What Is Ken Ham Complaining About?

There’s a typical rant at the blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

You can read it here: Loss of Religious Freedom in the USA. Even the title is absurd, because no one is losing his religious freedom. Hambo certainly isn’t. But instead of dismissing this as the usual creationist balderdash, let’s try to figure out what ol’ Hambo is really complaining about. He begins, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

I have been saying for years that the topics of creation, evolution, and the age of earth all relate to an authority issue: who is the ultimate authority in this world, God or man?

Translation: What will you believe — the raving of some preacher-man waving a bible around, or the verifiable facts of reality, painstakingly discovered by scientists over a period of centuries?

Okay, next excerpt:

It’s the battle that has been going on for 6,000 years since the devil tempted Eve stating that “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). In Genesis 3:1, the devil attacked the authority of God’s Word, saying to Eve, “Did God really say?” So his first attack in the world was one directed at the Word of God. That attack has not let up since Genesis. The battle for 6,000 years has been one between God’s Word and man’s word. It’s the same attack happening around us today.

Translation: Same as before. Let’s read on:

Sadly, much of the church has surrendered in this battle, allowing man’s fallible word to be used in judgment over God’s infallible Word. The church did this starting in the 1800s when so many leaders and others compromised God’s Word in Genesis with evolution, millions of years, or both.

Translation: Some churches aren’t as stridently anti-reality as Hambo would like them to be. Hambo wants everyone to think the way he wants them to think — but they won’t do it! This is an outrage!

The rant continues:

As a result of this surrender by much of the church, we have seen the erosion of biblical authority in the culture.

Translation: As people refuse to deny reality, preachers like Hambo are losing their power and influence.

Here’s more:

And the more the culture determines that its worldview is built on man’s Word instead of God’s Word, the more we will see the collapse of the Christian worldview and increasing moral relativism. At the same time, we will see an increasing intolerance of the Christian worldview and a growing loss of religious freedom, as those intolerant of Christianity impose their anti-God worldview on the culture.

Translation: Same as before. Ol’ Hambo is worried that people like him are becoming irrelevant. And he’s right. But no one interferes with Hambo’s website ministry, and no one tells him how to run his Creation Museum. He has total freedom to operate his rural tourist attraction any way he likes. He knows that too.

What really bothers him is that except for his drooling customers, the rest of the world ignores him. He’s irrelevant, he knows it, and he can’t stand it.

That’s where we’ll quit, because the remainder of his little essay is about the recent Hobby Lobby decision, which doesn’t interest us.

So where are we after dissecting Hambo’s latest post? All his ranting about man versus god really boils down to Hambo versus reality. Deep down, Hambo knows that he’s on the losing side.

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

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23 responses to “What Is Ken Ham Complaining About?

  1. Ken Ham and people like him make convenient punching bags because they come across as so dogmatic and so self-pitying.

    Secularists need to avoid falling into the same habits. Crying “The fundies are coming! The fundies are coming!” may get the juices flowing, but it doesn’t really solve anything. This is America, after all, perhaps the most religion-drenched of Western nations and certainly one whose population is poorly educated in science (and in many other areas as well)–and the country which invented Christian fundamentalism. If people listen to both sides and each seems equally shrill in its condemnation of the other, quite a few of them will go with the fundamentalists. Unfair as it is, the secular side has to hold itself to a higher standard if it is to hold off the fundamentalists, let alone defeat them.

  2. At the same time, we will see an increasing intolerance of the Christian worldview and a growing loss of religious freedom, as those intolerant of Christianity impose their anti-God worldview on the culture.

    The old “christian America” theme, where the country is founded on the bible and freedom of religion is for only intended for those who have surrendered their minds to the christian ideology.

    Read the novel “Christian Nation” by Rich to see what Ham wants.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Following blogs of Right Wing Watch and Media Matters, this is ‘religious freedom’ battle is as much political as religious. These fundies are as free as ever to say stupid stuff, but criticism has made them feel self-conscious about what they say. Some have said that extremists like Westboro Church have actually done more to harm religious right positions because everyone acknowledges they have a right to say stupid stuff and are willing to call them on it.

    DavidK, I haven’t picked up a book in years, sticking to blogs and such, but that book would be something I would like to read, I am sure. This battle is nearly as interesting and more complicated than the creationist one.

  4. What Hambo really wants is for the United States to become a Christian theocracy and not any form of Christianity will do. Catholics and Episcopalians would be excluded since in his view they are not really Christians. Mormons would be considered members of a godless cult.

