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 Belief Blog Editor

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

soundoff (5,820 Responses)
  1. ME II

    ME II
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Completely unnecessary."

    LOL!! Toche

    February 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
    • ME II

      <- touche

      February 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
  2. Almighty3201

    For all of those of you who have repeatedly brought up the idea of incest and how it was ordained...... well first of all...... this might hurt...... Use Your Brain People!!!! IF evolution is true man was incestual as well. Evolution or evolutionary theory doesn't mistakenly obsolve the idea away of incest! The bible specifically makes it clear going through the geneologies when it became inappropriate to "be" with someone too close. Anomolies (retardation, deformities, etc...) occur incestually from a mutated genetic pool. Adam was "perfect" genetically and so were his "genes" but as man continued to abound and live in sin (which brought death into the world) his genetic makeup began to produce problems, and God corrected that. You see folks if you actually read the bible God's word tells you when it was no longer appropriate to "keep it in the family" Just remember IF evolution is true, which I believe it's a lie, than they did the same thing. It's not that hard to figure out.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • bostontola

      Your science is distorted, but your assertion that evolution produced incest is right. So what?

      February 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • Almighty3201

        No my friend my science is right on and logical. My argument regarding incest is that atheists and other anti God people always wanna hate on us Christians and point to incest when evolution too would have to produce the same outcome.

        February 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • JustAPondering


          Truth follower,

          I hope you don't mind me bringing this forward as a new thread since the old one is very long and it gets hard to find where to reply............................................................................................
          Truth follower, you are right on. Hard to find a place to reply. It is like the cat chasing his tail. The chicken or the egg first (Hawkins theories vs. An all supreme Creator). Scientific advances continue to give us (mere humans, however we were created) simply more knowledge of the mechanics of life as we know it. EMPHASIS AS WE ARE PRESENTLY CAPABLE OF KNOWING IT. In 1996, I read one of the early articles regarding the 'string theory ' applied to the universe. Now, I will throw in a 'far out' observation that to my limited intellect made a strange relationship. (I choose to believe in a Creator God.) But, Carlos Castaneda wrote several books, over 10-15 years about the Brujo Don Juan. In the final book of this relationship, Don Juan describes the his vision of the Eagle (God) and something similar to a string theory and life at birth.
          Bunk, hypocrisy, BS ... possibly all of these things. Conversation to this long blog. Such is life. Man cannot understand the Creator God; he can only choose to a believe; HUMAN NATURE IS WHAT IT IS today..

          February 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          It would not produce the same outcome. Read my response (and Barcs') below.

          February 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • JustAPondering

          I am trying hard to apply human logic to a creator God, and the creation as a result of a non-beginning Big Bang. Interesting blog thoughts. Wow ... now close to 5000.

          February 3, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      No, you don't understand how evolution works. Let's say species A was geographically separated into two groups, and in time species B and C were "born". You don't just get from A to B or A to C in one generation. At no point in time would you be able to identify parents as species A and offspring as species B. Think of it as a gradual transition. Species B does not have to be propagated by incest.

      By the way, if something ever came along to replace evolution, it would be because evolution was wrong, not a lie. Actually, the reality is that something might subsume evolution but it's unlikely it would be replaced, just like Einsteinian physics subsumed Newtonian physics.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        As an amateur shepherd I can assure you that incest is very normal among animal populations whether it is harmful is another thing altogether!

        February 4, 2014 at 7:58 am |
    • Barcs

      Evolution doesn't require incest as creationism does because there was never just one man and woman. Evolution suggests a slowly changing population of people that never dipped below 1000. Incest does lead to birth defects and decreases the diversity of the gene pool so it's bad for evolution, and bad for well pretty much for anybody.

      February 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
    • Cherilyn B

      Through fossils we see the history of evolution which is defined as gradual genetic change in a population. Evolution occurs via gene mutation, natural selection and genetic drift. It is a very SLOW process.

