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The Trouble With Rainbows


TexasFreethinker
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Has this bothered anyone else?

 

According to Genesis 9, rainbows didn't exist before the flood that god sent to wipe out 99.999999% of the living things on earth...

 

Genesis 9:13 I do set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

 

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud,

 

15 and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

 

God started adding rainbows "to clouds" after the flood to remind us and him that he wasn't going to pull that stunt again. The problem with this is that rainbows are actually the refraction and reflection of light waves thru water particles in the air and clouds aren't even required to form them. If we take the Noah flood account as an historical event, then according to the bible light waves didn't behave the same way before the flood. Either light waves didn't refract thru water particles, or they did and god prevented everyone from seeing it. What's your take on this creationists?

 

Examples of cloudless rainbows...

 

716px_Steam_Phase_eruption_of_Castle_geyser_with_double_rainbow.jpg

 

7_800px_Surfing_Rainbow.jpg

 

7_TakakkawFalls2_edit.jpg

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Good catch TF. The wholly babble isn't very realistic astronomically. Joshua 10:12-13 tells of Joshua making the sun "stand still" for about a day. We now know the only way for the sun to stand still in the sky for 24 hours is for the earth to stop spinning on it's axis, and we would all be flung off at thousands of mph.

People explaining what they saw using the limited knowledge they had and a whole lotta imagination. :P

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Well, when your child comes up and asks you a question you don't know the answer to, there are about 3 different ways you can answer it:

 

1: (my suggestion) Take them to the library, (or the internet) and look up the answer.

2: Tell them, "well, honey, i really don't know that answer" yeah yeah, i know they'll think you're dumb, but you considering all the things there are to know in this word.. face bud... you are!

3: Lie to them, and make up a really fantastical story that they will be enthralled by.

 

Problem is... 2000 to 3000 years ago, there weren't libraries, let alone internet to look up answers.

and.. it is inbred into people to want to know.. even if they don't like the answer.. they want to know... Well at least some people do.

 

The greatest authority in any community was either the king or high priest(ess) 2500 years ago...

And then, the kings were likely just as much a part of the religion as anyone.

 

So, if you wanted to keep people believing in the religion that was put forth, you had the perfect way to do so with all those unanswerable questions like "Where did rainbows come from"

Well of course god made them.... then a story would follow about how and why he did...

 

Bingo, two birds in one stone.... Keep the audience believing and shut up their trivial questions, so you could get back to your life of luxury and stop fraternizing with the peasants.

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As a Christian, the rainbow passage bothered me for a couple of reasons, but not scientific ones. As a Christian, I understood what kind of cultural milieu those OT stories came from. My problems were more of a theological/moral nature. God kills every one by drowning, then "repents." I know I've heard a number of damned preachers try to explain it away by doing the old exegetical prestidigitation tap dance of saying that "repent" in context of that passage does not imply that God sinned, but that misses the point: On reading the story, it's clear that the extremity of God's response to humanity was a bit much, even for God.

 

So that left me with two problems. One was God's own response to his own action, which could only lead to the conclusion that the eternal, unchanging God changed his mind about his own actions, not to mention the fact that he seems to be surprised by how he felt about his own cruelty.

 

The other problem I had with his "repentance" was that he didn't seem to be able to fathom the deeper moral principle of his actions. Instead of learning his moral lesson and responding with "I'll never kill almost every one in the world again," he's only able to get as far as saying, "I'll never kill every one in the world by that method again."

 

What the hell was I supposed to make of this as a Christian? If a guy is on trial for murder by blowing the victim's head off with a shotgun, and in his testimony he tearfully tells the jury that he's really learned his lesson that killing someone by shotgun is deeply wrong, and that if he ever commits murder again, he'll use a chainsaw or a machete, is the jury then supposed to say, "Gosh, he's a changed man. He's obviously had a true moral epiphany. We should go easy on him?"

 

What the fuck is this shit???