    Hambo is so distraught about “fallible man’s words” having more authority than god’s “infallible word” that he would happily replace the U.S. Constitution with the bible. Ham yearns for the good old days when Protestant fanatics believing in “sola scriptura” controlled Zurick and burned heretics and witches at the stake.

    Hambo hates the Enlightenment and believes it is the worst catastrophe to ever befall the Western World when Reason vanquished the supernatural in Science, particularly the new science of Geology, which dominated by Deists, showed the Earth to be millions of years old and that there was no global flood. Ham is still bitter that mainstream churches “compromised God’s word” in Hambo’s mind and by accepting an age of millions of years for the Earth they set the stage for the Theory of Evolution. He hates that the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago is accepted as fact by not only astronomers but increasingly the general public who learn about it watching Cosmos.

    I think you are correct that Hambo knows that the younger generation is far less religious than the older generation and realizes that the days when religious fundamentalists could set the agenda for our society are fading into the past. I think he is also personally bitter about the funding struggles he has had to go through with the ark project and that his so called museum is still losing money and has had to turn to gimmicks like zip lines and kids get in free to get people to go to the place. He can not understand why people were not eager to send in their money to build his ark.

    Hambo’s contention that Christianity is being persecuted in the U.S. is patently ridiculous but it stems from his perception that fanatics like him are increasingly beleaguered in a society that shows no interest in establishing the Christian theocracy that he wants so bad.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    Most fundies have chosen their battles over gay rights lately, Hambo’s creationism is just a side show. The enlightenment has proved gays are not so scary, and neither are billions of years. The religious dinosaurs are on their way out.

  6. I’ll admit that when I first saw the title, “What Is Ken Ham Complaining About?”, I thought to myself, “Can you be more specific?” After all, Ken Ham complains about everything and whines about it constantly . And the cause of the complaint de jour is always the same: those blasted “atheist evilutionists” and those dastardly “compromising Christians” who dare to disagree with him.

  7. The shtick where Ken Ham claims Christianity is outlawed soon is very old for him– back in 1987 (that’s twenty-seven, yes 27 years ago) Ken Ham was predicting the imminent and inevitable outlawing of Christianity. Never happened. I think conservative Christians lie about this because:

    1. They’re into bondage-domination relationships, and like Mel Gibson in “South Park”, they fantasize about us torturing them and making them feel the sweet torments of Christ, but we’re just not into it,

    2. The conservative Christians themselves operate real torture camps (“boot camps”) where they imprison and torture children/teenagers who’ve been sent there by their fundie parents (because they were caught alone with a boy or got a tattoo or something). Such camps include: Rebekah House and the rest of Lester Roloff’s whole chain of child torture camps/North Korean-style brainwash facilities operated in Texas legally with no regulation, thanks to Governor George W. Bush; or New Horizons Ministries, with its huge sex abuse and physical abuse scandal and its infamous Escuela Caribe operated by Americans to torture American kids, but located in the Dominican Republic, outside the reach of US law– the topic of the new documentary Kidnapped for Christ; and Teen Mania/Honor Academy, another Christian torture “Boot Camp” which Discovery Institute representative Donald McLaughlin used to work for.

    Because conservative Christians operate torture/brainwashing camps, for real, for children, they keep hoping that we’ll do it to them– hoping, like they’re really into martyrbation fantasies and bondage/domination. They want us to tie them down and twist their nipples, like they really do to teen boys and girls, but sorry for them, we’re just not into it.

  8. For your entertainment, here is Ken Ham predicting the imminent, inevitable outlawing of Christianity and imprisonment of Christians twenty-seven, that’s 27, years ago.

    Ken Ham, 1987: “Christians are fighting for their freedom even in so-called “Christian” nations.

    What has happened in society to bring about these changes? Why is it that many people are cynical when you talk about Christ…?

    Maybe because they figured out you’re a con man?

    There must be some foundational reason…

    Maybe because they figured out you lied to them? No, that can’t be the reason.

    Years ago

    Teenagers never had sex. Yeah yeah, heard this one before. Go on.

    our society was based on Christian absolutes…

    Right right, saw that one coming, teenagers never had sex before until that girl Ken Ham had a crush on in high school was bonking the captain of the cricket team (or whatever Australians play in school) instead of bonking nice sweet Ken Ham, who’s the one who really deserved her.

    Value judgments were basically built on biblical principles…

    Right right, back in the Golden Age Mary Jane would not have bonked anyone except a young Christian gent with a gleam in his eye, much like a certain Australian creationist, and would never have bonked the captain of the cricket team, who didn’t deserve her. But she did, so somebody’s got to be to blame, and it’s Charlie Darwin. Gotcha.

    …As belief in God has been abandoned, people have questioned the basis of the society in which they live….

