Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Possibly the MOST damaging of the Biblical myths.

 You know if you read the Bible as it was intended to be read, as a book of allegories which teach religious lessons, that is fine with me, and I would probably never say anything negative about it or challenge its accuracy.

However many Christians take the Bible as being LITERALLY true, and use it to make decisions about how to view the world around them, how to vote, how to think, and who to trust.

Creationists of today use the story of Noah's Ark as the linchpin for their argument against Evolution, and use it to explain away everything from the different layers of strata, evidence of fossils, and even the extinction of the dinosaurs.

In fact when it comes to arguing against science, Noah's flood is their "go to" Biblical resource.

Of course as illustrated above the entire premise of the story is too fantastical to ever seriously entertain, much less use as the basis for rejecting scientific evidence.

It is not only Noah's age that should make reasonable people reject the myth, it is also the ridiculous idea that Noah could have gathered two of EVERY land animal that we see today from all over the world, that the Ark would have been large enough to hold them (About 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Not even close!), that Noah could have brought along enough food to keep them alive for 40 days and 40 nights, and that wild animals would have responded to a human and remained docile for 40 days and 40 nights. I mean please!

It is a tale for children, and as a child we can all enjoy it right along with the 12 Labors of Hercules, and Aesop's Fables, but as rational thinking adults we should be able to recognize that children's stories can no longer be used to explain the world around us.

For that we look for evidence, and let that evidence guide us toward a greater understanding our universe and our place within it.

50 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:01 AM

    It's not only the "40 days and 40 nights" worth of food and water, but also the year-plus of food and water needed to feed those animals after the floods receded. Remember, every living thing on Earth was obliterated--that goes for grass for the herd animals, bugs for the chickens and other birds, and MEAT for the carnivores. What did the lions eat? The bears? The people? There were no berries, no grains, no fish, because the fresh water mixed with the salty and killed off all the fish and polluted the drinking water for the land animals (including people). Where did all the birds nest--the trees were wiped clean away? The more you think about this story, the more ridiculous it gets.

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  2. Randall3:02 AM

    The first time I read the Bible, I was surprised when Cain went off to the land of Nod and found people there - of whom he took a wife.

    I puzzled over that for a brief time (I thought Adam was the first man and eve the first woman) until I realized that Adam and Eve were the first JEWS. NOT the first human beings - the first Jewish human beings.

    Go read Genesis again with that perspective in mind:
    makes a lot more sense now, doesn't it?

    You're welcome.

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    1. Anonymous8:19 AM

      No, even if Adam and Eve were the first Jewish people it doesn't make any of that genesis nonsense sound any more reasonable. Ark, creation, talking snake...it's still just superstition and fairy tales.

      No thanks necessary.

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  3. Anonymous3:04 AM

    I was raised Christian and we had a whole encyclopedia type set of bible stories. As a child I believed them all and they were never presented in any scary way. Once I got older I remember clearly being so confued and frightened by all of it. As a young adult I went thru being "born again" to exploring eastern religions. At 50, I am a solid non believer of Chritianity other than feeling that the Jesus example is an admirable one that, unfortunately, far too few follow.

    Advances in science continue to chip away at those myths as being anything other than just that. And as an American I am dumbfounded at the way in which the christianists are trying to take away a basic freedom that is a cornerstonr of this country by forcing everyone to live by their beliefs. I dont believe all repubs are christianists but i do believe all christianists are repubs. I hope that all true freedom loving Americans realize this and stand up against it!

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    1. Joe Johnson12:48 PM

      Love how everyone uses THEIR view of the world to say Christians are wrong! If you're strong in your facts put your name not anonymous!

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    2. Joe Johnson1:01 PM

      yeah...because "Joe Johnson" really points to exactly you. Theres no other people anywhere with that name hahaha

      Delete
  4. Anonymous3:21 AM

    Very good post, thank you.

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  5. Leland3:48 AM

    The most damaging? Gee. I don't know about that. I always thought Jonah and the whale was pretty much out of the park!

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    1. Sigfried & Roy (especially Roy) might suggest their "most dangerous" story was Daniel in the Lion's Den.
      (Yes, I know it was a tiger that attacked Roy. Please play along.)

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  6. Great deluge stories exist in other cultures, so there may be a kernel of truth. Let’s say a farmer, by some means, anticipates great flooding. In response, he builds a covered boat for his immediate family and livestock; basically a floating granary/stable since there’s no need to steer the thing. I suspect it was much more modest than the subsequent stories.