      Humans did not suddenly appear but rather are the culmination of changes to the genotype (inherited genetic information) and, thus, phenotype

      February 3, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • Cherilyn B

      (Sorry for the interruption.)

      .......the genotype and, thus, the phenotype (visible physical expression) over many generations. Such speciation occurs when a group within a species becomes isolated. As times passes, the isolated group evolves to the point that they are unable to breed with the species they originated from and, thus, a new species is formed.

      As for incest (or inbreeding), it can occur in any group but it is not necessary for evolution.

      Please note that Sungrazer, Barcs and I are all in agreement. We are just using different words to communicate the same process.

      As for religion, you can believe whatever you choose as it is faith-based but the facts of science are established whether you believe them are not. Evolution is firmly established whereas Christianity has fractured into thousands of denominations due to disagreements on beliefs and practices.Wiki lists 41,000 denominations of Christianity worldwide but I do not have time to verify that.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:03 am |
      • Cherilyn B

        Typo: "believe them OR not".

        February 4, 2014 at 4:02 am |
  3. Science Works

    Topher and the links -you know ?

    Published on Jan 27, 2014

    Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Debate – Answers in Genesis – 11 Tips for Bill
    Hemant Mehta (http://www.friendlyatheist.com)

    Bill Nye can use the Talk Origins website to find rebuttals:

    Join the conversation. Leave your questions and comments below and we'll try to address them in future videos. Don't forget to subscribe for more!

    Also, follow us at ...

    February 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
  4. bostontola

    If the Abrahamic God is real, then he is not very good at the omniscience/omnipotent thing.

    He created humans with a broad range of characteristics, some are very empathetic, some very analytical, some tall, some fast, etc., etc. Some have a set of God given characteristics that make belief much easier. Scientific tests have shown strong relationships among certain characteristics and belief. The problem is, others have a set of characteristics that make belief extremely difficult or impossible. The same is true of upbringing. This would not be a big problem except that in the Abrahamic religions, non-compliance has dire consequences. You don't choose your DNA, parents, place of birth, etc., all can have a big effect on belief, yet the consequences are still imposed.

    I find this system unethical and not one I want any part of. God stacks the deck for some and against others.

    This God of yours says it's omnipotent and omniscient, yet the fundamental system of reward/punishment is unfair. This God had 2 failures right out of the gate. Adam and eve both defied God. I could understand a bit better if it was deep into the 100th generation when humans started to fail, but version 1.0? Omniscient means God knew this would happen (please don't give me the free will argument, you can have free will and god knows what will happen), and omnipotent means he could have created humans so this wouldn't happen.

    The original sin is not of humans but of God. He created us to sin, to all be sinners. Then you have the Abrahamic religion 2.0, enter Jesus. Dies for us to make square our debt as sinners (since god told Adam he would die if he ate the fruit from that tree). This is the ultimate version of the Poison/Cure gambit. You poison a person with a terminal substance that has an antidote. Then you sell them the antidote. God created us poisoned, buy the cure of spend eternity in hell. This stuff is unethical and immoral. I won't even bother with the slavery, subjugation of women, definition of certain harmless lifestyles as sin, etc. I am not compatible with these religions.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      It boils down to this: How can anything other than perfection result from a perfect god? It is logically impossible for something imperfect to come from something perfect.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
    • Barcs

      Agreed. The whole idea that he knows everything is ridiculous just based on the flood story. So he created humans knowing full well 99% of them would turn on him and he'd have to drown them all in a flood? Sounds logical. He told Adam not to eat the fruit, knowing full well they would disobey him and cause the fall of mankind. God is so mean he holds an entire population of people and all their future descendants responsible for one choice made by one man out of curiosity thousands of years ago? Why not just create them properly in the first place, with less curious minds that are less susceptible to emotions and evil thoughts? The whole thing doesn't make the least bit of sense.

      February 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
    • Eman Puedam

      Very well put! I am in 100% agreement and have often tried to articulate the same idea, but never as clearly as you have.

