Take this one with a grain of salt – a team of Turkish and Chinese evangelicals have claimed to find the remains of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey.
On Tuesday, a group of Asian Christian evangelicals held a press conference in Turkey to announce they were “99.9 per cent” sure they’d found the biblical boat.
The claim was greeted with immediate skepticism, which seems increasingly well founded.
The bible suggests that the ark came to rest after 40 days of flooding in the “mountains of Ararat.” The mountain, located in Turkey near the border with Armenia, is an inhospitable place for both geographic and political reasons. And even the translation is suspect.
The bible specifies that the landing spot is “Urartu.” Over time Urartu became Ararat, a name that was given to the mountain long after the bible was written. So it’s not exactly clear where the bible’s authors meant. Thus, it’s slightly suspect that the ark should show up exactly where we want it to be.
Nonetheless, Ararat has drawn a steady stream of explorers for decades. Many of them have “discovered” the ark.
“I don’t know of any expedition that ever went looking for the ark and didn’t find it,” said archeologist Paul Zimansky recently told National Geographic.
It’s astonishing the degree to which some people are so desperate to “prove” their religion. It just goes to show how sometimes its the faithful who have the least faith. I am always reminded of Douglas Adams’ observation, “proof denies faith” – which is all the more remarkably insightful given he was a militant atheist (I had a conversation with him many years ago about this very topic).
I also find it fascinating how the Chinese evamngelical community is so heavily represented in this sort of religio-historical activity. There’s actually a replica of Noah’s Ark in Hong Kong (via Talk Islam). Is there a connection or resonance between Chinese culture and the Biblical Flood that might account for this affinity?
Anyway, all anyone has to do to find Noah’s Ark is just to look on Google Earth’s satellite imagery.