    He certainly wouldn’t have had jaguars, elephants and polar bears.

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    1. Anonymous6:40 AM

      in those days, any catastrophe (Katrina, for example) was viewed as world wide

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    2. Anonymous9:39 AM

      True, but if the catastrophe of The Flood was localized, then the whole lesson I was taught in Sunday School is wrong. I was taught that God was so pissed that he killed everyone in the world except Noah and his family. Then, after the flood, he gave a sign in the form of a rainbow that he would never do that again.

      The idea I got from Sunday School was that God could be a real dick if he wanted to be, but don't worry now because these days he's got your back, so you should really really love him for that. (Sort of like a woman should really love her wifebeater husband who promises not to beat her up any more).

      So if the story was based on a localized flood, God did not in fact kill everyone except Noah's family, and if localized floods still happen (i.e. Katrina) then God hasn't kept his word that he would never do such a thing again. If these things are so, what exactly is the whole point of the story of the flood?

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    3. Anonymous10:42 AM

      That's a major point of failure in the Bible, lack of geographical context. Obviously, the bible was written by men who had no clue that there was anything more to the world than a small swath of the Middle East. When god said that he was destroying "everyone" in the world, it really meant nothing more than a few hundred thousand square miles. God spoke through men who wrote the bible, but also god had no more knowledge than the men who were channeling him through their writing; just a book, of tales from a certain era, describing events as best humans during that era knew how.

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    4. Anonymous3:30 PM

      One of the theories about the origins of the Great Flood story ties into the end of the Ice Age, when a great glacial dam broke and water flooded south. The area around the Black Sea was mentioned in particular: they have found the submerged remnants of ancient communities there. Somebody got flooded somewhere, but as for the rest, highly improbable.
      M from MD

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    5. Anonymous8:14 PM

      It was teh gays that caused the great flood, Hurricanes Katrina, Frederic (we called her/him/it Freddy) Betsy, Camille, ... Noah must've brought teh gays on board the big boat, too. Executive chefs, animal trainers, dog walkers, interior designers, and hairdressers. A 600 year old beard has to require a little maintenance by a professional for all those photo ops for Noah and the animals, too. You don't want kids playing with a set of mangy Ark animals in the bathtub. Them gayz coulda took care of all that important stuff cuz they run a tight ship. Oh, Jesus. Arrrrgh.

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  7. GrannyMe4:17 AM

    Gryphen, you are falling for the same Bible STORY that the Fundies rely on. The story is in conflict with the Bible itself.

    Noah did not gather 2 of each animal, he gathered 7 PAIRS of clean animals, and 2 PAIRS of unclean (Gen 7:2-3). They're just looking at Gen 7:9 (that's the 2x2 part)

    While it did rain for 40 days & 40 nights, the flood "prevailed upon the earth" an additional 150 days before God remembered what he did with Noah & let the ark come to rest on Mt. Ararat. (Gen 7:24) It took 3 more months for the water to go down enough to see the tops of the mountains (Gen 8:4-5)

    Forty days after that, Noah opened the window and sent out a raven & a dove. The dove returned as she didn't find land, so Noah waited another week before sending her out again. This time she brought back an olive twig. Noah sent her out for the last time a week after that, and she never returned. (Gen 8:6-12) The raven was smart enough to go back & forth by itself (see Game of Thrones messaging system).

    For the sake of mathematical simplicity, the rains started on Feb 17, 600 (Gen 7:11), and they didn't get out of the ark until Feb 27, 601. (Gen 8:13-16) So they were in there well over a year. Then you have to figure planting/growing/harvesting time, so it took quite a while to get the world up & running again.

    Now, I happen to be particularly interested in this Bible story as it was one of many, many inconsistencies that led our Southern Baptist preacher to tell me my presence was no longer necessary at church. I was 14 at the time. It would not be the last time I was kicked out of a church for asking too many questions. My adventures in the Episcopal catechism class were also pretty interesting when I shared that whole Henry VIII/Catherine of Aragorn/Anne Boleyn thing.

    If there were only 2 doves then why would Noah risk the female to potential death? If there were only 2 of the clean animals & fowl, why would he sacrifice 1 of each as an offering for making it to dry ground? (Gen 8:20) Sure, you could have come up with sufficient rabbits, but what about critters with a longer gestation period, like elephants (about 2 years, btw).

