Friday, July 7, 2006

Noah's Ark? Not Exactly...

In June of 2006, a team of researchers found in Iran what they believe to be the remnants of Noah's Ark. Yes, that's right... the big boat that carried two of every animal in order to save the Earth's living species from God's vengeful flood.

Of course, the team of researchers was from the fundamentalist Christian BASE (Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration) Institute and, of course, none of those researches were accredited archaeologists or geologists.

However, the latter fact is not the point of this writing. The point of this writing is that, should evidence of an "ark" ever be produced, it would in all likelihood be proof not of Noah's Ark, but of Deucalion's Ark or Utnapishtim's Ark.

Huh? What's that? Well, it's widely known that the Bible (and religious texts in general) often "borrow" stories from older religions and other sources in order to both emphasize and familiarize certain aspects of religious teachings. There's the fact that Saint Michael was a deity worshipped by a small community prior to being assimilated into the Christian church, the eerie similarities between the Madonna and baby Jesus and the Egyptian Isis and Horus, and the almost identical versions of the creation of the world presented in Book of Genesis and the first few paragraphs of the much older Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (which, in fact, actually contains the story of Utnapishtim's Ark).

You see, the idea of a world-ending flood and a savior who built a large boat (on the word of God) to save humanity is nothing new. The Ancient Greeks had a myth involving a pissed off Zeus starting a flood, but in their version, Deucalion (read: Noah) was warned by his father, Prometheus, and built a boat to save himself (and not any animals).

Even before that, the Sumerians, with the first draft of the Bible known as The Epic of Gilgamesh, told a story of Utnapishtim, who lived through the flood by building an ark and loading it with riches, animals, and craftsmen in order to ensure the survival of mankind.

Now, I'm not criticizing Christianity, nor am I criticizing religion in general. I am criticizing the fact that so-called fundamental Christians tend to ignore our own histories. Finding an ark would not provide evidence that the Bible is a true story... rather, it would provide evidence that it's (at least partially) a plagiarized one. And why would anyone want to pop their own balloon?


Anonymous said...

Well, fundamentalists don't often look at "facts," preferring the "truth" instead...define "truth" as you see fit, apparently. :)

Just as these same people can find verses of Leviticus to justify their personal biases (gay rights, for example) while often ignoring a more heinous verse about women or blacks that can be fund in the very same chapters...often the next sentence.

Posted by Geoffry on July 7, 2006 - Friday - 8:09 PM

Anonymous said...

Wow. That was much more tame that I was anticipating. You're losing it, Jeff.

Posted by Jessica Lynn on July 7, 2006 - Friday - 9:35 PM

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