2 of 3
2
Myths in the Torah and the universal deluge.
Posted: 07 July 2008 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26

The non-literalist version is still deeply morally objectionable, because it claims that the human race deserved to die. There may be a practical moral difference between believing that a person deserves to die and actually murdering the person, but I don’t know what it would be. Harlan Ellison once wrote that it was only a step or two from “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord” and seeing one’s self as the instrument of that vengeance.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 July 2008 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2492
Joined  2008-04-05

For Bruce, concerning the universality of flood myths. An old creationist claim, and quite irrelevant. LINK

http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CG/CG201.html

 Signature 

‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2008 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2922
Joined  2006-06-15
Bruce Burleson - 04 July 2008 10:13 PM

The abiding truths that we take from it are that God exists and that he is responsible for the existence of the universe, including us.

(Andrew):  And that He’s apparently so inept that He had to destroy everything that He’d originally created and start over again.

Bruce Burleson - 04 July 2008 10:13 PM

The flood story needs to be understood from the point of view of Noah.

(Andrew):  Fictional characters rarely have a “point of view”.  The Torah—including the Noah story—needs to be understood from the point of view of priests with an agenda.

 Signature 

“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”—Kurt Vonnegut

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2008 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26

The issue is not whether the various flood myths have some origin in an actual event or events. The issue is the reason that Genesis gives for the flood, since the TalkOrigins page says that most of the myths do not give a reason. The Genesis account sounds very much like the rationalizations of an abused spouse, who believes both the abuser’s lie that the spouse deserves the abuse and the abuser’s promise that he will never harm her again. On a unconscious level, those beliefs give the abused spouse a false sense of control, a way of denying the reality that she has no control. This may have been the experience for the authors of the myth, meaning the people who told and retold the myth over time before it was written down centuries or millennia later. From the era’s limited knowledge of science, the authors may have felt deep terror at the apparent unpredictability of the universe, and the myth may have been an unconscious attempt to deny that terror.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 July 2008 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1646
Joined  2008-04-02
Carstonio - 08 July 2008 09:47 AM

The issue is not whether the various flood myths have some origin in an actual event or events. The issue is the reason that Genesis gives for the flood, since the TalkOrigins page says that most of the myths do not give a reason. The Genesis account sounds very much like the rationalizations of an abused spouse, who believes both the abuser’s lie that the spouse deserves the abuse and the abuser’s promise that he will never harm her again. On a unconscious level, those beliefs give the abused spouse a false sense of control, a way of denying the reality that she has no control. This may have been the experience for the authors of the myth, meaning the people who told and retold the myth over time before it was written down centuries or millennia later. From the era’s limited knowledge of science, the authors may have felt deep terror at the apparent unpredictability of the universe, and the myth may have been an unconscious attempt to deny that terror.

Brilliant!

 Signature 

Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 July 2008 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1031
Joined  2007-12-04
Beam_Me_Up - 16 July 2008 10:11 PM
Carstonio - 08 July 2008 09:47 AM

The issue is not whether the various flood myths have some origin in an actual event or events. The issue is the reason that Genesis gives for the flood, since the TalkOrigins page says that most of the myths do not give a reason. The Genesis account sounds very much like the rationalizations of an abused spouse, who believes both the abuser’s lie that the spouse deserves the abuse and the abuser’s promise that he will never harm her again. On a unconscious level, those beliefs give the abused spouse a false sense of control, a way of denying the reality that she has no control. This may have been the experience for the authors of the myth, meaning the people who told and retold the myth over time before it was written down centuries or millennia later. From the era’s limited knowledge of science, the authors may have felt deep terror at the apparent unpredictability of the universe, and the myth may have been an unconscious attempt to deny that terror.

Brilliant!

I second that!

 Signature 

http://www.thehereticandthepreacher.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 August 2008 01:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

“Bruce Burleson” date=“1215234785”]For me, the best way to look at the early chapters of Genesis is that the primitive author was explaining in language and concepts that made sense to him the divine revelation that he was receiving.

But you have no way of knowing that he was receiving a revelation.  You are merely assuming or asserting that he was.  There is nothing about this story that makes it in any way distinguishable from folklore.

Furthermore, if God communicates with us via revelation, isn’t this a pretty poor method of communication.  And shouldn’t God know better?  Wouldn’t God have known that “the primitve author” would filter everything through his limited understanding of the universe and get it all screwed up?Shouldn’t God, in his infinite Wisdon, have come up with a better way of letting us know what His Will is?

To attempt to fit the creation hymn of Genesis 1 into a modern scientific framework is a fruitless endeavor. It should not be taken literally, but it should be understood as the author’s response, based on culturally-determined language of observation and put into poetic form, to the inspiration he received from his encounter with God. The abiding truths that we take from it are that God exists and that he is responsible for the existence of the universe, including us. To insist on a literal interpretation of those passages, leading to a belief in a 6000 year-old universe, is simply missing the point.