      February 3, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • Chris

      God created man to love Him but love requires choice, without freedom to choose to love God we are no more than mere robots programmed to simulate an outcome that isn't real.

      God may know our choices but that is not the same as making them for us.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:40 am |
  5. Reflections

    Topher, Austin and Live4Him recently attended the recent Pathways to a Christian Understanding of the Holy Bible Convention. Our photographers were able to capture them deep in study..


    February 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
  6. toquide

    I find it difficult to understand why many bloggers who seems to be historically knowledgeble still focus in their critism of the traditional religions,they find satisfaction in downgrading the "truth" about the bible,the great flood,and many other doctrines of the monotheistic churches.Maybe their level of consciousnes is also similar to this faiths,Yes we have to transcend to the next higher of awareness in order for us not to dwell in this obsolescent arguments to the validity of this claims ,like the Noah's Ark.We have to look at this realities in a more advance higher level of historical perspective.we have to understand the reality of scientific evolution or change to religious reality.To be specific,we have to accept that even religion has to change and evolve to conform to humanities level of intellectual development,otherwise looking historically in the future of our todays arguments,will make most of us the laughfing stocks of the future generations.Maybe thats the inescapable legacy of this generation.

    February 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • Cherilyn B

      Hello, Toquide – You have made some excellent points along with asking questions that we should all consider.

      I would like to move beyond the juvenile arguements that basically come down to: "I am right!" "No, I am right!" Unfortunately, in the U.S., we are mired in wrangling over passages of the Bible such as Noah's flood because certain religious groups want Creationism taught instead of evolution; laws passed to curtail women's reproductive rights to abortion & birth control; and to deny equal rights to citizens based upon the s€xual orientation.

      To stand up and point out the impossibilities of Noah's flood is to show why the Bible cannot be taken literally and thus is NOT a valid educational tool. The debate today between Bill Nye and Ken Ham will showcase both sides to all who care to follow it.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:28 am |
  7. ME II

    (posted here due to prior thread being deleted)
    "My only 'agenda' is that I trust God. And by the texts, it's pretty clear who the authors are."

    "By the texts," much of the NT is anonymous, is it not? Certainly, none of the text in the Gospels name authors, correct?

    "I'd agree there are things that have the appearance of contradictions on the surface. But if you do any kind of studying, you'll see that isn't the case. There are NO contradictions in the Bible."

    If by "any kind of studying", you mean rationalization, then you may be correct. For example, there is no rational reason to think that Luke 2 puts the Nativity near 6BCE and no rational reason to think that Matthew 2 puts it in 4CE, unless one is trying to rationalize an obvious contradiction.

    February 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
    • Alias

      I think you are trying too hard.
      Galileo was accused or heresy and put under house arrest.
      Clearly his science was in conflict with what the church was teaching.
      It seems obvious to me, you can either believe the earth moves anound the sun OR the bible is the perfect word of god; but you cannot have it both ways.

      February 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
  8. Reality #2

    And again and again and again and yet again, the bigger question is did Noah even exist? Other than the OT/Torah is there any other evidence?

    And did Abraham and Moses exist? From the information (and lack thereof) available, no they did not. Added details are available upon written request

    February 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jim

      Do you believe Jesus existed?

      February 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • igaftr

        As a man...likely. As a supernatural man-god with magical powers...no of course not. There were many "messiahs" running around at the time and many allegedly had magic power as well...stories that became legend that have no basis in reality.

        February 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • Pete

        AS the bible describes him, NO.

        February 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          That is funny because following the teachings of Jesus as in the Bible is very enligghtening!

          February 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  9. Alias

    Genesus 6:15 The size of Noah's Ark was such that there would be about one and a half cubic feet for each pair of the 2,000,000 species to be taken aboard.

    February 3, 2014 at 11:08 am |
    • igaftr

      That si just ONE of the myriad issues of the myth.

