re in for a rude awakening when you start socializing with liberal Christians and members of other religions IRL, and I don’t envy you that experience. It was really rough on me.

  • Alanlionheart

    I’m sorry but it absolutely isn’t the same.
    These so called “liberal” Christians have a lot to answer for if they have effectively helped to destroy your faith.
    I have encountered them on other sites when we have been debating the early chapters of Genesis and I confess that I am saddened by their position that seeks to mold the Bible around current scientific thinking and evolutionary ideas. In doing so they water down the Bible so that its authority is diminished.
    I would not say that they are not Christians, that is a matter between them and God. But the Bible clearly teaches us to be careful how we treat other brothers and sisters in Christ so that we do not cause them to stumble

  • EllieMurasaki

    [liberal Christians’] position that seeks to mold the Bible around current scientific thinking and evolutionary ideas [like sensible people do if they want to hold on to the Bible at all in the face of, you know, reality]. In doing so they water down the Bible so that its authority is diminished.

    What in hell are you doing in the comments section of a blog run by a liberal Christian?

  • The_L1985

    The liberal Christians were not the ones who destroyed my faith. To the contrary, when I was talking to liberal Christians, I realized that the conservative Christians had lied to me about a lot of things. I was forced to determine which things I was taught were true and which were lies. Having to sift through things that you were taught by authorities you trusted during your formative years is HARD on anyone, especially psychologically.

    The Catholic Church, to which I previously belonged (I went to private Protestant schools for most of my schooling), was a major offender in terms of lies, especially regarding sex, abortion, and the roles of women in the early Church*. This, combined with the horrific sex scandals in the Church (where cover-ups were perpetrated by conservative Catholic clergy) and in various Protestant denominations, led me to the conclusion that these people could not possibly believe in the god they claimed to worship and not be certain of their own damnation. They consistently behaved in an unloving, dishonest, disrespectful manner. Like mausoleums, they focused on putting on a pretty face to the world, while being filled with rot and decay. I searched desperately for something that wouldn’t create such dangerous pride.

    Then, I started meeting Pagans. I became curious, and started studying about their theologies and gods. Something “clicked.” It was like coming home–it meshed perfectly with what I’d always believed about the world, and the lack of a hierarchy meant that the reputation of an organization would never come before holding people accountable for moral wrongs. I had experiences of other gods, and I finally felt spiritual peace.

    Conservative Christians caused me to “stumble.” Conservative Christians drove me away from Christianity. Liberal Christians only helped me to see the hypocrisy and cruelty that hid behind the pure and noble facade I’d been focusing on for years.

    —————————————

    * The “In God there is no male or female” can’t be reconciled with “women can’t be priests” or “same-sex relationships are evil” in any meaningful way. If gender ceases to matter to God when you become a Christian, then almost everything I was taught about gender and sexuality by Christians is deeply wrong.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    “The liberal Christians were not the ones who destroyed my faith. To the contrary, when I was talking to liberal Christians, I realized that the conservative Christians had lied to me about a lot of things. “

    See? If it hadn’t been for those liberal Christians, you would have gone on believing what you’d been told! It’s totally their fault!

  • Alanlionheart

    .Thank you for sharing this with me. I get truly saddened by accounts such as this.

    We met a person on the streets one night whose first reaction to us on learning we were a group of Christians was “you won’t like me”. When we asked why she replied along the lines “because I’m a lesbian and my Christian nan has disowned me”

    I can tell you that when we heard that we were brought to tears and we told her that God lover her and hadn’t disowned her and we loved her. We ended up having a group hug and she asked us to pray for her which we gladly did, focussing on a reconciliation with her family.

    I get so angry at the wrong behaviour of the church and so called Christians who should know better.

    Such behaviour is not of God and brings His precious name into disrepute.

    The church is not a hierarchy and was never intended to be and leaders are held to account by their local congregations.
    True leadership in the church is one of a person serving the church and is part of the 1 Corinthians 12 body where everyone has a role to play, where no one is above another or more important than anyone else and everyone has the same servant heart as it says in Acts having everything in common.
    I agree that men and women are “equal” in God and enjoy the same inheritance as everyone else. But don’t confuse that with “sameness”. People are NOT the same. We all have different gifts and talents just as important as everyone else.
    The issue is therefore not one of inequality but one of headship and recognising each others God given roles.
    Headship does not imply subjecting another to your rule but rather serving.
    In the Bible men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. God never commanded women to love their husbands and didn’t need to. Men on the other hand have to have a standard set for them by which we will be judged. If you compare how Christ loved the church you will see how a husband is to love his wife and I dare to suggest that there is no better way than to have enjoy such unconditional love.
    In the church the only reason we have these silly discussions is because of hierarchy and the fact that women are not given governance “jurisdiction” over men. But that does not exclude them from leadership

  • The_L1985

    That is not the definition of faith at all. Have you even read Paul’s stuff about seeing through a glass, darkly?

    I feel sorry for you. Once you step out of that evangelical bubble, you’re in for the same horrible culture shock that I went through. I remember saying all of the exact stuff you’re saying now when I was a teen.

  • Alanlionheart

    That’s the Biblical definition as in Romans 10. And yes I have read that great chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13 and there is no contradiction here. Paul is talking about love and how we as God’s people should be, reflecting the love God the Father has for us, demonstrated to us by Jesus.

    It is true that as Christians we don’t see now as we shall see when we get to be with Jesus for all eternity. What we have now is a mere shadow of what will be and it will all pass away.

    So there is no “evangelical bubble”.

    I don’t know what you went through as a teenager but it is true that I have had my experience of God challenged and as a result He is more real to me now that ever before.

    If by “evangelical bubble” you mean some kind of religious straight jacket with all its expectations then yes I have been through that and got the T shirt

  • EllieMurasaki

    The phrase ‘evangelical bubble’ refers to the fact-free existence the evangelical subculture tries to lead. FYI.

  • The_L1985

    By the “evangelical bubble,” I refer to the state of having never been around any other perspective in your life, and being encouraged not to question or explore those other perspectives. When I started going to public schools at 15, and discovered that atheists and members of non-Christian religions weren’t the horrible monsters I’d been taught to believe, it was a major shock.

  • Alanlionheart

    I’m sure it was a major shock
    But it shows how judgemental “Christians” are so locked away in this bubble. This is NOT God’s way
    But there is another side of Christianity. And that is the side that Jesus meant it to be, to have love and compassion, forgiveness, doing the stuff on the streets that Jesus was doing and living life as it was meant to be lived.
    Once people break out of judgemental “Christianity” they can smell the coffee and break free of such wrong thinking and living and be the people God meant them to be.
    The reason I know this is because I once belonged to the judgemental camp.
    Now, as a Street Pastor I see life in a different way and people love us because we show them God’s love I action, we listen and don’t judge them. Then they allow us to pray for them and help them without strings or conditions attached.
    Please forgive the people who caused you to move away from God. I can assure you that the Church is not all like that and neither are Christians who have been set free from this kind of “religiosity”. And this is the very reason why I have argued that Christianity is not primarily a religion

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And I’m 100% sure your fatuous statements are of no use to me.

  • cyllan

    As a friendly piece of advice: a number of folks on this are pagans; several of us consider ourselves witches. We don’t generally take kindly to being told that we’re worshiping a Christian god when we know quite well that we are not. I have no general opinion on Satan; the only Christian deity that I have any real interest in is Sophia, and that’s just in passing. We also don’t generally respond well to being told that we’re worshiping the wrong god. I, at least, get somewhat pissed off.

    Another large number of us are atheists. You should respect their position on matters of faith although polite disagreements are fine. Telling someone that they’re damned and going to hell is not generally considered polite disagreement.

    And finally, realize that “I believe in the Bible because the Bible is the Word of God because the Bible says so” is a circular argument that needs to die. Do better.

  • AnonaMiss

    He isn’t.

    And even if he were, there would be no excuse for building a tourist attraction when there are people sleeping under bridges who could use those resources for shelter. When everyone has a roof over their heads, then you can start thinking about animatronic rhinos.

  • EllieMurasaki

    By that argument, I shouldn’t even contemplate Adacamp San Francisco; I should still save the money, but I should give it to Habitat for Humanity or the like. Something to put roofs over heads, instead of something I’d enjoy. In fact the whole Ada Initiative is a waste of time and money–who cares about female representation in this that and the other when there are homeless people to worry about?

    I happen to agree that yet another Noah’s Ark amusement thinger is a waste of money. But ‘because it would be fun’ is a legitimate reason to do something, so is ‘because I think it will help convince people I’m right’, and so is ‘because I can’. They’re not hurting anybody by building the thing, are they? Then they’re entitled to do it, if they have the resources. I don’t have to like it.

  • AnonaMiss

    Certainly. I didn’t mean that as a moral absolute for everyone and all money. Hagee can do what he likes with his own money.

    For him to spend tithes and offerings to the Christian god on a fun little amusement park instead of feeding and sheltering the poor is what there’s no excuse for. Offerings given to the god of charity shouldn’t be spent at the altar of mammon/conspicuous consumption.

  • EllieMurasaki

    For him to spend tithes and offerings to the Christian god on a fun little amusement park instead of feeding and sheltering the poor is what there’s no excuse for. Offerings given to the god of charity shouldn’t be spent at the altar of mammon/conspicuous consumption.

    Aha. Clarity is achieved, thank you.

  • Alanlionheart

    How do you know he isn’t?
    On the basis of your argument nothing would ever get accomplished, Even Jesus acknowledged that the poor will always be with us.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, but that was an acknowledgment, not a command, and far too many Christians nowadays take it as a command.

  • Alanlionheart

    Really?
    I have come across Christians who believe they should be poor but not anyone else.
    But that is more to do with their poor exegesis of the Bible.
    Poverty is not from God

  • The_L1985

    “Is there evil in the world, and the Lord has not done it?” — Amos 3:6

  • AnonaMiss

    How do I know he isn’t? Because he preaches the motherfucking prosperity gospel, pardon my French – this particular heresy makes me see red. He makes his living by telling people that if they give him money, God will reward them. That donations to his church are investments in future wealth for themselves. That if you have $100 left to your name, you should pledge it all to his ministry and God will repay it 10fold for their faith. He preys upon the poor and the desperate! If he had any regard for the poor he wouldn’t be encouraging them to give him all their money, with the promise that if they just have faith, God will make up for that loss! And make them rich! He promises! So send him your rent money instead of paying the rent!

    Ahem.

    Also, wrt “The poor you will always have with you,” Jesus is making a reference/callback to Deuteronomy 15. Deuteronomy 15 lays out the rules for Jubilee, the forgiveness of all debts. It says that if you keep these rules, if you forgive all debts, there will be no poor among you and God will bless everyone. It then goes on to say, less than 10 verses later – the intermediate verses describe what you need to do to in order to obtain this blessing of no poor in the land – “The poor will always be with you.” If you follow these rules and live with a generous hand, no one will be poor! But the poor will always be with you. Burrrrn.

    Consider the context of Jesus making this reference. The apostles are getting after a woman who was generous to Jesus, because she could have turned that generosity to the poor instead. In this context, Jesus citing Deuteronomy 15 isn’t a “get out of charity free” card for the modern rich. It’s more like, “Stop being an asshole to this woman just because she’s being generous. You rebuke her for wasting money that could be given to the poor, but if we all lived as generously as she, there would be no poor.”

