“If you had never heard of the Bible … let’s say they put it on the back of a fucking Captain Crunch, how quick would you recognize that as true? Would you go, ‘Hey, this is exactly what I was looking for! Yeah, the fucking flood and the Ark — this sounds incredibly true!’ You’d throw it in the trash, would you not? That’s why they have to pump it in your head when you’re still little, and you’ve got a soft spot, and you’re Santa-Claus eligible. And they cork it in with fear.” — Doug Stanhope
Noah’s Ark is not cute.
It’s not cute to tell kids that if they don’t believe in God, they deserve to drown to death.
It should not be controversial to say that mass genocide is not cute. But for some reason, when I say it I am liable to be labeled as being rude and disrespectful.
You know what’s rude and disrespectful? Teaching a roomful of kids that they should be happy that those God picked lived, and that the drowning of everyone who God didn’t pick is somehow cute.
That’s not very nice.
It’s the ultimate hubris. Supposedly, Noah’s Ark is a cute story, for many Christians. Suitable for kids. Because — isn’t it wonderful! — God saved 8 people, and two of every animal (yeah, I know it’s six of clean animals, but that weird clean-unclean business messes up the narrative and is usually omitted). He saved them. He drowned the rest of the world, and he decided to save this small group of people and animals.
Isn’t it marvelous how special God followers are! Isn’t it…cute?
Now, I realize that saying Christians teach the Noah’s Ark story to children as “cute” is like telling tabacco companies in the 1980s that smoking advertisements are marketed to kids. They clearly are marketing the story to kids, but they’ll deny it or say that’s just a subset of Christianity.
But it’s not.
Type “Noah’s Ark” into Amazon. Do you find in-depth studies of the event on the first page? Any sorrow for the fact that it’s mass genocide? Adult materials? No. As of the time of this writing, the entire first page of 17 results is kid’s stuff. And it’s not even an argument — the top item is named “Fisher-Price Little People Noah’s Ark,” the second item is a Noah’s Ark picture book that won the 1978 Caldecott Medal (an annual award given for best illustrations in a children’s book), the third is the “KidKraft Noah’s Ark Shape Sorter,” the fourth is the “Toys of Glory Noah’s Ark Playset“…and it keeps going like that for the entire first page of 17 results.
And in 15 of the 17 items on page 2.
Christians who say this story is not being marketed to kids as a cute story they should love are probably either lying to themselves, you, or a bit of both. Tons of money is being spent trying to tell children that Noah’s Ark is cute.
And this is how they rip the hearts and minds from children and hold onto them until adulthood.
It’s part of why I feel sorry for fundamentalists even as I’m angry at them. Some may disagree, but I tend to think that somewhere in there is the little five year old kid who was told the Noah’s Ark story was cute, and that if they stopped following God they deserved to drown to death, and as they got older the old fears stuck.
Now, in response (now that they can’t deny the story is being marketed to kids as “cute”), some Christians may rush in and say that the rainbow is a beautiful sign that there won’t be a flood again.
Bullshit. You just replaced water with fire (or separation from God, or whatever passionately held view of hell you happen to have). And when you teach a kid to be happy about Noah instead of sad for the drowning world, it’s no wonder that they can then stomach the genocides of the Old Testament and, worst of all, the concept of hell. It’s not a big mystery. It was hammered into the kids’ heads when they were five, in many cases.
I know some of you may be thinking, “But it’s just a story. What’s the big deal?”
Look beyond the huge marketing push to make mass genocide kid friendly, and see the pure facts of the case…it’s mass genocide. Should you be teaching that this is OK?
The correct answer is “no.”
The only way that this can remotely be a “cute” story is if you teach children not to think about those who supposedly died. Are those really the kinds of children we want to raise? Or do we want to teach children to care about their fellow members of humanity, whether they are religious or not?
Mass genocide is not cute. And if you’re teaching children that it is, stop. Teach them that those who disagree with them deserve to be loved and cared about, not drowned to death or sent to hell.
I really don’t think that’s too much to ask. Especially when the relationship our children have to humanity is at stake.
Thank you for reading.