Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Idiocy of Biblical Literalism

One of the things that I find most amazing (or disturbing, depending on how one wants to describe the phenomenon) is the lengths that Christofascists will go to avoid admitting that the Bible is neither historically correct as a narrative of accurate history and that much of its premise, The Fall and the coming of a savior as embodied by Christ, has a major problem, namely that Adam and Eve never existed as historical persons.  Without Adam and Eve, there was no Fall, and the rest of the story line collapses. No Fall, and then no need for a savior, etc.  Related to this is the manner in which Christofascists ignore the impossibility of some of the Old Testament.  Which brings me to an article in The Atlantic on the "Ark Encounter."  How 8 people built the huge ark - especially when they had no shipbuilding experience - defies belief.  The same goes for the lunatic claim that dinosaurs were on board.  Here are article highlights (note the references to fabricating "facts"):
Of all the biblical episodes, Voltaire thought none required more faith than the story of Noah’s Ark: “The history of the deluge being that of the most miraculous event of which the world ever heard, it must be the height of folly and madness to attempt an explanation of it.” If only he had visited Ark Encounter—a Christian theme park that opened this summer in Kentucky and boasts a “life-sized” reconstruction of Noah’s Ark. Seemingly impossible details have been fanatically researched and naturalistically explained by Answers in Genesis (AiG), a literalist Christian organization that’s also responsible for the nearby Creation Museum. 
In over 100 exhibits on the ship, visitors learn how each difficulty might have been surmounted: How could eight people feed so many animals? Through an elaborate system of drains and chutes, as illustrated by an interactive video. And what about the stench? Solved easily enough—Noah just needed a ventilation system powered by the tides. And the daily tons of animal waste? Noah could dispose of that with a treadmill-cum-conveyor belt powered by elephants. But how did he fit elephants on the ship? And all those dinosaurs? They were babies at the time. And if visitors doubted that a wooden ship carrying all this cargo could withstand an apocalyptic flood, a placard explains that the ship’s dimensions, as specified in Genesis . . . .
But many I spoke with also confessed that they had never really worried about these details before; instead, they had just ascribed it to God’s power. 
For self-proclaimed literalists, the ark includes a striking amount of fabrications and fictionalizations. Consider, for example, one of the most popular exhibits, where visitors can walk through the family’s living quarters. At the entrance are two placards, one entitled “Artistic License,” and the other “Why Are the Living Quarters So Nice?” In each of the following rooms, visitors can see mannequin renderings of the family and read short bios. . . . But none of these details appear in the Bible. Genesis never takes a charming detour through the family’s hobbies. It never even reveals the names of the women on the ship. And yet these details are integral to the experience of Ark Encounter.
On AiG’s blog, Simon Turpin equates literalism with “plain reading” and “natural interpretation,” suggesting that anyone with common sense will read the Bible as they do. But as Ark Encounter reveals, this apparent simplicity demands endless fabrication. 
Obviously, the First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to cling to whatever religious belief they choose.  That does not, however, mean that the rest of us have to  agree with them or, more importantly, respect them or their insane beliefs that defy reality.

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