    As opposed to motherfucking John Hagee and his thrice-damned prosperity gospel.

  • Alanlionheart

    Naughty AnonMiss
    Wash your mouth out with soap immediately!!!!

    Ah yes, it always comes down to the so called prosperity gospel. It’s a shame about the label but I know what you mean. The worst kind I have seem in recent times has been on Daystar and their “Sharathons” It almost takes you back to the middle ages and the selling of relics. It isn’t the gospel at all.

    On the other hand let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater because the Bible clearly does talk about the Blessing of God and that according to Galatians all Christians are heirs of the covenant of Abraham and thus heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. And this covenant includes so many things, including prosperity.
    So I suggest that the idea of prosperity may not be the issue but the way it is presented.
    Otherwise we will be in danger of denying God’s clear word on the matter
    The rest of your post I entirely agree with but saying that John Hagee doesn’t follow it is a bit “rich” if you’ll pardon the pun. Are you able to show clearly why you say he doesn’t?
    If he takes part in Daystar’s sharathon then you may well have a point that we can agree on apart from the expletive bit of course :)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Naughty AnonMiss Wash your mouth out with soap immediately!!!!

    If you consider this sort of thing appropriate conversation, then in the same spirit: “Naughty Alanlionheart, get the fuck out of this forum immediately!!!!”

  • AnonaMiss

    His best friends were sailors and whores, so I’m pretty sure He’s not that sensitive about foul language ;).

  • Alanlionheart

    You are so right AnonaMiss :)

  • AnonaMiss

    Christians achieve prosperity through giving, asserts Hagee. “When you give to God, He controls your income. There’s no such thing as a fixed income in the Kingdom of God. Your income is controlled by your giving.” According to Hagee, Christians grow prosperous through giving because “God created a universe where it is impossible to receive without giving. Everything that God controls, gives. . . . Givers gain. You do not qualify for God’s abundance until you give.”

    From http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/john_hagees_heresy .

  • banancat

    Naughty AnonMiss
    Wash your mouth out with soap immediately!!!!

    Wow, did you actually just type that? Really? What a condescending POS! You waltz in here like you know everything and assume that we’ll all agree to your superiority because you’re a Real, True, Christian (unlike the fake, wrong Christians here) and that everyone, including non-Christians, agrees with you that Christians are automatically superior to all others. Big surprise, we don’t agree that you are automatically superior. You’ve been here all of two days and you presume to treat the regulars like children. Take your head out of your own ass, and if you want to actually be a part of this community in good faith, lurk more and don’t say anything while you listen to the regulars. Once you understand that we’re not all inferior to you, then you can try presenting your disagreements in a respectful manner.

  • AnonaMiss

    Y’all don’t have to jump on him for my sake. I’m pretty sure he meant that jokingly.

    I am touched though!

  • banancat

    I appreciate that but I wasn’t doing it (just) for your sake. Condescending, misogynist shit like that has no place in a progressive community and he needs to understand right from the beginning that I will not tolerate it, even if it he was “just joking” (which is problematic in itself).

  • ohiolibrarian

    “Nothing would ever get accomplished”? Really? Helping the poor IS accomplishing something. Custom wood carpet is not accomplishing anything. That you think a trite and pointless little exercise like this Ark is “accomplishing” something tells me that you have really skewed priorities.

  • Alanlionheart

    If you read the post I was responding to you would have seen that my point is valid I think. Look at the last sentence

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    What if he is?

    No, seriously, I’m asking: what if he is? What follows?

  • Alanlionheart

    But he can’t be judged as terrible if he is doing what God told him to do.
    On what basis are you judging him for this? For his obedience, for his “offence against your sensibilities, what is your yardstick?
    In the end he will be judged by God on whether he was obedient to what God told him to do, nothing else matters.

  • EllieMurasaki

    But he can’t be judged as terrible if he is doing what God told him to do.

    Yes, he fucking well can, and yes, he fucking well will. And if the fault for the terrible things he is doing lies on God’s shoulders, then GOD IS TERRIBLE TOO.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Ah, OK, I understand your position now. Thanks for clarifying.

  • The_L1985

    What if God tells someone to start a fire in a hospital? Does that make it OK?

  • EllieMurasaki

    gah Sucker Punch flashback

  • banancat

    If he’s giving to charity only to attempt to convert people, that’s coercive and he doesn’t get any pats on the back for it. This may surprise you, but some people actually frown on coercion and don’t think that Christians are always good just for being Christians.

  • Alanlionheart

    I totally agree banancat
    I am one of them that frown

  • Matri

    And the understood justification for doing this was that our shiny new
    building couldn’t be tainted by a homeless man in it, who might even
    steal our shiny new stuff.

    Well OBVIOUSLY. He’s homeless, after all. That means he’s just lazy and a moocher and a secret satanist who wants to destroy the church. After all, no Real True Christian would ever be poor or homeless.

  • Lori

    Nope. God shows His divine love for all Real True Christians by blessing them with material goods. That always includes a house, just like the one Jesus owned.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And 50 SUVs gassed up in a concrete building, naturally.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Still doesn’t count unless all these SUVs are keeping constantly running, if in idle.

  • reynard61

    And don’t forget that every SUV needs it’s own elevator! Or is that just a Mormon thing?

  • reynard61

    And don’t forget that every SUV needs it’s own elevator! Or is that just a Mormon thing?

  • banancat

    The sad thing is, this wasn’t even an RTC church. It’s a Methodist church that got infiltrated by some Evangelicals. My mom is still a member of that church, so luckily that problem sorted itself out when a female pastor came into the church and all the fundies left en masse. They wielded some power within the church itself, but not in the Methodist council. The church still has some issues but it has much improved since then.

  • Carstonio

    While Fred is right to criticize Hagee’s approach to the Flood story, I don’t know what he means by “actually engaging the actual story on its own terms”? Meaning what message he gets from the story, at least when compared to any rabbinical interpretations. Fred doesn’t ask how the authors of the story intended for it to be read, or how the original audience read it. Maybe it was written both as history and as parable. Obviously no modern reader is required to read it the same way as the authors or the original readers. But I would think that knowing that intention would help understand the story in context.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Well, judging from the example he gives of what tackling the meaning of Exodus 16 head-on looks like, I would expect that his understanding of engaging the actual story of the Flood would involve looking for currently relevant symbolic meaning rather than looking for authorial intent (or original-audience intent).

  • Carstonio

    The original intent need not conflict with any modern symbolic meaning. Fred doesn’t say here what the latter would be. I haven’t yet searched his past entries on the matter.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Agreed that there’s not necessarily any conflict between the two.

    I would be surprised if Fred were encouraging a single meaning of the text rather than an approach to extracting meaning from the text (similar to the approach Cara Sexton uses in the example he cites).

  • Alanlionheart

    Sorry Carstinio, I am a little confused. A story is either historical or it’s parable. By definition it cannot be both.
    The explanation in Genesis is just as very clear to modern readers as it was to the original readers. So why wouldn’t a so called “modern reader read it in exactly the same way?

  • Dash1

    I realize you didn’t exclude the middle in your comment, but I did want to chime in and point out that this doesn’t mean that the story has to be either historical or a parable. There’s a lot of territory in the middle (legend, fiction, exaggeration of an actual event). And nothing prohibits the use of a story of any sort as an instructive parable or illustrative lesson.

  • Alanlionheart

    Fair comment. But as I have said a plain reading of the text in context usually resolves the matter. A parable or fable or work of fiction is clearly apparent when read and understood in context

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, that definitely explains why so many people still believe the George Washington cherry tree story even though we’ve known for ages somebody made it up.

  • Dash1

    My apologies. When I added my comment, 2 hours ago, nothing showed yours of much earlier. Didn’t mean to ignore the fact that you’d already brought up the cherry tree thing.

    Gad, I hate Disqus!

  • Dash1

    A parable or fable or work of fiction is clearly apparent when read and understood in context.

    Sorry, but that’s just not true; people mistake them all the time.

    Even in modern times, and with texts from their own times and places, text in which one might assume people understand contexts and genres, we still constantly make mistakes. Many people think that the story of George Washington and the famous cherry tree is factual, and I’ve heard folks complain that the story of the man without a country is, sadly, not taught to children anymore in their history classes.

    Or just browse Snopes.

  • Alanlionheart

    OK so when you read the Bible there are books that are clearly poetry, others that are prophetic, still others that are historical etc. Sometimes we get a combination of the above in all of them.
    It isn’t hard to spot the difference
    As to George Washington, I know nothing of this story
    Nut yes I do agree that we can easily get it wrong sometimes but I would suggest that the problem is more down to comprehension and laziness or just trying to twist things to make the text agree with our world view
    We can all do that

  • banancat

    And there’s this entire site dedicated to people who don’t get satire: http://literallyunbelievable.org/

  • Carstonio

    By “parable” I meant that the authors could have believed that the account had a lesson or message even while being literal history. Or that their readers should absorb a particular lesson from the account.

    Without going over the whole issue with the Sacrifice of Isaac again, some readers see it as a test of Abraham’s loyalty or obedience and others see it as a test of his credulity. Still others read it as a meta-story about a key difference between the Hebrew religion and its neighbors. I don’t know which one the authors intended.

  • Alanlionheart

    I take your point but usually a plain reading of the text, in context resolves the matter

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, so what’s the plain reading in context of the Abraham-takes-Isaac-up-the-mountain story, and why do you think the people who disagree with you were not dealing with a plain reading in context of the story?

  • Alanlionheart

    As I indicated to Carstonio.
    I don’t know what the opinions of others are over this passage so I can’t comment on that. But what’s to misunderstand?
    I think you’ll also find parallel passages referring to this account in other parts of the Bible that will add clarity. For example, The issue of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was in obedience to the Father, just as Abraham obeyed the Father to sacrifice Isaac etc.

  • Carstonio

    How would a plain reading answer the question of the authors’ intended meaning? By context, do you mean in the text as a whole, or the context of the larger culture that created the text?

  • Alanlionheart

    That’s a good point Carstonio. I think there are two ways in regard to the Bible.
    The first is to read the passage in its context and look at surrounding or parallel passages.
    The other is to interpret the Bible with related passages. For example the NT quotes from the OT quite a lot and adds meaning “as the author intended” i.e Jesus

  • Carstonio

    Modern Jews would strongly disagree that Jesus was the “author” of the OT. The book belongs to the Jewish people in the religious and the cultural sense, and while Christianity is obviously free to interpret the text differently, that religion is still engaging in supplantism regarding the OT.

    Jesus wasn’t the “original author” in historical terms – I was referring to the nameless Hebrews who first began telling the Noah story long ago, and the later ones who wrote it down centuries before Jesus. What the story meant to either group has been lost to history.

  • Alanlionheart

    You are of course right about the Jewish stance on the NT. There is a resurging interest though in exploring the Jewish roots of Christianity adding further insight to our understanding of the Scriptures. The parable that springs to mind if about the Prodigal Son. Reading it from a Jewish perspective is so much more interesting. In our western culture we just read how the father was so pleased to see his son again. From a Jewish perspective the fact that the father ran to his son in such an undignified way was to save his life. As a son who disgraced the family he could have been stoned to death.
    Where I think you may be wrong is in assuming that writing was invented some time after. There is no evidence to prove that or, I agree, that it wasn’t. What we do know is how the Scriptures were faithfully copied down the ages to preserve their integrity. Personally I would rather lean towards the idea that they were written down not passed down orally.
    As to what they accounts originally may have meant I think is a bit of a red herring.