    There was without a doubt some sort of worldwide watery catastrophe. Too many cultures in too many diverse places have this as part of their own mythology. Geological evidence has also fossilized remains of sea creatures in what are now mountainous regions.

    I've argued Bible with folks for years about what it actually says versus what they think it says. Do you realize that Jesus gave virtually all of his lessons in the form of Buddhist koans? Let that rattle around in your brain for a while.

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    1. Anonymous5:39 AM

      GrannyMe said:
      "Noah did not gather 2 of each animal, he gathered 7 PAIRS of clean animals, and 2 PAIRS of unclean (Gen 7:2-3). They're just looking at Gen 7:9 (that's the 2x2 part)"

      So that means that all of the millions of species on earth today descended from 9 pairs of animals. How would Biblical literalists explain that, since they also deny the "theory" of evolution?

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    2. Anonymous7:52 AM

      Early humans most often lived near a water source. Whenever you have water, you eventually have a flood. That's why you see flood mythology across cultures. It wasn't world-wide; it couldn't be. The amount of water needed to flood the Earth would collapse it.

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    3. Anonymous10:44 AM

      The sea creature remains were deposited in what were then seas and then the land rose through geologic forces. We don't find sea creature remains on the top of mountains that were already risen; geology doesn't work that way.

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    4. Anonymous8:26 PM

      Yeah, Granny. Good to know that I wasn't the only one that was pounded on emotionally until I had to be invited to leave because I could suspend my belief about a lot of things, but basic math was something I couldn't ignore. It made me nuts to see others brow-beaten into submissiveness although many had the same questions. But I made sure that they knew that I KNEW they were full of shit if they were afraid to ask questions that had answers that were mutually exclusive. But what bothered me (and scared me, at around the age of 12 or 13) was that a few did not even question what they were told--- just totally submissive to authority. Southern Baptist here as well, although my parents tried to tell me that it was a lot more "into the 20th Century" than the churches they grew up in. They let me think for myself because I guess I let them know there was no other option. Everything was done with kind of a wink and a smile after that. Sort of like the Santa Claus thing with my younger brother. I figured out that shit before I could actually do the math. I just kept saying "Are you sure that's what happens?" until they corny lie to me. I might've been 5 when I started uncovering all of these "conspiracies". lol

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  8. Anonymous4:34 AM

    Not to quibble, but actually the animals had to stay in the ark for over a year. The 40 days and 40 nights were just the time it rained - the flood lasted far longer than that, and it was over a year before the ark grounded on top of Mount Ararat and enough mountain tops were visible enough for the animals to leave the ark.

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    1. Anonymous3:32 PM

      I'm suddenly remembering the old Bill Cosby routine - in three parts - about Noah and all the hell he went through, especially concerning the animals.
      M from MD

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    2. Anonymous8:46 PM

      I had a low spot in my side yard way out from the house (before I built up the beds one spring and did a shit load of hauling in dirt and landscaping), and after it rained for most of a week one summer, it became a breeding ground for mostuitoes (spelled like potatoes? Dan Quayle? Sarah? Help me out here.) I wonder if old Noah had any problems with skeeters. Or the stench from all of the rotting corpses of dinosaurs and millions of dead people and other 99.999999% of the wild (and domesticated) animals that missed the ride? I was an inquisitive child too, GrannyMe. It helped me to learn to think, reason and to discern who to listen to and who to ignore because they just parroted back whatever shit somebody told them. I didn't just want to hear an answer. I wanted the truth! My parents were so smart for two people who had only two years of college between them, and not just from a child's perspective either. They were smart enough not to lie to me needlessly, and I respected them for that and tried to always return the favor, rather than always digging a hole deeper by trying to cover up shit and lie to get away with stuff.

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    3. Anonymous9:25 PM

      3:32 PM

      Cosby was cool because he made you think some preposterous stuff. Kind of a G-rated George Carlin, at least the stuff I could understand while listening to it with my Mom and Dad on albums. As in LP's! Yeah I'm old, but a lot of his stuff was clean but about parents and kind of "inside stuff" for adults I thing I mainly laughed because my parents would get to laughing hard I'd get tickled at my dad kind of acting out the silliness of it all.

      Then a few years later I found an 8-track tape of Redd Foxx's nightclub act! Omigosh, he was like Richard Pryor and then Eddie Murphy later on. Just funny as hell the way he cussed. I couldn't see his face during his routine, but after seeing him on Sanford & Son, I could imagine it. Funny stuff, big time!