 

My other main problem with the flood story didn't have any thing to do with the rainbow, but it was a persistent question I kept having with how God deals with shit over and over again. It can be summed up with the question, "Did it work?"

 

God sees all the sin and depravity going on and just can't tolerate any more. He's going to put an end to it once and for all. He kills off everybody except for the family of one "Godly" man. The man's family barely has their feet back on solid ground again and the sin and degradation recommences and it goes downhill from there.

 

Over and over as I read the Bible, I kept having this picture of God on his Great White Throne looking down at the aftermath of some atrocity or other which he'd done as a response to the sinfulness of the world, stroking his long white beard in perplexity and saying, "Well, that didn't work, either! Dang! This has really got me stumped!"

 

And, of course, twenty centuries of damned clergy who have their heads so far up their asses that this stuff doesn't even show up on their radar.

 

Sorry to go so sideways on your thread TF, but you triggered a long standing rant of mine. So it's really your fault. :HaHa: I know! I could recover my moral high ground by drowning you to death. I understand that there's precedent for it from the source of all moral authority.

 

Then I'll paint a lovely rainbow on your gravestone to show that everything's all right now.

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My other main problem with the flood story didn't have any thing to do with the rainbow, but it was a persistent question I kept having with how God deals with shit over and over again. It can be summed up with the question, "Did it work?"

 

God sees all the sin and depravity going on and just can't tolerate any more. He's going to put an end to it once and for all. He kills off everybody except for the family of one "Godly" man. The man's family barely has their feet back on solid ground again and the sin and degradation recommences and it goes downhill from there.

 

Over and over as I read the Bible, I kept having this picture of God on his Great White Throne looking down at the aftermath of some atrocity or other which he'd done as a response to the sinfulness of the world, stroking his long white beard in perplexity and saying, "Well, that didn't work, either! Dang! This has really got me stumped!"

 

I wondered about this too as a fundy. I was taught to believe that god knew in advance how everything would turn out. So, if he knew the flood wasn't going to solve anything (as you said, the depravity started up before the soil had dried!), why did he try it? Same question applies to the garden of eden - god knew that Adam and Eve were going to eat the fruit, etc, and that as a result of that he'd have to burn billions of humans in his ovens. If you knew that in advance wouldn't you go with Plan B instead?

 

Another thing that bothered me about the flood story was that god was willing to bargain with Noah. He did this knowing that Noah would lose so he was basically toying with Noah.

 

I apologize for provoking your rant Loren. Couldn't you just waterboard me instead?

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Any god that needs to tie a string around his finger so he won't forget a promise NOT to kill everything AGAIN, he just ain't right in the head!

 

He resembles the Gnostic Demiurge more and more

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God started adding rainbows "to clouds" after the flood to remind us and him that he wasn't going to pull that stunt again. The problem with this is that rainbows are actually the refraction and reflection of light waves thru water particles in the air and clouds aren't even required to form them. If we take the Noah flood account as an historical event, then according to the bible light waves didn't behave the same way before the flood. Either light waves didn't refract thru water particles, or they did and god prevented everyone from seeing it. What's your take on this creationists?

In addition to that I was taught that this mist "2:6 But a mist went up from the earth, watering all the face of the land" and and these rivers "2:10 And a river went out of Eden giving water to the garden; and from there it was parted and became four streams." were how the whole of the early earth got all of its water.

 

Until I deconverted I never gave any thought to the whole thing but I realized how stupid it was afterward and I actually examined these stories. How is it that the early mist never, ever, happened to be seen at the right moment to show a rainbow? It only came at night? In the dark? The "canopy of water" must have blotted out the moon pretty well so maybe there wasn't enough light then. And with enough mist in the air a rainbow can form around the whole of the moon. But, again, maybe not enough light?

 

I'm guessing the same answers apply for the sun as well. It was just too dark to see the rainbows until the (imaginary) water canopy came down. I don't know how people lived under those conditions. I'm going to have to go with "magic" since it ties in so well with the rest of the text. Or maybe there were plenty of rainbows everywhere but all the people were some sort of "mole people" and were essentially blind until "god" fixed their eyes during the flood or something. I know "magic" was involved somehow though.