  • Carstonio

    My point has nothing to do with any Jewish perspective on the NT, as interesting as that would be. Your posts seem to treat the Christian interpretation of the OT as the only or or primary one. When I talk about the stories being handed down orally for centuries before being written, I’m talking about the OT, not the NT, and you seem to be suggesting that Jesus inspired the older book. That’s what I mean by supplantism.

  • Alanlionheart

    Certainly not
    We learn a lot from the Jewish perspective on the Scriptures both OT and NT (the NT from Messianic Jews)
    There is a very rich heritage and insight from a Jewish perspective.
    So far as Jesus inspiring the OT the Bible in John ch1 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God and that the OT speaks of His coming throughout
    What the accounts may have originally meant referred to the idea that there may be some hidden issues that are not apparent in the Scriptures today. That isn’t the case otherwise the Scriptures could never be trusted and one opens the way to all kinds of mysticism and cultism

  • EllieMurasaki

    Frankly I’m more inclined to trust the Jews on the content of the Tanakh than I am to trust the Christians on the content of the Tanakh.

  • Carstonio

    Talking about a Jewish “perspective” does a disservice to Judaism by implying that the religion is merely a subset or offshoot of Christianity. The argument amounts to telling the world’s Jews what their book means or how they should read it. Anyone who claims as irrefutable fact that Jesus is foreshadowed in the OT should be expected to prove that Judaism is mistaken in claiming no such foreshadowing.

    Although I don’t belong to any religion, I have strong ethical reservations about the Messianic Jews movement. From what I’ve read, it’s mostly a creation of non-Jewish Christians as specialized evangelizing.

    And I don’t understand the leaps you’re making with your last two sentences. Such as what those hidden issues would be, or why mysticism would be bad or wrong, or why an unreliable Bible would open the way to either mysticism or cultism.

  • Alanlionheart

    I’m not implying anything
    There is a very close relationship between Jews & Christians. We share the same Scriptures, Jesus was a Jew, and so on.
    And yes there are Jews that have trusted in Jesus as their Messiah. That doesn’t change their Jewishness.
    On the last two sentences I was merely commenting on your post

  • Guest

    Pardon me while I abruptly choke on my tongue.

  • The_L1985

    It doesn’t change that they are ethnically Jewish, perhaps. But once they converted to Christianity, they ceased to be members of the Jewish religion.

    And my Conservative Jewish fiance would definitely have words with you if he heard you spouting that “close relationship between Jews and Christians” BS.

    For example, opposition to abortion in the US has been falsely claimed as a “Judeo-Christian” rather than a Christian issue. This despite the fact that in Jewish tradition, if a woman’s life is endangered by her pregnancy, she is morally obligated to have an abortion.

    Judaism and Christianity are as similar as Christianity and Islam. They are not the same religion, and treating them as if they are is an insult to the Jewish people, who have fought for CENTURIES to keep their religious and cultural traditions alive.

  • The_L1985

    There is a more accurate word for Messianic Jews. That word is “Christian.”

    Also, there’s the possibility that the NT was retconned to fit with OT prophecies, and in many cases OT passages that were clearly not prophetic were shoehorned into being about Jesus. There are also passages like the Emmanuel passage in Isaiah, which in context clearly refers to “By the time a young woman who is now a virgin has a son, things will be good enough for her to name him ‘God is with us.'” Luke twisted this into “A woman who is a virgin at the time will have a son, and he will be God walking among us,” which doesn’t mean the same thing at all.

    Quite frankly, I’m more likely to trust the people who wrote the OT to tell me what it means, than a bunch of people who neither went to seminary nor have ever read the Bible in its original Hebrew.

  • The_L1985

    So…Jesus wrote Paul’s epistles? Jesus wrote the Gospel According to Luke? Jesus wrote the book of Revelation, in which the author identifies himself as John of Patmos?

    The Bible itself disproves your idea that Jesus was the author of any of the books of the Bible.

  • Alanlionheart

    Oh dear now you’re just being silly
    Of course Paul & Luke put pen to paper but if you read your Bible you will find out that these and all the other authors wrote as they were guided by the Holy Spirit of God.
    But Jesus through the Holy Spirit is described in the Bible as The Word of God

  • The_L1985

    So.. I’m supposed to accept that the Bible was written by God…because the Bible says so? Talk about circular reasoning!

    There’s also the fact that the canon of the Bible wasn’t established until about 500 years ago. Was the Gospel of Thomas less God-guided? How about Tobit? The Gospel of Peter? 2 Maccabees?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I have a soft spot for the Apocalypse of Zephaniah, myself. It combines Abrahamic imagery with Greek imagery, producing angels helping a man escape God’s wraith by fleeing Hades and crossing the river Styx.

    And what of the Torah, the Qu’ran, the Book of Mormon? How close to the Bible do we have to be for the miraculous “true because you know it’s true” vibes align properly with Real True Christianity?

  • P J Evans

    If I remember correctly, the only place it comes close to that is where you get something like ‘I had a vision and in this vision I was told to say/write’.

  • The_L1985

    The Bible is never described in the Bible as the Word of God.

    It sounds to me like you’re equating the Bible with Jesus. A book is not a god.

  • Alanlionheart

    John 1

    New International Version (NIV)

    The Word Became Flesh

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

    6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

    9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  • alfgifu

    Alanlionheart, I think you have just proved The_L1985’s point. Read the opening of John again, and substitute ‘Jesus’ for ‘The Word’. Now try that and substitute ‘the Bible’ for ‘The Word’.

    I think it’s pretty clear that the Word of God, with God in the beginning, is Jesus Christ all the way through. Calling the Bible the Word of God – and treating it the way you would treat Jesus – is the kind of mistake that can lead to all sorts of problems. We’re not supposed to worship inanimate objects, however divinely inspired they may be!

  • cyllan

    I can’t decide if I find it more amusing or tragic that the most lyrical and metaphorical of the Gospels is the one being used to try and claim that the Bible should be taken as literal truth.

  • The_L1985

    Especially since taking that passage literally would mean that Jesus was a lightbulb or a written word on a page. Even people who don’t believe Jesus was a real person, still know he’s supposed to be a person.

  • Alanlionheart

    I agree that we are not to worship the Bible but that does not get away from the fact. There is of course no mention of the word “Bible” in the Scriptures but that does not alter the fact that words like Bible, Scripture, Word of God are all interchangeable for the same thing and in common usage and understanding.
    Then again I don’t think I even implied that we should worship the Bible
    But I am equating the Bible with Jesus to the extent that as John 1 says He is the Word of God. The Bible is that Word of God in written form, commonly called the Scriptures

  • EllieMurasaki

    words like Bible, Scripture, Word of God are all interchangeable for the same thing and in common usage and understanding.

    Citation needed, particularly in reference to the John passage you quoted where ‘the Word’ is unmistakably Jesus.

  • The_L1985

    First of all, the Bible is a collection of dozens of ancient texts, not a single book. Those texts were written over the course of 1500 years. If the whole Bible is such a central important thing, and is basically the essence of Jesus in book form, why wasn’t it all written as one document at one time?

    Secondly, there were DOZENS of Gospels circulating during the 1st century that were arbitrarily not chosen to be listed in the modern Bible. The 4 we use now were literally the winners of an ancient popularity contest:

    1. The Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible was translated in the 5th or 6th century, and was composed of the 74 books most commonly used by the faithful. No official statement was ever made saying that these were the only books that could be considered the Bible–they were just the most popular.

    2. Because Latin remained the language of the church and the nobility for 1000 years after that, the Vulgate was used more or less out of habit. No official statement was ever made saying that churches could only use the Vulgate; it was just used because it was the translation of the Bible that most people could remember using.

    3. During the Protestant Reformation, when Luther named several books as being “not divinely inspired” (including not only the Duterocanonicals of the Catholic Church, but also Jude and Revelation), the Catholic Church made an official list of which books were in the Bible, which was basically just the ones that made it into the Vulgate, because the clerics all were familiar with the Vulgate and not with the other books. It was at this point that the Catholic canon of 74 books, and the Protestant canon of 66 books, were officially established (because most Protestants didn’t agree with Luther about Jude and Revelation and thus left them in).

    Which books are and are not part of the Bible is a thing that has only been established for around 600 years, and not all Christians even agree–the Catholic and Orthodox churches are still using 74 books, while the other Christians (aside from the LDS) use 66! The books chosen were entirely arbitrary, based on an ancient Roman popularity contest–the Old Testament books were all considered important to the Jews and thus included, but the New Testament books were chosen by a completely arbitrary method!

    That just doesn’t sound like the Bible should be equated with Jesus at all. And the idea of the Bible being the “Word of God” in the sense that you mean it is very new–most Christians throughout history didn’t consider the Bible to be 100% dictated by God.

  • alfgifu

    If Jesus is the Word of God, and the Bible is the Word of God in written form, then that does logically mean that the Bible is the same thing as Jesus, and therefore you end up with the Bible = God. That’s why I started talking about worshipping the Bible.

  • Alanlionheart

    Alfgifu I think your logical deductions have taken you to illogical conclusions if you don’t mind me saying so.
    For example, The Bible says that God is a spirit. If He is Spirit then how can He be a Book? You missed out on some important facts.
    1, God spoke the universe into being. The creative events of that are written down as a matter of record.
    2. Jesus is spoken of as the Word of God made flesh. In other words Jesus is the embodiment of all that God spoke about in His word, the Scriptures and He demonstrated that to the disciples.
    So we honour God because of what He has caused to be written down as a record of all His works but we worship Him only. If we start to worship a book, that is idolatry.
    3. I also honour and respect my brothers and sisters in Christ and God’s word says we should.
    4. We understand God’s word because the Holy Spirit teaches us all things about life and Godliness. So how can “other perspectives from people who are not Christians” give me more than God?
    So respectfully I have to disagree

  • The_L1985

    And where does that say that the Bible is the same Word in question? Because I don’t see that anywhere in the entire passage, and I’ve read that passage and heard it in church hundreds of times. (I used to be a Christian.)

  • Alanlionheart

    Have a look at my response to Alf’s post

  • Alanlionheart

    Have a look at my response to Alf’s post

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Of course Paul & Luke put pen to paper

    Um technically they used parchment or vellum or something like that since paper as we know it today is made with a bleaching process that didn’t exist (at least on a large scale) back then.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There are countless examples of old stories containing elements of both history and fiction, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the Trojan War.

  • Alanlionheart

    And presumably you would include the Bible in that.
    To a limited extent I would agree. For example the parable of the sower is based on what happens in real life. But it clearly is a parable when read in context. The ark account isn’t when read the same way

  • EllieMurasaki

    Have you encountered the concept of ‘historical fiction’? What about ‘myth’?

  • Alanlionheart

    Of course Ellie
    But I think most people when they read, do so in the context of what the text actually says otherwise words could mean anything you wanted them to mean and no one would have any understanding at all

  • EllieMurasaki

    That looks like word salad. Can anyone parse it, or is it actually just word salad?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    No, it’s parsable. Here it is again, with helpful punctuation:

    Most people, when they read, do so in the context of what the text actually says. Otherwise, words could mean anything you wanted them to mean, and no one would have any understanding at all.

