Noah’s Ark — Where’s the Truth?A

Noah's ark discovery.jpgMust something be situated in time and space to be true? Must one believe that somewhere on Earth there’s an old boat that survived a flood sent by God in order to accept that the biblical story is, well, true? Some say yes. Absolutely yes. And so they search for the ark’s remains… and search and search. Most recently, evangelical Christian explorers from China and Turkey who belong to an organization called Noah’s Ark Ministries International claim to have found the boat’s remains on a Turkish mountain called Ararat. Previous claims haven’t held up to scientific scrutiny, as I note briefly in Bible Babel. It all leaves me feeling a bit melancholic. The people involved in such quests are passionate, determined believers whose confidence in their understanding of the Bible — what and especially how it means — is commendable in its way. But the faith of these good people is based on a way of reading the Bible that excludes the rich possibilities of poetry, metaphor, and the great deep truths that exist in the most powerful fiction. Yes, I said “fiction.” Stories are a timeless human vehicle for expressing what defies the limits of language. Stories make room for God. I write this knowing that many readers will now assume that I dismiss the Bible as a collection of silly fairy tales with no enduring significance. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Comments

  1. Barry Isenhour says:

    I once believed that Noah’s Ark was entombed on Mtn. Ararat. Then I learned that there are many different “Mtn. Ararats” in that region. I wondered why God would need to leave behind the Ark in the first place? My answer came from the Book of Job. Simply, that God does not need to explain His actions to us. His Creation speaks loud that He is in control of our Earth. It seems to me that searching for Noah’s Ark is Man’s vanity to prove God is God.

  2. Good comment regarding getting trapped by a literal interpretation of a bible passage and thereby blinded to everything else that passage might be carrying. (but did you have to talk crap about fairy tales?) It seems to me that arguing whether or not the bible is historically accurate stops spiritual progress in its tracks. It takes one of the humanity’s sacred texts and demeans and disrespects it by treating it as a mere history book.
    Spiritual progress is definitely worth the effort. Any time spent arguing over trivialities such as whether or not some event in the bible is historical, is time in which you made no spiritual progress. You probably even moved in the wrong direction. How can people think that God will reward that sort of usage of their time?

    Surely it is possible for someone that has never even heard of Noah’s ark or the flood, to achieve spiritual salvation. Assuming the opposite would lead to some unlikely possibilities. Just which bible events does God require us to know in order to be saved? Is it certain stories, or a certain number of stories that we have to know? Will the test be multiple choice? Will he grade on a curve?
    If we don’t even have to have heard of the flood to be saved, how can anyone believe that arguing about the flood has a place in the life of a spiritual person? Such arguments are just indulged in by those that have argumentative natures. They use these public arguments as a way to distract themselves from looking inward and seeing the things they actually should be working on. Jesus repeatedly criticized Pharisees for their sanctimonious behavior, has the passage of two thousand years changed the rules and made such behavior okay? “Pharisee” is bible metaphor for those caught up in literal and traditional thinking. It is anyone concerned with appearances, especially those that are quick to publicly argue doctrine and bible meaning. There are millions of Christian-Pharisees today.

    Now, about those fairy tales. There are lots and lots of stories where someone gets some wishes, usually three. Have you noticed that the wishes almost always lead to trouble? The exceptions are people that are humble and pure and only use the wishes for things they actually need. Along the same lines are the stories of rubbing a lamp (usually very old) and then a djinn or spirit grants them wishes. Again except for the very pure or those with plenty of experience, trouble results. The sorcerer’s apprentice is another example where some sort of awesome power in the hands of a beginner leads to trouble.

    Spiritual power (faith) works just like that. Almost anyone can occasionally pray sincerely and find their prayer answered. Those that diligently seek the spiritual path can find that they more easily and more often enter a state of mind that previously could only rarely be reached by sincere and sustained prayer. Unfortunately the mind will not yet be disciplined into always thinking, pure, peaceful and positive thoughts. Negative thinking will definitely cause some problems. On the other hand you will be astonished at odd times to find your casual thoughts answered as if they were prayers.
    If you cannot tame your thinking, the consequences it causes in your life will bring fear, and that will increase the negative thinking. You will quickly revert to your previous way of thinking and the effect will diminish, and in time you will convince yourself it was simply a patch of bad luck. You might then spend the rest of your life in the realm of material thinking, avoiding the sort of thinking that brought you the “bad luck.”
    But the bible tells us to “endure.” So recognize that you need to quickly get all the negative thinking out of your life. Start having a caring attitude toward everyone, maybe all life, not just people. You don’t need to worry that others may be getting away with things, why would it matter to you, you have an amazing power looking out for you. Don’t even think about them needing punishment, instead sincerely hope that they too discover the path. Don’t think about things in society that need to be changed. Don’t think about people that disagree with you about the flood. Just be kind, help your fellow man, and enjoy the fact that you know for sure that you are on the right path. Enjoy the peace that your new spiritual understanding will bring, especially as you realize that you are only at the very beginning of the spiritual path, things you can’t even imagine are still ahead.

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