When I was a Christian, wearing the "facade" of being doubtless and patently pious was generally advised among some churches. Before you enter the church, you are filled with the questions and doubts that are so integral to being human. In public school, I learned to scrutinized those questions and doubts and utilize them to advance my learning and help me mature to a someone with more complicated questions. Within the structure framework of Sunday School, Kids are instructed to passively accede to belief in the veracity of the superficial analysis of mythological stories. It is akin to having a whole high school class read "Macbeth" as a virtuous character and the witches as literal satanic beings that were truly existent in this world. We often see this with the Noah story where we are led to believe that he is no doubt an unadulterated moral character where in reality, his "subconscious" reveals someone who is quite negligent of others and thoroughly "egocentric" when it comes to his worldview.
Image via WikipediaAt the beginning of the "Sunday School" version of "Noah's Ark" which involved a supposed flawless Noah, we are led to believe that some hybrids called "nephilim" (progeny of angel/human affair) are inherently immoral due to their mixed blood. In church, I was led to believe that these Nephilim were beyond the realm of God's forgiveness. They were a sinful waste of space just because of their parentage. To the Jewish writers at the time, this was a subtle warning against Jews to only wed those who are purely Jewish. These "fallen angels," were nothing more than fictional manifestations of the dreaded Canaanites who included the "Jewish God" within a pantheon of other Gods. If Jews mixed their blood with the dreaded Canaanites, they are effectively creating sin-plagued babies. People who use to disapprove of mixed racial marriages view those marriages in the same way we're supposed to treat marriages with the "Fallen Angel" (someone of a different race and religion). Their offspring are supposedly sullied by this abominable marriage. The accursed babies or Nephilim will be born with sin graver than the "sin of Adam."
Historically, the "God" that we pride ourselves in knowing with so much certitude was once a member of a large polytheistic religion that was worshiped by the Canaanites. My Sunday School teachers who had no real knowledge of Biblical history relied on the "fabricated" fundamentalist Biblical history that is so erroneous, it is hard for me to come to grips with the fact I once blindly believed in it. Anyways, they believed that all the events within "Genesis," were unquestionably real historical figures as well. Nevertheless, no right-minded historian extends any belief in the historical accuracy of "Genesis" Even Jewish scholars and some very erudite Christian theologians are thoroughly disillusioned with this misrepresentation of Biblical history within some contemporary churches. One of the cardinal sins of Christianity is "spreading falsehood." Therefore, these churches are essentially perpetually lying to children all for the sake of sealing them permanently to blind belief within the unintelligent, artless form of Christianity.
Reading the Noah Story with a fresh perspective is very illuminating. All the Old Testament characters are inherently filled with flaws and many of them suffer from the one Shakespearean flaw of "hubris." Noah's pride is a blight upon his whole word view. His projection of a "fatalistic, sadistic" God reflects his own disgust with all others besides his family. To the modern Christian, the "Noah" character is reflective of the types of Christians who refuse to fully occupy the sinful secular world around them. Their homes or churches become an "ark" of sorts where they can effectively escape their responsibilities to help others in the world or empathize with anyone else. While they are outside their "ark," they are always repairing things and refining it just like some Christians or anyone who polishes their facade to make themselves look immaculate as opposed to the grimy, debased next door neighbor who happens to be an atheist. Noah's "ark" served as an example to others to escape the clutches of sin and become like Noah.
To Noah, the naysayers would all be justly destroyed once the judgement of "God" came upon them. In the end, he cared little for these people or their paradoxical inner selves. Noah was as blind o his own shortcomings and the worth of others. Noah worked in solidarity to construct the perfected means to "salvation" and an certified escape to paradise. In the modern Christian world, the belief within the "Rapture" reflects a deep disdain for people of all other faith persuasions and beliefs. One of the most appalling features of "Rapture theology" includes the loving Jesus contradictorily being the destroyer of billions of human lives. They are all laid to waste because they did not "believe" to the same extent that these flagrantly devout Christians believed. Like Noah, they don't care about the lives of the others who are decimated as long as they themselves will revel in the glory of God and live eternally. Wishing immortality for ourselves is a protective thought for us to safeguard us from the nihilistic world of "no meaning." When we begin to only want this immortality in the hereafter for ourselves and wish destruction on all others, we have reached the pinnacle of pride and hatred.