    Which, in context, I take to mean that if we simply read what the text of the story of Noah actually says, which we ought to do, we would conclude that the story of Noah is not historical fiction or myth, but rather something else.

    Alanlionheart doesn’t quite seem to say what that something else is, but I infer they mean it’s a historical narrative, meant to tell us a story about a guy named Noah who is the ancestor of all humanity by virtue of surviving a Divine Flood which killed everyone but him and his family.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …nope, still sounds like word salad. ‘Antidisestablishmentarianism’ and ‘zygoma’, read in the context I provide here, might as well be the same thing, but the dictionary assures me that they’re both words with established and quite different meanings.

    Anyway, flood narratives? Not uncommon. Like whatstheirfaces in Greek mythology who were the only survivors of a great flood and repopulated the planet by throwing rocks over their shoulders that turned into people, the ones the man threw becoming men and the ones the woman threw becoming women.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (shrug) Your understanding of “word salad” is very different than mine, it seems. That said, I agree with you that context matters, and that ahistorical flood narratives (including the story of Noah) are a common origin myth.

  • Alanlionheart

    Thank you Dave for helping me with my poor grammatical expression :)
    You are almost right in interpreting my point.
    My point actually is that the narrative is either true or it isn’t. If it isn’t why are we wasting our time even discussing it?
    If it is then surely we had better pay attention and not waste our time trying to fit the account into our varied world views

  • AnonaMiss

    I’m sorry, did you just say that if the story isn’t literally true – historical, “this actually happened” true – it would be a waste of time to discuss it?

    Because I’m pretty sure Jesus told a lot of stories that weren’t literally true.

  • Alanlionheart

    Yes I think so
    What’s the point of discussing the meaning of fairy tales?
    When Jesus spoke in parables He always explained them to His disciples and His use of parables was to simplify His teaching on the Kingdom of God not to just tell a story

  • EllieMurasaki

    What’s the point of discussing the meaning of fairy tales?

    Thank you for casually dismissing half my life.

  • AnonaMiss

    So, apparently stories are useful for simplifying ideas and conveying morals, yes?

    And yet when we find a story which appears to be simplified and to contain morals, like the story of Noah’s ark, or most fairy tales… there’s no point in discussing what they might mean?

    Jesus’s use of parable demonstrates that at the very least it was viewed as a useful teaching tool among the Jews of the first century BC/AD. So when studying scriptures with Judaic origins, such as the Old Testament, we should expect to find parables among them.

    Which seems more likely – that the atmospheric conditions to create rainbows never occurred before the Noah’s ark story, or that the ancient Jews drew on its appearance after the rain to write a parable about how God would keep faith with them?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Point of order: They weren’t Jews until, like, Babylon. Certainly not till after Judah. They weren’t even Hebrews yet–the Hebrews were named for a grandson of Noah or some such thing. Might be possible to argue that they were Semites, as the Semitic peoples get that name from Noah’s son.

  • Alanlionheart

    We are talking slightly at cross purposes AnonaMiss. I don’t equate the account of Noah and the Flood with fairy stories, so therefore there is every reason to discuss it if that’s what people want.
    Jesus’ use of parables in the NT we agree on
    Perhaps you can show me an OT parable. At this moment I cannot recall any.
    On your last point you are speculating. It is clear that the rainbow came as a result of the aftermath of the flood. There were clearly different weather conditions before it, but I have to admit that I too am speculating a bit here because the Bible is largely silent.
    In any case the rainbow was set up as a sign that God would not destroy mankind again by water, The last judgement is by fire

  • The_L1985

    How about those prophetic dreams that Joseph saw in Genesis? Obviously there were no real, physical bowing sheaves of grain, nor did any cows walk up in real life and swallow other, fatter cows whole.

    And for a rainbow to happen, you need exactly 2 things: sun and rain. For Genesis to be 100% historical, and for no rainbows to have ever happened, it would have to have never rained during daylight hours, at all, anywhere on earth, for centuries. That is not physically possible, because the water cycle is based on the physical properties of water and air.

  • Alanlionheart

    That’s a good point about the dreams. I must admit I’d not thought of them in terms of parables.
    But like all dreams and parables an explanation is proffered. Dreams in particular are generally prophetic in nature foretelling what is to come, unlike parables, but still the explanation is given.
    On the matter of the rainbow we really don’t know what the climate was before the global flood. We do know it was markedly different and of course you are right about rainbows. But you can’t say that because it happens today it must have always happened. That’s assumption when the truth is we just don’t know

  • The_L1985

    Once again: the laws of physics dictate the evaporation and condensation of water that we call the water cycle. In order for it not to rain for the 1000+ years that Genesis says took place between Adam and the Deluge*, one of the following would HAVE to be the case:

    1. There would have to be either no surface water on earth or no atmosphere, because interaction of the air and water is part of what drives the water cycle.

    2. There would have to be no sun, because the sun is the other part of what drives the water cycle.

    3. The entire laws of physics as they involve heat, water vapor, and molecular motion would have to be dramatically different.

    There is literally no other option here. To insist that it is even possible for it to not have rained before Noah is to say that one of those 3 items is also possible.

    * Considering that the earth is actually far, far older than 6000 years, and has been experimentally conclusively proven to be older, you actually have even more time to account for than the Bible indicates.

  • AnonaMiss

    I am arguing that the story of Noah and the flood is in fact a parable in the OT.

    I suspect an objection is coming, which is, “If it’s a parable, why isn’t it explicitly stated/why isn’t it explained in the text?” To which I would respond, that the OT/texts of Jewish origin are generally not explained in-line, because the Jews have traditionally studied scripture with the help of outside rabinnical commentaries. Why provide explicit explanations in-line, when your reader has the Cliff’s Notes at hand?

  • Alanlionheart

    OK so if it’s a parable, what is it about the text that indicated it is?

  • AnonaMiss

    The most obvious sign that it’s a parable, and not a history, is that the events in it break the laws of physics on a fundamental level, but in ways that would have seemed reasonable to a storyteller of the time. For example, fitting all the different kinds of animals into one boat – that’s a lot more reasonable if you’re not aware of the Amazon rain forest. If the animals of the entire world had actually been there, and the story of the flood were a report rather than a parable/fairytale, at the very least the boat would have been much bigger than described. The description of the gathering of the animals would also have been more robust: the animals would have included a multitude of species that had previously been unknown, and would remain undiscovered for millenia to come. Think of some of the stranger creatures unknown to the Semites – the toucan, the sloth, the kangaroo! If these creatures had actually gathered in the middle east in the 4-digits BC, think of the wonder they would have occasioned! But the gathering of the animals is just a passing mention.

    While it would be possible for the physical impossibilities in the Noah story to be miraculous occurrences, the fact that they are presented off-hand is pretty good evidence that they were frills on a parable, not miracles. Huge feats can be undertaken, huge events can happen, in a passing mention or throwaway line in a parable, because the events aren’t the important part. In a history, huge feats and huge events are the focus, and take up most of the space on the page.

    Now, of course, a parable has a point. The story of Noah’s Ark has a few of them, but one in particular stands out to me. It’s a common theme in the Old Testament that God keeps faith with the righteous. Noah is one righteous man in a culture of iniquity, and God notices. He forewarns the righteous and delivers them to safety, rather than considering them unimportant ‘acceptable losses’.

    This was an important and relevant message through most of Israel’s history. Throughout their history they have found themselves a minority culture surrounded by a more powerful one – first in Canaan, then in Egypt, in Babylon, in Rome, and eventually in Europe. Stories like Noah’s Ark, or Sodom and Gomorrah, convey the lesson that even when you are surrounded by godlessness, God notices and remembers you. Just because everyone else is worshipping differently, doing things God has told you not to, doesn’t mean God has forgotten you. God remembers. God keeps the faith. And if the culture around you becomes so wicked that God decides to destroy it, he’ll make sure you make it to safety first.

    It’s a pretty great parable :).

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    The most obvious sign that it’s a parable, and not a history, is that
    the events in it break the laws of physics on a fundamental level, but
    in ways that would have seemed reasonable to a storyteller of the time.

    To be fair, this is also consistent with it being a deceptive history. That is, an actual lie, rather than a piece of fiction.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    The most obvious sign that it’s a parable, and not a history, is that
    the events in it break the laws of physics on a fundamental level, but
    in ways that would have seemed reasonable to a storyteller of the time.

    To be fair, this is also consistent with it being a deceptive history. That is, an actual lie, rather than a piece of fiction.

  • AnonaMiss

    Hush you. I’m trying to open his mind, not break it!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    When telling a lie — that is, deliberately attempting to persuade the audience to believe a thing which is not true — it is generally best to approximate reality by, for example, getting the laws of physics more-or-less right.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Sure, if one can avoid making errors in one’s storytelling that seem reasonable to storytellers of one’s time, that’s definitely the way to go… agreed.

  • Alanlionheart

    It is certainly a great account of God’s love in action. If my memory is correct He gave the people several hundred years to repent before finally destroying them.

    But the fact remains that there are about 10 historical accounts throughout Genesis all beginning with “This is the account of” starting with Adam and going right through Genesis 37 talking about Jacob.
    To say that the first part of Genesis is parable and the rest history just doesn’t make logical sense.
    And with respect I think you have made one other mistake and that is assuming that the Ark was designed to hold ALL the animals of the world. That would indeed be an impossibility and the text doesn’t actually say that. It talks about animals “after their kind” so they are representative example of the animal kingdom from which we get all our different species now. But never has there been a dog (for example) evolving into an elephant. A dog has always been a dog.
    As to the laws of physics, I am not a physicist so can’t comment other that to suggest that you are making another assumption that the environment pre global flood was the same post flood.
    I think a clear reading of the text demonstrates it wasn’t but reading into the text more than that is presumptuous I think

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It makes perfect sense when you know that Genesis had multiple authors — a minimum of two — and that it’s most likely that it was formed by merging the beliefs of various tribes together, compromising on elements they had different or in common, which is why numerous characters have multiple names and details change or are needlessly repeated from one telling to the next. That’s how we get two separate accounts of the world being created, three sister-wife narratives and several different variants of the resurrection of Jesus.

    And yes, Genesis 6:19 explicitly says two of everything. “And of every living thing ofall flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.”

    A clear reading of the text doesn’t say a word about the laws of weather or physics being drastically, planet-ruiningly different. In order for Genesis to be literally true, everything we know about the world today would be a radical departure from the world of a mere few thousand years ago.

    At the very least, Genesis calls for rainfall of 8708 inches per day uniformly over the entire earth. Since rainfall comes from the process of water being evaporated and collecting in clouds to be released back to the earth, this would require either most of the oceans to have evaporated or for there to have already been water in the atmosphere. The early Hebrews suggested the latter, believing that the sky contained a canopy of solid water, which God let loose upon the earth. If one wants to talk about fairy tales…

    http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/2noah93.html

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And yes, Genesis 6:19 explicitly says two of everything. “And of every
    living thing ofall flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the
    ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.”

    I guess that leaves out all the bacteria, then. Pretty sure they reproduce asexually so the question of a male and female type bacteria isn’t one that can be answered sensibly.

