Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lawrence O'Donnell Rewrites Kentucky's "Noah's Ark" Theme Park

Who knew there were cranes in Noah's day? Image from Inquisitr.
Oh, this is good. As an atheist, it's not often you get something this good from a religious person. And Lawrence O'Donnell is a good (though perhaps not devout) Catholic. Like me, he has a few problems with some of the Bible's wackier stories, notably the one about Noah's Ark.

The Noah story figured prominently in my slide into atheism. In my confirmation classes, it was clear that everyone around me took Genesis, up to that point, as literal truth. I was having enough trouble with that, but Noah's Ark? Plot holes you can drive an ocean liner through. It cannot be taken as a literal story, unless one is a child, one hasn't really thought about the story since he was a child, or with an economy-sized tub of faith spackle.

So anyway, they're building a theme park in Kentucky, based around the Noah story, complete with a "replica" of the ark. Kentucky is apparently going to give this entirely religious production millions of dollars worth of tax credits. To a heathen like me, this is very irritating. So, I was relieved to find Lawrence on my side. And his piece is also quite entertaining. Especially his pronunciation of "Ark Park."


  1. You're right, this is really, really good. More people like him need to speak up! I always questioned this story growing up in Catholic School.

  2. Lawrence O'Donnell obviously knows nothing about theology because his statements about "killing an adulterer" are so misinformed it's laughable. Also, Kentucky isn't paying a dime to the "Ark Park." Any money the park receives from tourism is written back to the park as a rebate from taxes that had been collected, meaning that if no taxes are created, no rebate will be given. Also, this is not restricted to Christian organizations, any organization can take part in it.

    Lawrence, either get the facts right or please shut up.

  3. First, I'm not sure you're right about the penalty for adultery. But the larger point is true: Almost no Christian follows the letter of the Bible, or even believes it all. They claim to, but they don't, as Lawrence said.

    Now, if the park gets tax credits, they come from somewhere. If the park doesn't have to pay x-number of millions of dollars they would otherwise have to pay, they're getting a free ride from the state, are they not? How is this not a church-state problem, since the park is ENTIRELY religion-based?

  4. Okay, now I know:

    New International Version
    "'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

    New Living Translation
    "If a man commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.

    English Standard Version
    “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

    New American Standard Bible
    If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

    King James Bible
    And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

    Argue your way out of that.

  5. It is a shame to see people jump on things without checking their facts.

    KY is giving no money to the Ark facility, or the Creation Museum. It is a partial tax rebate offered on taxes they pay, as long as the new business or tourism industry conforms to minimum specifications in KY law (brings in enough people and money). If you wish to argue against KY having such an incentive for businesses that is another thing, but they are not funding the ARK. It is unfortunate noone fact checks.

    At least use arguments with merit, and don't just repeat bobbling heads.

  6. As far as adultery goes, I wouldn't expect someone that knows nothing of theology to be able to parse much. Just as a Computer Engineer and mathematician I don't expect an art major to make much sense out of differential equations.

    It is Old Covenant and New Covenant Law, also you should read into law context if you quote, along with the idea of prose.

  7. First: if they're getting a tax break from the state, they are getting a financial benefit from the state. I do not see what point you're trying to finely slice here.

    Second: Lawrence's point was that there are things in the Bible that both Christians and Jews no longer believe. Like the above. He wasn't wrong, I'm not wrong.

    By the way, that Old Covenant/New Covenant stuff is not universally agreed upon amongst all denominations, and is in fact often cherry-picked to argue against homosexuality. Somehow, Leviticus still applies with the gay stuff, but nothing else.

  8. Don't assume that an atheist knows nothing of theology. We usually have studied it a great deal on our way to where we are.

  9. I referenced nothing of the gay stuff. You react just like a person who doesn't know what they are talking about deflect and change the subject.

    First of all, they are getting a tax rebate from the state just like every other organization in the state has available to them secular and religious so long as they fit within a guideline of how much money they bring into the state. Now if you want to remove that from religious groups and offer it only to secular groups, that would be your agenda. Which obviously it seems to be. You don't want fairness, you want discrimination. Although people like you tend to be the most intolerant of everyone. It is unfortunate.

