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5/10/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Noah's Flood: Myth upon myth upon....

By James C

Most of us are aware of the Noah's Flood story. People of the earth evil. God upset. Floods the world but saves Noah & family and enough animals to re-populate the world.

But, for an interesting "another take" on that story, link over to the Wikipedia story about the same, with inputs concerning the other Abrahamic religions and their look at the whole thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah's_Ark#cite_note-14

The ark itself. Skeptics have, for a long time, questioned how a small family with no boat-building experience could have accomplished the ark; what kind of wood was used; that the dimensions are larger than any known successful wooden ship; and that it could not have held all the animals and the food and water necessary to keep them alive. So let's explore comments on that:

Origen stated that Moses had been thinking of the (larger) Egyptian cubit, meaning the Ark was even larger vs the historically successful wooden ships! Origen also speculated that the ark was a truncated pyramid, rectangular rather than square at its base, and tapering to a square peak one cubit on a side. (I'm still trying to figure out how a rectangularly-based pyramid ends up being square at the top???)

In Islam, surah 29:14 says the Ark was a thing of boards and nails (nails? Wiki says nails date back to early Roman times, around 9th century B.C. -- Noah was supposedly long before that). A contemporary of Muhammad wrote that Allah revealed to him (Mohammad) that the ark was to be modeled after a bird's belly and be made from teak wood (hmmm, isn't teak a native of Asia, not the mid-east??) Also, with those instructions, reportedly Noah planted a tree (from whence the seed?) which in only 20 years grew to a size such that it gave Noah all the wood he needed (to build a ship with almost half the displacement of the Titanic? Yeah, sure).

A Persian historian writing in 915 A.D. said that the first animal to board the ark was an ant, and the last a donkey (in which Satan was hiding). He also wrote that when Jesus' apostles wanted to learn about the ark from an eye witness, he (Jesus) resurrected Noah's son Ham from the dead, who told them more. Even explaining that in order to handle all the dung produced by the animals, Noah had miraculously caused a pair of hogs to come out of the elephant's tail. (hmmm, I remember my Grandad having hogs who loved to scratch their backs on kerosene-soaked corn cobs nailed to a tree... but eating shit? Never saw that). But what was wrong with already on board hogs?? And the poor elephant, such a BM! Maybe a bit of anti-constipation medicine was called for. And oh yeah, in order to get rid of a stowaway rat, Noah made a pair of cats come from the lion's nose. (again, what was wrong with the cats already on board?) This dude also wrote that each plank in the ark contained the name of a prophet, except for three missing planks. Those planks were brought from Egypt by Og, son of Anak, who was the only giant allowed to survive the flood (more on that later). He also mentioned that the body of Adam was put aboard in the middle to divide the men from the women (that DEFINITELY sounds Islamic).

The references to Og take us back to Jewish Rabbinical traditions. They stated that there had been no need to distinguish between clean and unclean animals before this time, the clean animals made themselves known by kneeling before Noah as they entered the Ark. A differing opinion said that the Ark itself distinguished clean from unclean, admitting seven of the first and two of the second. (did that include the specially-produced hogs and cats???) The traditions further tell us that Noah was engaged both day and night in feeding and caring for the animals, and did not sleep for the entire year aboard the Ark.(kind of sounds like not eating or drinking for 40 days and nights, doesn't it?) Not only that, the animals were the best of their species, and so behaved with utmost goodness. They abstained from procreation, so that the number of creatures that disembarked was exactly equal to the number that embarked. (Gee, celibate ark animals! Wonder if there were any problems with animal pedophiles???) And, this dude Og. One story says he was so big he had to stay outside the ark, with Noah passing him food through a hole cut in the wall of the ark (but doesn't clarify whether they built an extension on the ark, or pulled him along in another little boat). In fact, if you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Og we find that Og strolled behind the ark during the deluge! (talk about being tall... strolling through water deep enough to at least cover Mt. Arrarat [at just a tad under 17,000 feet]) but then, a guy who can live for 3,000 years can pretty well do anything.

These rabbis also stated that refuse was stored on the lowest of the Ark's three decks, humans and clean beasts on the second, and the unclean animals and birds on the top. A differing opinion placed the refuse in the utmost story, from where it was shoveled into the sea through a trapdoor. This is in direct disagreement with the Islamic thought that on the first of the three levels wild and domesticated animals were lodged, in the second the human beings, and in the third the birds. And how did Noah and the gang manage to work below decks day and night? Candles? Lamps? Nah. Precious stones, bright as midday, provided light. (lots of precious stones that reflect existing light, but can anyone name one that PRODUCES light??)

The Mandaeans of the southern Iraqi marshes believe that the ark was built of sandalwood and was cubic in shape, with a length, width and height of 30 gama (the length of an arm); its final resting place is said to be Egypt.

In spite of the fact that by 1700 few natural historians could justify a literal interpretation of the Noah's Ark narrative, a telephone poll conducted by ABCNEWS/Primetime in 2004, 60% of US residents believe the story of Noah's Ark is literally true!

Isn't it amazing how one, false myth could be interpreted so many different ways and still end up believed by so many in this modern, scientific time. SAD!

11 comments:

eejay said...