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  9. Anonymous4:40 AM

    I know, it's a real effort to believe what was written about Noah. I agree, how difficult it would be to round up every species of animal by twos and load them and feed them and care for them for 40 days. The energy a human could have to be able to carry out this effort is unimaginable.

    I sometimes can't even find two matching socks.

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    1. Anonymous8:52 PM

      If you want to find your missing socks, take all of the odd socks without a match, and just throw them away. Don't keep them to dust with or mismatch them to "close matches" or anything resourceful and thrifty. Just throw them away.

      I promise, the match for all of those socks will suddenly appear out of nowhere within a week. Like a miracle or something.

      "The tide goes in; the tide goes out. You just can't explain that."
      --The Gospel according to Bill O'Reilly

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  10. Anonymous4:48 AM

    Noah became a father at 500 yrs old according to the bible. Shem Ham and Jepheth. What kind of birth control did they use? We need that today. If the earth was so bad at that time, These people do the same today. They have just convinced themselves they are different, God overlooks their mistakes, their badness.

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    1. Anonymous8:56 PM

      He's become a librul since his he became a dad. No wonder Jesus was a hippy. No tough love from God anymore. That's why conservatives nowadays are just a bunch of snot-nosed punks and pussies these days. And cunning stunts.

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  11. Anonymous4:58 AM

    Anyone ever asked a Sunday School Teacher "why didn't he save any of the people?"

    -Oz

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    1. Anonymous9:09 PM

      They didn't offer me a half of a certificate for not being invited back the 2nd week of Vacation Bible School.

      When I saw that film "Jesus Camp" with Ted Haggard a few years ago, I honestly had flashbacks of the indoctrination process I thought they were trying to put me through. No I wasn't molested-- that was the second week's activities I missed out on, I guess. But seriously, the singing of the songs that went along with the verses we had to memorize and then listen to the stories, it was like North Korea or something. I thought it was scary as shit if all that was true, and it was chickenshit of God to be such a bully. Like punishing the whole class just because two kids were talking. So they said I was uncooperative and disrespectful. And I told my Mom and Dad that those ladies talked to us like we were preschoolers, and that they lied about everything. So the next day or maybe just a few days later, my Dad took me to get a baseball glove---my first real glove! I guess I was ready to be a man or something. Haha Nine years old and already full of piss and vinegar.

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  12. Olivia5:06 AM

    Are you telling me that it isn't true that the reason we don't have unicorns is because they kept horsing around and wouldn't listen to Noah when he told them to get on board???

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    1. Anonymous6:32 AM

      Yep, you got it right as the Irish Rovers explained so long ago:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4bc9UwZsYs

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  13. Anonymous5:38 AM

    Chapter 7: 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.
    20 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.

    15 cubits over the top of Mt. Everest? Dude,we have issues....like ice? like.....ummmm this boatload of critters surviving for months at almost 30,000'? and not least of all....where does all that water come from, let alone drain off to?

    Allegorical lessons are wonderful. Wanting to run a country and the world on allegory as literal fact is criminal.

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    1. Anonymous6:35 AM

      My favorite retelling of the Noah story was done by one Bill Cosby. Instead of letting it rain for 100 days & nights, Bill's Noah suggests 40 days, and then let the sewers back up.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATGrbTN63H4

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    2. Anonymous3:33 PM

      Love his rendition!
      M from MD

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  14. In confirmation classes at my then somewhat rational Lutheran church, we were told that the Hebrews counted each month as a year. Divide all those numbers by 12, and they actually work.

    Our pastor never even tried to justify the Noah story though, and was in fact the first teacher I had who told me about Gilgamesh and earlier creation stories.

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  15. Anonymous6:43 AM

    Back in the day we were told in Sunday School that these were STORIES that taught lessons on how to live your life. This was at a Sourhern Baptist Church in Lovelady, Texas. Even in that environment we knew not to take them literally. Why people to that today is a complete mystery.

    TexasMel

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    1. Thank you for sharing that. Catholics know that as well. I'm at a loss for the ignorance displayed here regarding the Bible, by people who feel compelled to comment and condemn it.

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    2. Olivia5:47 AM

      Catholics used to know that. When I was a kid we were taught that it was a bunch of stories and not to take it literally. When my mom was a kid, they were told not to read the Bible, just listen to the gospels and readings at Mass or you might get confused trying to interpret all that. An elderly Mexican friend told me that they were told as children that reading the Bible would make you go insane.
      However, among some modern Catholics, ignoring reason and reality is common. Thinking is hard work. Many have adopted the fundy Biblical beliefs, including intelligent design over evolution. These are the same people who are rabidly anti abortion and who use birth control themselves but refuse to see that birth control for everyone will reduce the need for abortion. They would be burning witches and skinning black cats in another era.

