Oh Damn! Noah’s Drunk and Naked Again.
As a last look, before we leave Noah in the dusty pages of Genesis, let’s have an in-depth look at his drinking problem and how his grandson suffered for it. Personally, I find this chapter a fascinating study of the man who God considered righteous enough not to murder in the great genocide, the best man in the world, but as we shall see, God’s standards are a bit strange.
A mere eight people left the ark after the flood receded. Eight! They were the only living humans on Earth, all the rest having been murdered by the Great Lord Genocide. The leader of the survivors of Jehovah’s wrath was Noah, because he, by God’s standards, was a good and righteous man. His three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth, were also spared by the power of Noah’s righteousness along with their wives and Noah’s wife. I’d give you their names but the Bible is often mum on wives’ and daughter’s names. Ever notice how women seldom seem important enough in this vast patriarchy to even merit names. You do have to wonder, if our “born again” sisters get a little weary of the perpetual lack of recognition of their sex? Hmm?
The Bible says that Noah was a farmer and the first to plant a vineyard and, presumably, the first to get smashed. So one day he gets mightily hammered on his own wine and passes out naked in his tent. The Bible doesn’t say why he was naked, so I can only assume that it was not for a good cause. Having been through college, I can think of nothing honorable that leads a man to drunken nudity. So while old Noah was lying insensible on the ground in all his pale glory, Ham strolls in. Now young Ham was the family clown, and he finds this a bit funny. Doing what any young man would do, he tells his brothers. That’s it. Just tells them about it. Pay attention here because this great felony will become very important soon. The brothers attempt to cover old their father with a robe by entering the tent backwards so as not to lay eyes on Noah’s wiener lying in the dust. Whether this was to protect their fathers dignity, or to save themselves the horror of seeing a 600 plus year old body, the Bible does not relate. Incidentally, it must have been a bit difficult to cover a sprawled out naked old man without actually looking at him and walking backwards. For the record, if any of you find me passed out on the floor naked, please cover me up, but watch where you’re stepping. Certain pieces and parts are rather sensitive and will not enjoy being stepped on.
When Noah comes to, he learns of Ham’s terrible crime and…. What do you think he does? Rebukes him? Smacks him? Banishment? 40 lashes? Nay, nay, I say. He curses Ham’s son Caanan to eternal slavery. Got that? He curses, not Ham, the perpetrator of this horrid crime, but Ham’s son to slavery. Yeah, really righteous. Now, using this section as a moral guide is a tad problematic. When someone wrongs me, say, steals my car or torches my house or ,even (oh, the horror), sees me passed out naked, does God really think I should take it out on the innocent child of the felon. Should I break the poor lad’s legs? Maybe… Put him the stocks? Perhaps… Sell him and his children into eternal slavery? Bingo! We have a winner in the Biblical justice category. For the mere price of your heart and soul, you too can be “righteous”!
Well… I’m going to have to say no. I prefer having morals.
Why everyone can’t read this with the ethical horror it merits is simply beyond me. God’s right hand man gets plastered, and instead of blaming himself for acting the fool, he punishes the son of the one who saw him act the fool.This is the moral pinnacle that we all should aspire to? Not to stand up and take the blame for being a butt-plug jackass but to blame the children of those who witnessed your sin, this is God’s justice and mercy? That God condoned this act of cruelty and selfishness would be hard to deny for Noah was the only righteous man on Earth, yet this is how he treats his grandson? Now I understand that it was a bit disrespectful of Ham to mock his drunken father, but to enslave his son is abhorrent.
As an aside, this was the passage used for centuries to justify African slavery. Africans were the sons of Ham , or so the plantation owners claimed, which, of course, made it fine to enslave the entire race forever. Convenient, yes? But where is the justice in this? Where is God’s great mercy? This is one of the great examples where Christians see in the Bible whatever will benefit them. Where is that mercy Christians speak of with such reverence? You could say that the mercy and love of God is in the New Testament and that would be somewhat true. The Gospels do contain a strong ethical core, but this is moral or just? To extricate themselves from the horrific ethical burden of the Old Testament, there is no other recourse but to throw it all away. Though you must see that if Christians toss out the Old Testament, they would deny themselves an array of ready-made excuses to do whatever the hell they wish. The Old testament says that as long as you’re righteous it’s fine to hurt, it’s fine to enslave and it’s fine to kill. And that’s too powerful a weapon for them to bury.
The truth is clear. No religion that holds the lightest of claims to moral behavior could ever afford to associate with this travesty of justice. The Old Testament God is a bastard, and his human sycophants were truly created in his image. Bastards one, bastards all.