 

mwc

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Guest Itookthebluepill

Just further evidence to me that shows the bible to be nothing more than fables and superstitions. Clearly the bible was written by people with almost no scientific knowledge who needed, like every other civilization, to explain their origins and the things around them in a way that makes sense to other uneducated people.

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Not only all of the above, TF, but again god takes the human delight out of the moment by replacing the natural human "Wow!" response to seeing a rainbow with, "Oh, yeah, right, no more pan-planetary drownings..."

 

:(

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  • 2 weeks later...

That one generated some well earned problems for me.

 

At one point I tried to tie it in with an explanation of why we could see many billions of light years (actually peering into the past) in a 6000 year old universe. I tried to explain it away by positing that the xian god changed the laws of physics when he created the first rainbow by imposing a speed limit on light where it had previously travelled instantaneously. That theory came with problems of its own, especially as I grew older and more ejamacated.

 

Assuming that light wasn't refracted before the first rainbow, it makes you wonder how people and animals saw objects before the flood!

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Not only all of the above, TF, but again god takes the human delight out of the moment by replacing the natural human "Wow!" response to seeing a rainbow with, "Oh, yeah, right, no more pan-planetary drownings..."

Are you kidding?

 

When it starts to rain I'm scared shitless if I don't see a rainbow. Nothing makes me happier than that bow in the sky because that's when I KNOW I won't be drowning from that storm. I'm still waiting to see a rainbow from our last storm a month or two ago (I've never been so constipated...damn shitlessness).

 

mwc

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Since Tuesday I have read 3 chapters of the bible a day and today I have read the part about Noah and the rainbow and my thought was the same as Loren in that god only promies not to flood the world again he doesn't promise not to kill 90% of the earths population again so the next time that god regrets creating us he could decide to burn us all to death.

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Since Tuesday I have read 3 chapters of the bible a day and today I have read the part about Noah and the rainbow and my thought was the same as Loren in that god only promies not to flood the world again he doesn't promise not to kill 90% of the earths population again so the next time that god regrets creating us he could decide to burn us all to death.

Or strike 90% of us dead with lethal hemorrhoids! Wait 'till you get to the book of Samuel and the Ark of the Covenant. One of the things that even I must admit is the absolute awesomeness of the god of the Christians to come up with innovative and exciting new ways to slaughter vast numbers of people for trivial reasons. Not even I would have thought of hemorrhoids.

 

Yay, God! :clap: What an awesome god!

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hemorrhoids? that's a interesting form of punishment I wonder what someone did to make God want to do that? not that it would take much I imange I mean god flooded the world because he regreted creating us and kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden for eating a fruit.

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Not only all of the above, TF, but again god takes the human delight out of the moment by replacing the natural human "Wow!" response to seeing a rainbow with, "Oh, yeah, right, no more pan-planetary drownings..."

Are you kidding?

 

When it starts to rain I'm scared shitless if I don't see a rainbow. Nothing makes me happier than that bow in the sky because that's when I KNOW I won't be drowning from that storm. I'm still waiting to see a rainbow from our last storm a month or two ago (I've never been so constipated...damn shitlessness).

 

mwc

 

:HaHa:

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hemorrhoids? that's a interesting form of punishment I wonder what someone did to make God want to do that? not that it would take much I imange I mean god flooded the world because he regreted creating us and kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden for eating a fruit.

Since the damned theologians love to find all sorts of passages in the OT that they try to claim prefigure various things in the NT, I think that by striking thousands of people (including children) with disastrously bleeding anuses prefigured what would happen to all those young boys in the Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church for hundreds of years. See? You can do anything you want with theology, if you just know how to work it.