      It reminds me of the scene in Diehard 2, when Bruce Willis uses the ejector seat from the cargo airplane...lucky he found the ONLY cargo airplane in the world with an ejector seat AND the safety mechanism that prevents ejection while on the ground was broken...but otherwise it makes sense.

      February 3, 2014 at 11:22 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        You're taking that Die Hard scene out of context.
        It is obvious to all that Die Hard2 fulfills the prophecies from the original Die Hard.
        Anything you see as a plot hole is a translation error, a metaphor or you're not applying proper Die Hardian hermeneutics.
        However, you must beware the lies of the later sequels that do NOT come from the hand of Willis.

        February 3, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Dez


          February 3, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • igaftr

          Sorry Doc...all of my ACTUAL knowledge must be getting in the way of the Bruce Magic...all things are possible through Bruce.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • Dez

          They did make Bruce Almighty...

          February 3, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • Which God?

          @ Doc. I just picked myself up from the floor. Man, you had me laughing so hard the wife wanted to know if I had lost it. I did, for a bit. Thanks Doc, that was great!

          February 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • Cherilyn B

          Hi, Doc V – I always stop to read your posts as I scroll through the Belief Blog comment section. I have never responded before because I agree with 95% of your statements. The other 5% have expanded my knowledge.

          And now I find that my esteemed professor has a sense of humor. A true gem.

          February 3, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
    • Almighty3201

      There weren't 2 million species on the ark. The bible says that Noah took animals based on their "kind" and although some "species" are not inter-fertile today, this does not prove they weren't at some point in the past. In simple terms, a cat, a cougar, a lion, a tiger, a leopard are all CATS... Making the supposition there were 2 million types of animals is ridiculous. The basic "kinds" of anilmals were on the ark.

      February 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • igaftr

        "kinds"....funny. So you agree with evolution then...at least that's a start.
        What about all of the other parts of the stroy that are absolutley impossible then...such as a stone age man ( just at the edge of metal working so maybe he had copper tools, but unlikely) making a boat of that size, using the materials available...that "ship" would sink...it would be the equivelant of the Wright Brothers building a 747 usiing the tools and materials of their day...absolutley impossible. Then you take all of the other problems, such as needing 5 times the water on the planet to make the flood happen, the ending of EVERY food chain on the planet, the FACT that if any seeds survived ( extremely unlikey given the salinity of the water) it would take MILLIONS of years to re-establish any food chains, the fact that we are not all descendants of this Noah or his family... I can go on all day.

        Simple conclusion...it is a myth...never happened.

        February 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • Almighty3201

          Well I would argue that it did happen, but that is neither here nor there. I love how us "modern" folk make a lot of assumptions about how deprived man was in the past and that he had no intellect etc. You could do yourself a favor and do a little history check and you would see man was probably more intelligent in the past than he is now. Now I understand that this would require you as the individual to do some research to which I know you never will, but hey you continue to go ahead and build all your foundation and knowledge and understanding on everyone elses plights and wonders and see where that gets you. Incidentally the bible uses the word "kinds". If man was so stupid and inept how were the pyramids and other such structure built? The exactness and cuts on those stones are closer and more "perfect" than anything possible today even with modern technology. Not to mention the size of the stones, their exact position to the 4 cardinal directions, or how about this, the fact that they line up perfectly to astrological features in the sky (stars). The pyramids are also exactly in the center of the earth as well. How could these stone age neanderthals do this? The fact is they couldn't. How is it we have clam and mollusk shells on top of the mountains all over the world? How about palm leaves at both poles?
          You should rethink your position and start thinking for yourself, because my God is more powerful more magnificent than any stupid evolutionary theory!

          February 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
      • Dez

        Lol. Sure, okay.

        February 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        If we limit our list of animals to those specifically mentioned in the Bible in one verse or another, that’s about 120 “kinds”. God said to snag 7 breeding pairs of clean animals, but only 1 set for the unclean critters, making for a bare minimum of 1320 animals..
        However, Noah would’ve also had to keep a good stock of animals to feed the carnivores.
        The Bible also mentions that Noah started slaughtering cows, sheep and goats as soon as he got out of the boat in order to thank God for His mercy, so he would’ve needed a few spares for that too.

