“Look! Up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a meteor!” Or Superman if you prefer. On the other hand, could be the Angel of Death!
Had the recent Russian meteor explosion occurred during biblical times near the so-called holy land, one might speculate on that ‘lost’chapter of the compilation. What fantasies might have arisen because of that event? How might the authors associate its light and sound with Yahweh? And what ‘lesson’ would there be for the believers to learn from this rare and spectacular event?
Surely it would have been interpreted with a sign from the Divine. After all, at that time in our history, few if any knew the nature and origin of a meteor. It was, as we today commonly refer to it, a shooting star! With all of superstition floating around during those scientifically-ignorant times, such an event had to have been supernatural. Yet today, in some parts of these United States, I am certain that thousands of our fellow citizens ‘believe’ that this natural, explainable event is ‘otherworldly.’ Of course they are correct, but they clearly miss the nuance of the term. Magic! Supernatural!
While it is not supernatural at all, to those who are steeped in myth, superstition, fear and irrational beliefs in deities and mythological saviors, the event portends something eerie. Something biblical. I would have loved to overhear the dinner conversations regarding this event in some backwater village in rural America. Additionally, how interesting were the sermons preached today, Sunday, in those fundamentalist churches? Did the preacher link the meteor to god/God or the devil/Devil? After all, the souls in the pews of these churches are sponges for stuff like that. These ‘faithful’ have been unwilling victims of superstition, fear and irrational beliefs most all of their lives. As a result, how easy it is to enhance such stuff through this rare and perfectly natural event.
If citizens of our nation here in the 2nd decade of the 21st century are easily duped, one can imagine how easily deceived the people of biblical times could have been by their ‘holy’ men. Take that specious section of Genesis that tells the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, for example- the verses that homophobes use to justify their personal mental deficiencies. Recent scientific studies link the ‘story’ of the fire and brimstone with a meteor/meteorite which struck the Austrian Alps near the year 3123 BCE.
The back plume from the explosion (the mushroom cloud), scientists conjecture, would be bent over the Mediterranean Sea and would have rained down on the people living there. Surely the tales of the debris from the impact and the ‘fire’ from the sky had been told over and over again among the people who experienced the fallout. It is one quick step to a causal god/God and a lesson for the unlearned masses of that era.
That other great hoax regarding a man and his ark no doubt also has its roots in a natural event, but the story and the lesson were difficult to resist for the authors of Genesis. Rather than a natural occurring rise in sea levels, biblical authors twisted this well-known event into a magical story of the wrath of God with the lesson of obedience at its core. Scientists now agree that in 5600 BCA, waters from the Mediterranean Sea breached a sill in the Bosporus Strait and flooded the 60,000 square miles of lowlands which are today under water.
The conclusion one easily discovers concerning the myth, legends and mystery of religion is clear: science be damned! Or, in the view of the charlatan or religious writer [do I repeat myself?], the principle is: leave no stone unturned. Especially meteorites!