This I Believe

Richard - Cheyenne, Wyoming
Entered on March 31, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: atheism

Did Noah Have a Helicopter?

I believe that atheism is the most rational belief a person can hold.

Raised, baptized, and confirmed as a Christian, I have not always felt this way. But the more I’ve learned about science, I see no evidence of any supernatural force in the universe. There are no phenomena I have observed that must be explained by the existence of a God.

How did my original Christian belief begin to unravel? I think my doubt may have first begun as a child when I heard the story of Noah’s Ark. All the animals in the world gathered into a boat (in pairs, of course) and saved from a world-wide flood? It seemed a bit much. How did Noah gather animals from North America, I wondered? He didn’t have any way to get to North America, and didn’t even know it existed. How could he capture a ferocious animal like a Grizzly Bear anyway? Wildlife biologists need helicopters and powerful sedatives to do that. Noah simply didn’t have the tools.

Later, I questioned the physical possibility of a world-wide flood. The earth is like a terrarium. It is a closed system. Water evaporates from one region and then falls elsewhere in the form of rain. As a closed system, the actual amount of water is fixed. It can be frozen, melted, evaporated, condensed, and moved around in all kinds of different methods. But, it isn’t possible to flood the entire world, because it would require the creation of mass (water) from nothing. And then, eventually, the removal of the water by equally mysterious methods would have to occur.

Finally, I questioned the moral underpinnings of the story. How could a loving perfect God do that? He chose only one family to survive? Everyone else on the planet deserved death by drowning so we could start over? Since he is all powerful, couldn’t he just disintegrate the evil folks and spare the blameless infants? For me, I reached the point where the flood story was entirely illogical and completely beyond belief.

Eventually, I remember thinking “Ok, this Ark story is probably made up, but I’ll believe the rest of it”. But that is in itself a watershed thought – once you realize that there is a part of the Bible that can’t be true, you begin to question other parts of it, and if you can pick and choose which parts of a holy text are actually believable, then the sanctity of the document is lost.

The conversion simply continued from there. Physics explains the universe and the solar system in great detail, so the creation myth had to go as well. Geology explains the earth’s crust, layers, and erosion, and shows the planet to be many orders of magnitude older than the Bible would indicate.

Natural selection explains the diversity and complexity of life, so… well, it just goes on and on from there.

If there is a God, here is my plea… some evidence would be appreciated!