    And bacteria are important! :)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    And what about the adorable phasmatodea insects? Many species of those can reproduce asexually as needed, so would we need both a male and a female, or would we need a male for genetic diversity? :o

  • AnonaMiss

    My dear Mr Lionheart

    If giving people several hundred years to repent before destroying them – and then destroying the newborn babe who has done nothing wrong – were a literal history of God’s love in action, then I would have to have some serious words with Him, of the “What the fuck were you thinking?!” kind.

  • Alanlionheart

    Then why don’t you?

  • AnonaMiss

    Because it isn’t.

    And if you think our God would do/did some of the things that are ascribed to Him in the Bible – the explicit ordering of genocide, the personal carrying out of genocide – then I think you’re a terrible human being for worshipping Him. If you honestly misapprehend the character of the Lord so badly, it is your moral duty to oppose Him as a monster. If the Noah’s Ark story is literally true, then God is a mass-murdering, bloodthirsty, genocidal deity, incompatible with what we learn of Him incarnate as Jesus.

    This is not the God I know; and so I know that the Noah’s Ark story is not literally true.

  • Alanlionheart

    I agree, it isn’t the God I know too in the way you describe Him.
    But the fact remains that God is not only Love incarnate but a God of Justice as well. If that were not so then we would have just cause to disagree.
    The sad fact of life is that His original creation went wrong, not because of anything He did but because of what mankind did to corrupt it.
    So the judgement of God is a judgement we brought upon ourselves in rejecting Him.
    It was not for nothing that God says the wages of sin is death. It became that way when Adam sinned and he thus introduced death into the world for the first time. He actually died twice, once in his relationship with God and once in his physical death.
    This is why evolution is so wrong especially when theistic evolutionists try to reconcile it with the Bible.
    What they are saying in effect is that for millions of years death reigned before Adam. If that were so then God could not have pronounced His creation as “very good”.
    All of us are under that curse until we repent and receive Jesus as Saviour & Lord of our lives. And we all reap the consequences of our wrong doing.
    So don’t blame God, please, for what we get wrong especially when He has provided a way to put things right and we choose to ignore it.
    As the Bible so aptly puts it, we reap what we sow

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I understand how tempting this belief is… not just about death, but more generally that Creation was only meant to contain those things which are comfortable for us, and that the stuff like death, the stuff that scares us and that our limited understanding rejects, wasn’t meant to be part of Creation in the first place.

    We see this sort of belief not only in theology, but in all kinds of situations where people live under governing systems that appear capricious to our understanding. It’s sometimes more comfortable to believe that the Creator is not in control, than to believe that the Creator makes capricious or cruel choices. And from certain perspectives, making death and suffering and inequality a part of Creation certainly does seem capricious and cruel.

    Of course, the problem with this is that we’re making our own human judgments of what is comfortable, what is right, what is good, what is justified, what is cruel, what is capricious, and we’re presuming to judge Creation by that limited human standard.

    From a secular perspective, this is fine. An atheist sees a world in which the only moral standards are those inside mortal minds, and it makes sense from that perspective to judge Creation by our moral standards, and set out to correct the moral flaws in Creation.

    From a Christian perspective, it’s more difficult to manage… one ends up judging God’s Creation by human moral standards (like “death is wrong”) and the result is strained, requiring lots of argumentation and sophistry to support.

    It’s no surprise Christian theodicy is difficult. The whole idea of Man sorting through Creation and saying “Yes, we accept this, good job God; no, that’s bad… um, I guess that wasn’t really part of Creation, that was just something we threw in there that God couldn’t correct for”… that whole exercise is inherently difficult.

  • AnonaMiss

    So the judgement of God is a judgement we brought upon ourselves in rejecting Him.

    If the story of Noah’s Ark were literally true, newborn babes would have been among the people that God judged for rejecting him.

    You asked me earlier why I didn’t ask God about this incident and hold Him accountable for it. I said it was because I thought it was a story, a parable, something that was true on a teachings level but not on a historical level.

    But if you believe this is true on a historical level – have you asked God about it? Have you held Him accountable? Have you confronted Him with the deaths of the innocents you believe He has killed in cold blood?

    How did He answer you? Did He display shame? Regret? or did He just tell you that His ways are not ours, and that He will show you why it was necessary, when you are in heaven? Because if you’re accepting that kind of answer, well. There’s a word for a relationship in which one party threatens judgment on the other, refuses to be questioned, and refuses to be held accountable for their actions: abusive. How can you have a right relationship with an abuser?

    I’m not suggesting, by the way, that God is abusive. I’m suggesting that God would have to be abusive for the genocide stories to be literally true, and therefore since God is not abusive, they are not literally true. I think God may be saddened by your idea that He would ever have done these things that you ascribe to Him.

    How do you think the bridegroom feels to know that His wife, the love of His life, truly believes that if she misbehaved – or if she left Him – He would cast her into the fire? That she believes He has murdered His previous wives for doing so? Wouldn’t He be distraught? Wouldn’t He be mortified? Wouldn’t He doubt her love, doubt her willingness, doubt that she really wanted to be with Him, and that she wasn’t just acting to save her own skin? How can anyone have a right relationship in such a situation!

    Some serious marital counseling material there, is all I’m saying.

  • Alanlionheart

    This is never an easy type of issue to respond to especially when straw man arguments are used such as innocent babies.
    The point is who is right? God or you?
    I am reminded about the analogy of the potter and the clay in many places in the Bible, but this sums it up Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?
    You seem to misunderstand the exceeding sinfulness of mankind and the righteous judgement of God. When Adam fell all mankind fell from then onwards. All mankind is born into sin because of what Adam did. Thankfully there is a redemption and that is through Jesus. But if we wilfully reject Jesus as Saviour then who is to blame if God’s judgement falls on those who reject His solution.
    You seem to think that our salvation is an anything goes issue. But it isn’t. God has set the terms which we either accept or reject. there is no other way.
    What you are also missing is that God is Love. But because He is Love He cannot by His own standards ignore sin. He warned Adam right at the beginning if you do this you will live, but if you do that you will die. Adam thought he knew better than God and chose his own way and so died and we have inherited his genes so we too die unless we repent.
    This is not rocket science, it is the way it is not because of God but because we fail to admit we are wrong and so suffer the consequences. If we did right as God directs then we and our children would live.
    It’s the same choice God gave the Israelis in the desert, Choose Blessing or cursing. If you choose Blessing then this will happen. If you choose to be cursed then that will happen.
    What do you think they chose?
    They chose to be cursed
    Nothing changes and many of us never learn

  • P J Evans

    You seem to not understand anything but what you were told as a small child, most of which isn’t in the Bible, and the rest of which is taking stories literally that were never meant to be taken that way.

    If you believe that Jesus is the Savior, then consider that Jesus was sent so that God could save *everyone*, living and dead. It’s God becoming human, and finding out what humans feel and do, *including dying in agony*.

    We all are sinners, but also we all are *redeemed*.

    God is love, and therefore God DOES NOT throw people into hell; hell is something each of us can choose for as long as we feel the need to be in it.

    (Also, what the hell are you talking about sin being genetic? That’s plain lying. Especially since Adam *did not exist*.)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Romans 5:18 would seem to support this.

    Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.

    The focus on original sin, although based on a view of scripture, is largely owed to Augustine of Hippo, who wasn’t so much concerned about the eating of the apple as he was that Adam and Eve did the nasty. Scripture itself only refers to Adam’s actions leading to death. Augustine, based on his readings, decided that death was a consequence of sin and therefore linked the ideas of sinfulness, sex and death.

  • Alanlionheart

    There is a modicum of truth in what you say. 2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
    But note first God is patient, second as you say He is not willing that any should perish and third that ALL should come to repentance.
    If God was going to do as you say, why would He need to be patient? After all It’s a done deal isn’t it?
    And what’s this about “repentance”?
    Why do we need to repent if we are all going to heaven anyway?
    Indeed why would Jesus need to die, sent to the cross by His Father, so that the way of salvation could be opened up for all people?
    When we examine your post it is full of inconsistencies.
    So in case I’ve got it wrong, please explain with appropriate Biblical references your line of thinking and where for example does it say in the Bible that we are all redeemed?

  • The_L1985

    John 3:17. I have it memorized. “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

    I see nothing in the entire Bible that would preclude the following idea of Hell and Heaven:

    People go to Hell and stay there until they repent. For some, this may well be eternity; however, there are those who would undergo true repentance in that time and ascend to Heaven. This is pretty much the way Jews perceive Sheol.

    Remember, the only people that the Bible describes as automatically being damned forever are the Devil and the Beast. That’s it.

  • AnonaMiss

    I am not questioning the potter, sir. The potter tells me that He is Love, and based on my experiences with Him I believe it; and so I disbelieve the stories other pots tell about the time that the potter slew a whole village in cold blood, down to the last child, because the adults there were wicked.

    You accuse the potter of killing the entire population of the earth save one family, babies and all. I am defending the potter from this accusation, and I am rebuking you for slandering him. Is it so much better for a lump of clay to slander the potter, than to question Him?

    Innocent babies is not a straw man argument. If a global flood actually happened, destroying all people on earth except for one family, then a large proportion of those God killed with it were less than 5 years old. Remember, in pre-industrial societies, there are far more children than there are adults. This image is for Afghanistan in 2005, but it conveys the general shape of the age distributions of a society without access to modern medical care: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Afghanistan_population_pyramid_2005.png . In ancient times, the distribution would be even more skewed, because in modern Afghanistan, at least many medicines exist for conditions which in antediluvian times would have been a death sentence.

    So if the global flood happened, it killed more people between the ages of 0-4 than it did people in any other 5-year age interval. Did the infant too young to walk “choose to be cursed?” Did the suckling “reject salvation,” even as his mother held him desperately above the rising waters?

    God said he wouldn’t destroy Sodom if he found 5 righteous men within its walls. But though it was a large city, with many more than 5 infants in it, the story tells us that he destroyed it anyway. Tell me, which do you think is more likely: that God forgot about the infants in Sodom? Or that a storyteller forgot about the infants in Sodom, because he was telling a story/teaching a lesson in which the existence or non-existence of infants in Sodom was incidental?

    Saying that the flood happened, historically literally happened just as it is told in the Bible, requires that you believe God murdered innocent babies, too young to understand, let alone to choose. So which is it? Did God murder innocent babies? Or is the tale of the flood a parable, not a history?

    (He is always listening.)

  • Alanlionheart

    There are a number of accounts in the Bible where babies have been killed. The Bible tells it as it was without apologising for it. Herod killed babies to try to wipe out the Jewish Messiah Jesus, Pharaoh killed babies to try to prevent Moses from growing up to redeem Israel from slavery, David’s son from his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba died.
    Did God organise all these deaths?
    No, they arose out of disobedience or rebellion against God. And the Bible is consistent about this where is says that the wages of sin is death. It we choose to sin then death will follow in one form or another.
    There are also a number of accounts in the Bible where we read that a person “and his family” were saved.
    The Bible tells us that if there is one Christian in the family the whole family is sanctified.
    This is a sombre subject and as I said earlier it is not an easy one. But the fact remains that parents have an awesome responsibility before God to care for their children and this includes getting themselves into a right relationship with God.
    I’m sorry to contradict you about babies because they are not innocent, they are born into and tainted by sin. If you need evidence for this you only need to take account of one of the 10 commandments that talks of the sins of the parents being visited on the children to the 3rd or 4th generation then look at the families you know of and see if it is not true.
    The truth is we see it all the time, children take after their parents and are impacted by them and usually end up following their traits.
    If you want to blame someone for the death of babies in the historical flood then you need look no further than their parents who were given ample warning of what was to come and could or even should have done something about it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    the Bible is consistent about this where is says that the wages of sin is death.

