Our title is a bit fanciful. Ken Ham isn’t a flat-Earther, but he’s a young-Earth creationist, which is the next best thing. We’ll get to that, but first we’ll give you a bit of background so you can appreciate the context of this post.
The well-known Galileo affair of 1633 was a temporary triumph for the forces of darkness. Galileo was compelled to confess that the solar system was heresy, his book was banned, and he was confined to house arrest for the remainder of his life. But the Inquisition’s victory horrified educated Europeans, and it was pretty much the last gasp for respectable scriptural literalism. What followed, albeit gradually, was a major shift in the history of Western religion.
That wasn’t the first blow to the scientific accuracy of scripture. Well before Galileo, despite numerous biblical passages declaring that The Earth Is Flat, people had ceased to hold such an idea. But after Galileo, people could no longer believe scripture where it said that Earth is the unmovable center of the universe.
Thoughtful theologians — of which there are many — began to recognize that the bible couldn’t be used as a science text. Since then, the major denominations have adjusted their positions and now maintain that religion is a source of inspiration and moral teaching, but not scientific information.
The next challenges to a literal interpretation of scripture arose from the development of geology, when James Hutton amassed undeniable evidence that the Earth was far older than 6,000 years. A couple of generations later — as we all know — Darwin’s theory of evolution was published, which meant that the six-day creation tale in Genesis was only a delightful allegory. There was some initial resistance, but almost no one wanted a replay of the Galileo tragedy. Numerous religious denominations now accept science — see the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution.
Nevertheless, there are still self-declared holy men who dwell in a kind of intellectual limbo, selectively accepting some science (the Earth is a sphere which orbits the Sun) while also rejecting much of it. Somehow they can simultaneously be creationists (either young or old Earthers), while at the same time they refuse to believe scripture when it repeatedly says that the Earth is flat, unmoving, and located at the center of the universe. How they pick and choose certain portions of science is a mystery, perhaps even to them, but they do it, living half in the natural world and half out of it.
One of the most prominent of these scripturally inconsistent, half-and-half people is Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. As you know, ol’ Hambo is co-founder of the on-line ministry Answers in Genesis (AIG), which also operates the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
The AIG website today has a “Letter from Ken” titled Giving a “Certain Sound” Regarding Genesis, in which ol’ Hambo claims to be sounding a trumpet for his undying adherence to young Earth creationism. Nevertheless, he recognizes that the church is moving away from his peculiar view, so we think that “Certain Sound” he’s making isn’t a trumpet — he’s whistling Dixie. (For our non-US readers who may not understand that expression, it’s mentioned in Wikipedia).
Okay, enough introduction. Here are some excerpts from Hambo’s manifesto, with bold font added by us:
In 2010, one of the most-watched national TV programs in my homeland of Australia featured a panel that included atheist Richard Dawkins and a member of the Australian parliament who is a Christian. As the Christian was interviewed about creation and Genesis, this member of Parliament wouldn’t take a stand on what he believed. Frankly, he acted like the majority of Christians in our churches today: he did not speak authoritatively.
I certainly don’t question this man’s salvation. But he did not take a bold position in front of a large TV audience on what God’s Word clearly teaches in Genesis. On the other hand, atheist Richard Dawkins did speak with authority (albeit a false authority). Viewers had no doubt where Dawkins stood in regard to his worldview beliefs concerning how the universe and life came about.
Did you follow that? Evidence doesn’t seem to matter much to ol’ Hambo. What really counts is taking a bold position. Here’s more:
If you ask the Richard Dawkinses of the world what they believe about the origin of the universe and life, if you read the signs at secular natural history museums across the country, or if you read public school science text books, they all give the same basic unified message. Their totally unified message goes something like this: …
We’ll omit Hambo’s description of the scientific version of things. It’s surprisingly accurate, and Hambo correctly says that the entire scientific world has the same view of things. Of course they do — they’re all looking at the evidence. Hambo goes on:
Although evolutionists can disagree on some of the details, the big picture is the same for all of them. The secularists are proclaiming their own “certain sound” to the world. … But just ask the average Christian, Christian academic, and pastor what they believe about the universe and the origin of life, and then you will hear something broad like this:
We’ll also omit Hambo’s version of the views of various clergy who accept evolution and regard Genesis as a metaphor or allegory. That infuriates ol’ Hambo. He wails:
No wonder the church is not influencing the culture as it used to! No wonder generations are leaving the church. Whereas most of the church once gave a unified message because it stood on God’s authoritative Word in Genesis, today much of the church has compromised the Bible with the secular beliefs of millions of years and evolutionary ideas. As a result, the message is no longer unified or certain.
Yes, that’s what’s happening. Hambo continues:
Do you know what’s wrong with much of the church? Because so many Christians and their leaders have compromised God’s Word with the pagan religion of evolution, millions of years, or both, Christians no longer speak with authority. From a biblical perspective, they have an uncertain sound. Yet in another sense, they do have a certain sound — declaring that the pagan beliefs of the world can be believed!
Evolution is a pagan religion! Here’s more:
You see, if the Bible’s history can’t be trusted, how can we trust its message of the gospel that is based in that history? Once people are led to doubt God’s Word at the beginning, it places them on a slippery slide of unbelief about the rest of the Bible.
Actually, it’s Hambo who is creating the doubts. He’s the one who says that if young-Earth creationism is false, then everything else in the bible is also false. Hambo says it has to be all or nothing (but somehow he’s okay with the solar system). And then he complains when thoughtful people take him at his word and decide to walk away from the whole thing. But whose fault is that — Darwin’s or Hambo’s?
Here’s one more excerpt — a pitch for money:
We are working hard at AiG and the Creation Museum (and the coming Ark Encounter) to give a certain sound to the world: that God’s Word is true and its history is true. That’s why the gospel based in that history is true. As we continue to proclaim this message, we are very grateful the ongoing prayers and financial support of our ministry friends!
And that’s where we’ll leave ol’ Hambo for today. He’s red-faced, he’s foaming at the mouth, he’s sputtering mad; and metaphorically speaking, he’s the last of the flat-Earthers. Those pagans and their ungodly science are making things impossible for Hambo. So help the guy out and send some money to keep his operation going. That should make him feel better.
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.