Fighting Among Us, Will Not Defeat The Hun! As to The Flood... Hmmm, there seems to be a conflict, in which both sides are wrong and both are right. I am a Catholic and an anthropologist, and theologian (and more). I support Quantum physics management (which Einstein did not until his later years) and the BIG BANG. In graduate school I supported and pioneered Tachyonic Theory and that indeed the speed of light is not a limitation resulting from relativity, because if so than the theory of relativity contains flaws, which the Quantum corrects. I argued the mystique of the two-slit test and the efficacy of the quantum are related. Some years back in Grad-school, (Ford Foundation Fellowship In Anthropology) I began a debate in which my opponents (professors, and I a graduate assistant appointee, by them) held that the driving engine of the quantum would support their theory that the Universe was self-creating. I took the position that the original and motivating force of the Quantum would instead support my theory that God was the Master Mathematician, not the Master Fairy Tale Teller. (The Jews of ancient times and most unbiased students of integrity, of the bible, would not deny that many of the stories In the Old Testament, were "morality tales" semi-fictional, to fictional examples to dramatize a point, hyperbolically-the method of teaching Jesus also used in his stories many of which were theoretical and fictional.) God, to me is a scientist and the universe works along the theories of physics we know and which He ordained, at least for this universe-they may be different in other universes, despite what some scientists say. This God was/is neither a magician, nor a fairy tale teller. Aligning oneself with people of ignorance who use make-believe in the place of research because research is hard work, are fakes and hypocrites and are either selling themselves short or know well their very limited competencies. I am a believer for reasons that have nothing to do with phony "independent, outside the Testaments witnesses," But what I do believe is not what other Catholics believe, they haven't read enough and they don't know the languages and haven't been "there." The Dean of Lourdes said it very well, of the Miracle of Lourdes, and the Chosen medium of the shrine, Bernadette, For the faithful no more proof is necessary, for the unbeliever, no amount of proof is sufficient. He was dead-on right. The Christian Right (of which they are neither) has blasphemed God and Jesus and Judaism and Muslimism and attacked the sensitivities of Americans with a slimy disfigurement of God and Jesus and the need of the Right to maintain a Cold-War conflict between religion and science, (a conflict which Mr. Gormly correctly realizes does not exist between science and a Supreme Being, because there is ample proof that the universe was created and runs along expected scientific theories.) It does so because God is the Master Scientist. Niels Bohr pondered how many people understood Relativity, three or four? I ponder how many understand how far apart Organized Religions and God are from one another-Light Years is close to that distance. Dogma is the enemy of God and men and those who eschew science are the enemy of God and of men, that is all God and religion have in common. I am a believer, but I could and have in a debate, defeat any living soul who claims to have proof for faith, because there is none that can be shown to convince an unbeliever. I have defeated bishops and scholars of several faiths in organized debates, while still a student, and even more recently informally, men who thought they knew what they were doing, including two bishops of my own faith. It was simple; I used the methods of Jesus and of the Golden Age of Greece philosophers. No one can prove anything about matters of faith, nor should they try, only a fool, would. If a person has witnessed private revelations, given the ability to make accurate prophecies, or even healings, there is no way of proving to the skeptical that the miracles were anything more than luck or, that most impossible of non-scientific events, but which every scientist cornered in a debate, clings to like a priest clinging to an equally impossible thing (It's a Mystery, is always the answer to a question that sticks a priest or minister, speechless.), Atheists use the equally stupid, the fictitious, nonexistent, and unscientific, word-Coincidence-nice word, but meaningless, in that context. Why believers feel it is their duty to argue with non-believers, to me IS a mystery. What they are doing is taking their eye off the ball. Progressive and Liberal, even Moderate believers, are not the enemy. The Neo-cons and the "Christian" Right, have made