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
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
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!