In this blog, I can’t speak for every Atheist in the state but I can relate my personal experiences. As Dirty Harry says, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” It’s no secret that Arizona is sometimes screwed up politically. The state legislature is goofy and sprinting into the dark ages. Recently, Rachel Maddow took time off of her continuous coverage of the New Jersey Bridgegate scandal to talk about Arizona SB 1062. Thankfully, the governor stepped up and vetoed the bill but for a brief point in time the 48th state was the center of the national attention before returning to talking about a traffic jam.
What’s it like being here? First, understand that things are improving in Tucson and Phoenix. The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix opened a beautiful Humanist Community Center in December 2010 (or the year 4 AGD—After the God Delusion). The Phoenix Atheists Meetup Group, just one of several Phoenix freethinking groups, has over 1800 members and is hosting 15 separate events during March alone.
Here in Tucson we have a burgeoning robust freethinking community which includes: FreeThought Arizona, Tucson Atheists, Skeptics of Tucson, the Secular Student Alliance Chapter at the University of Arizona, and the Tucson Chapter of Recovery from Religion. Every organization was either created within the past five years or has undergone an explosive growth in membership. For example, Tucson went from a couple of dozen members in 2005 to over 700 today.
But we have a long way to go.
One of my favorite sayings is, “We don’t make Atheists, we just support those who are already non-believers.” We also are a source of answers for those who are curious. Godlessness arises naturally once someone allows himself to question. We have a podcast that is currently on hiatus. I’m paying to keep it alive but we haven’t had any new episodes for a while. I hope that it returns before the year is out. Part of the name is an acronym. AIR stands for Atheists Inquiry into Reality. The key word is inquiry. If more people asked questions, would there be a lot more Atheists?
There’s a new movie that is soon to be released—Noah. It stars Russell Crowe. It’s said to be a $125M blockbuster and it will be out in theaters at the end of March 2014. It’s a bit presumptuous calling a movie a blockbuster before it is released but someone is convinced that it will be a commercial success. The story of Noah is a fantastic story in the true sense of the word, “imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality.” So many questions.
I decided to look into the story and read the part of the Bible that covered the Noah story with new eyes but then I’d be starting at Genesis 5:32. To understand the context, it is better to start at the beginning of the chapter. The story is in Genesis 5 which is about Adam’s family line but the unanswerable questions start almost immediately. Therefore, I’ll not be able to cover all of them. I would “Gish Gallop” myself into frustration so I decided to take the first three questions that should be asked. Perhaps it will spark enough interest to get others to look at the source and ask their own questions.
Let’s begin with Genesis 5:1 “When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.”
Are we to assume that this verse says humans look a bit like God? If God created mankind to look like him, wouldn’t we be invisible? Just saying! Let’s make a note to get back to this later. At this rate, we’ll never get to the start of the Noah story.
To continue: Genesis 5:2-5 “He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them ‘Mankind’ when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image: and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.”
I’m at 700 words already and nowhere near the start of Noah’s story so it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to it. These four verses are so chock full of wrongness it’s going to be tough to go much further. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son? You have to go back into the previous chapter to realize that Seth was a blessing given to Adam to replace Abel but I don’t want to bury the lead here. Adam had a son when he was 130 years old? Perhaps that may be possible. After all, the demands on men for producing offspring are not very daunting. Let’s forget for a moment that Viagra hasn’t been invented and he’s 130 years old…The bigger question is how Eve could handle having a baby at such an advanced age. As I recall, Adam and Eve were either born created on the same day or at best a few days apart, depending on which chapter of Genesis you prefer. Therefore, she was also a bit old to be having kids…
By now, I think you get the point and this has run on for too long already. Unfortunately, I didn’t get anywhere near to the Noah story…
Please read your Bible again and this time read it critically. The world could use a few more Atheists!