themselves the enemy by their unchristian lack of tolerance and their hatred and sadistic violence aimed, for the moment at Muslims, but soon will include anyone who is not as stupid and insane as they. Fighting among themselves seems to be the thing at which foolish, uninformed, uninsightful, people excel. Disunity, it is the absence of comprehending the concept of Unity and displays a lack of foresight. To win, people must agree to disagree and welcome believers and unbelievers alike, who also hate the fascism of the Right, because, as Jesus said, A house divided cannot stand... and the words of Jefferson, The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. However, it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
I am the product of seven or more centuries of Italian theologians, artists, architects and believers who were seen as prophets by some, but tagged as Heretics by others (my great uncle many times removed was Duke Bagnolo, of Albigensian Heresy infamy.) The family palace and castle still stands in good order in the town of Bagnolo in Tuscany and our last family home in the hill towns where we escaped the Inquisition still stands as well. My great uncle on the other side of the family was St. John Leonardi. He was one of the few who were not at war with Dogma in my family over the centuries. I am both a scientist (an anthropologist) and a believer, (theologian) I came by my belief through study and logic, others may say the same about their unbelief, but I would not waste my time with arguing, I'd spend it learning archaic languages and doing my own translations and reading in depth about each culture and remembering that the Judaism and Christianity of Jesus' day, was not a static environment, but infinitely changed several times in just the next several decades following his death. Most believers and most atheists I have met have in common one glaring fault, both are too lazy or stubborn to take the time to investigate the arguments of the other-neither are scholars-let me say that for a "believer" not to be a scholar is indolence and stupidity, and for an atheist not to be a scholar, exhibits stubbornness and even more stupidity. To fight amongst allies over either belief is the depths of idiocy and brings disunity of something which is Irrelevant in the face of the menacing enemy of Democracy, reason and free will. If you claim to "believe," learning the archaic languages which most theologians, (some Anthropologists learn a few like Greek and Latin), but adding Aramaic and Coptic at least is essential otherwise you are merely flapping your gums about things about which you know next to nothing. Stories are not more prestigious and accurate just because they are ancient-ancient people lied, exaggerated and drank heavily, as well as modern people do and they had less resources and scientific knowledge, so they are not to be trusted simply because they lived closer to the time of Jesus or Moses or whomever. That means little. Moreover, unless the age and source of ancient writings can be confirmed and unless translated and interpreted within the realities of the culture of the time in which they were written, they are also meaningless. Men for instance writing 35-85 years after the death of Jesus cannot be as accurate or trustworthy as those who wrote in his lifetime, and we have no documents written by men who lived in his lifetime... yet. Further the writings of the "Outside sources" often mentioned, like Pliny the Younger, are likewise of little help, because he was not a primary source. Only those who knew Jesus were, and we have precious little from them. Pliny the Younger knew nothing about Jesus the man, only about how the Christians of his day worshipped, so he is no primary historical source on Jesus. It is so well known by historians as well as unbiased, honest theologians of high integrity of many different faiths, with no axe's to grind, that the Josephus evidence is a fraud/forgery. Josephus was not a Christian but many Christians, because their later culture stressed education, became scribes out for hire and a number worked on editing the works of Josephus and others. For one thing the language, the vocabulary, the syntax, style and prejudice, in not only in the original language, but even in the English translation is completely distinct from the rest of the document that one need not read the original language, to ascertain that it was out of context in several ways already indicated above. Reading the untranslated version is even more telling because of the latter day application and/or idiomatic inconsistencies, that it is not authentic, but even read in redacted English or later Latin, Greek or Hebrew, displays it's incongruities.
