Sunday, April 27, 2014

Atheists, Jedi Knights and Noah

Two non-signatories (from Wikipedia)
A blogger called Alistair Thompson points out (hat tip Guido) that the 53 Prominent Persons who wrote objecting to the PM's description of the UK as a Christian Country have a remarkably small constituency.

According to the 2011 Census there are just 15k humanists and 39k Atheists in England & Wales - compared to 177k Jedi Knights and 57k Pagans - and, oh yes, 33 million Christians, 2.7 million Muslims, 800,000 Hindus, 250,000 Jews and 430,000 Sikhs.

We went last night to Noah and although I'm quite glad to have seen it I don't really recommend it. The performances are good but the theology is pretty terrible. Still it doesn't money with the Bible in quite the way Hollywood monkeys with most of their other factual sources.  According to Genesis, Methuselah lived for 600 years after the birth of Noah and since Noah was reportedly 600 years old when he went into the Ark showing Methuselah as dying in the flood is not hopelessly inconsistent with the chronology - though since Methuselah was broadly speaking righteous it may be more likely that he died before God wiped out the rest of humanity.

However it states clearly that Shem, Ham and Japeth went into the Ark with their wives and that they should have been about 100 years old. God also speaks to Noah and his sons - rather than never speaking which causes most of the trouble in the movie. And FWIW Ham, who wanders off at the end on his own, has lots of children as well as Shem and Japeth.  Though perhaps we are meant to think the he comes back and marries one of his nieces whilst Japeth marries the other one.

Of course it's important to realise that the Bible is not a work of Archaeology or Palaeontology and that the stories we have in Genesis are told so as to give us spiritual truths rather than anything else. It seems extremely improbable that a hypothetical VCR would have recorded events in exactly the way Genesis describes - though the problem of what on earth all the animals on the Ark could have eaten while the Ark was afloat is solved in the movie by having them all put to sleep by some kind of incense.  It is probable, or at least possible that there were massive floods when the Black Sea connected to the Aegean. It is certain that God love humanity and wants to rescue us and His creation - this rescue taking its ultimate shape in Jesus the Messiah.

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