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Why Does Every Great Religion Have a Flood Story

Updated on October 9, 2011

It is interesting that the great flood myth/story can be found in the literature of most of the world's great religions. Even if we do not consider religions, most ancient civilizations have had the great flood story as a part of its folklore. There does not seem to be a geographical focus to the great flood story. Indeed, cutting across geographies, cultures, races, we find this story being a part of the collective consciousness of people. You can hear about the great flood myth in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. So, why do we seem to share this flood story across continents, cultures, religions? Could it be that this may in fact not be a story, but historical fact? Certainly, anthropologists argue that myths are often based on historical events. Of course, over the years, the myth may have lost a lot of the original facts surrounding the actual event, having be told and retold and its quite possible that details may have been added on or deleted. However, the substance of the story mostly survives, as it seems to have in the great flood story.

An examination of the great flood stories from across the world reveals that most of them share striking similarities. For example,

  • The mention of there being a chosen individual/family.
  • The individual/family being forewarned.
  • The flood resulting from an increase in evil on Earth.
  • The nature of the flood being global.
  • The chosen individual/family being the only survivors of the great flood.
  • The survival of animals.
  • The mention of a mountain where the survivors sought refuge.
  • The mention of a boat, as being the vessel which was built and on which the survivors survived.

With all these similarities, the only plausible conclusion that one can derive is that the flood myth or story is based on an ancient real historical fact. It is quite possible that descendants of the original people who survived and subsequently were born after the flood migrated to different parts of the world and carried the story of the great flood with them. They would have passed this flood story to their children and it could have thus carried on to this date. The minor differences can be attributed to the geographical, cultural, and linguistic differences of each of these peoples through the ages. It is quite possible that the original story would have been told slightly differently, but the essence of it essentially remains unchanged to this date and can be recognized as having probably had a single origin.

Copyright © Shil1978® 2011 - All Rights Reserved.


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    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 3 years ago

      The reason they all have a flood story is because, SCIENTIFICALLY there was a Flood.

      Geologists have been able to prove this over 50 years ago.

    • profile image

      mark 3 years ago

      Most anthropologists and psychologists would not concede the flood mythologies are based on fact but are products of the collective human psyche and of a metaphoric and symbolic nature. There is NO evidence of a global flood in human times, nor is there enough water to effect such a fantastic ordeal. Myth is written in extraordinary terms expressly so that it wont be taken literally but imaginatively. Jung understood this as did mythologist Joseph Campbell and made a strong point in recognizing that is was the of the religious fundamentalist who took myth literally.

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 4 years ago

      We know that up until about 10k years ago Britian was part of the mainland of Europe. You can research this. There was a Flood which Cut the British Isles off from France. (this is geological fact).

      Whether this was due to 'Global Warming' and the Ice of the Scandanavian countries melted, whether this was due to an Earth quake, there was a flood and the Channel was created.

      This is far from the area under consideration in the Middle East but if this was a 'Global Warming' event in Britian it would have had effect in other parts of the world as well.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines


      Now, what if there were multiple Noah's? What if each boat took on board only local species?

      What has bothered me about the Noah's Flood story in the Bible is the reason for the Flood. The reason given is woefully inadequate -- wickedness and violence. God was satisfied that the Flood did its job, but hasn't wickedness and violence continued after the Flood? Either the writer of the Bible wasn't very smart, or there was some very particular type of wickedness and violence that the Flood cured.

      The literal interpretation of Genesis gives us a date of 2348 BC (according to Archbishop Ussher's 1650 publication). Ussher was a great scholar, but he didn't know what we know now about Egyptian dynasties and Sumerian history. There were too many people on Earth during this period. The Flood couldn't have happened then.

      And Genesis gives us several clues that lead us to a far longer timeline -- one that is compatible with those of science! Yes, a startling breakthrough.

      The new ("real?") date for the Flood is now 27,970 BC. And guess what! In science, we find that one species ceased to exist 28,000 BC. They looked enough like humans to be called man. And they fit the description of the "daughters of men" mentioned in Genesis 6, right before the Flood.

      The one crime that humans can no longer do is to pollute the gene pool with Neanderthals!

      My upcoming book details the research behind these discoveries. For more information, check out the IndieGoGo campaign:

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 4 years ago

      There was a Great Flood; geological records can prove this. There is not that much difference between secular history and Biblical as one might be led to believe.

    • profile image

      Dzack 6 years ago

      every individual has their own way of thinking...but one hint, the melting of the ice age is not possible cause the time that The Great Flood ad happened is not the same of the ice thing is for certain,does the Ice Age even exist? but isn't it amazing that all religion have similarities in the story of the Great Flood? :D

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Dillon for stopping by and commenting. That's an interesting perspective indeed. Quite possible!! Thanks for sharing your view on this subject :)

    • profile image

      Dillon 7 years ago

      Expanding on the idea, a probable and possible explanation for the flood stories exists in our own culture with Global Warming. Most people, especially ancient people lived along the sea because of convenience and food. After the last ice age, when we had began forming our languages, the sea began to rise at a massive rate. This is the great flood. Each myth is different because you can think of a large game of "telephone" where each person tends to add something to it.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Jaknap for stopping by and commenting. That's an interesting perspective you have. I am inclined to agree with it. It is unfortunate that now we have all these seemingly irreconcilable differences based on religion!! Thanks again for your comments!!

    • profile image

      Jaknap 7 years ago

      Well i think it all indicates that just like origin of man the origin of religions also has a common starting point which were later manipulated into different stories having different characters personified as God, Avtars, and saints etc. for the purpose of controlling the larger groups by a few smarter ones.

    • Saristotle profile image

      Saristotle 8 years ago from St.Louis

      Many religions have a Jesus-type figure as well. A figure that has turned water into wine, was crucified, performed miracles. Some say it is because whoever wrote the Bible wasn't very creative.. Who knows though. There probably was a flood..but I also think evolution is correct.

    • aka-dj profile image

      aka-dj 9 years ago from Australia

      Bingo! They are all rooted in an actual event in our past. The evidence is still right in front of our eyes. It just needs the right perspective to see it. With all the "evolution this" and "evolution that", the truth gets buried amongst all the noise.