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Religion of Thursday, 30 September 2010

Source: kwaku ba

Faith Versus Science: Was Jonah Really Swallowed By A Whale ?

The story of Jonah remains one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament due
to the fact that it involves an individual disobeying God, attempting to flee from
God?s instructions, and then being shown grace and mercy upon repentance. The story
posits that Jonah was swallowed by a sea creature and stayed in its belly for three
days and three nights before being vomited onto the seashore freeing him and
enabling him to then pursue God?s work. But is this account true and accurate? Can a
human survive in a sea creature as described? In this article the text of the
narrative will be reviewed and important questions shall be posed to test the
veracity of the claims. Readers are strongly encouraged to add their comments and
questions.

001 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
002 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness
is come up before me.
003 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went
down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof,
and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

COMMENT; To flee from the presence of the Lord? So apparently there are places where
God cannot find you, or is not able to see you or sense your presence? So it is
being stated here in the bible that god is not omnipotent?

004 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest
in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
005 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth
the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was
gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

COMMENT: Why would the mariners want to make their ship lighter and more risky to be
blown away or overturned by the wind? Are these real seamen? Or is this book written
by someone completely ignorant of gravity, fluid mechanics, or maritime engineering
yet this book claims to have an omnipotent author.

006 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper?
arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
007 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may
know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon
Jonah.
008 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is
upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and
of what people art thou?

COMMENT: So the prevailing knowledge at the time is that storms and strong winds are
caused by gods. That is why the ship captain is asking each passenger or sea man
pray to the god of his country. Why is ignorance being taught here? We know storms
and weather have nothing to do with any god but are caused by meteorological
processes of the atmosphere. Every planet with gaseous atmosphere has weather. Mars
has sandstorms as filmed by the robotic Mars rovers sent there by NASA, Jupiter has
giant weather systems that have been raging for centuries, Triton, a moon of Neptune
has a weather cycle based on methane, and there are many examples in our solar
system alone to fill this entire article. Then they are asked to cast lots to see
who is responsible. This is what juju practitioners do to identify witches etc, is
the bible supporting such practices?

009 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven,
which hath made the sea and the dry land.
010 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done
this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had
told them.
011 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm
unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
012 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the
sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
013 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not:
for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
014 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we
beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent
blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
015 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from
her raging.
016 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the
LORD, and made vows.
017 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in
the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

COMMENT: What exactly is a great fish? To this date this question has not been
resolved. Some translations say it was a whale, some say big fish, so which is
which? If it was a whale then again the bible is quoting false science because
whales are not fishes. Whale is a mammal like you and I. Whales give birth like
humans do, they feed beast milk to their young, they can only breath by coming to
the surface to take in air. Whales are highly intelligent and communicate with one
other by sonar (like whistling). Their bones and skeleton follows that of all other
mammals and has no fish like characteristics. Fishes on the other hand lay eggs,
have gills which enables them breath directly through the water, and they drink the
sea water, whales like all other mammals will die if they drink seawater. Shark is
a fish yet we are not told the creature in question is a shark. So how come all this
information known by any high school biology student is lacking by the omnipotent
author who claims to have created the entire world?
Secondly after being swallowed into the stomach of this whale or shark how did he
get air to breath? How did his skin withstand the gastric acids and enzymes in the
stomach that would have started to digest the intake? Note also that if this big
fish was a shark it would have killed him before swallowing him. Sharks seize food
items then shake them violently sideways to kill and crush the food source and break
it or soften it before swallowing in pieces not whole. Even if it was a whale, the
largest whales physically capable of swallowing a human actually do not eat other
mammals. For example the baleen whales and the blue whale the largest species on
earth today eat krill (a type of small shrimp) and plankton (tiny marine organisms
that live in large colonies in the ocean). It is only the orca (also called killer
whale) that hunts other whales and big fishes to eat, but even the biggest killer
whale cannot swallow a whole human in one piece, it would choke and die.

Chapter 2:
001 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,
002 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me;
out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
003 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods
compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

04 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy
temple.

005 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round
about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

COMMENT: Again someone can be out of sight of God? Also Jonah is claiming there are
weeds in the place he is? So now whales or sharks eat seaweed? False. And by the way
how did he see all this as the stomach has no lights or bioluminescence in there?

010 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

COMMENT: So now God also speaks to whales? After talking snakes in Genesis we are
now treated to talking whales in Jonah. No this is not true. Also if the whale
actually did vomit him on the shore, the whale would have also died. When whales
come too close to the shore they get stuck in the sand and cannot free themselves
because they cannot swim backwards, this is what is called a ?beached whale? , so
the whale must have died all because of Jonah.

Chapter 3:
001 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
002 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that
I bid thee.
003 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now
Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.

COMMENT: Is this the size of Nineveh? Three days journey? In other words 3 days
times 4 miles per hour (average walking time for a human) equals approximately 100
miles from end to end. That is larger than Los Angeles. Or is the distance from
Jonah?s house? But his hometown is not mentioned.

004 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said,
Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
005 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on
sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
006 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he
laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
007 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree
of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste
any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
008 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God:
yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in
their hands.

COMMENT: So this ritual was performed by every citizen of this town from the king
right down to the very least, that is a population of 120,000, is this true? 100%
repentance rate? So the beasts also fasted and prayed and cried to prevent the
destruction of the city?

009 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger,
that we perish not?
010 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented
of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

COMMENT: So again God changes his mind on something. Like changing his mind on
destroying the whole world in a great flood, or regretting he created man etc etc
Now he changes his mind on destroying Nineveh. Wow, an omnipotent God indeed.

Chapter 4:
001 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

COMMENT: So Jonah was angry because the people repented? Why?

002 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my
saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I
knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great
kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
003 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better
for me to die than to live.
004 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?
005 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there
made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would
become of the city.
006 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it
might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was
exceeding glad of the gourd.
007 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the
gourd that it withered.

COMMENT: God prepared a gourd to cover Jonah?s head from the sun, then prepares a
worm to destroy the gourd. Talking snakes, talking whales, now talking worms.
Fantastic.

008 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east
wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in
himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
009 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said,
I do well to be angry, even unto death.
010 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast
not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a
night:
011 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore
thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand;
and also much cattle?


THE CONCLUSION

At this juncture we can pause and see if this entire story is logical factual and
consistent with our natural world. The answer is no. Whales cannot swallow humans,
swim to the shore and then vomit them out. There is no evidence for this scenario.
Whales are not fishes and fishes are not whales, the lack of high school biology
tells that the author had no idea what he or she was talking about. Then Jonah goes
to preach at a city larger than modern day Los Angeles and every single member of
the 120,000 population and all their animals put on sack cloth, fast, cry, and
repent. There is no evidence of such a large city in ancient times. However after
all this Jonah is saddened that the people now repented, for what reason nobody
knows. Then he makes an ?apata? for himself and God makes a gourd to cover his head
from the sun but then God talks to a worm who then goes and destroys the gourd.
Another illogical event.

This story is a myth or allegory and not literal. But it is presented as part of the
perfect word of a living omnipotent being that created the entire universe in six
days. That is simply not true. The evidence does not support this story.

kwaku ba
September 2010

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