The Truth vs The Bible.

I really don’t know where to put this. Great Debates? The Pit?
I am not talking about God here. Not at all. I’m opining about the bible, and how it relates to truth. Arguements about god do not apply, ok?
My granddaughter was raised a christian, and believes everything “they” told her about that old book.
A while back we were watching a program on PBS, and she said “Kinda hard to see how Noah got all those animals on the ark, huh grampa?” She’s asked me other, similar, questions. Leading questions. She asked me once if I believed Jesus was God. I told her I’ll talk about such things all she wants when she’s sixteen. And I will. She’s twelve now, and just starting to see the world outside her circle. I don’t want to lie to her, or to anyone else for that matter. Trouble is, all those nice (they are nice) christian folks do lie to her. And tell her that if she doesn’t believe, it’s because she lacks faith.
Ok, that’s part of what’s got me riled up. But it’s not just for her.
I just don’t see why people insist on presenting the bible as literal truth.
Lookit some of this stuff.

Genesis. Yeah, right. Every animal that’s here now and all those that are no longer around, was made in The Garden. In a week or so.

Noah’s ark. (I know, I know) And two of every one of these animals were put on this big ol’ boat and lived there in harmony for forty and forty. No problem with inbreeding either.

All that “abominable” stuff. There are some perfectly nice gay folks. No matter what our collective imagination conjures up.

All evidence contrary to the bible is put there by Satan.

Again, I am not denying the possible existance of a God.

I’m Christian. Catholic. I believe in God and Jesus. However, we Catholics aren’t biblical literalists. But I don’t think you have the right to tell her it’s untrue. It may make her life at home (and possible at school, depending on how she’s being educated) difficult. If she questions what she’s taught and comes to her own conclusions, that will be her choice.

I do think you can tell her your opinions, as long as you let her know that it is your opinion. You don’t want to be in the position of telling her that her parents are wrong. If you come on too strong, they could even not let her visit you, if they think you’re undermining their parenting.


Moving this to Great Debates.

Are you aware that the Syrian hamsters which we buy in pet stores are all descended from a single female and her litter of twelve babies?

Oh, I’ll tell her what I believe all right. With the same passion for truth I’ve been guided by in answering other questions of hers. This one, I think, needs to wait. No, I won’t give her the weak old “I may be wrong but that’s my opinion.” routine. Besides, I love her parents dearly. Both of them. They have no real issues with my relationship with their kids.
But my relationship with my grandkids isn’t what’s at issue with me. I have trouble believing that intelligent people continue to accept the bible as the literal truth, handed down by a god. They profess to believe these myths in the face of much evidence that they are just that. Myths. Even where these myths are “adjusted” to keep the ear of multitudes, they still defy belief. At least without one’s relying on blind faith.

And that at one time there were less than 20 buffalo (bison) left.

Also some scientists now believe that there was actually an Eve. Studies of DNA have lead them to this conclusion.

[ul]:eek: [sup]Did you see where those scientists were from?[/sup][/ul]

P.S. I’m far from a literalist myself, but you’ve got to have the facts straight.

No, no. Sorry. What I meant to imply is that the bible cautions against inbreeding. Maybe they only meant it to apply to humans, though.
And the Eve mentioned above (and Adam) had ancestors. Who knows, they (A&E) may have used dinosaur bones (heh heh) as tools. There’s some newer info somewhere, But I gotta get to bed. Those bible sites are hell to navigate.

Some things in the Bible really are factually untrue. There was no Noah’s Ark. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. The literal creation story is also factually untrue. I see nothing wrong with telling children what is factually true and what is fiction.

You sure about all this?

Noah’s Ark, I’d say, has passed into the realm of “legend” at this point. IIRC, numerous cultures have their own “flood” stories even if they don’t precisely mirror the Biblical account. Some scientists also acknowledge a mass flood roughly 14,000 years ago, although apparently they blame this on the precession of the Earth or somesuch.

I don’t have cites, sorry. I can go digging for some tomorrow if you’d like.

Also, what is your understanding of the “literal” creation story (especially given that the first three chapters of Genesis have two of them)? If you want to pick on Genesis as being word-for-word untrue, that’s one matter. On the other hand, there are those who take Genesis to be a truncated, epic retelling of how they understand God to have created the universe. Some Christian scientists were thrilled when the Big Bang model of the universe arose, because they see parallels between its order of creation and how events occurred in Genesis. (Their main elation, BTW, was that they saw the universe as having a definite beginning, which suggested a creation event to them. This was as opposed to earlier models which saw no beginning to the universe, and therefore, no creation.)

