Saturday, March 27, 2010
There Were Giants
Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days...
And the sun stood frozen in the sky.
And a man slew one thousand men with the jawbone of an ass.
And a kid killed a professional armored soldier with a slingshot.
And a woman was turned into a pillar of salt.
And a donkey talked.
And a man built a boat big enough to hold a sample of every species in existence, And floated atop a completely submerged Earth.
And nations existed whose entire populations down to a man were irredeemably corrupt, to the point where genocide was absolutely justified.
And men lived to be almost a thousand years old.
Etc, etc, etc.
...in THOSE days.
Isn't it interesting how people can achieve a disconnect from their everyday common sense, simply by pushing questionable tales back into the misty past where nobody can check them out? This is far from a new phenomenon. Note that by chapter 6, the author of Genesis has already adopted the device, describing creatures who no longer exist in his time- thus his expression 'in THOSE days'. One can only wonder about the later origins of Goliath and his giant brothers. Well, not SERIOUSLY wonder; obviously, their existence also came to be in the folk tales of a future peoples' 'THOSE days'.
Time isn't the only means by which we cleave to the supposed veracity of otherwise obvious fictions. Geography is another. Whether it be the mystics of the orient, the magic healers of the Philippines, or UFO Grand Central located in the depths of the Amazon rainforest, it's much easier to make-believe when the objects of our beliefs aren't open to TOO much scrutiny.
But by far the most interesting, not to mention amusing, mode of cognitive dissonance by which otherwise seemingly rational people manage to talk themselves into believing crazy things, is philosophy. Which on its face is curious, seeing that philosophy is SUPPOSED to be an intellectual sieve through which to more finely strain the truth of our communal inner experience. Instead, what we too often get are merely refined methods of obfuscation. Especially in the realm of apologetics, where the use of philosophical forms of inquiry are used as a ruse to prop up otherwise embarrassingly frail religious rationalizations.
Thus we're stuck with ridiculous things like the ontological argument for the existence of God, where he is literally pulled into being by words alone. Then there's the Kalam argument, a muddle of half-assed conflicting premises meant to answer the child's logical question "But if God made everything, who made God?" Oh, and let's not forget the various epistemological shell games out there fashioned to cast doubt on everything, the more easy to lump in metaphysical fairy tales with valid modes of truth seeking- "Step right up and find the knowledge! Everybody's a winner!"
It's natural to be curious, and to wonder about the mysteries we have little or no access to. It's also tempting to make up answers to our questions in the form of myth, legend, and even convoluted philosophical concepts. It seems that we are doomed to the consternation that non-omniscience brings, and too many of us are content with accepting any story that comes down the pipe if it promises to plug the holes in our bewilderment, no matter how poorly. "Nothing new under the sun..." says the Ecclesiast.
At least, he DID say that...back in THOSE days...when there were giants.
Posted by metamorphhh at 7:06 PM