        However, Noah must have dedicated a large portion of the Ark's square footage to food storage and a greenhouse of somekind – otherwise the animals along for the year long ride would die of starvation.
        How the 8 people on the boat found time to cultivate the plants, feed the animals and then deal with transporting and dumping overboard the endless piles of excrement isn't addressed in the Bible.
        Perhaps they prayed away the poop.

        February 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Almighty3201

          The truth is my friend is that believing in God and his word is based on faith, and faith alone. If every single question you or anyone else proposed was answered in the bible, you still wouldnt be satisfied. It's our human nature to defy God. God's responsibility does not reside in you me or anyone to "prove" himself to anyone! It's your responsibility to seek him. No one can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that anything in the bible didn't happen so either way it still leaves the question. Like I said even if ALL the answers were there it still wouldn't be enough. The bottom line is IF there is a God then we better serve him, if not we are all doomed!

          February 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • Barcs

          ^Negative, Almighty. That's only if YOUR VERSION of god exists and considering there are thousands of belief systems out there, the odds are not in your favor. Pascal's wager is essentially succ.umbing to fear. It is completely illogical to blindly believe something just in case it might be true.

          February 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
        • JustAPondering

          Doc, you are good at construction/productivity/production scenarios. I like what you say. You and Doc Steven Hawking make good conversation companions on the net. Cherilyn B's devotion to science is obvious, and her acceptance to new archaeological discoveries is valid under today's perceptions. I believe it will be it will be interesting to discover my perception grounded (pun) in first hand knowledge of birth and death ... after death ... in no great hurry ... as my doc says, "...JustAPondering, you are of an age that you are on the down hill slide"; I will know soon enough. Not pessimistic ... reality ... or what I hope to be knowledge as reality after life ... no one to confirm this for me available in my neighborhood.

          February 4, 2014 at 1:51 am |
  10. Alias

    Topher and salero21 are here at te smae time again!
    god must be behind this.

    February 3, 2014 at 11:07 am |
  11. ME II

    "No. If you write a letter to a friend, who gets credit for it? You or your pen?"

    Depends. Can the pen write by itself?

    February 3, 2014 at 10:58 am |
    • G to the T

      If you write a letter to a friend and use someone else's name, is that lying? Can a lie be sacred? Hmmmm....?

      February 3, 2014 at 11:10 am |
  12. tony

    Insert interpretation of your particular religious affiliation:-

    "God is too ...... to be true"

    February 3, 2014 at 9:34 am |
  13. Somebody's Attractive Cousin

    Nice beard.

    February 3, 2014 at 9:33 am |
  14. Reality #2

    : (only for the new visitors to this blog)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham (or Noah) i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni (or magic underwear) i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc.) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    February 3, 2014 at 8:01 am |
  15. Science Works

    Creating life ? without you know ?


    February 3, 2014 at 6:55 am |
  16. Observer

    Truth follower,

    I hope you don't mind me bringing this forward as a new thread since the old one is very long and it gets hard to find where to reply.

    "Rather, what was possible in that culture, was that he could sell himself into indentured servant hood and work for seven years to pay off his debts, and this enabled him to keep his family together, to preserve his dignity, to work off his debts, and get himself out of poverty and back on his feet. So, this was not slavery in the sense that we associate with the term. This was really an anti-poverty program that worked, I think, quite well in a system prior to the big government era."

    Let's deal with some of the half-truths here. Only Hebrews got a 7-year deal. For all others it was for LIFE. Guess he "forgot" that. The EXCUSES are sweetly worded. It only mentions men selling themselves and NEVER talks about men SELLING their daughters. Not ONE WORD in the Bible about whether the daughters WANTED to be sold.

    Another glaring likely INTENTIONAL omission was God's words saying that you can BEAT your SLAVE with a ROD without punishment in some cases. Sure looks like the Old South to most thinking people.

    So do you SUPPORT SLAVERY like the Bible says or do you have "BETTER MORALS" that find it repulsive?

    February 3, 2014 at 12:24 am |
  17. Observer

    Why are any believers trying to prove that the flood story is factual?

    It would seem far more sensible for them if believers would try their best to prove it's all fiction and write it off like an Aesop's fable.

    February 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Not all believers have done. The early church father thought some of it was allegory. Many now believe that all scripture is "God-breathed" and that God expects all of it to be taken as literal truth. That is their starting point. They must believe. They may fail at justifying belief, but they believe as they feel they must in order to please God.

      February 2, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
      • Dandintac

        Tom, it would indeed be more sensible for Christians to take the "you don't take it literally" approach. At least this way, they can cherry-pick their Bible and dismiss that which is ludicrous or immoral, or known to be false, as "metaphor" and so on. There are at least problems I can think of to this approach.

        1) There is no authority or guide in the Bible wherein lie instructions for how each chapter and book should be interpreted. Some churches, most notably the RCC, set themselves up in this role, though it's unclear to me why we should accept them in this role.

        2) If someone tries to use the Bible in a way they want, it makes it easier for someone in opposition to declare that it's just "poetry" or "symbolism", undercutting any authority in the Bible.

        3) Once you go down the road where this book is "proverbs", this one is "saga", this passage here is just a "metaphor", this book is "allegory", and so on, eventually at the end you are left holding a work of fiction as a whole, perhaps with a few tiny, but questionable historical references, and the entire thing open to doubt as any sort of reference to reality.

        So I think fundies are trying to draw a line in the sand–and hold fast to the claim of total nonfiction, total reality and authority. The problem there is that they become more and more divorced from reality, and have to make up all sorts of tales in response to the reasonable questions asked–adding more and more baseless assertions to prop the whole edifice up.

        So it's a lose-lose situation.

        February 2, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Cherilyn B

          When I was a fundie, I taught in a K-12 fundie school. The students in grades 9-12 were expressly told that they should not read Song of Solomon, which they had all read and giggled over in about grades 2-3.

          7 How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
          O noble daughter!
          Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
          the work of a master hand.
          2 Your navel is a rounded bowl
          that never lacks mixed wine.
          Your belly is a heap of wheat,
          encircled with lilies.
          3 Your two breasts are like two fawns,
          twins of a gazelle.
          4 Your neck is like an ivory tower.
          Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
          by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
          Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
          which looks toward Damascus.
          5 Your head crowns you like Carmel,
          and your flowing locks are like purple;
          a king is held captive in the tresses.
          6 How beautiful and pleasant you are,
          O loved one, with all your delights!
          7 Your stature is like a palm tree,
          and your breasts are like its clusters.
          8 I say I will climb the palm tree
          and lay hold of its fruit.
          Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
          and the scent of your breath like apples,
          9 and your mouth like the best wine.

          Yeah, that sounds like Christ's love for his bride the church and the church's love back. LOL.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:39 am |
        • Observer


          For some reason, Ron seems to miss those verses when he starts spouting out unrelated Bible quotes.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:54 am |
        • Cherilyn B

          Hi, Doobzz – Thank you! That brought back fond memories!

          "What about this part, Father B?" And then I would read it. "What does that mean? What's a gazelle got to do with breasts?"

          At age 8, I was very sincere.

          February 3, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • Observer

          Cherilyn B,

          No, I wasn't ready for that. :)

          This is a belief blog and certainly he can comment along with anyone. My problem with him is that he just throws in irrelevant verses as if this was a church service. I often respond by quoting irrelevant verses concerning cannibalism, which strangely is a theme in the Bible. Maybe I'll add some Song of Solomon to try to get him back to the reality of what the Bible ALSO says.

          February 3, 2014 at 1:42 am |
        • Observer

          Cherilyn B,

          I sure hope it's not your brother. :)

          February 3, 2014 at 2:23 am |
        • Cherilyn B

          Observer – LOL! NO. NO. NO. LOL! LOL! LOL!

