There is a lot of irony in religious belief. To me the funniest irony is the religious’ utter skepticism of scientific investigation and discovery while the simultaneous complete acceptance of Biblical historicity and inerrancy.
Take for instance the talking animals in the Bible. The first and most famous is the talking “Serpent” (with legs originally) in the Adam/Eve story. In that case, although it isn’t mentioned there, Christians believe the serpent to be a manifestation of Satan. But there is another talking animal in the Bible (a donkey). But in this case, the donkey isn’t a mouthpiece for a supernatural being but rather speaks for himself (once God “opens his mouth”).
The entire story can be found in Numbers 22:21-39 but here’s the exciting part:
26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
So as usual, let’s become Christians and believe this story to be historical literal fact. If there were cell phone cameras back then we could see this play out on youtube.com. I have a few questions:
- Is the only thing preventing donkeys (or other animals) from talking some sort of physical limitation? Are they thinking coherent thoughts and complete phrases like this but are simply unable to express them verbally?
- After this story occurred, did Balaam’s donkey continue to talk? Did he become like the talking frog in the cartoon? Did Balaam take him around to various ancient carnivals showing off this amazing talent?
- Why did Balaam answer the Donkey as if he was having a conversation with a person? He doesn’t seem to be the least bit impressed that his donkey is talking to him. He threatens the donkey with death even AFTER the donkey speaks to him.
Why doesn’t God do this now? If my pet started talking to me, I would have a pretty hard time explaining it rationally. But then again, why doesn’t God say anything himself? Maybe he should open his own mouth instead of Balaam’s donkey.