In this weeks Sunday School lesson we will be discussing Noah. I love this story. My second child is named Shem. It is one of the classics.
The class I teach is for high school juniors and seniors. We have a discussion-oriented class. They have had these stories before in seminary and elsewhere. They know the details of the scriptural narrative better than I do. As a result, we have been able to discuss applications and potential meanings of different concepts. It has gone really well (which is my way of saying that I have enjoyed the last few months).
Yet, I have a problem. I do not believe that the flood in the story of Noah covered the entire earth. I do not view this as a big deal. Whether the entire world was flooded or not is not the point of the story. I view the story as being one about obedience and separating ourselves from the world (something like that).
However, I have a few questions about how I will deal with this in my lesson.
Should I mention my interpretation of the flood?
It is not necessary for me to do so. Yet, I am planning on making some comment about it not mattering whether the flood covered the whole world or not. Here I worry that I might be doing this for my own purposes and not out of love.
Does it matter how anyone, including my students and myself, view the flood?
No. It does not really matter. Additionally, I feel no need to disabuse anyone of their view of the flood. I am not claiming that I am right and that they are wrong. I just do not think that the earth was entirely flooded. I think it is great that others think differently than I do.
What has me thinking about this is a recent Facebook interaction with a former member of the Church. He is now a proud atheist and claims to only take “scientific” approach to the world (he in fact has a high school level of the scientific method which he thinks is clever. At every chance he seeks to tear down the beliefs of the Mormon’s he knows (including his family).
While I am very secular in some senses, I cannot relate to this. While I do not view things in a particularly orthodox way, I do not mind if others do. I just hope they give me the same benefit of the doubt.
As a teacher in the Sunday School, I do hope that my students will think about these things, particularly if they have not done so in the past. However, what they think is up to them. They are a great group of kids. I hope not to do anything that messes that up.