          But, of course, if we take the bible as literal truth then incest was (is) permissable. Afterall, if it was fine for Adam & Eve's children as well as Lot & his two daughters, well, then who are we to disobey GOD.

          February 3, 2014 at 4:02 am |
        • JustAPondering

          It is 3 min to midnight ... so tell me this Senor Dandintac ... in your thought process? ... do you have an opinion/preferred/gut belief? ... are you still just a pondering? ... is there a cosmos creator GOD? ... or just the 'Big Bang"? ... this is a serious question ... as the Philosopher says ... a question to which there is no confirmed (?) answer ... What are your thoughts ... I am looking forward to reading your perceptions. In the number 1 (one) is there anything more that one without adding to it? Cordially yours.

          February 4, 2014 at 2:08 am |
      • Cherilyn B

        Hi, Observer & Tom – What do think changed the Christian belief on Genesis from allegory to literal truth? Is it a product dating back to the Reformation or a modern evangelical stance? I would expect the latter but I have a gap in knowledge from 1650 til late 18th century. Don't the Catholics still see it as allegorical?

        February 2, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • Observer

          Hi Cherilyn,

          I could only guess that the mood of the people or pope changed. Without a clear cut answer for selling the flood story, it's possible it just keeps changing and may do so again..

          February 3, 2014 at 12:00 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Certainly Luther rejected the church father Augustine's interpretation of the creation story as allegory:

          With respect therefore to this opinion of Augustine, we conclude that Moses spoke literally and plainly and neither alleprically nor figuratively; that is he means that tlie world with all creatures was created in six days as he himself expresses it. If we cannot attain unto a coinpreliension of the reason why it was so, let us still remain scholars and leave all the preceptorship to the Holy Spirit!

          So, the Reformation certainly carried literalism along with it.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:01 am |
        • Cherilyn B

          Observer – The only thing you can count on with the Church; a change of mind when it suits it's purpose.

          Tom – Thanks! I need to read Luther and Calvin. I somehow lost interest after Henry VIII formed the Angelican Church (for selfish purposes). His son actual made an effort at sincere reform but then died young. The time of Queen "Bloody" Mary is fascinating down through Elizabeth's reign and then you have the very G A Y King James I who commissioned the KJV Bible. He was a very interesting man.

          After all that, religion as a study in history (which is my only interest in it) became very dull indeed. Those Puritans etc make my skin crawl much like these modern fundamentalists.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • No Evidence

          "Observer – The only thing you can count on with the Church; a change of mind when it suits it's purpose"

          Amen to that!!!

          February 3, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • Observer

        The best solution might be if Christians wrote a "CORRECT" Bible with all the "mistranslations" fixed, errors corrected, and all verses color-coded in one of 3 colors: one color for "fable fiction"; another for "no longer valid" and a third for "these are the final truths after Jesus changed so much".

        February 2, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
        • Cherilyn B

          Hi, Observer – The Jewish religion has done just that! Which means a NEW Old Testament so to speak since the Torah and the Old Testament are one and the same (for anyone who doesn't realize that fact). The changes that they made are a reflection of years of archeological discoveries.  I will find the article on that and get back to you.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:37 am |
        • Observer

          Cherilyn B,

          Thanks, but I think that BOTH testaments must be included so ALL the differences can be reconciled. A Jewish version won't do much for Christians.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:49 am |
        • Dandintac

          But Observer, this would be a huge admission that the Bible is less than the perfect Word of a perfect God. And who is going to standard forth and claim they are the one who is being inspired by God and claim to be the new prophet? A hukster like Pat Robertson? A politician like Mike Huckabee? An apologist like William Lane Craig? I doubt the latter–I don't like his arguments, but I don't see him doing something like that.