 

Praise His Name!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The one thing that really stood out for me when I was a Christian was, what happened to all the people who owned a boat of their own? Surely, Noah's ark wasn't the first boat to ever exist. I know if things were starting to flood and I owned a boat, I'd get on it. For drinking water, I'd have 40 days of rain. I imagined that sea-faring cultures would have had food stocks on board their boats to last them for 40 days, if rationed properly. Since the story of Noah and his ark didn't address this scenario, I envisioned this as a huge flaw in God's plan.

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hemorrhoids? that's a interesting form of punishment I wonder what someone did to make God want to do that? not that it would take much I imange I mean god flooded the world because he regreted creating us and kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden for eating a fruit.

Since the damned theologians love to find all sorts of passages in the OT that they try to claim prefigure various things in the NT, I think that by striking thousands of people (including children) with disastrously bleeding anuses prefigured what would happen to all those young boys in the Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church for hundreds of years. See? You can do anything you want with theology, if you just know how to work it.

 

Praise His Name!

 

I HAVE to remember this for the next time I'm preached aat about the predictions in the OT!

 

LOL!

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Maybe the world was in B&W before the flood, so there could be no rainbows?

 

For me, I find it strange that god allowed none of what we call "prehistoric animals" on the ark, so none survived.

 

Possibly god had learned his lesson when after kicking Adam and Eve out of Eden and making animals meat-eaters, suddenly the cuddly and lovable tyrannosaurus rex wanted to eat everyone and everything?

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According to Genesis 9, rainbows didn't exist before the flood that god sent to wipe out 99.999999% of the living things on earth...

 

If this were a TV show like Lost or Star Trek, some of you might be spinning your wheels trying to figure how how to make impossible things feasible. But, when it comes to the Bible, you spin your wheels trying to make feasible things impossible. If God created rainbows in Gen 9, he has the power to do so. For example, I know of a Creationist that suggested that the pre-flood sky was pink (for unrelated reasons), which would have meant that a full spectrum to create rainbows may not have been available because of filtering in the upper atmosphere. Do you have a scientific reason why the sky couldn't have been pink, under current physical laws, given different circumstances (of course, you have a right to ask for what those circumstances could be, but going that far is not necessary to point out the weakness of your reasoning)? There is something that is of undeniable feasibility. Rainbows existed before, but Gen 9 is just informing us that they are now a sign, where before they were not a sign. You're only assuming that Gen 9 claims that rainbows didn't exist before the flood.

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Doobie (nice name by the way for an AUTHENTIC BELIEVER), everything you say might as well be "bing tiddle tiddle bong" for all the sense it makes. Go back under your bridge, troll, or to 4chan or wherever you're from.

 

On a not-retarded note, I just finished reading Timothy Findley's "Not Wanted On The Voyage," a post-modern retelling of the Noah story. It's funny, sad, horrific and really makes the reader re-think the bible version of the tale.

 

Basically, Yaweh (as Findley spells it) is old and dying. Noah is his only follower left on earth, and is a tyrant to his family as Yaweh is a tyrant to the world. Yaweh decides to flood the earth before he dies, and Noah's family will be spared. But there's dissension in the ranks, and the family will be split into two sides: Noah, his oafish son Shem, his sex-and-violence-obsessed son Japeth and Shem's wife (and perfect church lady) Hannah, and on the other side, Noah's wife, his science-minded son Ham, his new wife Lucy (really the rogue angel Lucifer in disguise), Japheth's child bride Emma and all the talking animals.

Read the Wikipedia entry for more information (beware of spoilers) but it's a great read, it will keep you thinking long after reading.

 

And one minor spoiler -- the rainbow is made out of paper.

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... If God created rainbows in Gen 9, he has the power to do so. For example, I know of a Creationist that suggested that the pre-flood sky was pink (for unrelated reasons), which would have meant that a full spectrum to create rainbows may not have been available because of filtering in the upper atmosphere. Do you have a scientific reason why the sky couldn't have been pink, under current physical laws, given different circumstances (of course, you have a right to ask for what those circumstances could be, but going that far is not necessary to point out the weakness of your reasoning)? There is something that is of undeniable feasibility.