Historically, the "God" that we pride ourselves in knowing with so much certitude was once a member of a large polytheistic religion that was worshiped by the Canaanites. In the story, Noah eventually is driven mad by pride and vainglory much like Macbeth. They are completely oblivious to their own inner faults. In Macbeth's defense, he did have some inkling as to the wrongs he committed. Noah seems to have divested himself of any human warmth or empathy in pursuit of being saved from the righteous flood-waters which will eradicate all the lives of everyone he unjustly hates. In the remade Earth, he wants to be the "new, glorified" patriarch or the father of the new strain of humanity. The Old testament writers juxtapose an interesting scene after Noah feels "aggrandized" and has become a "God" of sorts in this perverse fantasy of his.
Anyways, on the evening after he riotously celebrates his new found glory, his son, Ham, disturbingly finds him naked and drunk in a tent he had erected. For children who find their parents in such a sorrowful state, it is truly demoralizing. When Adam and Eve find themselves to be naked, they are aghast and ashamed of their transparent guilt. Noah seems to pay no thought to his transgressive spirit. Only his intuitive son sees the sorry state of his father's corroded spirit. His other brother and him throw a blanket over their shoulders. Ham must have some inkling as to his father's corruption so that is why he curiously looks at his the pitiable state of his father. The other brother could have been Noah's true progeny in the sense that he does not have the moral sense to realize his father's sin. Noah's greatest sin is "hubris" and it is this overweening pride that Noah is dangerously ignorant of. He is so blind to it that he becomes perturbed with "Ham" for trying to make him realize it therefore he cruelly curses Ham and his descendents for trying to find a reason to disgrace his father. Within this culture, defamation to the "ruling class" or the "patriarch" were seen as something treasonous. Interestingly, Noah views himself as a demigod who shall be unchallenged. His rulings are absolute and inerrant. Christians inflicted with this same "Noah" God complex often make their interpretations of the Bible "inerrant" which in effect elevates that person to a inhuman, immoral position where they replace God.
Some Christians will be disgruntled that I dare besmirch their wish-washy, trite Sunday School ideas of Noah. With this in mind, are some Christians just as ignorant as Noah to their own problems with egotism? We all have problems with "egotism" to an extent. Our whole life is one huge struggle against "egotism" but the real trouble comes when we exalt ourselves as "God" and keep the real ineffable God shuttered away or left in the flood waters of the wrath of narcissistic people. Wierdly, Noah's story does not include details of the skeletal remains or putrefied bodies that probably occupied the world leftover from the flood. If we view the Bible story as something that was imaginatively written from Noah's perspective, he might have not noticed this stuff as he was only focused upon "his own safety and victory," after the tempest washes away all his enemies. His God is a complicit force rather than a defiant or distant entity like the respective images of Abraham or Jacob's Gods. Noah's God is effectively weakened and imprisoned in Noah's devolving ego.Noah's fantasy is no different from Macbeth's fantasy where they are the unrivaled center of their own universes.
When reading the Bible, we need to be more critical and scrupulous. Some Christians unrealistically believe that criticizing a Biblical character is a deplorable practice that will land one in hell. We need to have a Christianity that is more honest about our questions and doubts. Otherwise, we are allowing churches to be destroyed by the malignant growth of undetected pride. We cannot just have antipathy for every person that disagrees with our human ideas of God that we have crafted into incontestable idols. Next time, I am beginning a lengthy post about "Artless Christianity and Abhorrence for the Honest Heretic." Aren't we all heretics when trying to apprehend a greater reality that none of us can lay claim to knowing perfectly?
Filed Under: Opinion