It is sad indeed that so many otherwise rational people in this country can buy into this rather obvious fairy tale. I argue the Noah's ark story quite often with believers, because I would think that if anything would open their eyes, the ridiculousness of this story would certainly get them to think...at least a little at what they're believing. The book by Jason Long (Biblical Nonsense) devotes an entire chapter to the Noah story. Those of us capable of rational thought can see that iy couldn't have possibly happened.

AtheistToothFairy said...

a telephone poll conducted by ABCNEWS/Primetime in 2004, 60% of US residents believe the story of Noah's Ark is literally true

James,

Very interesting article you wrote on this "toy-boat" myth...(which I bet you can't say 5x fast).

What I find odd here, is that 60% who were polled by phone, still believe it's true.

I say "odd", because I didn't know fundie cave dwellers had telephones yet.


ATF ( Who thinks xtian parents shouldn't let their toddlers answer these polls, for them)

Hellbound Alleee said...

Yet those who believe the story also believe it was a moral story. They believe it has something good, and not evil, to teach mankind. How very sad.

eel_shepherd said...

Ever notice that the fundies can build a twenty-million-dollar young-earth "museum" but nobody's built an ark? I mean, if you want to get some credibility happening for your fable, how better than to go ahead and duplicate a feat originally accomplished by a bronze-age landlubber?

Maybe I'll do it. Yeah, that's the ticket. I'm buildin' me a ark, sho' 'nuff. An' if the critters are a-thinkin' 'bout excretin' on the lower floor, they can jus' think again, that's what. They can just hang their li'l weasel or polecat sphincters over the rail and cut loose inta them risin' waters. And the droppings will eventually evolve into fundies, just like last time.

Steven Bently said...

At that moment in time the world was sooo wicked with pride and sin that the only person God could trust to build his ark was a 600 year old drunkard.

One must remember in order to be a propper true fundamentalist christian, the Noah's Ark Story was written based soley on the foundation of "faith" that is to say, that any ideas you can compose in your mind to convince yourself that the story is true, then you are indeed a "True Christian".

Noah was so faithful to God that he never asked him "How shall I build this ark and with what tools shall I use, he just built the damned thing.

You see, just by our questioning the story itself, just shows how little faith each one of us has...lol

Noah never asked how do I get all the animals from all over the world to come here and enter the ark, he just had faith.

But there was no punishment for the wicked sea creatures, such as the whales, sharks, clams, and mullusks, because they were not drowned, so this proves that god just punishes us wicked land animals.

Then there's this promise that Gawd will not flood the Earth again, well thanks to the studies of Fig Newtons brother, (Sir Issac Newton), all water crystals produce a prism effect when exposed to light rays, soo if anyone wants to see gods promise to the whole world, just get out your water hose and spray a fine mist outside when the Sun is shinning.

I hope this may clear up some misconceptions about the Noah's Ark story.

Ye just need a little faith and it will become true in your mind...duh..cough..cough

Michael said...

There are a couple of points you can use to make a fundie's head spin like a scene from "The Exorcist" -- one is the question, "How did Noah save the koalas?" After all, not only would he have to have gone thousands of miles to retrieve (and return) them, but they only eat fresh eucalyptus leaves and nothing else -- they don't even drink water!

The other issue: were the Flood waters salt, or fresh? If they were salted, all the freshwater flora and fauna would have been killed -- poisoned by the salt. If they were fresh, the oceans would have been diluted to the point that all saltwater life would have died. Since there is zero evidence for either scenario, we know that a worldwide flood never happened.

Another observation: did the water-dwelling creatures somehow get a pass? What made them special with respect to the land animals?

There's evidence that these Flood myths and legends are closely tied to the rise in water levels at the end of the last Ice Age. As the ice sheet melted and sea levels rose drastically above a certain threshold, what had been land-locked freshwater lakes suddenly became massively swamped by the expanding oceans -- anyone living in the now-flooded basins either died or must have freaked out big-time as they fled for their lives -- no supernatural explanations are required.

~~ Mikey

marionros said...

Best Noah story was done by Eddie Izzard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFdmG-TRxzE

sconnor said...

My three favorite quotes on the subject of Noah's Ark:

The Deluge: A punishment inflicted on the human race by an all-knowing God, who, through not having foreseen the wickedness of men, repented of having made them, and drowned them once for all to make them better - an act which, as we all know, was accompanied by the greatest success. -- Voltaire, Dictionary of Theology

Was the god of the Hebrews so wise that he couldn't think of anything better than flooding the whole earth to kill those evil humans? That's like burning down the barn to kill rats, or using a sledgehammer to debug a rose bush. Even the world's dumbest surgeon doesn't use a guillotine to remove a mole on someone's neck. -- Skip Church

I don't know who the worst sinners are on this planet, but I am quite sure that if a High Intelligence wanted to exterminate them, It would find a very precise method of locating each one separately. Carelessly murdering millions of innocent children and harmless old ladies, and dogs and cats, is absolutely and ineluctably to state that your idea of God is that of a cosmic imbecile. -- Robert Anton Wilson

--S.

tama.brett said...

Michael,
regarding the koalas. why do you think kangaroos have pouches? think about it ...

freedy said...

The ark story is the all time horror tale ever written.

God killed millions of innocent little children,fetuses,animals, and we are to praise this monster?

The Noah fable is obviously made up to minimize the horror of the billions destined for eternal torment in the fictional hell.

Literalists are sick,sadistic and deluded,yet totally unaware of this fact.

exrelayman said...

tama.brett - brilliant! thank you!