Happy Sabbath, Cliff.
I have no doubt that when we meet in person over some cool kosha drink to dialogue about God, much of our individual preconceptions about the other will melt away as we come to the realization that neither of us is the devil we previously imagined. So one of these days if your travels bring you to Berrien Springs, look me up. Still, you wound me (lol) by your assertion that you “are yet to read anything from [me] that [you] agree with.” Anything? Really? Not even the piece about “Jesus among Women?” As for being serially wrong, I can’t argue with you about that. I couldn’t bear the burden of being right all the time.
Now to your question about the ethic of Noah and the flood narrative. I hardly ever dismiss any biblical story, or any story for that matter. A story, once birthed exists forever and cannot be dismissed even if one wishes to. So you were reading me wrong in thinking I am dismissive of the flood story entirely. I am however suspicious of stories with dubious ethics that are instinctively assumed to originate from God because the narrator says so. I have discussed this concern in several of my articles so this should not be a surprise.
So I contest your premise, which I grant is a basic assumption in fundamentalist circles, that just because a story’s writer references God it goes without saying that God certainly, if not outrightly, dictated the narrative verbatim. Or almost.
As long as there is human agency involved in telling God’s story, I suspect we are guaranteed to get it wrong, many times over. And the test to the probity of any story attributed to God is the moral that story teaches and what Jesus would make of it. And we’re not left in the dark about this, because if the story’s ethics is contradicted by Jesus, then we almost have a moral duty to question it. I personally do not think that God is a sadist who delights in destroying his children who go wrong. Some call that justice, and that is fine if that picture of God resonates with them.
That is why I referenced the two episodes regarding Jesus’ attitude to calling fire to consume his distractors just as Elijah had done in a similar situation. And his refusal to encourage the stoning of the woman caught in the act. In both instances, history and example were on the side of those seeking the annihilation of the guilty. But he taught us differently. His actions and teachings dispelled the cloud of confusion abundant in the OT about God’s character.
You might believe God literally told “Moses” the Noah story and therefore we have to accept it as such. No questions asked. I don’t take the story literally because even apart from the morality of the near wiping out of humanity, the end result of the flood story delimits God, again if taken literally. In one generation, the remnant, Noah and his family, would, despite everything they experienced, revert to the mean and became as bad if not worse than the pre-Noahic dead. Which begs the question, “What was the point of the deluge and all that death? I think in such instances as this, we reduce God too much to our humanity, especially in our aberrant behavior.
So I don’t read that story in literal terms and therefore don’t see any moral grounding for us. Of course some see ethic as deterrence, but if so, seeing where we are in terms of what got the antediluvians obliterated, did it work?