May 10, 2010

Why Noah's Ark Matters

Patrick McCullough and the Noah's Ark Shamster have something in common. In their own words, they both believe "it doesn't matter". How fascinating.

While Patrick has clever ways of explaining why we shouldn't consider the Genesis drama as a factual story, his heart seems fixed on trying to keep people from losing their faith when ridiculous claims don't hold up under scrutiny. The Shamster, however, has come out and admitted that he believes promoting a fake will help people increase their faith. So Patrick and the Shamster seem to disagree mainly on strategy. How truly fascinating.

I now tip my hat to Bob Cargill for his continued updates on this (truly, horrible) mess. In reading Bob's comments, however, it struck me not only how much the Shamster's opinion reminded me of what Patrick McCullough said last week. Bob's own words also spoke precisely as to why the whole issue of facticity DOES matter. In fact, why it matters to so many people.

The very outrage Bob expresses when people assert as factual that which he believes is unfactual, is the same outrage others feel when people like Bob insist to be unfactual that which they KNOW he can't possibly be certain about. There is NO difference. Most folks just want to maintain a clear distinction between fact and fantasy... even if only in principle.

The best response I've seen to this whole thing, so far, has been Jona Lendering's. Jona said: "I will not be arguing that you cannot find what never existed; the historicity of the Great Flood is a matter of belief, and therefore a subject about which I postpone judgment." Read the rest of Jona's wonderful post (in which he shows purely for argument's sake how un-biblical it is to look for the Ark on 'Mount Ararat' in the first place) here.

The facticity of Noah's Ark absolutely matters. It also remains uncertain. I prefer to suspend judgment hopefully. Those who assert one or the other for certain belong in the same category. The Shamster is getting enough hits for his grievous crime, but so far he doesn't seem to be very rebukable. Bob and Patrick, on the other hand, are supposed to be scholars who know the importance of truth and humility. Let's find out...

Patrick, facts always matter, even dubious and unprovable ones. And Bob, you shouldn't use general physics on top of the word 'worldwide' to imply that there was never any Great Flood. You don't know that for sure. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you guys (and many more like you both) are merely trading in the insecure old dogmas for ones that feel more secure now because they're in vogue at the moment. If that's true, then shame on you both.


Bitsy Griffin said...


The lack of evidence does not mean it didn't happen.

Evidence doesn't have to mean it did.

In this case it's a faith issue, but it can also be scientific. Experiments can show something that won't happen outside of the lab. There are things outside of the lab that can't be recreated.

Wondering how many events we believe to be historical about which researchers will never find hard evidence to confirm their real existence. I do think in the case of historical evidence, it's too easy to make things up and it's too easy to misread what we find.


natehardee said...

You know this is what bothers me about so many "academic" Christians, they seem to be afraid to have faith. I get it, you are smarter than the rest of us.

This is not to say the Christians shouldn't test everything and use good historical methods for doing exegesis.

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