The Babylonian Talmud discusses a certain Yeshua's death. It could be the same Rabbi Yeshua that was Jesus, but not necessarily, because the earliest copies are from the later 2nd century, although they claim ascendancy from 70 ADish, 37-45 after Jesus' death. Lucien of Samosata was Greek satirist commented on the ancient Jesus phenomenon without mentioning his name. Tacitus was no eyewitness either, writing about the beliefs of Jesus' followers, but having had no contact with Jesus himself. Aside from maybe the Talmud, not at all complementary to Jesus, there really, at this time, is no evidence outside of Christian documents, contemporary with Jesus while he walked the Earth. Bringing in documents that a graduate school student at an unbiased school of theology (Jesuit for example) can shoot down in an instant in the original tongue and three or four others are of little value. The question for true seekers, those Jesus complemented as "hot" or criticized as "luke warm," is honesty and integrity and the knowledge that only someone who is insecure in his beliefs needs to lean on evidence which is forged, inconclusive at best and scurrilous at worst, for his defense. Why defend if you know nothing? Why defend at all? People are free to believe as they wish, as Jefferson said so often and so well Studing archaic languages, unless one is lazy, is some sort of real proof of commitment, but more is primary to studying the bible or any ancient text. Without it and knowledge of the culture of each era which was dynamic not static, is essential to research. You cannot make commentary about an archaic civilization, which was dynamic from a vantage point of future societies views. Without that, a person is simply blowing smoke regardless if he is an atheist or a believer. Arguing about whether or not God exists is pointless, because faith is a gift or a delusion, a gift to one who has it, a delusion to one who lacks it. However, blindly following the Translations and interpretations of others is foolhardy. More than once it was said by God or Jesus that one who is passionate in his belief or disbelief is more valuable than a believer who has nothing on which to go but fear and prejudice. As To The Flood The flood, Ahh, the flood. There were in historical context a great number of massive floods. There were floods all over the Nile valley. If a Massive flood such a Tsunami which swept inland as several in our own historical perspective have, it would have seemed to some people that the whole world was covered with water. 225,000-250,000 lost their lives in the last Great Tsunami a few years back. Had anything like that occurred in the time of Noah it would have seemed like the end of the world. At that period of history rumors of massive flooding even circulated up and down the coasts of Africa and they are still imbedded in the historical cultures of those people. The natives of America's East coast have similar historical myth tales of men sailing to America from Europe, (a land unknown, at the time, to American natives). In Central America and South, there are carvings of white men with beards, black men, monkeys, and other elements of African cultures which did not exist here at the time, and of which natives of North, South and Central America, could not have known about without some direct of indirect contact with those nations, and which preceded the landings of the Spanish by eons. There were also American Native Mystics who plainly had knowledge not only of white men, but of Christianity and Crucifixes, long before the English, French and Spanish came to America. Studies of primitive cultures, by Cultural anthropologists are rife with such stories of one people far removed from another, having seemingly, psychic knowledge of their existence. The Flood story may have been a recollection of a massive localized flood, or the result, as some evidence suggests, that there was a series of massive floods all over Africa, culminating in many flood legends. The causes have been thought to be, variously, or accumulatively, a Massive Tsunami or series of massive tsunamis, a large earth quake or series of huge tremors, comets or larger bodies striking the earth, the passing closely overhead, a near planet or moon sized heavenly body, or any combination of such phenomenon.
The story of Noah's Ark may well have happened, as to the collection of animals, perhaps Noah did did take along food and livestock, and perhaps he did have a premonition preceeding the flood. These are the things of myth and legend, which remain unconfirmed, and the Old Testament is filled, just as the history of every ancient nation is, with mythical happenings, which like ancient historical ballads, become enhanced and expanded over the centuries. Something like a family building, in advance of a flood, an ark, or other proofs of premonition, are not all that unusual, nor is the confirmation of a good many premonitions coming to fruition in modern times. One interesting interpretation of the Noah story, which I have never seen prior to this writing, is the biblical environmental protection aspect. Noah was trying to preserve, at least in the biblical version, those animals which might become extinct as a result of the Flood. So, Noah, Chosen of God, was an Environmentalist. Certainly this is a blow to the Bushites and the "Christian Right" (of which they are neither).
Once Jung deeply immersed in the studies of what others called coincidence but what he called synchronicity, asked Einstein what he thought about the psychic meaningfulness of such things, was it coincidence or was there, as Jung was certain, a psychic nature to the phenomenon? Einstein, who was a great analyst, as Niels Bohr* would confirm if he still lived, gave, casually, this answer, "It is simply God's way of letting us know we are not alone." The answer * was amazingly similar to the one he gave Bohr who was fixated on details of the phenomenon of the Quantum, "God would never shoot dice with the Universe." Let's keep our eyes on the ball, those among us who may or may not believe, are still our allies. If we cannot tolerate each other than the fascists, who have tolerated each other's massively evil peccadilloes will have shown themselves to be better than we.