Thanks for your responses to the last Wavering, via comments, e-mails, face-to-face, and IM. They were mostly interesting, but even the redundant and useless responses taught me something.
Unfortunately, this post is mostly pointless. It basically demonstrates a point that almost all Christians and non-Christians alike accept. But I already typed it up, so might as well post it.
All right, then, another well-known story: Noah’s Ark.
The story: God grew displeased with human sin, and decided to flood the earth. However, Noah was counted as righteous, and God had him build an ark. He and his immediate family, along with anyone else who would listen (zero) would be saved, along with the animals, either 2 or 7 of each. Noah didn’t have to gather any; the animals were sent by God. The world was flooded, the waters receded, and everyone got out. (The language of the text seems to indicate a worldwide deluge, not just an area.)
Think about one of the animals we know today: penguins. Penguins require a cold climate, and would have to not only somehow swim the distance from Antarctica to Africa, but survive hot climates to get to Noah. Even assuming God teleported them, they would still have had to survive in the ark almost a year. The story does work if God used his power to keep them alive, say, by creating some sort of refrigerated area on the ark (and it would be foolish to expect the Bible to have this kind of detail).
As a side point, some will ask about the dinosaurs, although one could say dinosaur young were sent, or that dinosaurs had already died out. The most common belief for a Biblical literalist is that after the flood, the earth and its climate had changed irrevocably, and the dinosaurs died out thereafter.
Not to mention there mightn’t have been enough food for such a large creature immediately after the flood. Which brings up this point: since there were very few animals left (mostly sets of two), how could any carnivore cope in the immediate post-flood era?
The point of this is that the story of Noah is only reasonable if one accepts an all-powerful (or very powerful) God in the first place. This requires some degree of faith: both Christians and non-Christians would agree with this.
It’s not much of an insight, really, and does nothing to verify or disprove the Bible by itself. The next installment will be much more poignant and uncomfortable.
As an aside, whenever you see art depicting Noah’s Ark with animals, have you noticed there’s almost always giraffes? Lions and elephants are a close second. This kinda makes sense, since Noah lived in or near Africa. But then again, Noah is always white…