          At least the Bible's original authors were largely anonymous, so that they don't have to expose themselves to scrutiny, public cross-examination and ridicule, and any new "text" would be lacking the glorious patina of age. Still, I guess it's possible could be done. The Book of Mormon is not all that old, and look at L. Ron Hubbard, who was able to create his own religion. Still, it would be a risky enterprise, but it would also surely be lucrative.

          February 3, 2014 at 1:27 am |
        • JustAPondering

          Directed to Observer, toguide, and Cherilyn B; great ideas ... with new word processing and dragon speak; a really good bible student or two could knock this out in ... ?a short time? I am waiting to 'a ponder it'. Should be thought provoking for us old senile, but 'still kickin' (google Texas country and western band).

          February 4, 2014 at 1:25 am |
        • Cherilyn B

          Hey, Just a Pondering – You don't sound senile to me! Juggling thoughts help keep the mind sharp.

          Just to be clear: I have a simple "live and let live" philosophy. To each his own beliefs true to his conscious so I bristle at those who want to impose their beliefs on others from religion to politics to lifestyle.

          The U.S. of A was founded on liberty. To maintain religious freedom for all, we have to keep religion in the heart & church where it belongs and out of the statehouse. What are your thoughts on the role religion should play in the public square?

          I do take issue with those who want to teach their kids "bible science". I've read the Bible through and can tell you that there is little science to be found between those covers. So, yes, I would like to see the Bible updated but I don't think it will happen.

          I will come back to hear your thoughts. I have a fine education and a sharp brain but wisdom is 30 – 40 years down the road so I keep an ear open to those who have been around the block.

          Take Care!

          February 4, 2014 at 2:44 am |
  18. toquide

    every time I read the entries or posts of the bloggers,I keep wondering how in this modern world an antiquated perception of reality is being revealed in the net.It seems that those ideas does not match the high technology of its medium.I cant help suspectin if are those people approaching senility.

    February 2, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
  19. cough

    I keep picturing Noah's ark with a skull and crossbones flag and a giraffe walking the plank. I don't know why.

    February 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
  20. neved

    the blogs of the believers of the reality of the Ark and the unbelievers are the obsolecent part of the discussion.wether it is true or not it is Gods Will because it affected human lives and history,it could just be a myth,but since it was concieved by humans and influenced faith for thousands of years and in fact inspired human progress through christianity.In an optimist perspective,it help modern humans to assess the anachronism of the present outgoing faith and ultimately replace it with Panthrotheism

    February 2, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
    • tony

      Panthrotheism. Breathing out rapidly during prayers.

      February 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
      • cough

        Tantric yoga anyone?

        February 2, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
    • No Evidence

      "Panthrotheism" = no such word......

      schlockism, see?, I can make up words too!

      February 3, 2014 at 10:37 am |
      • Math and language

        Every word that is, someone made up once.

        February 6, 2014 at 7:05 am |
        • JustAPondering

          Hello Math and Language, I do smile at your humor. Having spent child hood years (1945) on the farm a chopin and a pickin cotton; and later I went to the city and worked in the modern day plantation fields of retaiI/wholesale (1950's-1980's, I love the humor in your post this am.

          Google world, the new knowledge God, recognizes the creation of 'isms' often attached to non-words.
          "www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/letters.../Content?...‎Chicago Reader.Oct 8, 2009 – His lone dissenting perspective stood in sharp contrast to the "rah-rah" schlockism of other local media's bid coverage. Those of us possessed ...".

          Having said I choose to believe in a creator God, I like the thought, am I now blasphemous? Answer me that?

          Now, for a few days, back to finding legitimate ways to pay taxes. Render unto Cesar. A lot of debate as to what that meant in the context of Jesus lifetime. However, most governments since have used the words as a hammer to keep collecting taxes. An attempt at humor, "Who say that God is not omnipotent ...almighty, supreme, all-powerful?"

          May you all vaya con dios. Allegedly also said by Arnold after the Super Bowl. I am obviously not a talented comic, but I get up everyday and go to work.

          February 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
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About this blog

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.