    Who decided that? Because if it was God, then your attempt to blame anybody but God fails, and if it was not God, then there is some power greater than God and your attempt to convince us that God is greatest fails.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Most people see this as monstrous behavior. If committed by any human on the planet, it is seen as monstrous behavior; if our ethics are inferior to God’s, then God’s ethics should preclude monstrous behavior. You can scream “infinite complexity!” to the heavens for all I care, but murdering an infant for the sins of a parent (much less their great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents) strikes me as the kind of behavior one would attribute to Satan.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Seen the Good Guy Lucifer meme? I forgot the link, sorry, and it’s probably something not-work-accessible for me anyway.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    http://www.quickmeme.com/Good-Guy-Lucifer/upcoming is what you’re looking for, I think.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’s the one, thanks.

  • AnonaMiss

    Allowing people free will, and then them deciding to kill someone, is one thing. Killing someone yourself is quite another.

    No one was given warning of the flood except Noah, in the story. God told Noah about the flood. Everyone mocked him for building an ark.

    A newborn baby hasn’t had the time to be influenced by its parents’ behavior.

    If the sins of the father are visited upon the son, does God cast those who die in infancy into Hell, before they have committed crimes of their own?

    You would rather accuse God of killing babies because of the wickedness of their parents than admit that one of the stories in the Bible is a parable rather than a history. This isn’t even inconsistent with inerrancy! The Bible contains plenty of parables, stories that aren’t literally true – the sheep and the goats, the good Samaritan, the prodigal son – but you don’t consider their presence in the Book to make it ‘errant’.

    Repent of the slander you have leveled against God, and direct your worship and faith once more towards the living God, and not towards the dead pages of a book.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I don’t think salvation is an “anything goes issue”. I just think you’re wrong about what terms God has set. I refuse to believe in a God who is less kind, less forgiving, less generous than I am. Shall I believe that I can find it in my heart to love and welcome into my home people that the creator of the universe can’t bring Himself to love and welcome into His?

  • Alanlionheart

    Ross, God is Love personified so He is infinitely more Love than you could possibly imagine.

    He has also given mankind everything we need through Jesus so that as Christians we can reflect His love towards everyone.

    The problem is not God but us.

    What you fail to understand is that by rejecting God we also reject His love and as I said earlier God wants us to have a relationship with Him and is not willing that any should perish.
    But that relationship is on His terms not ours.
    So if I am wrong about God’s terms then please show me from the Bible

  • EllieMurasaki

    God is Love personified so He is infinitely more Love than you could possibly imagine.

    Which brings us right back to the problem of, how is it that I am more loving than Love is?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Sure. Romans 5.

    13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

    15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

    18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

    I see nothing adding qualifiers to who is and isn’t worthy of life. That sort of behavior springs from Simon Peter, Paul and Augustine, not Jesus.

  • cyllan

    [Content notification: abusive relationships]

    Someone who is seeking a relationship with you, but who will only reward you with their love you if meet some arbitrary, and often impossible standard and who will punish you “for your own good” of “because you leave me no choice” when you fail to meet this standard is an abuser, and you should run from them as far and as fast as possible.

    “You must believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord” is exactly as arbitrary as “Dinner needs to be exactly at 6:00, and should be beef instead of chicken” particularly when the person making this requirement leaves contradictory indications as to what zie expects for either a belief system or dinner. “Pick this one particular religion out of all these competing belief systems” is no different than “pick the correct package of meat out of the freezer for my dinner tonight.” Failure to correctly guess the desired outcome should not result in hell or a belt, and the fault lies squarely on the person delivering the abuse and not on the abused.

  • The_L1985

    Where is the whole “chance to repent” thing mentioned?

    In Jonah, Nineveh is given the chance to repent before destruction. In Genesis, there is no mention of this. When you consider that only the patriarchs are ever described as able to communicate one-on-one with God in the Torah, how would they know? It never mentions anyone else

    And that “after their kind” argument just compresses evolution into a much tighter time period, to a rather ludicrous extent. For example, dogs evolved from wolves (in fact, the current biological classification of dogs is as a subspecies of wolf, Canis lupus familiaris). The amount of physical and genetic variety among dogs clearly indicates that they have been around for a very long time. It takes a certain number of generations for a species to develop that level of variety. In bacteria, generations last a couple of minutes, so you get really fast evolution, resulting in such phenomena as the flu (technically a virus, but same generation length so same principle) being different every year, so that you need a different flu shot every year. In dogs, elephants, and humans, generations last a lot longer, so evolving new traits takes millennia. There are carvings and paintings of modern species that are tens of thousands of years old. By ancient Egypt (4000 years ago), all the animal species we associate with the region already existed. This is not possible if speciation happened after a flood 5000 years ago.

    And I wasn’t making assumptions about the environment. I was making assumptions about the following properties of water:

    1. Water evaporates and rises into the atmosphere at certain temperatures.

    2. Because warm things are less dense than cold things, the water rises up through the atmosphere.

    3. The water condenses into tiny droplets to form clouds.

    4. When the clouds become dense enough, the droplets fall as rain.

    You can’t stop having water cycles without changing how heat and molecular motion work. In other words, not just the environment, but every single thing in the entire universe would have to have been dramatically different pre-Deluge.

    Add to that the proven impossibility of our atmosphere to sustain the vapor canopy described by Flood advocates, and the fact that the sheer amount of tectonic upheaval described (“and to drain the water, God formed our modern ocean basins”) would produce enough heat to vaporize the planet, and a global flood is clearly impossible.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In Jonah, Nineveh is given the chance to repent before destruction. In Genesis, there is no mention of this.

    It wasn’t about repentance. It was about destroying the angels’ children; the rest of the world’s children were an afterthought. Read 1 Enoch sometime, and then compare it to Genesis 6.

  • The_L1985

    I know this, but Alan didn’t mention it, so I didn’t. I’m pretty sure that in another post, though, I clearly mentioned that some of the people killed were only “guilty” of being born of men and angels, a thing they could not control or help.

  • Alanlionheart

    You are right, the chance to repent is not specifically mentioned in Genesis rather implied. And OK I know I am treading on dangerous ground here reading into the Bible something that is not specifically mentioned so feel free to shoot me down in flames of you disagree :)

    We first read in Genesis 6 that 3 ….the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans for ever, for they are mortal; We also read in the same chapter … The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

    The issue of God contending with mankind means that He was active in the world dealing with issues but the population at that time effectively turned their backs on God. The same sin that Adam & Eve had committed at the fall.
    In verse 9 we read This is the account of Noah and his family.
    Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

    As is usually the case, even today, people go about their lives ignoring God and His message of salvation. But can you imagine such an obvious sign of what was to come as Noah started to build the Ark in presumably the desert, but certainly on dry ground and the ridicule he and his helpers must have gone through during the construction. And Noah being a righteous man is hardly likely to have been silent on his reasons for doing such an apparently stupid thing.

    Then notice that is was God who shut the doors of the Ark, thus preventing Noah from yielding to the cries of the people as they begged to be let in as the flood waters rose.

    One the matter of dogs, I entirely agree with you that wolves are part of the same family “kind” You can call them Wolf kind of dog kind but they are still of the same kind. They haven’t for example evolved into cats.

    I disagree on the “time” argument. I think there is plenty of evidence to show that different species of dog can arise in a very short space of time compared to the so called millions of years some adhere to.

    In regard to water, again there is no argument between us. The Bible is silent on the issue and the water canopy idea whilst not totally discarded is being looked at afresh. But then one would expect that with science.
    As for the flood not being global, scientists have created models to show the feasibility of it happening and are tackling the associated issues of heat etc as new ideas and thinking come to light in scientific discovery.
    So although there is a lot of scoffing I would dismiss these ideas quite so quickly just yet with respect.

  • The_L1985

    OK, I can see where the confusion on evolution is happening, because “species,” “family,” and “variety” are not interchangeable words.

    For two things to be members of the same species, they have to be capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring. Being members of different species means that they either can’t interbreed at all (like cats and giraffes) or that they can interbreed, but their offspring are sterile (horses and donkeys can breed to make a mule, but mules can’t have babies).

    Dogs and wolves are the same species. We know that because dogs and wolves can interbreed to make fertile pups. Unless you’re classifying foxes and coyotes as “dogs,” which makes sense because they’re both in the family Canidae (the dog family). They’re not in the same genus, though. Coyotes and jackals are in the genus Thos, and foxes are in the genus Vulpes. Dogs, wolves, and dingos are all the same species: Canis lupus. Dogs are Canis lupus familiaris, and dingos are Canis lupus dingo.

    Here’s the list of how things are classified, from biggest group to smallest, most specific group:

    Kingdom–Phylum–Class–Over–Family–Genus–Species.

    You can remember it using the following sentence:

    King Phillip Came Over For a Giant Sundae. :)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The whole “If they can interbreed they are definitionally the same species and hybrids are always sterile” thing is a taxonomical definition that predates our current understanding of genetics, and hybrid fertility has more to do with the number of chromosomes than arbitrary species lines (Not all interspecies hybrids are sterile. Beefalo and Wholphins are both fertile, and as far as I know, no one is claiming cows and bison are the same species, nor dolphins and killer whales. Plants are completely different too).

    And I’m partial to the mnemonic “Ken, Please Come Over For Gay Sex”

  • Alanlionheart

    I can see the problem marrying up the Biblical “kind” with the more scientific labelling but it looks to me as if we are in agreement on this aspect.
    Thank you for the clarification
    But I wonder, since we have only got back to the “family”, whether we will part company when we consider the other bits like “Kingdom” etc :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Noah is supposed to have been only, what, five thousand years ago? That’s only a few evolutionary heartbeats. The only way ‘two of every kind’ and that timespan can be reconciled given current biodiversity is if the Ark was a whole fuck of a lot bigger–or if the world never flooded to begin with.

  • Alanlionheart

    With respect Ellie I disagree

    You seem to be so locked in to evolutionary time scales that you fail to see what’s happening in the real world.

    Simple maths will tell you that it would take hardly any time to repopulate the world after the flood and speciation would happen quite rapidly and still does so I understand

    Take this as an example:

    If a generation is represented by 20 years, and earth’s population doubled each time, by the 23rd generation there would have been over 30 million people from the original 8
    Animals reproduce much faster and in greater numbers so I don’t see the issue the same way at all

  • EllieMurasaki

    Back up those “simple maths” with citations from biology experts. Biology 101 textbooks (the ones that talk about evolution and not creationism) will do.

  • Alanlionheart

    With respect Ellie, why would I do that and reinforce your skewed thinking?
    Are you not able to think outside the evolutionary box to see the silliness of an aspect of evolutionary thinking/teaching.
    If my maths is wrong then double the generation period and factor in death.
    And don’t forget we are talking about animal repopulation and speciation not human

  • EllieMurasaki

    With respect Ellie, why would I [step outside the brick-walled box imposed by my own skewed thinking] and reinforce your [scientifically accurate within the limits of your understanding of biology] thinking?
    fixed

  • Alanlionheart

    Nice one Ellie :)

  • The_L1985

    There are currently about 100 panthers living in Florida. That’s a far cry from 2. Yet they are showing evidence of degenerate mutations from inbreeding, because they are descended from only 20 panthers that lived here in the 1970’s. (20 is also a lot more than 2.) Panthers have to be introduced from other states for breeding in order to keep the Floridian panther population healthy.

