Friday, May 19, 2006
In the Year Ten Thousaaaaand...
I don't hear much about the religious implications of an ancient universe other than the questions about Genesis. If the Earth were really 5767 years old and Genesis were literally true, than Adam was born the first year, Noah was born about 100 years after Adam died (at 930), and Abraham was born while Noah still lived. In other words, by the Biblical timeline, Judaism, or at least proto-Judaism in which people communicated and obeyed YHWH, started from day 6 and has continued through the present. This is pretty much what religious people believed until a couple centuries ago. Similarly, looking forward, people expected the Messiah to come pretty soon.
Now that we know the Earth is four billion years old, it changes things dramatically. Even assuming that Adam, Noah, and Abraham were real people, Adam wouldn't have been created for four billion years! (There's no real flexibility in the timeline of the Bible once Adam is created.) In fact, based on the fossil record, Adam wouldn't have even shown up until other homo sapiens sapiens had already been walking around for 100,000 years or so. If there was no Adam or Noah or Abraham, Judaism is even younger than that.
So if Judaism (in the broadest possible definition) has only existed for, at most, .0001% of the Earth's history and for less than 6% of human history, what does that imply about the future? What will Judaism look like in 8,000 more years? Will it still be around? Will YHWH be seen as we today see Zeus? Even if it is around, it would have to be vastly different than today's Judaism. Look how much Judaism has changed just in the last 2,000 years! Even black hats have only been around for a few hundred! ;-)
Many of the commenters to my posts about intermarriage (and to posts on other blogs which referenced my posts about intermarriage) talked about the importance of Jewish survival, as if Jewish survival were something that could go on forever if only we acted right. It seems to me that regardless what we do, Judaism will eventually fall from practice. It has had a very impressive run, (almost as long as Hinduism's!) but I can't imagine it can go on for even another 5,000 years, let alone another billion.
Worrying about the survival of Judaism seems kind of silly in the grand scheme of things. It will inevitably die out or evolve into something unrecognizable.
Posted by Jewish Atheist at 10:31 AM