    I assume you know nothing of theology because your answers make it obvious you don't. It then stops being an assumption and becomes an observation. If you don't like it fine, but don't use something you don't understand.

    The Old Covenant, New Covenant stuff is the basis of Christianity, and all denominations involved in it. That "stuff" is the essence of the beliefs, the difference between a time of works and grace.

    If you really want to cherry pick the Bible I suggest you look at the whore that Jesus asked anyone to throw the first stone. That was a law..the adultery law..why did noone stone her, did Jesus contradict the law? No, there must be two to accuse, what he made the accusers realize is that none of them were worthy, and all of them were as equally dark, which is something Christians now need to practice more and not be so judgemental on others. Yet this is an age old thing with people in general.

    However, my "pet peeve" as it were, is people who scream tolerance for their agenda, like you, and are completely intolerant of any other views. You who want Christian Businesses just because they are Christian to not be under the same rules as secular organizations.

    This is simple, beat it to death, but you are wrong. KY has an incentive for all businesses, this business qualifies, stop your hate and intolerance, and desire to take something away from one group because of their beliefs and stance while showering it upon others.

  10. I find religion ridiculous in all of its forms. I find deference toward it ridiculous. But I'm hardly intolerant of religion. I've been putting up with it my whole life. That doesn't mean, however, that I can't criticize it, point out its foibles and errors and inconsistencies and contradictions. You may not like my conclusions, my answers or my writing. But I'm hardly unknowledgeable about Christianity (having been one for some time), or religion in general.

    I have no desire to "take something away" from any group. I just think their incredibly stupid theme park based on a religion shouldn't get public money. My preference would also be to tax churches who are involved in politics, as the owners of this park most assuredly are.

  11. I find homosexuality ridiculous in all its forms.
    I find blacks ridiculous in all forms.
    I find asians ridiculous in all forms.
    I find deference towards it ridiculous, but I am hardly intolerant of any of these things.

    You don't make any sense. You wish for a state to remove an incentive that is offered to all businesses (in order to bring more money into the state), that is calculated annually, goes through stringent requirements (to make sure the organization is bringing money into the state, the opposite of what you purport here really), because they are religious. You are an intolerant bigot. If you have a problem with the incentive, fine, argue with a logical argument to remove it from everyone. If you want to just remove it from religious organizations, yes that makes you quite intolerant, ridiculous, close-minded, and bigoted. I find you as offensive as a right-wing zealot fundamentalist bible thumper. Your lack of intellectual honesty, your quickness to jump on a lie, without any research, and your desire to single out groups of people (religious), and relegate them to a lower status than their counterparts (secularly) is abhorrent, divisive and terrible.

    You can criticize anything you want to. Just like so many racists criticize blacks all the time, but when there is no intellectual honesty involved, you're just a bigot, not some fact crusader. You already assume errors and contradictions, without contextual knowledge which is obvious from earlier, because you hate. I don't expect you to agree with any of them, but to be tolerant of them yes. Not to try and single them out and deprive them of that which is offered to all others.

    They are so political! yes remove all tax exempt. The truth is I understand this argument to a point, although I don't agree with your narrow view, and obviously held assumptions about the evil of religious organizations and their devious interference with politics, yet this is bigoted as well, you don't mention any of the secular non-profits (thousands) that really are incredibly and obviously involved in politics. hell the truth is every organization down to the boy scouts is political in some manner. No you go after religious institutions because of your bigotry and hate. I feel pity for you, locked up in a vial of delusion, hate, and rabid intolerance.

  12. Okay, first off, I'm not sure why I should even be wasting my time with "Anonymous" commenters who are taking me to task, without even having the courage to use their own names. But all right.

    I didn't say religion should be outlawed or taken away, or that religious PEOPLE are ridiculous. I said that I find religion itself ridiculous, and I do. There is nothing bigoted in that sentiment.

    My feeling is that religion already gets far more tax freedom than they should. More is irritating. This park is being billed as having a replica of something that very likely never existed. The Noah's ark story is one of the most far-fetched and plot-hole-filled stories in the Bible. But okay. I assume you would be just peach-keen with a Muslim-themed attraction receiving tax incentives? A Satanism park?

    I'm not a bigot. I'd never argue for people to have their rights taken away to satisfy my beliefs. I simply don't think that tax exemptions for religion--particularly religion that is injecting itself into politics--are a religious right.

    You also assume that this is my first time at the rodeo. That I came into religious discussion cold, and don't know anything about the bible. I assure you, I'm no newbie to this stuff. I've pondered it and argued it for decades. I'm not sure what you think I'm not getting, but then I guess I don't really care. I do know that there are reams of information available on the subject of Biblical contradictions. A couple of them: dual ark stories that don't reconcile; dual creation myths that don't reconcile. Easy factual errors: there is no firmament! Stars, the sun and the moon aren't set into it!

    The entire enterprise requires buckets of faith spackle to patch all of the logical problems, contradictions and inconsistencies. I don't have any spackle.

    No, religion should not be involved in politics. NOBODY should have to live under a law based on any religion in this country. Unless you're a fan of Sharia Law.

    Save your pity. It is not the irreligious who have delusional hate and rabid intolerance.

  13. I never said Religion should make laws, or that a country should have laws based on religion. Although regardless laws are based on an ethical construct, and our Country that you live in did use a Judeo-Christian Ethical construct. I'm sure they didn't consider that at all. Nonetheless, I don't believe in Theocracy's and I don't think they have a right.

    I would be perfectly fine with a satanic park receiving a tax incentive that is open to all organizations, this issue has been brought before the Supreme Court many times each time struck down with almost laughter. This isn't a seperation issue. No taxpayer money goes to the park, it is a tax incentive on the taxes paid only by the park goers. It isn't coming out of the state's coffers. The same incentive applied to the bourbon tour in KY (although I am sure that was not meant as a state official endorsement of alcohol) Nor is this in any way a state endorsement of Creationism or religion. It is entirely Economical.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has long acknowledged that when a government’s financial benefits program is facially neutral toward religion (as the Kentucky Tourism Development Act certainly is), the provision of funding to an applicant who may happen to have a particular religious identity or viewpoint is in no way a violation of the Constitution.

    So yes, I view this as bigoted and intolerant and spiteful. You wish to remove something open to everyone that has an immense amount of precedent, that is completely legal, and ethical away from a particular group. That is all out bigotry.

    Now if KY gave them a grant specifically to build the park. I would oppose that myself. As states have no business in my opinion giving grants or for that matter federal government or any government power under our constitution . As it is, it is not a grant, and it is a neutral program open to all tourism aspiring businesses and has been utilized by many.

    I don't assume this is your first time at the "rodeo". I ascertain that you are poorly educated in theological issues from reading multiple postings and comments by you. Contextually bereft of any understanding.

    I don't use my name, because of my own privacy concerns. I also don't use facebook, so sue me.

    In this country it tends to be those screaming tolerance the loudest are the most intolerant of all. You bear that out to me. Shout "I want tolerance!!! Unless it goes against my personal beliefs". You are quite religious yourself.

    I love talking to people and arguing with them, debating them. Which is why my personal circle of close friends is very varied. I don't like it when people aren't intellectually honest about a discussion they have, and state things factually instead of as theoretical, when they don't have a grasp on the subject.

    Almost everything in this MSNBC report is a flat out lie, and most of what you have said with regards to it stretches the truth at best. There is no grant, this isn't a seperation issue, I don't recall AIG ever being very political either (although if you want a religious organization to pick on, choose Liberty University. There is a truly good example of a Christian religious institution that due to political and business dealings, deserves to have it's exemption status removed. There is actual basis and fact for that. I don't mind facts, I hate intolerance. I pity those such as you, for the blindness you live in to your hatred of religions.

  14. By the way, I would have a serious issue, if a Muslim, Satanic, Buddhist or any other religion that had a non-profit and developed a tourism type industry was denied the same incentive.

    I would also have a problem with any of the aforementioned receiving grants. This however is not a grant.

    “[T]he guarantee of neutrality is respected, not offended, when the government, following neutral criteria and evenhanded policies, extends benefits to recipients whose ideologies and viewpoints, including religious ones, are broad and diverse.” Rosenberger v. Virginia (1995).

    If they qualify under the neutral requirements the incentive is available to many. An arts and performance grant was also handed out that benefited an organization that does some nude and incredibly racy shows..hey they bring the money into KY and abide by the law and meet the qualifications..then fine. Idgaf.

    I should have come across in a better manner, but you hit a pet peeve of mine. Narrow-minded viewpoints are hard for me to accept.

  15. Anonymous, I don't feel the need to respond to all of that. You vented your spleen, good for you. I don't take any of this personally, as I said, I've been doing this a very, very long time.

    You are incorrect that I don't have a grasp on the subject of Christianity. I've heard most of the arguments on what I consider to be biblical plot holes. I just don't tend to agree with them. To me they are "fan wanking," which is what you call it when fans gloss over logical problems with movies, books, TV shows or comics. They can always come up with a logical reason that Superman can do something he couldn't do before and never did again, for existence. And yeah, I compared Superman to God, and that's because I see them as pretty much the same. Characters in a story.

    We don't have to agree on any of this, and we're clearly not going to convince each other. My chief problem with you is your tendency to insult. If *I* insulted you in there anywhere, I do apologize.

  16. [That should have been "for instance," not "for existence." Damn you, Autocorrect!

  17. "By the way, that Old Covenant/New Covenant stuff is not universally agreed upon amongst all denominations, and is in fact often cherry-picked to argue against homosexuality. Somehow, Leviticus still applies with the gay stuff, but nothing else."

    This is one of the reasons I cite your lack of knowledge, or at least grasp in a theological context. Old Covenant New Covenant, is self-defined in the Bible, granted there are arguments to interpretation just as there are on everything in every facet of life, religion, philosophy, and science, however, in no way does it mean that laws are abolished..In Christianity Christ coming is not about getting rid of the law, it is about providing grace. Christ said he did not come to abolish the law according to the New Testament. Adultery is still sin, the difference is not what is or is not a sin, it is the consequences in an age of grace as blood is already shed. A deeper theological knowledge (even if you disagreed with it), would quickly bear this out.

    Also I do believe the bible in it's entirity, literally (with as it tends to be I must say accounting for different types of prose).

    No you don't have my name, it is Daniel, that is enough. So yes, I think adultery, homosexuality (that is also referenced in the new testament just fyi, Romans and 1 Timothy). I also believe all of these are deserving of death. I also believe Christ has given grace and everyone according to their sin is deserving of death.

    Now I don't consider myself to be intolerant either, I have beliefs, I believe things are wrong or right. However I am very aware of my own faults which, well, I know them all, and I consider myself no better off than any other person. I know what to do, but I don't do it, I fail.

    Nonetheless I am arrogant and mean-spirted. I'd rather deal with any other sinner than myself half the time.

  18. Don't confuse different interpretations of the source material for ignorance. I'm well aware how some people explain away the changes between the OT and the NT (even though they'll simultaneously claim the word is unchanging). Dietary restrictions are deemed no longer in effect. The gay stuff stands. But other things that are not dietary restrictions are routinely ignored today by virtually all Christians. The way beards and hair are cut, tattoos, and many other things.

    I don't doubt your sincerity, but I seriously doubt that you believe every single word of the Bible and follow it.

  19. And by the way, there are explanations and "understanding" that can only be gained by belief. I know this to be true, because very (very) often, a devoutly religious person will throw out a bible quote, with the assumption that it explains everything, and is self evident. But to a person who doesn't believe it to be true? Often times, it's kind of gibberish. For instance: Jesus dying for our sins. Why did God have to be born a man, and sacrifice his human self to satisfy his incorporeal self's desire to forgive us for sins we've not yet committed? See, to you and other Christians, that makes perfect sense. To me, it's nonsense.


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