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I must warn you: I have a second degree Bible Belt!

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: the alternate view

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Apr 4, 2016 at 03:34

Hi, Moh. It's always nice to talk with you. You said,

"It's the establishment that has been strange, thinking they can open the gates to this sort of thing without consequense. The voters have been quite sane. Anyhow, I doubt that Merkel is in as much trouble as the media puts her up to be; unless she continues to act like an idiot."

Has she? I don't know. I guess I have something of the American tendency to think that no real life exists beyond countries I've been in; so I did a lookup, to try to understand Merkel and the Germans of today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/opinion/angela-merkels-unpopular-goodness.html?_r=0

Here's an interesting tidbit, concerning a theme I've talked about so much, it might seem trite:

"Ms. Merkel's detractors may have a point: Her choice possibly put the safety of her country at risk. Her impractical humanism will likely cost her the chancellorship. But, at the same time, her actions saved the soul of Europe."

Being a Bible freak, I'm interested in saving people's souls, especially my own... but saving "Europe"? That's beyond me. It's so un-Biblical. Did Jesus try to save "the soul of Europe" by inviting Romans to migrate to Israel? or inviting Goths to settle in the Roman Empire? Did the Jews have a directive to do that sort of thing, in order to save continents?

That's all so weird. The Jews were already living as forced migrants in places like Babylon, and as economic "guest workers" in Alexandria, Cyrene and Asia Minor. What was Jesus to do, in the line of social engineering, a la Merkel? Someone else had done the engineering for him; and he and his fellow Jews had to live the best they could with the consequences. When Jesus talked about our "loving our neighbor", then, he wasn't talking about forcing others to accept new neighbors: The Romans were the experts at that sort of thing. Instead, he explained that what he considered one's "neighbor" was the person in front of his face: one's brother, wife, shopkeeper or fellow traveller.

Imagining that one could be expected to "fix the world" was not reasonable to Jesus; and he didn't believe he, Messiah, was personally capable of doing it. He "saved the souls" of people one at a time, starting with his close companions. Muhammed did things the other way, "saving" sinners with the edge of the sword and "repairing the world".

In reality, it seems, Merkel wanted the German people to save HER soul, by salving her conscience. She went about unbidden, introducing Muslim Arabs and Afghans to Germans and telling them how they must get along with one another. Does that make her an idiot? No. If she expected to personally care for those immigrants out of her own purse, that would have made her something of an idiot. But causing problems for others, and expecting THEM to solve them for the sake of her conscience -- that's no skin off her nose. It seems to me, that she's rational but evil -- perhaps a little like my own President. The article goes on, it seems, to explain that Merkel isn't the only German who thinks and acts this way.

Concerning the "establishment", you said,

"4 possibilities spring to mind:
1. The establishment elite have not thought this thing through or
2. they have thought it through - and want the resulting chaos, [or]
3. [they want to] disenfranchise Germans from their culture - to 'divide and conquer' through multi-culturalism. [or they want to]
4: boost the German workforce by allowing the most educated Syrians to stay and then deporting or fobbing off the rest to other EU states to become 'other people's problems'."

I imagine "the establishment" is interested primarily in importing cheap labor, to drive down wages and increase profits.

Concerning my Bible discussion,

"...As for the flood, the Bible dates it at around 2350 BC. There have been many floods in Iraq and Turkey over the years.", you replied,

"...none that could put a large wooden ship thousands of feet on the side of a mountain in Turkey. If floodwaters that high happened - it would be a worldwide occurrence."

As far as I know, only the Bible presented such an odd scenario: The Akkadian and Greek versions seem to have more natural explanations. All I've been able to come up with so far, in terms of natural explanations, is that (1) as the Bible says, they were beached "in the mountains of Ararat", not "on Mount Ararat"; (2) with the rain and what-not, they couldn't actually see mountains or anything very clearly, and (3) since they beached in the mountainous country of Ararat (for that was the name of the country, not a mountain), they probably originated in that country. You went on,

"No such event is in evidence in geology"

You are probably correct there. The physical facts are probably as I set them forth here: There was a great flood, something not unusual in the area. What we do find in the geological record, I believe, is an occurence of climate change -- making this a flood worse than anyone in Noah's generation had seen. I seem to recall that he was about 600 years old; and some of his contemporaries were a few hundred years older.

Those long lives are another matter, of course, over which one might speculate as to whether one is to understand them literally or allegorically. I favor the former, because the author provides for a natural and gradual progression of lifespans from some 700-900 years, down to around 70 years in King David's time. I don't know how physical evidence could prove or disprove this. After all, the earth underwent both climate change and a genetic bottleneck, both of which might have caused such a change. An archealogist might determine that a set of remains, for instance, "died around age 40"; but he hasn't concluded this from any external time reference: All he really knows, is that the deceased was in a condition that resembled remains of someone in OUR TIME who died at the age of 40. These are things which seem reasonable to me.

You went on,

"Shock, horror! Would a lot of US Bible Belters would class that as some sort of heresy?"

Undoubtedly, a lot would -- perhaps 99% or more. I've shocked and horrified fellow Christians over much less; and I live thousands of miles from the "Bible Belt". Atheists, I've found, are not the only wooden heads in this world. Some of both groups are approachable; but one needs to be vigilant.

How are things holding up, down under? I could see myself living there again, with my family. Stranger things have happened.

Submitting....

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