Tag Noah

A Review of The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the story of the flood (Guest Post by Peter)

It’s been known since the 19th century that there are striking parallels between the Ark story contained in the Bible and a narrative episode included in the Mesopotamian story of the Epic of King Gilgamesh. In Gilgamesh, a hero Utnapishti is tasked with saving both human and animal life from a destructive flood (for which somewhat surprisingly, no reason is given) by the god Ea. Like Noah, Utnapishti builds a boat, fills it with animals, and finds himself lodged on the top of a mountain. What’s more, just like Noah, Utnapishti sends out birds on three test flights to establish that the flood waters were receding:

The Ark before Noah

There has been a number of articles on this due, perhaps, to a Channel 4 Documentary on this due to be shown in August (that’s a long way off!). It seems that instructions for the Ark in the Bible were lifted from an earlier source (which is no surprise since the flood account is lifted from the Gilgamesh or both from an earlier ancestor).

Why do normal people believe ridiculous things?

Why, indeed, do normal people believe ridiculous things? We have heard much from John Loftus about the OTF – the Outsider Test for Faith – which essentially illustrates that religion is a (geographical) accident of birth. It claims that if believers used the same critical powers they use to assess, and dismiss, other religions and their claims, then they are obliged to turn those critical faculties on their own. If they did, John would claim, then they would surely end up dismissing the claims of their own religion (this is a simplistic view of the OTF, no doubt).

What is interesting to me here is not so much the fact that people do special plead their own religion in this way (though that is incredibly interesting and important in itself), but how this comes about. I will put forward a theory which is fairly well accepted anecdotally, and see what you think. I will use an example which I experienced the other night which should show the theory with clarity