Thursday, May 31, 2007

Noah's ark myth created as justification for slavery?

Image: Drunkenness of Noah. c. 1515. Oil on canvas, 103 x 157 cm. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Besançon.

This post was inspired by the opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky. It's mind-boggling that in the year 2007, and with all of scientific evidences accumulated over the centuries by highly intelligent and dedicated scientists, explorers, educators, etc. that there are so many who choose to believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old, and that dinosaurs and people co-existed...and that dinosaurs drowned in "the flood" but people survived despite the fact that no vegetation would have survived, and nothing would be left for them to eat after the floodwaters subsided, and nothing for the animals to eat to survive (if they survived such a long time confined to a wooden ark.) The whole story is so obviously absurd mythology, yet there are those who choose to hold onto ignorant beliefs of ancient folks who knew nothing about science, biology, geology, geography, meteorology, etc. And if getting rid of sin and evilness was the goal, this God sure picked a real loser to head up his "mission" to "cleanse the world."

How can people actually take the story of Noah to be real? Have any Bible literalists ever asked themselves why, if an omnipotent God had the ability to create humans and all things in the first place, why the need to go through having an old drunken pervert build an ark, gather two of all the millions and millions of life forms all over the planet, when this God could have just wiped his imperfect creations out in one click of his fingers, and then with the blink of an eye re-create them all over again just as "in the beginning"? If one can look at the Bible with a critical eye, as with other ancient world mythologies, the absurdity of the stories contained therein are at the same level of absurdity.

The Flood myth absurdity doesn't just end with the floodwaters subsiding. As Steve from Oak Park, Illinois on the website Straight Dope Science Advisory Board writes,

"Genesis 9:20-25 seems to be one of the strangest stories in the Bible. Noah lands the ark, plants a vineyard, gets drunk off its wine, lays around naked in his tent and is seen by his son Ham who reports it to his two brothers. Noah sobers up knowing what Ham did and curses his grandson Canaan who apparently was not even there. What is even stranger is when I started researching this mystery I discovered the story was once used to support slavery. Further there are theories floating around concerning castration and incest. What is the real story? Is there a deeper meaning to this than Noah having a case of misdirected anger while hung over? Or are we only hearing the watered-down version in our modern day Bible?"

SDSTAFF Dex replies:
"we examined the story of drunken Noah putting a curse on his grandson Canaan. This story came to be used as the biblical justification for slavery in pre-Civil War America, and for racial segregation after the war. The justification wasn't purely an invention of plantation owners, either--its roots go back more than 1,500 years. That seems remarkable, since the story itself doesn't mention race at all. Tracking the development of the slavery interpretation is an object lesson in the use of scripture to justify man's inhumanity to man."
Link: The Straight Dope


Darwin's Dagger said...

I don't understand why the Christian community ever repeats the flood story. If it is true it proves that God is incredibly incompetent. After all, he flooded the Earth to drown human wickedness, killing hundreds of thousands of his living creations to eliminate the sinfulness of a single species, and yet managed to completely fail at the task. Sinfulness flourished in the post flood world, as proven by the later story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and any properly directed search of the internet will turn up evil that would have made Sodom and Gomorrah look like a Sunday school picnic. So basically it was a lot of pointless destruction for nothing. A true omniscient being would've known you couldn't kill sin that way, and an omnipotent one could've spared all of the innocent creatures that he had created by designing a virus that was fatal only to humans.

Andrea said...

Ugh, that "museum" is so embarrassing. Grown people actually believing silly old folklore...and like dd said above, the story is not even that damn clever.

John said...

A true omniscient being would've known you couldn't kill sin that way, and an omnipotent one could've spared all of the innocent creatures that he had created by designing a virus that was fatal only to humans.

Yes, but the men who created the bible myth did not understand what viruses were, let alone be scientifically able to talk about one to kill only humans.