The animals went in two by two

Jan 13, 2010 | Opinions

Ah, creationism. Creationists, I should say – they are a strange and byzantine species, full of nuances and expressions that would puzzle the average homo sapien. I adore them, and their almost-childlike view of the world.

Noah’s Ark is an interesting story. God takes umbrage at the world of man, and decides to destroy it all except for the few that please him. And so his chosen take the animals that will survive and carry them into the Ark, and after forty days and nights of global flooding to wash away the wickedness, Noah is left to repopulate the world.

Interesting does not equal true, however, for the accepted value of true associated with historical events – meaning that these things actually happened, and the story of the Flood is factual. There’s nothing to show that it is. There’s any number of problems that arise if we even assume the most basic facts, and then extrapolate the likely effects; for example, let’s say there was a global flood that lasted for forty days and nights. There isn’t enough water on earth to flood the whole world, forty days of flooding is enough to destroy a good chunk of all life on earth, and if it happened, all evidence of it was magically removed from the geological record.

But people still believe it’s real, like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Their bible is so important to their faith that if even one part of it isn’t true, none of it is. The details of the story are made more important than the morals or lessons contained within it. That is the real tragedy of creationism; its proponents remain forever childlike, trapped in a parody of faith because they can’t let themselves see the wood for the trees.

I still smile at their antics, and try to be gentle with them as I would with a child. Creationists are not inherently bad, or stupid, or misguided, although some would label them as such. They need time and space to honestly examine their faith and the book they hold so dear, and the constant battering of science isn’t doing them any favours.

What does all this have to do with me? Nothing, really. I don’t know any creationists. Being a predominatly Catholic country with a very lax attitude to bible literalism, Ireland doesn’t seem to have enough of them to be organised. But I find the concept fascinating, like an adult who still believes in Santa Claus.