Well, first of all, Genesis was not written by a single person.  It has several authors, which is one of the reasons we have two accounts of creation.  Personally I think this story is folklore, oral tradition that was eventually recorded sometime around the 10th century BCE.  There is nothing about this story that necessitates that it be inspired by God or revealed by Him.  Furthermore, the Flood story can be traced diretly to the Epic of Gilgamesh.  The story was taken from an older, pagan tradition.  What, was God sending revelations to the pagans too?

The flood story needs to be understood from the point of view of Noah. I think there is history behind the story, but it does not deal with a literal worldwide flood. If a regional flood took place in the lowlands of Mesopotamia, and Noah was on a boat in the middle of it, it would seem to him as if the entire world (his world) had flooded. If only he and his family and some animals of the region survived, he would feel that he had found grace in the eyes of God and that everyone else around him had been judged. The account of it that is passed down is more universalized, because it does apply to all people in a sense. But the truth that we take from it is that God is sovereign over his creation, can bring judgment, and can save his people.

Just because he would feel that the Flood was a judgment from God, that does not mean that it was.  The primitive author may have interpreted it as such (because, let’s face it, we think it’s all about us), but why accept his interpretation as valid and accept it as a truth?

A wooden, hyper-literalistic interpretation of these ancient texts can unnecessarily put faith at odds with science. More flexibility is needed.

But more flexibility is needed only because it puts faith at odds with science.  And so it becomes a flexibility of convenience.  I distrust such convenient flexibility.  I think it is dishonest.

I think it is much more reasonable to conclude that those verses were written by people who had very little information about the planet, the universe, history, existence.  Why would one expect anything better than Genesis from them?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 August 2008 02:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

“Celsus” date=“1215273296”]

Bruce Burleson - 04 July 2008 10:13 PM

The flood story needs to be understood from the point of view of Noah.

Or Utnaptishim. Frankly, Bruce, the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian versions already depicted an universalized version of the story (i.e.: world wide flooding, destruction of all man kind, saving of all animal life, etc…) long before the Biblical version ever was ever written out on parchment. Personally, and others are free to argue with this, I’ve always believed that much of what we call “Genesis” was copied by the Jews from Babylonians during their enslavement, but that’s just me.

I think their enslavement was in the 7th century BCE (correct me if I am wrong), while Genesis was written in the 10th century BCE (again, correct me if I am wrong).  So, I think the Mesopotamian myths must have entered Jewish folklore prior to their exile.  And that is hardly surprising, since those civilizations towered over the Jewish tribes, and one would expect them to exert an influence over surrounding cultures.

However, the universal flood myth is an interesting one. From the Grecian Deucalion to Welsh Dwyfan and Dwyfach, and from the Hindu Manu to the unnamed flood survivors depicted in murals by the Inca, the flood myth is found all over the world.

Many explanations have been proffered for the origin of this myth, from particularly bad rainy seasons along rivers to the sudden flooding of the Mediterranean into the Black Sea.

Oh, yeah…  I think I remember seeing something like this on TV.  Wasn’t it the other way around, though?  Wasn’t it the Black Sea that flooded into the Mediterranean?  To this day the level of the Black Sea is a tiny bit higher than the Mediterranean, so the Bosphorus is really a big river.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 August 2008 02:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

“Bruce Burleson” date=“1215305513”]

The fact that the flood story is universal is some evidence that there was a factual event behind it.

Why an event?  Why not several events?  Why not several local events that, to the local population, from their point of view seemed as if they were world-wide floods?  Why not just hyperbole as a result of the process of oral transmission?  Ooh, that doesn’t sound right, does it…  wink

The Hebrew version differs from the Sumerian,

So it could not have been borrowed from Sumerian mythology?  Why?  Why would you expect there to be no differences?  If the transmission was oral (rather than through revelation), one would expect there to be all kinds of differences.

and it is the one that was adopted in the Jewish scripture and accepted by Jesus. While a hyper-literal interpretation of it is not called for, I still think it is essentially historical, just in a limited scope. But I don’t lose any sleep over it, because Jesus has given us the necessary interpretation of it in the gospels, and has instituted a new covenant for us.

The new covenant is not the issue.  The veracity, the revealed truth of the Bible is.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 August 2008 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  2006-04-24

“Bruce Burleson” date=“1215380874”]

You were getting warm, but now you are getting colder. Look at Genesis 7:20 - “the waters prevailed 15 cubits upward and the mountains were covered.” 15 cubits is about 22 feet. “Mountains” can also be rendered “hills.” The description is of a local flood in a relatively flat terrain like southern Mesopotamia. But, enough of this.