    And then there’s the blue parrot from the movie Rio, which was actually based on a true story. One male and one female left in their entire species. The male was released into the wild in hopes of replenishing their kind. He meets and mates with the female, and they have chicks. (This is where the movie ends.) After 2 or 3 generations, however, the species went extinct anyway, because there was no way for the chicks to reproduce without sibling or parental incest, and repeated incest can cause nasty, life-threatening mutations within just a few generations.

    One male, one female. Gee, that sounds a lot like the supposed condition of every species in the Flood story! Even the humans were all close blood relatives except for the sons’ wives, who married into the family. Thus, the offspring that Noah and his sons might have had after the Flood would automatically have to commit incest for several generations in order to have any children. Which is bad for the exact same reasons.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    If you’re actually interested in relying on observation, mathematics and science as a source of data (which I encourage and applaud), you may want to do some reading on minimum viable population in addition to the research you’ve already done on speciation and population growth rates.

  • The_L1985

    You still haven’t answered my question about the water cycle. I take this to mean you don’t have an answer.

    I’m not surprised, honestly. The main purpose of an upbringing such as ours is to stifle one’s natural curiosity so that one does not ask The Wrong Questions. After all, asking questions is anathema to a tightly-controlled worldview based on keeping one’s lackeys in line.

  • Alanlionheart

    I’m sorry but I think I may have missed it somewhere along the line. I wouldn’t dare ignore you :)
    On the other hand we do seem to disagree about to so much. I’ve never had my curiosity stifled. However I do AGREE (!!) that it has got me into trouble from time to time but God is good and we have all got over it

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve never had my curiosity stifled. However I do AGREE (!!) that it has
    got me into trouble from time to time but God is good and we have all
    got over it

    It’s actually kind of depressing seeing that from someone.

    I keep being reminded of that ST:TNG Book “Gulliver’s Fugitives”.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    My point actually is that the narrative is either true or it isn’t. If it isn’t why are we wasting our time even discussing it?

    If you actually consider all discussion of non-historical narratives a waste of time, I recommend you find another community to contribute to. This one is unlikely to satisfy you, nor are your contributions likely to be valued here.

    If you don’t actually consider all discussion of non-historical narratives a waste of time, the fact that you find yourself arguing that position here is a bad sign. I recommend you take a break from trying to convince other people of things and take some time alone to really think through what you know about the world, and how you know it. It’s often a useful exercise.

  • Alanlionheart

    You are making the assumption that the account of the Flood is a myth. I disagree

    However if you want to focus on Cinderella and hidden meanings in the fairy tale then go ahead

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > You are making the assumption that the account of the Flood is a myth.

    Not quite: I didn’t assume this, I concluded it. But regardless, yes, I believe it’s a myth.

    > I disagree

    Clearly.

    > However if you want to focus on Cinderella and hidden meanings in the fairy tale then go ahead

    I haven’t said a word about Cinderella. I can’t tell whether your comment was meant as a response to someone else, or if you’re now just discussing with an undifferentiated mass of “people who are wrong on the Internet.”

    If the latter, I recommend you take a breather and reconsider who you’re talking to, and why you’re talking to us. It turns out we’re actually individuals who don’t always agree with each other, so treating us as an undifferentiated mass will tend to cause unnecessary confusion.

  • The_L1985

    OK, here’s an experiment for you. Here is an exhaustive list of flood stories. Please explain exactly how you can be certain which ones are factual historical accounts and which ones are myths. Furthermore, you must understand that the word “myth” has meaning beyond simply “not literally true.”

    Since Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees, in the region of Babylon, I would especially recommend you read the Chaldean, Babylonian, and Sumerian myths.

  • Alanlionheart

    Of course
    People call these stories myths because they choose not to believe them. If they were true then there would be a major issue with all those lovely scientists that simply got it wrong and we can’t have that now can we?
    Whatever we call these accounts makes no difference to whether they really happened or not.
    As it happens the Bible talks about TWO global floods, have you noticed?
    No one talks about the first but everyone focusses on the second. I wonder why if it is a myth?
    Of course the other issue is the order of events. It should come as no surprise that global flood stories abound. If it were just the Bible saying so one might be forgiven for being ever so slightly sceptical. But geologists still refuse to deal with the stories despite the long list of them from ancient times.
    My view is that using science to interpret the Bible is generally not a good idea because science often gets it wrong

  • P J Evans

    People call these stories myths because they choose not to believe them

    No. Just NO. Stop right there. You’re already wrong, and you’re only one sentence into your ‘splaining.

  • The_L1985

    Er, science is the process of using experiments to determine whether or not things are possible. How can the process of using experiments “get it wrong,” exactly?

  • hf

    Because Satan is deceiving you, of course! You fail to ask the real question: what do Satanic witches really want?

    Tradition would have you believe they want to hurt people and curse cattle. This is obviously wrong. For starters, God would stop them. More importantly, wealth and safety for a country tend to reduce faith, thereby sending more people to damnation. The US seems like the only real exception, protected as we are by white Southern students of the Bible who know that wealth is a sign of God’s favor. So Satanists would want to make people happier, wealthier, and safer by black magic.

    Ask yourself this: do you really know how a light-bulb works? Well enough to build one?

    Clearly most of our “technology” and “science” is a lie straight from Hell, powered by sorcery. We knew our educated elites were Satan’s fifth column. We just didn’t know, until now, the full depth of the conspiracy.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Poe’s Law?

    Yes, I know how to build a light-bulb. People have been building them for over 200 years. It’s not actually that difficult. :p But for those who need to see the process…!

  • The_L1985

    Wow, that’s not a bad Poe. It took me a second to realize you were just trolling. :)

  • Alanlionheart

    Thalidomide

  • The_L1985

    I’m related to a “thalidomide baby.” I know exactly what happened, because I made it a point to study it. That was not science getting anything wrong, that was greedy doctors and pharmacists refusing to acknowledge the evidence before their eyes that thalidomide was dangerous, because they wanted to make money off of prescriptions.

    Even so, it took less than a year after babies with thalidomide-caused deformities started being born for the FDA to finally ban the use of the stuff in the US for pregnant women.

    It was essentially a large-scale scientific experiment with tragically delayed results. Women who took thalidomide had babies with certain deformities; women who did not take thalidomide had normal babies. Thus, thalidomide causes birth defects. Scientists were the ones pressuring the AMA and FDA to stop prescribing the stuff.

    Also, considering that thalidomide doesn’t occur in nature, it only ever existed as a result of chemical experimentation in the first place.

    The thalidomide tragedy is not a failure of science; it is a failure of human compassion due to greed.

  • Alanlionheart

    I’m sorry to hear that. It was a dreadful period in the UK as well and I don’t for one minute dispute what you say about greed etc.
    But I do wonder why others in the scientific community did nothing to stop it. Maybe it was all covered up but medical science, as good as it often is, should have prevented the catastrophe I think
    Otherwise what do we have but a vain hope that medical science hasn’t messed up in other areas?
    So from my perspective I do still think that the science failed with this drug and the fact that it was eventually withdrawn underlines that

  • EllieMurasaki

    Soooo…you’re blaming the entire spectrum of science for not stopping sooner a thing that scientists in the applicable fields stopped as soon as was humanly possible?

  • Alanlionheart

    Hardly
    I am saying that someone should have taken moral responsibility to stop the faulty science before it got off the ground. Clearly it was faulty and not thoroughly researched. Someone or people got it seriously wrong

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am saying that someone should have taken moral responsibility to stop the faulty [theology] before it got off the ground. Clearly it was faulty and not thoroughly researched. Someone or people got it seriously wrong
    Do you see the problem with this statement? Hint: it’s not the bit I changed.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    This is not possible, in particular because science doesn’t have any kind of authoritative body which determines what is acceptable or not. That’s left up to government, and the US government (despite claiming every third sentence or so that this is a Christian nation with Christian heritage and Christian ideals) has a very large body of people willing to kill people to make a buck.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Otherwise what do we have but a vain hope that medical science hasn’t messed up in other areas?

    What do we have?

    We have a measurable reduction in child mortality rates.

    We have medical advances that have kept several friends of mine alive and happy and productive who fifty years ago would have died from cancer.

    We have medical advances over a mere fifteen years that let me survive a stroke in 2007 that would have killed me in 1992.

    We have the knowledge that we can learn from the mistakes we make, and thereby do better next time. And better, and better, and better, and better.

    We have the knowledge that fallible minds, by working together and paying attention, can make the world better. And better, and better, and better, and better.

    Of course we have failures. We’ve had plenty of failures. And we have to examine them so we can learn from them. If we don’t learn from our failures, people die needlessly.

    But to look back without also crediting our successes is dishonest. More important, if we don’t learn from our successes, people die needlessly.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Your comment doesn’t actually end at “And we have to examine …”, does it, Dave?

    Fuck Disqus. Any stronger words would require a violence and sexual violence warning so I shall refrain.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    No, no it doesn’t. So yes, subscriptions just became worthless to most of us. They really are on a roll with these updates, aren’t they.

  • EllieMurasaki

    FUCKITY.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    No, but in retrospect it would be awfully evocative if it did.

  • Alanlionheart

    I entirely agree
    But here in the UK we have issues that people are dying needlessly because of poor nursing care, patients being neglected, poor hygiene etc. As good as our health service is, it is let down by carelessness and lack of proper attention.
    Yet some parts of it are excellent.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Yup. Here in the US, as well.

  • The_L1985

    None of those things are the fault of the scientific method, though. You just said yourself that they are the fault of carelessness.

  • P J Evans

    And it turned out that the compound is chiral (handed) and only one of the two forms is teratogenic – but that wasn’t well-known at the time. (Also, it’s useful in treating some diseases.)

  • Mrs Grimble

    But geologists still refuse to deal with the
    stories despite the long list of them from ancient
    times.

    Geologists don’t deal with flood stories because they aren’t anthropologists; creation myths aren’t their department. They
    can however use science to disprove that the Biblical flood happened as written.

    But anthropologists HAVE dealt with widespread ories of floods from ancient times; they’ve pointed out (as indeed I did, earlier in this thread) that early humanity civilisations developed in fertile river valleys and deltas which would have been subject to flash floods and tsunamis.

  • SisterCoyote

    You’ll recall that the Apostle Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for not having animatronics.

    My sister, baking in the kitchen as I read this aloud, doubled over, and says “Thanks for making me snarf into my pie crust, Slacktivist guy.”

  • Vermic

    Holy cow, if St. Peter’s Basilica had an animatronic Hall of Popes that would be the most boss thing ever.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Goody, an endless parade of old white guys in white. Don’t you think it might get a little … tedious.

  • VMink

    It gets much more interesting when they include Pope Joan, and the antipopes of Avignon.

    … That’s the name of my new lounge metal band.

  • Michael Hill

    John Hagee claims to be a “Friend of Israel”. I wonder how they would feel when they discover that Hagee is a leader in the “End of Days” movement that threatens to put Jews to the sword if they do not convert to Christianity.

