On April 9th there was a debate at Portland State University entitled "Does anything Supernatural Exist?" In part of the debate they discussed whether the Bible story of Noah's Ark should be interpreted as real history, or a myth. In this 2 min. video excerpt, a 7th grader asks about the Noah's Ark story and other Bible myths: http://tinyurl.com/m2d4bom .
The Christian philosopher answered that yes, the Noah's Ark story is a myth. When asked on a follow-up question "what other myths are in the Bible," the Christian philosopher named-off a few other Bible stories that many Christians might actually think are true.
For example, there is a story of a talking Donkey, which he said is also a myth. The story says that Balaam was a prophet and was riding his donkey to get to a place where he could curse a group of people. But the donkey refused to continue. In Numbers 22, the story picks up like this:
"27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” 29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. 31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown."
Obviously the story is written in such a way as to represent true history. But the Christian philosopher says it is a myth. For sure, skeptics will agree with the philosopher; but then the question is, why bother writing the story if it wasn't meant to be true? There's no hint, by the writer, that the story should be taken figureatively. There were a few young earth creationists in the audience, that take Bible passages like this literally, and were upset with the Christian philosopher for not taking the Bible at its word.
The debate was co-sponsored by The Freethinkers of Portland State University (a student diversity group) and The Center for Philosophical Naturalism. To learn more about The Center for Philosophical Naturalism, an organization devoted to help teach the naturalist worldview, click on our Facebook page here: http://tinyurl.com/pjnjfup . Our meetup event page can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl . Our website is here: http://tinyurl.com/pbtcg5w .
If you are interested in other similar events; other Portland-area community, secular, and philosophical groups can also be found at meetup.com, such as these:
-- Westside Science & Religion Disc.: http://tinyurl.com/bkmhdl5
-- Sunday Assembly: http://tinyurl.com/kkc8nyw
-- Center for Inquiry: http://tinyurl.com/mps923r
-- Humanists of Greater Portland: http://tinyurl.com/kmbmt57
-- Atheists Etcetera: http://tinyurl.com/nhjr3ha
-- Philosophy Workshop: http://tinyurl.com/pzs4ajc
-- The Center for Philosophical Naturalism: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl