In my fundamentalist Christian upbringing I was taught that the story of Noah in the Bible was real, not allegory. I was taught that it exhibited the importance of paying attention to prophets who receive special messages from God, and to do whatever those God-appointed prophets tell me to do.
I grew up. The Noah story is allegory. Prophets are not god-appointed, but prophets are real. In every generation there are inspired people who have access to hidden knowledge or are able to process the information available to all of us in innovative ways. I, personally, don’t believe there is a god involved in the process, but I respect the view of anyone who chooses to include god in that process. A generation or so ago Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of these prophets – he had a dream, a dream where there was more equality, and opportunity didn’t track quite so neatly with the color of your skin. We have made progress in the realization of his dream.
Right now, there are many more prophets. Many of them are called scientists, and they have the tools and training to access knowledge that would otherwise be hidden from the rest of us. They have predicted dire climate changes, changes just as potentially drastic and life-altering as a 40-day flood. We are urged by them to change our ways, to prepare for the change, since we have failed to reduce our carbon emissions effectively – in essence, we have failed to stop our “wickedness”.
This is the lesson of Noah. It is not a lesson of blind obedience. It is a lesson of recognizing prophets, listening to what they say, and then making courageous course-corrections in our lives, in our societies, as well as preparing for the change ahead.
I beg the religious community, Wake up! I see the messages in your own scripture. Please recognize them yourselves, the hour is growing very late.