Monday, December 05, 2005

old testament as history?

i have a few things to say about the discussion about evolution and intelligent design that is for some reason going on over at the forums, but since this debates is pretty far off the topic of geocaching the conversation is going on in the off-topic forum, which you can only see if you're a paying member.

i am, so not only do i get to see it, but i get to spout off my opinions, which are many.

there was a side debate about whether or not the old testament can be described as history, and this is my response:


the OT is a lovely volume of actual honkin' history.

if you start reading from the beginning and keep going you notice this really cool shift taking place:

early on it appears that God really hasn't got it all together. there's a lot of waffling, a lot of incomprehensible stuff besides who begat whom and who was wiped out for what reason, but not a lot of reasoning, nor any apparent plan.

and then as you keep reading, God seems to be evolving a personality.

...but wait! it is possible that it's people who are evolving! we can follow right along as people seem to be acquiring reasoning skills, or at least the ability to keep track of a narrative.

and they're trying to the very best of their tiny ability to tell what happened. it's a step above cave painting. we consider cave paintings to be history.

and why do they have to keep reciting the same stuff over and over before telling any new part of the story? because they haven't invented writing yet.

and at some point they discover writing and trust us to go back and read it for ourselves. later on they go on to invent the telephone, the compact disc and (nobody knows why) automated phone systems.

later on, smarter people will come along and declare our understanding of the workings of the universe laughable and our recording methods quaint. they will have discovered that time does not work the way we thought it did.

scholars will argue over whether that stuff we wrote down was metaphorical or not. and because large portions of documents will have corrupted data, they will be able to make very nice livings arguing amongst themselves as to what we really meant.

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