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  16. Anonymous6:48 AM

    Every time we saw the nursery-themed Noah's ark stuff when my kids were younger, I would always add the part about God killing EVERYONE except the people on the ark, because he was mad, because people were "bad". And here we are, after all those deaths, in the same place, w/"bad" people all around. You'd think God couldda seen that coming BEFORE killing all the kids.

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    1. Anonymous10:01 AM

      Killing all the kids? What about killing all the unborn fetuses in the wombs of their drowning mothers? Was god the greatest abortionist in history?

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    2. Olivia1:45 PM

      He still is the greatest abortionist and all round child killer. My "holier than you, God's blessed one" cousin refuses to speak to me anymore because she was blabbering on Facebook something about Barack Obama killing all those babies and I reminded her that God kills babies all the time so he can't possibly be pro-life. He killed 5 of mine.

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  17. Anonymous7:24 AM

    The site explains a lot:
    http://www.flood-myth.com

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  18. Anonymous9:58 AM

    3 Ways Teachers Are Still Trying To Push Creationism In Public Schools

    n public schools across the country, some teachers continue to argue for the legitimacy of creationist theories — that humanity and our planet were intelligently "created" by some higher being — and attempt to instill doubts about evolution.

    Teaching creationism in a public school — in a non-religious studies setting — may not only contribute to the spread of scientifically unproven information, but it may also hurt the students themselves according to the National Academy of Sciences which said, "Given the importance of science in all aspects of modern life, the science curriculum should not be undermined with nonscientific material.

    Teaching creationist ideas in science classes confuses what constitutes science and what does not. It compromises the objectives of public education and the goal of a high-quality science education."

    Despite this, here are three ways creationism and intelligent design continue to make their way into public school classrooms:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/some-teachers-are-still-trying-to-push-creationism-in-public-schools-2013-8

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    1. Anonymous10:47 AM

      Yeah, taxpayers will be supporting these nitwits for the rest of their lives.

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  19. Anonymous5:47 PM

    So sorry for your loss, Olivia. Thank you for sharing.

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  20. Anita Winecooler5:50 PM

    Believe that? I got the modern version, This woman with a square belly who knows she's delivering a special needs child with down syndrome gets on a plane in Texas, flies up to Anchorage, Alaska, bypassing hospitals equipped for such deliveries, gets in a vehicle and drives to Wasilla, delivers a full term DS child by a doctor who doesn't do deliveries.

    Some animals cannot be "sexed" without dna testing. How did Noah know they were heterosexual pairs when DNA technology didn't exist back then?

    And why didn't he swat those two damn mosquitoes?

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  21. It's also a tale borrowed from the myths of other cultures. Hardly a new story when the Hebrews plagiarized it.

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  22. Yep, it's borrowed from Mesopotamian flood and destruction foundational myths, as noted in the preface to Genesis in the New American Bible. That's the Bible used in the Catholic mass, for teaching in RCIA classes, etc.

    Still waiting for theological illiterates to catch up with what Christian scholars have known for a long time. Wake up and learn what the largest Christian denomination knows.

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  23. Recommendations for some of the commenters here:

    Read St. Augustine, writing way back in the 4th/5th century, just for starters. You can learn a lot from him, like the folly of taking scripture literally.

    His best advice was to study every verse until you could wring the most human compassion from it. Simple, yet challenging. Too hard for most people to grok.

    Incidentally, he also knew that the earth was round, having studied all the best Greeks. He noted, among other trivia, that the reference to God having created the earth in seven days could not be taken literally, since it was always day somewhere on earth. Shocking, I know, to those who like to decry the Christian dark ages.

    Why do some focus only on the negative aspects of a loving and generous faith? The negativity dooms itself. It's more productive to highlight the positive, and the rest will take care of itself.

    It worked for Jesus. He died, and yet today over two billion of the earth's inhabitants call themselves Christians, followers of the radical rabbi who defied the law and ushered in a new era of love and forgiveness.

    The anti-religion posts on this blog garner few comments, while the Sarah Palin posts elicit many. I don't know if that says something about our culture, or about the blogger's paucity of religious education/experience. Sad either way.

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