Or, maybe the sky was rainbow-colored (also an undeniable feasibility - as is anything when you're dealing with miracles) and god changed it to blue so people could see the rainbows in the clouds for the first time. Pure conjecture on your part to explain away a difficulty in the bible. Not to mention that the "blue" in the sky is another result of light refraction and scattering. If you're going for the "pink sky to blue" explanation to explain the sudden appearance of rainbows you're really just changing one light refraction miracle for another.

 

Rainbows existed before, but Gen 9 is just informing us that they are now a sign, where before they were not a sign. You're only assuming that Gen 9 claims that rainbows didn't exist before the flood.

 

As we've seen before, your understanding of scripture isn't shared by most christian literalists who understand the passage to mean that god introduced rainbows at that time. The bible verses themselves don't indicate that god used an existing item as a token...

 

Genesis 9:

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

 

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

 

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud,

 

15 and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

 

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

 

 

"I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be..." has not been interpreted as "from now on those old familiar rainbows you're used to seeing shall be..." by any legitimate bible scholar I'm aware of.

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great post, loren.

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Or, maybe the sky was rainbow-colored (also an undeniable feasibility - as is anything when you're dealing with miracles) and god changed it to blue so people could see the rainbows in the clouds for the first time. Pure conjecture on your part to explain away a difficulty in the bible.

 

I used the term "feasible" to mean without resorting to miracles. You gave us the choice of "Either light waves didn't refract thru water particles, or they did and god prevented everyone from seeing it." You concluded that God must have changed the laws of physics (preventing refraction) or something else at least as miraculous. You gave a ridiculous "false dichotomy" to try to prejudice the reader.

 

Conjecture is necessary when dealing with anything we cannot see or duplicate, such as the ancient past. This is why some scientists have resorted to conjecture that a meteorite wiped-out the dinosaurs. They weren't there to see what happened. I pointed out to you that no miracle is necessary to have prevented rainbows before the flood. Under current physical laws (that means no miracles) that it is possible for their not to be a rainbow. One possibility is upper-atmospheric conditions that filtered the spectrum. I believe the most popular Creationist explanation is that there was no rain before the Flood. Without rain, there would be no rainbows (rainbows not "in the clouds" don't count, like those pictures you showed us, which shows that you didn't pay much attention to what the Bible said).

 

A possibility that requires neither miracle nor appeal to exceptional environmental conditions is that the Bible does not say that there were no rainbows before, only that God is using the rainbow as a reminder that he will never use a flood to wipe-out mankind again. The rainbow does this just as well whether or not it existed before the flood. No authority on scripture has given me reason to reject this non-extraordinary possibility. The Bible says God set a rainbow in the sky. It doesn't say this was the first time there was a rainbow in the sky. The pre-existence of rainbows is not at all precluded by the Bible not telling us that they existed previously. The lack of vogueness also does not preclude it.

 

I see no problem beyond a lack of certainly of which possibility wiped-out the dinosaurs, or whatever.

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I used the term "feasible" to mean without resorting to miracles. You gave us the choice of "Either light waves didn't refract thru water particles, or they did and god prevented everyone from seeing it." You concluded that God must have changed the laws of physics (preventing refraction) or something else at least as miraculous. You gave a ridiculous "false dichotomy" to try to prejudice the reader.

Feasible through miracles? Any God can do miracles that are feasible... if that God exists.

 

So if Thor is throwing his hammer and causing thunder, it is feasible, because if Thor does exist, it is possible that it is true.

 

Which leads to the real question: why do you not believe in Thor?

 

Probably because you your social environment has taught you that: Thor doesn't exist, but Jesus does exist. And you have accepted it.

 

But, it doesn't make it true. A social training of your your knowledge doesn't mean it is true, it only means that you have been socially conditioned to believe these things, not that it is true or false. You think it is either true or false, but it's just because that is the programming done to you.

 

To be truly free, is to break free from the program.

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