Other Creationist Voices

From time to time we like to bring you creationism from news sources we don’t usually encounter. Your Curmudgeon believes that we should try to learn what everyone on this flat world of ours is thinking.

Today’s lesson comes from The Voice, published in London, which considers itself ‘Britain’s Best Black Newspaper.’ Their headline is Religion and evolution encourages racism.

The alleged linkage between evolution and racism is an old subject around here — see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. We get jaded and think we’ve heard it all before, but perhaps The Voice has something new to say. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Evolution theories and a misunderstanding of the Bible are to blame for the racist ideologies that exist in Europe, a scientist has claimed.

Who is this scientist? We’re told:

Dr Philip Asante, a pharmaceutical scientist and theologian, has suggested in his book The Truth about Racism that a misinterpretation of biblical texts about slavery is partially responsible for the racist attitudes that persist today.

Here’s a link to Amazon’s listing for his book: The Truth about Racism: Its Origins, Legacy, and How God Wants Us to Deal with It . They say it’s published by WestBowPress. We Googled for them. Yup — their their website says they’re a vanity press. Amazon also gives us some information about the author. They say:

Dr. Philip Gyang Asante has a PhD in Biblical Studies, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy.

We’ve never run across a creationist pharmacist before. This should be fun. Then The Voice tells us:

He also believes that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution supports the idea that certain ethnic groups are superior to others.

That’s been endlessly debunked. It’s so absurd that we even wrote a spoof about it here: The Scientific Case Against Darwinian Emancipation. Back to the news:

Asante said: “The so-called Christians at the time of transatlantic slavery used bible texts to justify their own means and gains. Then produced this theory of evolution which in its essence erases a creator, God – replacing him with the idea that we just evolved over billions of years from a primordial soup – and supports the notion that the white race is superior to all other races because they have evolved further.”

Admit it, dear reader. This is the first time you’ve ever heard of the Christian-Evolution-Slave Trade Conspiracy. Where else can you learn about these things except here at your Curmudgeon’s blog?

For journalistic balance, the newspaper quotes someone from the London Black Atheists, who says the problem isn’t evolution, it’s religion, because the bible endorses slavery. The creationist pharmacist disagrees:

But Asante insisted that the slavery referred to in the bible is different to today’s understanding of the word. “Bible texts such as Ephesians 6:5 that encourages ‘slaves’ to obey their masters, have been used to justify great atrocities against human beings. But the slavery in the bible is not the very hostile, very brutal and inhumane treatment of people that defined the enslavement of Africans. Slavery in the bible is more about servanthood. Bond servants were part of the family, treated well and given possessions. It was a very different kind of slavery.

Hey — we’re learning lots of new things today. Bible slavery was good slavery, but evolution slavery is the bad kind.

Then the newspaper gives us another opinion, this time from Bishop and broadcaster, Dr Joe Aldred:

“Racism, prejudice has a number of origins. As a Christian I would want to begin with the predisposition of human beings to sin and to be selfish.” The religious leader added: “Inequality did not start with transatlantic slavery. For example, in many cases tribalism in Africa is a form of oppression.”

And he adds this:

This is why I believe it is impossible to eradicate racism. There should be strong laws to protect people from abuse. But actually, focusing your attention on eradication instead of finding ways to progress, despite the racism, takes the power away from you. It puts you in the position of being the victim, and this is where the most intelligent black person can be reduced to nothing by some idiot with a banana and a racist slur.

Well! We don’t know what to make of all that, so we’re interested in what you think, dear reader.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Other Creationist Voices

  1. You can’t blame them, really. They come from a culture where they have been rehashing the same old material for two millenia regardless if the inaccuracies. So this is almost a step up from their normal routine.

  2. Eddie Janssen

    Is there any form of ideology that cannot be defended with the bible?

  3. Eddie Janssen wonders—

    “Is there any form of ideology that cannot be defended with the bible?”

    No, there isn’t. But first you have to trade in your Occam’s Razor for Rube Goldberg’s Theological Clippers.

  4. Eddie Janssen challenges: “Is there any form of ideology that cannot be defended with the bible?”

    I don’t think the scientific method can be defended that way.

  5. I’m still thinking through the mind-boggling implications of a “pharmaceutical creationist”.

    It sounds like a setup for a punch line if there ever was one. And wouldn’t a source of cheap hallucinogenic drugs explain a lot of what goes on in the world of “creation science”?

    I have this mental image of the 1950 movie, “Harvey”, starring Jimmy Stewart—-but instead of Stewart talking to his imaginary rabbit friend, Harvey would be a baby triceratops in Ken Ham’s imagination. Perhaps that explains the Ark Park. Ken Ham has an imaginary dinosaur friend who keeps telling Hambo that he must spend $76 million on a giant ark: “If you build it, they will come.” Perhaps the dinosaur told Hambo to build an ark so that all of the faithful YECs could join him inside while all of the atheist evilutionists of the world are swept away in another Great Flood. (And because Dr. Dino, Kent Hovind, is still in federal prison, he wouldn’t be able to make it to the ark in time.)

    Of course, when I say “faithful YEC”, I mean those who (1) agree with Ken Ham on everything he says, and who (2) donated at least $10,000 for a Lifetime Ark Park Pass.