  • pharoute

    I think the real reason for all the “Noah’s ark is real!!” talk is to quietly bring back the curse on Ham as a justification of racism.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Not to rule that possibility out, but I suspect the front-of-the-mind motive is more likely to be an attempt to convince skeptics (and even more, to convince themselves) that every word of the King James version is too accurate, so there, and therefore they don’t have to struggle with any of that bad old ambiguity and uncertainty and – horrors – thinking.

  • Carstonio

    How common is that justification or belief? I never heard of it until I read The Handmaid’s Tale. The first time I read the Noah story, I didn’t even think of the three sons as supposedly the forefathers of different races. (Now I imagine Fred MacMurray as Noah.)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s still common in certain despicable circles. I recommend against googling it since pretty much all the answer group references to the phrase are Obama-bashing racists and the vitriol is incredibly ugly.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    When I was taught the story as a Jewish child in the 1970s (we worked our way through the Old Testament verse by verse in Hebrew, translating as we went and discussing the text), the Ham-was-the-ancestor-of-black-people legend was definitely explicitly articulated.

    As I recall, it wasn’t explicitly used to support the idea that black people were somehow or other inferior to white people… indeed, I don’t recall that we were ever explicitly taught that Noah was white. But it wasn’t difficult to make that connection.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    ISTR the Mormons used that doctrine until it became socially untenable and quietly did away with it in 1978.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    As I understand it, the Mormon doctrine that restricted the eligibility of black people within the church was based on something distinct from the Curse of Ham thing. The political motivation for dropping it* had to do with their conversion efforts in South America

    (* And by “motivation for dropping it”, I of course mean “motivation for praying real hard that God would forgive black people, only to receive new information from On High clarifying that God actually had been okay with all races the whole time and was sorry for the misunderstanding)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Yeah, it was linked to the story of the Lamanites, wherein (in translations prior to 2010 and in footnotes prior to 1981) God curses the Lamanite people with black skin and that proper repenting gradually turns their skin white and beautiful. In later translations, it just says they were cut off from God and that repenting renders them pure.

    Blatant retconning.

  • Alanlionheart

    As I understand it the alleged “curse of Ham” has nothing to do with racism at all. It’s just a misapplication of Scripture to justify a wrong position

  • banancat

    And it has historically been used to racist ends. By Christians.

  • Alanlionheart

    You are right
    It has also been used by many religious people whose Christianity I would question. But this is a sad example of people twisting Scripture to suit their own bigoted position.
    I guess we’ve all done that at one time or another and I include myself in that

  • damanoid

    While Hagee doesn’t have any plans to spend money feeding the poor children of San Antonio, the profits from the Ark will be used to fund the next phase of the project: an elaborate “Manna-Mobile” traveling educational show that will visit poor neighborhoods with a highly realistic banquet display of delicious-looking artificial food.*

    Hagee’s patented ‘Heaven-Scent'(tm) technology will waft savory odors to further entice audiences. Using state-of-the-art holographic technology, plates of food will appear to duplicate themselves endlessly in front of the viewer, thereby proving the truth of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Hungry visitors will be entertained and instructed by the wisecracking antics of animatronic food characters Bready, Winey, and Cornelius the Unclean Pork Chop.

    *Visitors who purchase the $250 ‘Golden Elite’ Unlimited Passport will be granted access to the ‘(Ever)Last(ing) Supper’ Crystal Pavilion, where they will enjoy a world-class dining experience with an elevated view of the other visitors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Why do I think this is not a joke?

  • Bob

    While I agree that trying to ‘prove’ Noah’s ark is real is pointless, especially if they’re only using 16 animals, mostly fake, and not even a proper boat, I’ve got to ask, what is the real point of the story? Something about environmetalism? A warning against pissing god off? And, if it didn’t really happen, how can it teach us anything about the nature of god?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Are you familiar with the terms ‘thought experiment’ and ‘fiction’?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Does there exist a fictional story that you think does have a point?

    If so, you might find it useful to consider what you think the point of that story is, and how you came to that conclusion. And whatever that process is, applying the same process to the story of Noah.

    If not, then I suspect trying to discern any point in the story of Noah will be a waste of effort.

  • hf

    Seems like a waste of effort regardless. The story I see in the J text (mangled and partly overwritten by a fan of the Priestly text) goes like this. Yhvh starts as a clever little boy deity. He makes a lot of mistakes. When the adult deities ruin his experiment by barging in and having sex with his creations, he angrily decides to destroy what he’s made. But he decides not to kill Noah because he kind of likes the guy. (Later, he gets strong and wise enough to tell the Egyptian pantheon what to do.)

    The only useful lesson I see is that it’s harder to kill someone who you know personally. As usual, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality makes this point better.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Many of us grew up in the decades before Ms. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books and before Mr. Yudkowsky turned his hand to rationalist Harry Potter fanfiction, and we therefore had to rely on other sources for our understanding of the world.

  • hf

    And did you, in fact, get that lesson from the story of Noah?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    By “that lesson” you mean “it’s harder to kill someone who you know personally”? No, not especially. The earliest instance of that lesson I can think of was a story about a farmer’s kid being chastised for naming one of the chickens because “we raise chickens for food, son.” But I can’t remember the story.

  • The_L1985

    Because Jesus never used fictional parables to teach about the nature of God.

    That’s like saying that Aesop’s fables don’t have anything to teach about morality, because animals can’t really talk.

  • Marta L.

    “I want them to say it happened.”

    There are lots of things we could say about Matt Hagee’s comments, the theology and the ethics and even the money-management side of it. But what I’m stuck on is this: Matt Hagee didn’t say he wants those youngsters to believe it happened, but rather that he wants them to say it happened. As adults, Noah’s Ark will be a story bound up with the fun talking birds and the new shiny building It’s kind of like how Santa Claus gives kids an emotional connection to the easter story that makes it that much harder for them to give up on.

    This emotional manipulation (and it really is, IMO) makes it more likely kids will say Noah’s Ark is true, that Adam and Eve and the six days are true – not because you actually believe what the story says but because not believing would cast a shadow over those fun childhood memories. It’s a telling slip of the tongue.

  • Jessica_R

    This would be a great opportunity for atheists, agnostics, and non awful believers to do a matching fundraising thing, and give the 5 mill to various soup kitchens, domestic violence shelters, prison libraries, free clinics, etc. etc. in the area. Anybody know if someone is starting something like this?

  • Dash1

    I’ll give these folks at least some credit for recognizing that the story has credibility issues. The Millennium Theater in Lancaster, PA, has a Noah’s Ark play (“live animals!” which turns out to mean a donkey, a couple of cows, some birds, a dog and some goats). There’s a point where the theater goes dark and then there’s a reveal of the sides of the theater, to show animatronic animals (except, I think, for the goats and birds and maybe the donkey) neatly stowed in their 10 foot by 4 foot pens. At least one response: “this shows that it really could have happened.” Not that the person disbelieved it before, but they recognized that people questioning the story aren’t entirely deluded.

    So you don’t have to go, I’ll give you the good parts. When they bring the animals up the aisle in pairs, they don’t seem to notice that they have two peacocks and no peahens. (Since birds come in sevens, this would have been the right moment for a little expansion of the script to include presumably Shem yelling at younger brother Ham for getting two males and younger brother Ham pointing out, as younger brothers will, that these are two of 7 males, and they’ve got 7 females coming, and keep your tunic on, Mr. Bossyloincloth.) The dog was a St. Bernard (apparently no one knows about the standard pariah dog look; fortunately, for those inclined to speculate about how the replenishment of the canine population was going to happen, they did establish the St. Bernard as a female, so the male could have been a chihuahua), and Noah’s confidant. At a certain point, Noah sits down and confesses his doubts to the dog, who seizes the moment to do a little unscripted personal grooming. Unsurprisingly, the other high point for certain members of the audience was when the cow interrupted one of Noah’s songs to pee onstage.

    At the end (spoiler!) the ark is left on stage, and the keel moves outward with a couple of horizontal planks, i.e. leaving a cross-shaped hole in the front of the ark. And . . . Jesus comes out and does a quick gospel presentation. I am not making this up.

    And now you don’t have to go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    I’m just mussing on the image of the St. Bernard and the chihuahua… maybe if he stood on a chair?
    oh yes, I do have a naughty mind.

  • VMink

    There is a picture of a pomeranian-husky mix floating around the net. Really, an absolutely adorable dog, but… yeah, no, I have no idea how.

  • P J Evans

    I once saw a basset-shepherd mix. It was … interesting. (Shepherd head on a basset body.)

  • Slash

    RE “… just like the way Peter Jackson proved the existence of Rivendell.”

    LOL

  • Steve Morrison

    Helena Constantine said:

    Rivendell was built as a fortress at the time the Witch King of Angmar had a large army laying waste to the remnants of the Northern Kingdom.

    Heresy!! Incorrect doctrine!!! According to the One True Holy Book, Rivendell was founded in the Second Age, at the time of the War of the Elves and Sauron! According to the Tale of Years for S.A. 1697:

    Elrond retreats with remnant of the Noldor and founds the refuge of Imladris.

  • Steve Morrison

    As for an Old Testament parable, how about the story of the lamb which Nathan told to David? (“Thou art the man!”)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kalleoskar.isaacson Carl Oscar Isaacson

    It’s interesting. This attempted replica made me think: “Well if it really happened, we should be able to trace that DNA back to Noah’s time. And wouldn’t all those animals have extremely limited DNA differences – wouldn’t the whole of the animal kingdom be pretty vulnerable to the kinds of mutations that lead to weaknesses like hemophilia? Noah’s grandsons would all have to marry his grand-daughters. They’d be like first cousins once removed and we’d all be as messed up as backwoods Arkansas.” Yep that ark reproduction led me straight to thinking about the literal veracity of Genesis and brought me that much closer to god. Yep, sure did. Thanks Hagees.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Well, that’s if you go by Christian canon exclusively. In Jewish folklore, Adam had a wife before Eve who bore hundreds of children with him. She’s mentioned in some translations of the Bible in Isaiah 34:14.

    And desert creatures shall meet with hyenas,
    and a goat-demon shall call to his neighbor;
    surely there Lilith shall repose,
    and she shall find a resting place for herself.

    Other translations change Lilith to a lamia or simply a screech owl. However, the night demon has a much more fleshed out history elsewhere: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith

  • P J Evans

    Giant squid. Population crash, followed by a population explosion. All within the last 50 thousand years. They think all the giant squid are one species, also.

  • Amaryllis

    Having been away from this thread for a few days, I tried to catch up, to figure out what the conversation had been and where it is right now, since it still seems to be active.

    I tried various combinations of “newest,” “oldest,” and “load more,” and I’ve come to the conclusion that it can’t be done. And what can be done is time-consuming and irritating.

    (And, in other news, water is wet.)

    But Disqus, I hate you.

    That is all.

    ETA: and the damn thing won’t even let me log in.

  • P J Evans

    And if you have it set to ‘oldest’, you still have to poke it every time, because whatever it’s using to order posts, it isn’t actually time and date.

    Disqus managed to make itself worse in the last ‘update’.

  • Eric Crawford

    for those interested in the “cubits and kettle corn” however, there’s a good overview here on the historicity of the events and the literature http://www.christianevolution.com/2012/11/is-noahs-ark-real-true-story.html


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