Thursday, July 02, 2009
I am at the story of Noah's Ark. Someone needs to edit the Bible - badly. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people altered it and changed it prior to its canonization. This part of the Old Testament was probably canonized before 'The Exile' of the Jews.
I last left off at Chapter 6, the beginning of the stories of Noah. Yes, I said stories. There's at least two distinct narrations going on at the same time.
The authors of this section of the Bible are all over the place. For instance, in Chapter 6 God asks Noah to bring two of each animal into the ark, and then in Chapter 7, which is essentially an altered version of Chapter 6, God tells Noah to bring seven of each clean animal and two of each unclean animal.
Chapter 6 starts off by saying that by Noah's time man had multiplied and gave birth to daughters, whom the "sons of God" thought were hot stuff and wanted to have sex with them. Nobody knows what is meant by the "sons of God" but most people think they are angels. Angels with penises? WHY?!?!
Somewhere between the giants and the angelic sex, God gets tired of struggling with man's flesh and says men shall only live for 120 years. Except for Noah, because he lives another 350 years after the flood.
After sentencing humans to live 120 years (which is still a nice age to live to), the story jumps to men having evil thoughts, and God's decision TO KILL EVERY LIVING THING because of these evil thoughts! Wow! What a bad idea!
Even the children and unborn fetuses? Those were evil too, I guess. Not to mention the poor critters - millions of species of germs, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians - many of which only exist in very isolated geographic locations (i.e. kangaroos), and what about dinosaurs?
So, all humans die except for Noah, of course, who is described as "just and perfect." Yes, the same Noah who later on gets drunk and naked in front of his family. Wow! For Noah to be considered just and perfect compared to everyone else, I'm wondering what everyone else was like.
God tells Noah to make an ark that is 450 feet long. How is a 450 foot long boat going to carry MILLIONS of species of different kinds of creatures? The Bible says the animals walked onto the ark on the "self-same" day, which means they had to enter the ark at a rate of at least 20 animals a second!
Chapter 7 flip-flops alot, but basically the deluge begins by God opening "the windows of heaven", an allusion the firmament. The firmament is an invisible solid barrier that separates the waters of chaos (instead of space, they believed that there was an infinite amount of water up there) to keep us dry. The firmament is actually mentioned in the first chapter creation account. It's hard to understand now because we modern humans know there's no such thing as a firmament, but the ancient Israelites apparently believed that there was a firmament, and God occasionally opened it to let in a little water. This was probably their explanation for rain, or why the sky was blue.
In Chapter 7, the flood is said to last 40 days and 40 nights, but then it says in the same chapter that the flood lasted 150 days! Like I said - either someone's messing with us or whoever canonized this didn't care to factcheck.
Finally, in Chapter 8, "God remembers Noah."
I like to think God said, "Oh yea, I forgot about the guy with the boat and all the animals."
In Chapter 8 again, there's reference to both 150 days and 40 days, as if there's no problem with mentioning each right next to each other. There's other problems too. Noah sends out a raven which flew about to and fro until the water dried up, but he also sent a dove, which seven days later comes back with an olive leaf.
HOW DID AN OLIVE TREE SURVIVE A GLOBAL FLOOD THAT LASTED AT LEAST 40 DAYS!!??!!
Another problem - Genesis says that the waters dried up in the first month, and then later it says it was the second month. If people really took the Bible literally, they'd be insane.
But that's not the end of the madness. God tells Noah to let all the animals out and let them multiply and be abundant, but Noah also builds an altar and sacrifices the extra "clean animals" (remember the seven pairs of clean animals?).
After smelling the sweet smell of burning animals (mmm ... hamburgers), God now feels bad for what He's done. "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."
Those are the word of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. He actually felt bad for slaughtering off wholesale a whole population of humans and animals. How comforting!
And as a sign of his sorrow, he makes a rainbow to remind Himself not to slaughter off all the animals again. Rainbows, in case you didn't know, are natural occurrences that happen when light reflects of water at a certain angle. Now, when I see a rainbow, I imagine in my head that God is telling Himself, "Oh yea, I almost forgot not to MURDER OFF ENTIRE POPULATIONS OF ORGANISMS!!!"
Chapter 9 ends with Noah being drunk and naked and pissed off at his sons for seeing him drunk and naked. Noah lives 350 years AFTER the flood.
As you can probably tell, I'm pretty pissed off right now. This is obviously the clumsy handiwork of priests who are trying to reconcile TWO conflicting flood accounts. There are literally millions of people out there who believe this story is literally true, AND they vote.
Next time, I'm going to topple the Tower of Babel.