  6. “a misinterpretation of biblical texts about slavery is partially responsible for the racist attitudes that persist today.”
    Ah, so this guy is to blame:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobus_Capitein

    “Where else can you learn about these things except here at your Curmudgeon’s blog?”
    Why do you think I’m a faithful reader of your blog? Not for your political views.

  7. Ceteris Paribus

    The pharmaceutical theologian explains:

    “Bible texts such as Ephesians 6:5 that encourages ‘slaves’ to obey their masters, have been used to justify great atrocities against human beings. But the slavery in the bible is not the very hostile, very brutal and inhumane treatment of people that defined the enslavement of Africans. Slavery in the bible is more about servant hood. Bond servants were part of the family, treated well and given possessions. It was a very different kind of slavery.”

    In fact biblical slavery was so wonderfully benevolent that a beaten slave would have to willfully, and very impolitely, die right on the spot of the beating in order to cause his master some embarrassment over killing his slave. The better grades of slaves always favored their masters by generously lingering on to life for a day or two after a beating.

    Exodus 21:20-21
    Common English Bible (CEB)
    20 When a slave owner hits a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner should be punished. 21 But if the slave gets up after a day or two, the slave owner shouldn’t be punished because the slave is the owner’s property.

  8. “Where else can you learn about these things except here at your Curmudgeon’s blog?”

    I’ll give an “Amen!” to that.

    As to slavery in the Bible, I had a professor who said that there were at least seven different kinds of slavery mentioned in the scriptures. (I forget whether any of those were unique to the Apocrypha or if he was only referring to the OT and NT.) But it is certainly true that they came in multiple varieties of servitude across the spectrum.

    One of the complications is that in Koine Greek the word DOULOS can mean either “slave” or “servant”, a distinction which our culture considers important but which in theirs not so much. (The distinction could be made in other ways, of course, but the fact that one word included both tells us a little about the culture.)

    Perhaps the most interesting type of slavery among the ancient Hebrews (and some of the neighboring cultures) was that some slaves were eligible to inherit the entire estate of the master under various conditions. They also had “civil rights” under the judicial system of the day. Being a bondservant to a good master was such a desirable state that many were eager to compete eagerly to enter into such a contract.

    So obviously, the descriptive words and their definitions are extremely important. In our culture we value individual liberties and freedoms so highly that we can’t imagine someone willingly giving up any such autonomy. But in a world where survival is difficult and personal safety depends upon one’s affiliations with those who had power and influence, personal freedom was far down the list of priorities for most people. One of the hardest things to teach students in courses like anthropology, sociology, ethics, religious studies, and history is what it was like to live in a different kind of culture, especially in another era. It is so easy to think that our culture does things the “right” way and others do them the “wrong” way when reality is far more complex than that.

    I once had a student who came from a very socialist country with extensive safety nets. He once stunned the class by making a statement similar to this: “You mean…some students here have to work in order to pay for their tuition? That’s slavery!”

  9. Southern slaveowners and their apologists would have loved this guy. They, too, claimed their slaves were treated gently, just like family–which makes one wonder what really went on in those manor houses between husbands and wives, and between parents and children.

  10. Yes, that “pharmaceutical theologian” was foolish to try and give the impression that there was just one kind of slavery discussed in the Bible. For example, if one was a conquered enemy whose life was spared in order to be a slave in ancient Israel, your fate depended almost entirely on whether your master was well or ill disposed toward you.

  11. “Dr. Philip Gyang Asante…PhD in Biblical Studies, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy.”
    Don’t you just love how all of the critics of The Theory of Evolution have such relevant academic training which prepared them for the task?

  12. Eddie Janssen challenges: “Is there any form of ideology that cannot be defended with the bible?”

    And The Curmudgeon answers, “I don’t think the scientific method can be defended that way.

    Not so fast there, Curmy! We find this at Proverbs 4:7 (KJV) :Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

    This comes pretty close to what we today would consider the main point of the scientific method — getting wisdom and understanding.

  13. I was thinking of Proverbs 25:2:
    “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”

    That one was cited by several of the pioneers of modern science as an inspiration for their investigations, Newton and Mendel among them, if I recall correctly.

  14. @Basf: “So obviously, the descriptive words and their definitions are extremely important.”
    Sure, I’m not going to dispute this. There is one little nagging question though that remains. How does this subtle approach morally justify slavery? You don’t answer that (not that you have to, but christians who defend this viewpoint should) by saying “we can’t imagine someone willingly giving up any such autonomy.”
    See, the point is not criticizing the way the Hebrews (or Greeks) organized their societies. That’s a fruitless exercise anyway. The point is to determine how relevant the Bible and its content are for the 21st Century.
    Regarding slavery (and many more) I as a hardcore atheist obviously say zero. Equally obviously all christians disagree. Hence they have a problem and helpful as I am I am not letting them forget it.

    “culture does things the “right” way”
    To this my answer is always that I sincerely hope that our ancestors in the 41st Century will look at my values as I look at those of the early christians and the ancient hebrews. Then mankind will have succeeded in making the world a better place.
    That student of yours is right imo. My son studies in Amsterdam and certainly doesn’t have to work. But – to tease our dear SC a bit more – the Dutch generally prefer Intelligent Design to both Unintelligent Design and No Design.