A FoxNews.com report tells us that Randall Price, director of the “Center for Judaic Studies” at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., is trying to raise $60,000 so he can uncover Noah’s ark atop Mt. Ararat.

Charging high fees to fundamentalist Christians who want to prove the Bible by finding Noah’s ark is a lucrative business for bureaucrats in Turkey. Price says he is following up on a lead from a shepherd who claims he remembers playing on the ark as a boy. Supposedly, he led Price to the spot — at 15,000 feet — last September, where they expected to find the ark buried in a glacier, but discovered nothing more than a 60-foot-deep pile of boulders. The article says that “Price believes the landslide may have resulted from attacks against Kurdish rebels on the mountain, or perhaps from explosives that were set off to cover up the ark.”

There’s always an excuse, a theory, a speculation — but never an ark. One of Price’s predecessors, retired pilot Richard Bright, says he has made 30 trips to Turkey in search of the ark. There are always tips, but never so much as a peg made of gopher wood: just enough to keep the wealthy Westerners coming back.

Of course, the late pseudo-archaeologist Ron Wyatt, a retired medical doctor, claimed to have found the ark years ago and published pictures of it on his website, which is more akin to supermarket tabloids touting an alien invasion than to archaeology. Wyatt also claimed to have found brimstone from Sodom and Gomorrah, Egyptian chariot wheels from the Red Sea, and the Ark of the Covenant, among other things.

But back to Price and his effort to raise $60,000 to pay off Turkish officials, buy earth-moving and ice-melting equipment, and somehow transport it to the top of Mt. Ararat: he believes the project is worthwhile because making a discovery would “mean so much to so many, many people worldwide.”

It seems to me that if God had wanted us to prove ancient Bible stories true (thus eliminating the need for faith), the ark would have been miraculously preserved and left in plain view, rather than hidden beneath inconvenient rubble in the wide variety of places aging shepherds claim to have remembered seeing it.

I can think of many ways $60,000 could “mean so much to so many” in this world. Spending it on yet another expedition to Mt. Ararat is so far down the list that I’d have to move 60 feet of rock and melt a glacier to find it.

[The photo of Mt. Ararat is my own, taken from the Armenian side of the border with Turkey. “Big Ararat” is to the right, and “Little Ararat” to the left.]

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