Another point on Genesis: the word “day,” as in the seven days of creation, is problematic in English. As I understand it, the original Hebrew word used in Genesis can mean a literal 24-hour period, but it can also mean a general “period of time.” Remember, depending on whose Bible you’re reading, a lot can get lost in the translation. The short of it is that creation very well could have taken place in seven “days” if you use the more expansive meaning that God simply worked over seven periods. Or, as they pointed out in the play Inherit the Wind, if the sun hadn’t been created until the 4th day, by what standard are you judging the length of those first three days? :wink:

Oy. That Eve was not the first woman - she was the common ancestor of all women, as determined by genetic studies of mitochondria. There were plenty of other women around at the time. There is also a genetic “Adam” who lived thousands of year after the genetic Eve.

“Eve” is just a metaphor and offers no support for Genesis - in fact it refutes it.

The bible is not 100% true. This is obvious. There are two creation stories. It didn’t happen both ways. There are two stories of the crims with Jesus when he is on the cross. It didn’t happen both ways.

Much of what the Jews and the Bible adopted was non existent in their literary works till they came back from Persia and were under the influence of Zororator(Sp?).

But children need religion. They need faith. What is faith? It is a set of ideas you hold to be true that no one in their right mind would ever believe. Faith is what keeps people trying when by all rights they should give up.

This is why you teach kids about Santa Claus. We know he isn’t real. But he has a purpose. Fairy stories aren’t real but they have a purpose. They teach imagination and creativity. When things look bad and there is so much ugliness in the world and their lives kids can reach inside of their imagination and somehow make it better.

As kids get older they learn to see what is real and not and learn to accept what they want to believe in.


No they don’t, at least not a worldwide flood. Never happened.

You won’t find any credible evidence for a worldwide flood. There are theories about local floods, including, IIRC, a theory involving the Black Sea. Any legends about giant boats with two of every animal are clearly mythological in nature and deserve no more serious historical consideration than Homer’s Oddessy.

That’s what “literal” means, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter which story. They’re both fiction and they’re both clearly demonstrable as fiction.

Basically, this all adds up to people who don’t take Genesis literally but there are still problems even with a metaphorical reading. It ignores the glaring fact of evolution for instance.

The massive flood was from the Black Sea, and was not a global flood. It had nothing to do with the precession of the Earth, which would never make a flood. The flood in Genesis besides being historically unsupported is physically impossible.

Actually the translation of “day” is unimportant. In the Hebrew, and in most translations, it says “the evening and the morning, the nth day” which shows that a 24 hour type day is meant.

To the OP: why not suggest your grandaughter get books from the library on science to see what science says. It is never too early to start on a scientific education, and you’ll be doing her a great service in helping her think logically and make up her own mind.

I’m in discussion on this with someone else on another message board right now.

The order of events in the Genesis creation story (leaving aside the odd cosmological stuff, which is another can of worms) does not match the order that the fossil record portrays; in short, Genesis says that there were plants and trees on the land before there was animal life in the ocean and it says that there were birds (or more charitably ‘flying things’ that could just mean insects) before there were animals on the land. The sequence is wrong.

The bible shouldn’t be taken literally, IMO. In fact, I actually don’t see how it could be. In any event, if you think the flood was real, do you think this is a real phenomenon as well?

Bible Gateway

The whole silly flood story.

** mangeorge**, I would say that you should simply take her questions and turn them into quick exercises. Your granddaughter is 12 correct? That would place her in Grade 6 or 7, which means she should have the skills needed.

Take the questions she posses and investigate how possible they are. In the case of the Ark, ask her how big is an elephant? How much room would it need? Now pick out a bunch of large land animals and add the volumns. Say a large land animal needs a square 100’ by 15’ high. So if you have 10 such pairs you’d need 3,000,000 cubic feet or a cube ~140 ft long on each side.

See all you’ve done is asked her to critically examine presented information. The conclusions are ultimately hers to come to. Either God works in mysterious ways, the story is a metaphor or the story is bunk. The thing is you have not imposed on her the conclusion; you’ve simply helped her make the observation.

Your not supposed to take it as gospel

Let her listen to Brother Deacon Fred’s 60 Second Sermon “How Did Noah Do?”


This is sad.

Perhaps it’s just me but I think that it is especially important during those formative years to teach kids logic and critical thinking, and NOT just to simply believe every silly notion people tell them to believe.