WE wrote about this subject nine months ago, here: The Future of Creationism, when we concluded:
We see three possible futures: (1) they persevere with their teachings, like astrologers, becoming increasingly marginalized from Western Civilization; (2) they gradually wither away, as have the believers in so many false teachings before them, like the Geocentric model of the universe, and the Flat Earth model; or (3) — and this one is the problem — they refuse to accept either a marginalized existence or a humiliating exit, and instead they adopt the tactics of the Taliban to compel acceptance of their beliefs by force.
But now we have some new information to consider. Unfortunately, the source of this information is doubly dubious, because it comes from WorldNetDaily, which we have previously described as “one of the worst practitioners of journalism that ever existed, or that ever could exist.” If that weren’t enough cause for skepticism, their article is about a book by Ken Ham, a successful creationist propagandist and operator of the Creation Museum.
With that powerful pair of caveats, we present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Why are young people leaving the church? The bold font was added by us:
What does the age of the Earth have to do with the exodus of young people from American churches?
Ken Ham, known for his Answers in Genesis creation-science ministry, says a major study he commissioned by a respected researcher unveils for the first time in a scientific fashion the startling reasons behind statistics that show two-thirds of young people in evangelical churches will leave when they move into their 20s.
This is interesting. Evangelical churches are likely to be creationist, so this study — if true — has significance for the future of creationism. Let’s overlook our doubts about the source and read on:
The study, highlighted in Ham’s new book with researcher Britt Beemer, “Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it,” finds church youth already are “lost” in their hearts and minds in elementary, middle and high school – not in college as many assume.
The original article has a link to where you can buy the book. Click over there if you’re interested. We continue:
The survey found, much to Ham’s surprise, a “Sunday School syndrome,” indicating children who faithfully attend Bible classes in their church over the years actually are more likely to question the authority of Scripture.
What’s going on here? Let’s read some more:
Among the survey findings, regular participants in Sunday School are more likely to:
* Leave the church
* Believe that the Bible is less true
* Defend the legality of abortion and same-sex marriage
* Defend premarital sex
Interesting, but we’re only concerned here with creationism. Moving along:
The book explores a number of reasons for the findings, but Ham sees one overarching problem that is related to how churches and parents have taught youth to understand the Genesis account of creation.
“Because of the way in which they’ve been educated,” Ham said, teens come to believe “that what they are taught in school is reality, but the church teaches stories and morality and relationship. Bible teaching is not real in the sense of real history.”
The key issue is that this doubt about the Bible’s account of origins causes youth to doubt the authority of Scripture, he said.
We’ve known this for quite some time — since the Galileo affair, but not all churches have been able to accept that some scriptural passages have to be re-interpreted in the light of scientific discoveries. Those denominations that still teach Genesis as being literally, word-for-word true — that is, the creationists — are the ones with a serious problem when their members go to school and learn what science has been discovering in recent centuries. Another excerpt:
“Salvation is not conditioned on what you believe about the age of the Earth and the six days of creation,” Ham said. “There are many who believe in millions of years and are Christians.” But the Genesis issue does matter, he contends, “because salvation does rise or fall on the authority of Scripture. The message of the Gospel comes from these words of Scripture.” When that Bible is undermined, he explained, everything it teaches is in doubt.
Ham is contradicting himself here on the need to believe in six-day creation; but in the end he seems to say that if one doubts the literal meaning, then everything is in jeopardy. One last excerpt:
Ham’s new book shows how young people can be given “answers to help them understand you can really believe God’s word, that it “connects to reality and it’s really a book of history.”
That must be a thrilling book. But what interests us isn’t Ham’s attempt to convince people about his young-earth creationism, but rather, it’s the findings of the study he commissioned. If that study is accurate, Ham can write all the books he’s capable of cranking out, but the future may not be to his liking.
It’s surprising that we’ve found a reason to be optimistic in an article from WorldNetDaily about Ken Ham, but we have. Can we believe what we’re told? Perhaps. It’s analogous to what lawyers call a declaration against interest, so it just might be true.
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