You are forgetting that the Ark eventually rested on top of Ararat, which is no hill, but a very tall mountain.  So, the flood could not have been only 22 feet above sea level or above the altitude of the southern Mesopotamian Valley (unless you want to argue that water defied gravity and flowed upwards so it could deposit the Ark on top of Ararat).  So, even though Ararat is not even close to being the tallest mountain on earth, let’s just say that the authors of the Genesis story thought it was.  So now we are talking about a HUGE amount of water.  The water level would have to have risen 22 feet above the peak of Mount Ararat.  That’s a whole different scenario than 22 feet above sea level.  That would be one gigantic flood that would cover a HUGE portion of the earth.  And there is simply no evidence for any such flood.

Are you now going to conveniently argue that one should not take it literally that the Ark rested on top of Mount Ararat?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 August 2008 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26

Rami, good post overall.

Rami - 08 August 2008 05:51 AM

Furthermore, if God communicates with us via revelation, isn’t this a pretty poor method of communication.  And shouldn’t God know better?  Wouldn’t God have known that “the primitve author” would filter everything through his limited understanding of the universe and get it all screwed up?Shouldn’t God, in his infinite Wisdon, have come up with a better way of letting us know what His Will is?

You’re addressing the logic of the situation based on the assumptions presented by believers, and while those questions need to be asked, we should also ask questions about the assumptions themselves. We should ask if the god didn’t know any better, or that the god does not have infinite wisdom, or that the god wasn’t capable of devising a better way. In my experience, whenever any such presuppositions are challenged, the usual response from doctrines and believers is “God works in mysterious ways,” a non-answer that sounds like an attempt at avoiding the questions.

Rami - 08 August 2008 05:51 AM

But more flexibility is needed only because it puts faith at odds with science.  And so it becomes a flexibility of convenience.  I distrust such convenient flexibility.  I think it is dishonest.

Exactly, because it treats an ideology or a worldview as more important than observable data. Not quite the same betrayal of science as adapting the data to fit the ideology or worldview, but it has the same motive.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 August 2008 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3765
Joined  2007-03-11
Rami - 08 August 2008 06:34 AM

Are you now going to conveniently argue that one should not take it literally that the Ark rested on top of Mount Ararat?

It doesn’t say it rested on top of Ararat. It says “the mountains of Ararat”, which may simply refer to foothills. the Hebrew word is har, which can also be translated as “hills”. In my opinion, it was a local flood, but that’s just my opinion.

God uses imperfect people to do his work, and an imperfect record written by imperfect people to reveal himself. He brings order out of chaos. It is the revelation conveyed, not the specific words written, that is truth. Or so says me.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2008 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2922
Joined  2006-06-15
Bruce Burleson - 09 August 2008 12:25 AM

God uses imperfect people to do his work…

(Andrew):  Don’t you ever wonder why He’d do that, Bruce Burleson?  I mean beyond apologetic necessity.  Do you ever lay awake at night and wonder why a perfect creator would create imperfect people in the first place, but then use them to do His work—to write an imperfect record of His revelation?
If you don’t, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Ararat—or Urartu in Assyrian—was a mountainous region—a kingdom, apparently (Jeremiah 51:27)—probably in Eastern Turkey.  Recognizing the great need for the devout to actually have an “Ararat”, a mountain was eventually given that name:  Great Ararat—in Eastern Turkey—the peak of which is better than three miles above sea level.

 Signature 

“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”—Kurt Vonnegut

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2008 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26
Andrew - 09 August 2008 07:56 AM

Do you ever lay awake at night and wonder why a perfect creator would create imperfect people in the first place, but then use them to do His work—to write an imperfect record of His revelation?

Or wonder if you’re wrong about a creator being perfect in the first place? There is no basis for asserting either a perfect creator or an imperfect creator, or for determining which one is more likely. Of course, there is no basis for asserting a creator in the first place.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 December 2008 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  84
Joined  2008-12-09

“Furthermore, if God communicates with us via revelation, isn’t this a pretty poor method of communication.  And shouldn’t God know better?  Wouldn’t God have known that “the primitve author” would filter everything through his limited understanding of the universe and get it all screwed up?Shouldn’t God, in his infinite Wisdon, have come up with a better way of letting us know what His Will is?”

Good point!
How about giving His “Will and Laws” via the bible at the beginning of mankind, not hundreds if not thousands of years later through the writings of numerous authors?  I mean, if I were to create a world and populate it with people that I insist worship, obey and praise me on a daily basis,  I wouldn’t have gone about it this way.  The way the bible was created allows for too much interpretation and doubt. It seems to me the god of the bible didn’t like doubt via all the punishments he handed out because of it so it makes no sense that he would divinely inspire a book that would cause so much doubt.

Another problem with the bible is it was written by people who thought the world was going to end in their lifetime (especially the NT). There is no long-term, cohesive plan for humankind outside of the era the books of the bible were written in.  This is why so much of the bible and what it says makes absolutely no sense to us now.  And those who try to make it relevant to this era only make themselves look foolish and desperate.

In closing, if there is a god who created this world, he did a downright awful job planning out his creation. A perfect, omnipotent, omniscience god would be incapable of producing such a fine mess.

 Signature 

Life has the meaning you give it.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 3
2
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed