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January 28th, 2014
10:37 AM ET

Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN

(CNN) - That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.

But there is one apparently major difference: The ark in this version is round.

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself.

The Bible presents a standard boat shape - long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.

The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo.

So, why does this new discovery matter? It matters because it serves as a reminder that the story of the Flood wasn’t set in stone from its earliest version all the way through to its latest incarnation.

The people who wrote down the Flood narrative, in any of its manifestations, weren’t reporting on a historical event for which they had to get their facts straight (like what shape the ark was).

Everyone reshapes the Flood story, and the ark itself, according to the norms of their own time and place.

In ancient Mesopotamia, a round vessel would have been perfectly reasonable - in fact, we know that this type of boat was in use, though perhaps not to such a gigantic scale, on the Mesopotamian rivers.

The ancient Israelites, on the other hand, would naturally have pictured a boat like those they were familiar with: which is to say, the boats that navigated not the rivers of Mesopotamia but the Mediterranean Sea.

This detail of engineering can and should stand for a larger array of themes and features in the flood stories. The Mesopotamian versions feature many gods; the biblical account, of course, only one.

The Mesopotamian versions tell us that the Flood came because humans were too noisy for the gods; the biblical account says it was because violence had spread over the Earth.

Neither version is right or wrong; they are, rather, both appropriate to the culture that produced them. Neither is history; both are theology.

What, then, of the most striking parallel between this newly discovered text and Genesis: the phrase “two by two”? Here, it would seem, we have an identical conception of the animals entering the ark. But not so fast.

Although most people, steeped in Sunday school tradition, will tell you without even thinking about it that “the animals, they came on, they came on by twosies twosies,” that’s not exactly what the Bible says.

More accurately, it’s one thing that the Bible says - but a few verses later, Noah is instructed to bring not one pair of each species, but seven pairs of all the “clean” animals and the birds, and one pair of the “unclean” animals.

(This is important because at the end of the story, Noah offers sacrifices - which, if he only brought one pair of each animal, would mean that, after saving them all from the Flood, he then proceeded to relegate some of those species to extinction immediately thereafter.)

This isn’t news - already in the 17th century scholars recognized that there must be two versions of the Flood intertwined in the canonical Bible.

There are plenty of significant differences between the two Flood stories in the Bible, which are easily spotted if you try to read the narrative as it stands.

One version says the Flood lasted 40 days; the other says 150. One says the waters came from rain. Another says it came from the opening of primordial floodgates both above and below the Earth. One version says Noah sent out a dove, three times. The other says he sent out a raven, once.

And yes: In one of those stories, the animals come on “two by two.”

Does this mean that the author of that version was following the ancient Mesopotamian account that was just discovered? Certainly not.

If the goal of the ark is the preservation of the animals, then having a male and female of each is just common sense. And, of course, it’s a quite reasonable space-saving measure.

Likewise, the relative age of the Mesopotamian and biblical accounts tells us nothing about their relative authority.

Even if we acknowledge, as we probably should, that the biblical authors learned the Flood story from their neighbors - after all, flooding isn’t, and never was, really a pressing concern in Israel - this doesn’t make the Bible any less authoritative.

The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as such, not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history.

There is no doubt that the discovery of this new ancient Mesopotamian text is important. But from a biblical perspective, its importance resides mostly in the way it serves to remind us that the Flood story is a malleable one.

There are multiple different Mesopotamian versions, and there are multiple different biblical versions. They share a basic outline, and some central themes. But they each relate the story in their own way.

The power of the Flood story, for us the canonical biblical version, is in what it tells us about humanity’s relationship with God. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Judaism • Opinion

soundoff (5,820 Responses)
  1. Trying to Believe

    more questions...
    When the flood was over, how did all of the peoples of the world come to be? ie. asians, africans, american indians etc? People with different skin color and other physical characteristics?

    January 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
    • JW

      Capacity to reproduce different genders is in our DNA...How did they spread?...how did the indians came to be in America, or how did the first european settlers spread to an within America?

      January 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
      • Observer

        JW,

        Still STUMPED?

        January 30, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
      • Trying to Believe

        I don't understand the answer. I was under the impression that Noah had his family on the boat. how did his family evolve (for lack of a better word) into the various peoples of the world in such a short period of time? Did his kids have s...x with each other to produce offspring ? in a previous post you said that god directs us to use logical reasoning. it is that reasoning that makes me ask these question. again, how is it possible that Noah's family exited the ark and turned into all of the peoples of the world?

        January 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • Topher

          Just a note: Noah's sons had wives with them.

          January 30, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Each of Noah's sons inherited the same version of the Y chromosome from Noah, Topher. There are over 20 major haplogroups of the human Y chromosome. How do you account for the diversity?

          January 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
        • Tropher

          Magic

          January 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • x

      God had a really cool acrylic set at the time, you know those paints that come twelve in a pack plus somebody gave him one of those human cut and style hair packages from Walmart. Yes Walmart was there then. Wormhole problem in the towel section, don't ask.

      January 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
    • Topher

      Read up on the dispersion at Babel.

      January 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
      • Trying to Believe

        would the diserson of Babel answer my question about how Noah's family turned into all of the people's of the world?

        January 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • Topher

          Pretty good starting point.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
      • Tropher

        Tower of Babel is another ridiculous story, especially considering we have airplanes and spaceships now that fly way higher than that tower ever reached. So god was so paranoid about people building a tower to heaven (even though we know it's impossible now), that he changed everyone's languages so it would never happen, but yet people building crazier things today and nothing happens. Gee... I wonder.

        January 31, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • Des

      Everyone, be careful of JW. He has been back out here often lately, on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. That's how they keep it going; heavy sales efforts. You can see him on his latest con job for his cult in recent posts. This is well documented now. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. He needs to engage you on his agenda to do that. Instead, keep pressing him on points like this, and watch him squirm:

      So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

      February 1, 2014 at 10:56 am |
  2. Observer

    JW,

    What is the problem? Do you have a SEVERE READING DISABILITY?

    Why won't you answer his question?

    January 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
    • JW

      I already replied... The replay was, read Acts 15:28,29! I guess he never did, as no questions were asked after that.

      January 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
      • Observer

        JW,

        He asked a "yes" or "no" question. What is your READING COMPREHENSION problem?

        January 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • JW

          Observer- He already knows...Read Acts 15:28,29. What do you think about it?

          January 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • Observer

          JW

          "Observer-What do you think about it?"

          I think you are OBVIOUSLY stalling and unwilling to answer the question. Why are you so AFRAID?

          January 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
        • JW

          answer me first, the answer is in there...i asked you something, answer me?

          January 30, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
        • Cheryl

          Looking over this, I'd say JW really is dodging a very straightforward question. JW, what is wrong with you, that you won't give a yes or no answer?

          January 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
      • Cheryl

        I have to agree with Observer. JW, you really are being asked a yes or no question. What is wrong with you, that you keep avoiding it? You seem a pretty slippery character so far.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
        • JW

          Read Acts 15:28,29...What do you think?

          January 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          You were asked a question and have REFUSED to give an answer.

          There are now at least 3 of us waiting for the answer you are SO AFRAID to give.

          Still waiting.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • JW

          I invite all to read Acts 15:28,29...then ill give you an answer! Post here what it says!

          January 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • Des

          Yes or no answer, JW. Stop dodging. We've caught you in your tricks. Everyone, be careful of JW. He has been back out here often lately, on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. That's how they keep it going; heavy sales efforts. You can see him on his latest con job for his cult in recent posts. This is well documented now. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. He needs to engage you on his agenda to do that. Instead, keep pressing him on points like this, and watch him squirm:

          So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by.

          January 30, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          Pathetic!

          NO ONE asked what a 2,000-year-old book says. The question is what do YOU think?

          Still completely STUMPED for a "yes" or "no" answer to a very simple question?

          January 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Wow...you really want to avoid answering, JW. What a wimpy.

          January 30, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Ok, JW, you really appear to be that clueless, here's the etiquette. Basic human behavior.

          You answer like this:

          Yes, I do /No, I don't / The question is more complex than that because....

          After one of these you say:

          My belief is based on this section of the bible....

          And YOU post it, rather than being so lazy and/or manipulative you want to send others to do your work.

          Then you include at least a few sentences explaining the text.

          And as a reminder, you cite your source when you copy and paste. I know that one is a problem for you too.

          Wow...back in grad school Spent a summer teaching in a middle school camp where kids got things faster than this. Wow.

          January 30, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
      • Saraswati

        JW, just curious, are you actually unaware that you are blatantly avoiding answering a simple question? Because the is as obvious to the rest of us as a two year old who hides his head and thinks no one can see him. you don't answer a question with a question unless there is something about the first question which is unclear and the question helps clarify. In this case you are simply avoiding giving your answer. You can integrate a reference to a text if you want, but anyone who plays along with you is as big a fool as you are. Answer the question or get out of the conversation.

        January 30, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • JW

          My answer and why is based on Acts 15:28,29... And unless no one posts the passage here and tries to reason why I think what it's says in Acts.... I will not answer! You guys choose!

          January 30, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I hope no one is silly enough to play along with you. You are either too rude or too ignorant to follow normal conversational etiquette which requires YOU to provide the text in this context and to explain it. I don't know if you are just lazy or somehow think you are winning people to god by sending them looking or just trying to avoid the subject, but however you cut it you are disturbingly antisocial.

          January 30, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • Cheryl

          JW, I think we can just categorize you as a shameful dodger. Saraswati has a great set of guidance for you for how to answer, in the thread above, and you are ignoring it and dodging yet again.

          Shame on you, JW!

          January 30, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
      • G to the T

        So you conflate "consume" with "transfuse". I'd say it's a pretty signicant difference considering the context of the passage.

        You don't find it odd that you base such and important decision based on words not spoken by Jesus? This is basically a later author's opinion on the matter. He was using it to distinguish "good" christian behavior versus the "bad" behavior of their pagan neighbors.

        February 1, 2014 at 11:21 am |
    • OTOH

      AFAIK, JWs can have their own blood transfused into themselves, but not the blood of others. Maybe they stockpile their own blood for emergencies?! ( If they are away from home base and have a serious accident, oh well...)

      Besides, why do you care if they off themselves unnecessarily (other than the uninformed and powerless children)?

      January 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
  3. The pain of it all

    You know we are all going to die sooner or later and this is all we have, the ark and all that.

    January 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
    • Deano

      I especially like the part when the ark rises out of the water with Hagrid astride its deck, and they proceed to Hogwarts.

      Oh wait, wrong fairytale...

      January 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
      • The pain of it all

        Well we were here once, that's something right?

        January 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
        • Pamela

          That's a run-on sentence, stupid.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • The Drama

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OSaJE2rqxU&w=640&h=390]

      January 30, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
      • Topher

        Blasphemy.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • The Drama

          In theaters near you soon !

          January 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • sam stone

          blasphemy is a victimless crime

          January 31, 2014 at 9:29 am |
      • Legolas

        They're taking the creatures to Eisengard!

        January 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
  4. Trying to Believe

    Question for Christians who believe the stories of the Bible are true.....
    How did Noah travel to Australia, load up all of the indigenous species such as Kangaroos and bring them back to where he was building the ark?
    How did Noah travel to North Amera, load up all of the indigenous species such as Buffalo and bring them back to where he was building the ark?

    January 30, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
    • JW

      He didnt. God made the animals arrive to where Noah was.

      January 30, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
      • The mass delusion

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95iRvZOtUWA&w=640&h=390]

        January 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
      • Aden

        So why did God put pigs on the boat when he didn't want anybody to have anything to do with them?

        January 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Hmmm, maybe just to keep it in the repertoire of nasty things that people could call each other - maybe ass, old goat, snake, dinosaur, etc. were just not enough?! 😈

          January 30, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • JW

          God included some "unclean" animals as well. Because he didnt allow the Israelites to eat those animals, it doesnt mean they dont have their purpose...

          January 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • Responding to the Pride

          A$$suming your point is true–do you believe "anybody" includes predatory animals that might later want some bacon for dinner? I'm not aware of God requiring Kosher diets for lions.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • JW

          Respond – Some skeptics might ask: ‘How could such a thing happen? And how could all those animals coexist peacefully in a confined space?’ Consider this: Is it really beyond the power of the Creator of the universe to control his animal creations, even render them tame and docile if needed? Remember, Jehovah is the God who parted the Red Sea and made the sun stand still. Could he not carry out every event described in Noah’s account?

          January 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • Fan2C

          JW,

          All things are possible in a fantasy. Ain't it grand?!

          January 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          JW, If god is omnipotent and omniscient as claimed, it could have selectively smote the evil humans without killing all life on earth except for what was on the Ark.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        • JW

          Santa- Yes he couldve done that, but God brought the Deluge, for sure he had his reasons!

          January 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Funny how it didn't think of that.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • Des

          Everyone, be careful of JW. He has been back out here often lately, on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. That's how they keep it going; heavy sales efforts. You can see him on his latest con job for his cult in recent posts. This is well documented now. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. He needs to engage you on his agenda to do that. Instead, keep pressing him on points like this, and watch him squirm:

          So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Answer that. Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • Trying to Believe

        Does it say that in the Bible? that God beamed those animals over to the ark building site?

        January 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • Topher

          I doubt there was beaming, but I suppose it's possible. Of course if it was one large land mass, that would solve the problem.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          It actually does say it: "two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive". Of course it's absurd. You could argue that it's more absurd than Noah going to the effort to collect them himself. Basically, everything comes down to magic.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • Topher

          See? No "beaming" mentioned.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Curious

          No "reality" involved, either.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • Observer

          Topher

          "Of course if it was one large land mass, that would solve the problem."

          Of course. The animals could have loaded themselves up with a year's supply of food and walked thousands of miles to the ark.

          Makes sense, but maybe only to you.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          So if god has the power to to beam animals places, then why the hell was he telling Noah to gather them? Why go through the whole flooding thing when he could just remove the evil people.

          January 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
    • Topher

      Trying to Believe

      Noah didn't have to travel. The animals all showed up where he was. Also, it's likely that Australia and North American didn't exist before the flood. Localized floodwaters are bad. A worldwide flood would have been catastrophic. The land masses that did exist would have been destroyed and then covered over with sediment. The Bible also tells us that it was so catastrophic to the earth that it caused mountains to rise and valley's to fall.

      January 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
      • Responding to the Pride

        C'mon Topher. You can do better than that. If God is involved, you don't have to always rely on the natural explanation.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        It's amazing what things deluded people will believe. I hesitate to argue about Australia and North America existing before the flood because there was no flood! Here's what the continents looked like during the last 750 million years:

        http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/anim3.html

        January 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
      • Trying to Believe

        after the flood was over did God then transport all of those animals back to their respective continents?

        January 30, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • JW

          The findings of oceanographers indicate that at one time land ridges connected what are now isolated land areas. For example, oceanographic studies indicate that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge may have crossed that ocean above the surface. Possibly there were also other ridges, and animals could have migrated by means of these before such ridges sank below the surface of the ocean. Other oceanographic studies have turned up evidence that once there existed a huge South Pacific continent that took in Australia and many of the South Sea isles. If such was the case, then, of course, the animals had no difficulty in migrating to these lands.

          Dont forget that people use to sail, most likly transporting the animals with them as well.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          JW,

          I will tell you what I find interesting. You attempt to use science, reason, and logic when you can to support your positions. This of course is natural and correct, applied appropriately. But above when asked how it was possible that all these animals could be confined peacefully, your answer was "magic". Why not just start with magic? It's what you are always forced to retreat to anyway.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
      • Curious

        So what chapter and verse does it state that the animals come to Noah? I want to look it up.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Genesis 6:20. The Bible does say this, but it says a lot of absurd things.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • JW

          No specific part about that, but for God nothing is impossible!

          January 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • Topher

          "Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Ha ha, JW, there IS a specific part about that. But you were ever so quick to say "it was magic" again. Do you see how you just make things up to suit you? When all along, the Bible verse was there just waiting for you to use.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
      • Topher

        The Bible doesn't say exactly, but there are many ways the animals could have gotten there.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Topher, That was debunked yesterday when you and L4H suggested it.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • Topher

          What was?

          January 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          I was intending to reply to your comment about the continents still being together at the time. Don't know what I did.

          January 30, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • Responding to the Pride

      Interesting question–and it focuses on a theme that many nonbelievers (and I don't necessarily put you in any faith category) employ–looking at a miracle/supernatural event, and concluding that there must be natural reasons leading up the miracle/supernatural event. So, here, we have a supernatural event (world wide flood) and you ask how Kangaroos arrived in Asia? JW answered the question–God made it happen.

      January 30, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • G to the T

        "God did it" – Then it's a matter of faith and that's fine, but the evidence is not in favor of this having happened "in real life".

        January 31, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  5. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Wouldn't it be strange if we scraped away all the debris and encrustations – the Bible, all the myths and fables, all the stuff people have attributed to God, good, bad, and bizarre, and found some kind of actual god there. We could dust it off, nurse it back to health and send it on its way. I doubt if it would ever come around here again.

    January 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
  6. Pete

    According to the bible all it takes to defeat god is iron chariots.

    January 30, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
    • Almighty3201

      First of all context determines everything. Gen 22:1 -Abraham is not being tempted with evil. Gotta the read the whole verse my friend, second, God is testing his faith on whether he will offer up his son as a sacrifice. No contradiction. God is testing his faith – God already knows how much faith he has (hence...he's God) but he wanted to show Abraham and to prove his faith. James 1:13 stands on it's own its self explanatory I think at this point.

      January 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
      • This is a Bible Contradiction, Stupid.

        James 1:13 says “..for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”

        Gen 22:1 says “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham…”

        Go suck on that, stupid.

        January 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • Almighty3201

          Context determines it's meaning! You are not reading the whole context of either passage! In the book of James he is talking about EVIL what part of evil do you not understand? It's 3rd grade english! I forgot they dont teach english anymore! Use your brain and not the one given to a brass doorknob! You can play word games all day buddy if you don't except Jesus Christ as your personal saviour you go to HELL! Don't go to Hell cuz of your pride!

          January 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

          Sacrificing your son is not evil?

          January 30, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
    • ET Iphone home

      It's painfully obvious that iron chariot means spaceship. God & Lucifer were opposing factions of aliens, and we all know that history is written by the winners, so there you have it. God is favored as the good guy in the bible despite committing numerous atrocities that far exceed Satan. It's almost like reading the propaganda put out by Germany prior to the holocaust.

      January 30, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
  7. Bill Nye (Science Guy) Hammers Creationists

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b8vGsSX8lA&w=640&h=390]

    January 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
  8. Pete

    Matt 19:26 says “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. “
    Judges 1:19 says “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”

    First of all this seems like a contradiction, and secondly I thought god was all powerful?

    January 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
  9. Alias

    @Christian Crusader
    God was talking to St Peter about where to go for a vacation.
    Peter: maybe you should try mars for the beautiful sunsets?
    god:no, I was there 500 years ago and I still have sand in my shorts.
    Peter: How about Saturn?
    god: I dunno, I was there 1,000 years ago and it rained for 3 weeks.
    Peter: Well there is always nice weather somewhere on Earth.
    god OH NO! I'm NOT GOING THERE AGAIN!
    Peter; What's so wrong with Earth?
    god: I haven't been to earth in over 2,000 years. the last time I was tere I knocked up some jewish broad and they still haven't let me live it down.

    January 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
  10. Caron

    "We need a logical and rational mind... quick, let's get one of the atheists posting on a religion blog." – said nobody ever.

    January 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Do explain what is logic and rational about your beliefs.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
      • Caron

        If you are a human being you hold beliefs that are illogical and unreasonable. Some minds have a better grasp on logic and reason and are paid very well for that gift. But they still are victim to illogical and unreasonable thoughts and ideas. I doubt your mind is sought after for its logic or reason capabilities.

        January 30, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • Fallacy Spotting 101

          Posts by 'Caron' contain multiple instances of ad hominem fallacies.

          http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

          January 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Your comment implied that only atheists are not logical and rational, hence I presumed that you meant in comparison to theists. It seems logical and rational to not believe in supernatural beings for which there is no evidence. If you disagree, post why belief in your god is logical and rational.

          January 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          " I doubt your mind is sought after for its logic or reason capabilities."

          I can assure you that you are wrong on that count. I would be interested in specifically what in my comment led you to that conclusion.

          January 30, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • Caron

          Nobody is completely logical and rational. Some atheists seem to think they have exclusive access to logic and reason, which is absurd.

          January 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
  11. Barcs

    I can't believe that people are still denying evolution in 2014. Like really? You might as well deny gravity and the earth revolving around the sun while you're at it. How can you deny a field of science when you haven't studied it or even learned the very basics? Some of you guys sound like 1st graders denying Trigonometry after just learning basic addition and subtraction. Get real.

    January 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
  12. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    C-130 rollin' down the strip
    64 Rangers on a one way trip
    Mission Top Secret, destination unknown
    Don't even know if they're ever going home

    Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door
    Jump right out and count to four

    If my main don't open wide
    I got a reserve by my side
    If that one should fail me too
    Look out ground, I'm a-coming through

    If I die on the old drop zone
    Box me up and ship me home
    Pin my wings upon my chest
    Tell my Momma... I did my best

    January 30, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
  13. .

    More posts being deleted by the cowards.

    January 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • !

      Damn atheists/Christians!

      January 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • Alias

      Let's see how long this one lasts:
      (excuse the borrowed repost)
      My god is stronger than your god.
      Jesus was nailed to a cross.
      Thor carries a hammer.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        My favorite...

        Jesus promised to eradicate all sin... Odin promised to eradicate all Frost Giants... I don't see any Frost Giants walking around

        January 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • Sam Yaza

          Odin 1
          Jesus 0

          look Odin got a point,..just one though.. just one

          January 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          nice

          January 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
      • Christian Crusader

        Reported.

        January 30, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Alias

          So, a priest, nun and a bachelor were having lunch on the Titanic.
          When the boat hit the iceberg the nun jumped up and screamed, "Save the children!".
          The Bachelor screamed, "Screw the children!".
          The priest screamed, "Do you think we have time?".

          January 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          LOL – classic

          January 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • RC

          Reported what? Chicken Sh!t.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  14. Lawrence of Arabia

    Position:
    The supernatural exists, and is the only thing that can explain the existence of the natural.

    Proof:

    1. The physical universe exists.
    If it's a false illusion, then it isn't an illusion.
    If it's a true illusion, then someone or something must exist to have that illusion.

    2. Nothing can be self-created.
    The idea of self-creation is by all logic, formally and analytically false. It is self-contradictory and logically impossible. In essence, self-creation requires the existence of something before it exists. It is a logical and rational impossibility, because for something to create itself it must be before it is. This is impossible...

    3. Every physical ent.ity (natural ent.ity) is contingent.
    However concrete physical reality is sectioned up, the result will be a state of affairs which owes its being to something other than itself. Every physical state, no matter how inclusive, has a necessary condition in some specific type of state which precedes it in time and is fully existent prior to the emergence of the state in which it conditions. There is not one example in the physical universe of a physical quant.ity that explains its own existence.

    4. Contingent ent.ities are not eternal.
    Contingency necessitates a beginning, therefore a contingent ent.ity is not eternal.

    5. Since contingency exists, then a causal chain exists.
    Since it is impossible for something to create itself out of nothing (out of nothing, nothing comes), every effect is determined by a cause. That cause is in its turn determined by another cause. Hence, a causal chain.

    6. Infinite causal chains do not and cannot exist.
    An infinite series of causes with no beginning is a contradiction, as a causal chain by definition must have a beginning.

    7. Since a finite causal chain exists, then a Prime Mover / First Cause exists.
    The existence of a causal chain necessitates the existence of a prime mover, a first cause, otherwise the causal chain would not exist.

    8. The Prime Mover / First Cause cannot be contingent.
    Since infinite causal chains do not exist, the First Cause was itself uncaused.

    9. Since the Prime Mover / First Cause is not contingent, it is self-existing.
    Since logic dictates that nothing can be self-created, anything that is uncaused, has the power of being within itself – not self-created, but self-existence. That is, dependent upon nothing else for its existence.

    10. A self-existing (not self-created) ent.ity is supernatural.
    Since all physical (natural) enti.ties are contingent, then a self-existing, non-contingent ent.ity is supernatural

    “The dependent character of all physical states, together with the completeness of the series of dependencies underlying the existence of any given physical state, logically implies at least one self-existent, and therefore non-physical, state of being: a state of being, or an ent.ity, radically different from those that make up the physical or "natural" world.
    It is demonstrably absurd that there should be a self-sufficient physical universe, if by that we mean an all-inclusive totality of ent.ities and events of the familiar or scientific physical variety, unless we are prepared to treat the universe itself as having an essentially different type of being from the physical:—which then just concedes the point of the existence of the supernatural.”

    Dallas Willard

    January 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
    • igaftr

      That makes no sense. It jumps to wild conclusions based on wild speculation.

      There are an infinite number of other explainations for the existance of the universe.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Saint LofA
      You have been adopting the position, for how long now? Time to get off your knees and get right with reality. Try even if you have to give up your Sainthood, unless that is where all your self esteem comes from?

      January 30, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Presuming that there was a first cause, you present no evidence that it was your god.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
    • Alias

      One big bunch of FAIL!
      Nothing is created or destroyed. Everything that is here now was here before the big bang, even it it was in a different form.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • bostontola

      LoA,
      Your post is a great example of why we talk past each other. Not only aren't your points elements of a proof, they aren't even evidence. Most are unsubstantiated assertions.

      Example of one from the past:
      It is observably obvious that the earth is stationary and the heavenly bodies orbit us.

      Yours are very similar, what you think is obvious is not. Quantum Mechanics and the Theory of Relativity predict many bizarre phenomena. They have been experimentally validated.

      Your assertions are an example of unbridled hubris.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      your explaining the natural the super natural exist out side of nature, and nothing exist out side of nature thus nothing is the only super natural

      if gods exist then they are natural, if the do not then their super natural, the only supernatural deitie is CHAOS aka Ahriman the god of nothing born in opposition to everything who seeks to return the world to nothing.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Saint LofA
      Well there you go again using a jesus freak apologist like Dallas Willard to confirm that the BS is somehow true. You claim not to interpret the BS but use others to do it for you, what a goof.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
    • Piccolo

      Too bad you can't prove any of that LoA.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
    • ME II

      @Lawerence of Arabia,

      A few of the more apparent issues with your logic:

      "If it's a false illusion, then it isn't an illusion.
      If it's a true illusion, then someone or something must exist to have that illusion."

      I'm not sure what you mean by a "false illusion", but anillusion, while requiring a perceptor to be an illusion, does not require a perceptor in this physical universe.

      "2. Nothing can be self-created."

      While I won't go into an ananlysis of this one, you fail to account for spontaneous creation. You assume either contingent or eternal. Why not spontaneous creation?

      "There is not one example in the physical universe of a physical quant.ity that explains its own existence."

      ...that we/you know of. This is an argument from ignorance.

      "Since it is impossible for something to create itself out of nothing (out of nothing, nothing comes), every effect is determined by a cause. That cause is in its turn determined by another cause. Hence, a causal chain."

      "Since infinite causal chains do not exist, the First Cause was itself uncaused."

      This is a contradiction, if every effect has a cause then there can be no "First Cause", because "[t]hat cause is in its turn determined by another cause."

      "An infinite series of causes with no beginning is a contradiction, as a causal chain by definition must have a beginning."

      January 30, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
      • Logical Default

        "This is a contradiction, if every effect has a cause then there can be no "First Cause", because "[t]hat cause is in its turn determined by another cause.""

        PWNED!

        January 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • Dandintac

          It's special pleading LD. Here's how it goes. Everything must have a cause! Everything, do you hear me? EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EVERYTHING.

          Oh–wait–not my little first cause over here–that's exempt!

          The first cause argument has been around sine Aristotle, and it has never been a good argument for a theistic God.

          January 30, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
  15. Charm Quark

    Saint LofA
    One is too many, a hundred is not enough, witch burning anonymous.

    January 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      True, one is too many, but do not make the mistake of calling men "Christians" who do wicked things in the name of God.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • Alias

        If they worshipped jesus and believed in your bible, they were christians.

        January 30, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Maybe by human standards, but not God's. God's standards are higher than mere belief, for even the demons believe, but they are not saved – God's standards require repentance, and these men were clearly practicing sin. Like the sodomite who claims he is a Christian – whoever practices sin practices lawlessness, and noone who practices sin will inherit the Kingdom of God.

          January 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          So you're the only true christian? Think about the implications.

          January 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          Hmmm... call me crazy, but I figure if a deity was upset that something was going on, it would take pains to sort of make it right, you know?

          January 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA
          Strange that you would not support the fundie jesus freaks of the time, why are you so much better in this day and age, afraid of the secular law imprisoning your pathetic ass?

          January 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Ooops, below, like in that inviting pit of delusional fire, do the satanic surf?

      January 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  16. yogi

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8p_fnrKAXA&w=640&h=390]

    January 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm |

    • That must be a conversation between "colin" and "liarprevails"

      January 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Who is liarprevails? I've never seen that alias here.

        January 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
      • Colin

        I wouldn't mind standing in front of those curves for an hour or so.....

        January 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • Madtown

          Sinner!!!!!!

          January 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
      • Fred

        Or "thetrollwithnoname."

        January 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
  17. tony

    I had a supernatural religious experience in the past.

    I went to a house where good people said they gathered to listen, talk and sing. Then, as if by magic, a round plate, collecting money appeared on my lap!

    January 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and I was hiking in the mountains last weekend and a bush burst into flames but it was not consumed. A voice came out of the bush and said "there is no god and religion is foolishness". I shrugged my shoulders and thought "OK ... I suppose a voice from a burning bush can't be wrong." So take note everyone. cheers!

      January 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • Alias

      I had one too. When I was about 8, I looked up at the front of the church and realized that the pale blue eyed figure thay had represented on the cross could not possibly be an accurate portrail of jesus.
      Christians are not the most honest group on the planet when it comes to religion.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • !

        The figure you saw was an artist's interpretation of Jesus. It wasn't all of the religion insisting what Jesus looked like.

        January 30, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
      • igaftr

        There was an interesting scene in the movie "stigmata" where the afflicted girl, speaking with the priest pointed out the holes on the statues hands were not were hers were ( on the wrist). She pointed out that all of the statues, pictures ar wrong...he stated not wrong...just inaccurate.

        Remeber all the images are just made by people and everyone sees a different image of what he might ook like.

        January 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  18. Live4Him

    Hey, anybody else notice that the "Post" button is back?

    January 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • tony

      Not on my screen.

      Apparently only the very honest folk can see that the CNN emperor has no posting button on.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        nice.

        January 30, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
    • Alias

      We push each others buttons all the time on this blog.
      Oh sorry, wrong context.
      That happens a lot here too.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      L4H
      Still missing, but then you already know you are special.

      January 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
  19. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    I saw an old lady running down the street
    Had a chute on her back, jump boots on her feet
    Said, "Hey old lady, where you goin' to?"
    She said, "US Army Airborne School"
    Whatcha gonna do when you get there?
    Jump from a plane and fall through the air
    I said, "Hey old lady, ain't you been told?
    Airborne School's for the brave and the bold."
    She said, "Hey, now soldier, don't be a fool,
    I'm an instructor at Airborne School!"

    January 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Saw an old lady marching down the road
      Had a knife in her hand and a 90 lb. load
      Said, "Hey old lady, where you goin' to?"
      She said, "US Army Ranger School"
      Whatcha gonna do when you get there?
      Jump, swim, and kill without a care
      I said, "Hey old lady, ain't you been told?
      Ranger School's for the brave and the bold."
      She said, "Hey, now soldier, don't be a fool,
      I'm an instructor at Ranger School!"

      January 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Saw an old lady running down the track
        Had fins on her feet and a tank on her back
        Said, "Hey old lady, where you goin' to?"
        She said, "US Army Scuba School"
        Whatcha gonna do when you get there?
        Swim under water and never breathe air
        I said, "Hey old lady, ain't you been told?
        Scuba School's for the brave and the bold."
        She said, "Hey, now diver, don't be a fool,
        I'm an instructor at Scuba School!"

        January 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          It just occurred to me, that we seemed to have an unhealthy obsession with old ladies doing stuff in the Army... what's up with that?

          January 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • Alias

          "we"?

          January 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I wasn't singing that cadence by myself...

          January 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
  20. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    God is terrible at math... and terrible at being a publishing editor

    (7:2-3) "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens."
    (7:13-14) "In the selfsame day" All of the animals boarded the ark "in the selfsame day." With a million or so species (There are more than a million known today.), the animals must have boarded at a rate of at least 10 pairs/second.
    (7:15) "And they went ... into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein there is breath of life."
    (7:8-9) Whether by twos or by sevens, Noah takes representatives from each species of "every thing that creepeth upon the earth." Now this must have taken some time, along with expert knowledge of taxonomy, genetics, biogeography, and anatomy. How did Noah manage to collect the endemic species from the New World, Australia, Polynesia, and other remote regions entirely unknown to him? How, once he found them, did he transport them back to the ark? How could he tell the male and female beetles (there are more than 500,000 species) apart? How did he know how to care for these new and unfamiliar animals? How did he find the space on the ark? How did he manage to find and care for the hundreds of thousands of parasitic species? How did he obtain and care for the hundreds of thousands of species of plants? (Plants are ignored in the Genesis account, but the animals wouldn't last long after if the plants died in the flood.) No, wait, don't tell me. A miracle happened. Millions of them.
    (7:9) "There went in two and two."
    (7:17)"And the flood was forty days upon the earth."
    (7:24) "And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days."

    January 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • Almighty3201

      Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God

      January 30, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Oh my god, they killed Kenny! Those bastards!

        January 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        Almighty3201
        "Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God"

        A quite old tactic, that sometimes even works on the impressionable ones – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

        Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

        The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

        January 30, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        3201: Did it occur to you for one second that that verse is a scare tactic to keep you gullible and believing? If it said 'The fool has said in their heart, there is a god", you would probably leave the belief behind!
        You're what-12 maybe, or perhaps that is simply your education and intelligence level?

        January 31, 2014 at 6:54 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.