    We should never ask: why must all society be based on the outright lies, bigotry and violent hatreds of quasi-fascists?

    Why should anyone say that homosexuality is wrong?…Christian absolutes have been diluted or removed as the basis of society and replaced with a world view that says, “We do not have to accept that the Christian way of doing things (basing our world and life view on biblical principles) is the only way; we must tolerate all religious beliefs and ways of life.” However, this “tolerance” really means an intolerance of the absolutes of Christianity. …What they really meant was that they wanted a tolerance of anything in society, except Christianity!

    Indeed, we no longer tolerate Christian leader’s right to harm others, make factually false statements, and take away other people’s freedom.

    Christian absolutes…are becoming less and less tolerated in society. Eventually this must result in the outlawing of Christianity. …This results in society’s being told that no one can say anything against those who choose to be sexual deviants, go naked publicly, or do whatever they want…

    In other words, people having more freedom means you are no longer free to take away other people’s freedom. How horrible for you.

    God’s absolutes dictate that there are rules by which we must abide. Christianity cannot co-exist in a world community with relative morality as its basis. One or the other will yield. –[Ken Ham. The Lie: Evolution. (1987). Chapter 1: Christianity Is Under Attack. ]

    Osama bin Laden would agree with the whole thing, except replace “Christianity” with “Islam.”

    Predictions from twenty-seven years ago. Never happened, but sooner or later he may get lucky.

  9. Anyone who is a heliocentrist has made a choice for the authority of science. Even if one finds a way of interpreting the Bible so that it is compatible with heliocentrism, that interpretation finds its motivation in accepting the authority of modern science. No one ever has become a heliocentrist from Sola Scriptura.

  10. Diogenes says: “The conservative Christians themselves operate real torture camps …”

    I didn’t think stuff like that existed outside of North Korea.

  11. Grand Inquisitor of Escuela Caribe proudly announces—

    “We’re in the business of trying to save prodigals.”

    That’s one of the scariest things I’ve heard in a long time, coming from a person with authority over children and young adults. What point must be reached before it can no longer be doubted that do-gooders, especially self-appointed ones, are harming those in their charge?

  12. anevilmeme

    Ken it’s not man’s word, it’s reality’s word. We didn’t make up the age of the earth we merely discovered it.

  13. DickVanstone

    Curmy ponders: What Is Ken Ham Complaining About?

    This is just a guess, but I believe Hambone wants more $$$$.

  14. Pete Moulton

    DickVanstone: I count that as a given. Once a conman, always a conman. Would Hambo be able to make the cushy living he’s grown accustomed to if the rubes quit sending him money for spouting nonsense?

  15. An intereresting, if potentially disturbing thought experiment: What if Ham could persuade, say, 70 % of the population to adopt his way of thinking?

    What kind of nation would result after Ham’s ideology had been translated into actual legislation?

    The (attempted) complete elimination of gay rights, abortion etc. is of course a given. But would religious freedom, as currently understood, exist at all? Would it become ILLEGAL to be a Muslim, a Hindu or, heaven forbid, a humanist in the US? Would only Christianity be allowed, much like only Islam is allowed in Saudi Arabia today?

    And what kind of Christianity would it have to be? Strictly young-earth evangelicalism/fundamentalism only? Would, say, Jehovah’s Witnesses be Christian enough to be tolerated in “Hamerica”, where the entire society is to be based on “God’s infallible Word” (as interpreted by K. Ham) rather than man’s fallible word and philosophies?

    What about Mormons? Unitarians? Catholics?!

    Where would the legislators of fundamentalist, theocratic Hamerica draw the line? And what exactly would happen to the ones that were not Christian enough? Would they become second-class citzens? Would they be expelled from the country? Imprisoned for religious thought-crime? Worse?

    And if voters finally decided they had had enough of Hamerica and wanted a somewhat more liberal culture once again — should they have the right to change the laws back? Heck, would not this constitute rebellion against God in Ham’s world? Should any “rebels” explicitly rejecting a Bible-based society have any right to organize and publicly argue for their views? How could this possibly be tolerated, in a society taught to look to the Bible as the ultimate authorty in all questions it touches on?

    One can argue very well that any religion insisiting that there is _one_ supreme deity is fundamentally incompatible with democracy. In such a worldview, we all owe abject obedience to this one deity. An open, pluralistic society would have to be dismissed as a bunch of confused and/or wicked people who either don’t know the will of God, or ignore it.

    Democratic freedom of expression inevitably implies that people somehow have the right to disagree even with God — and that is a difficult idea, within an absolutist religious paradigm.

  16. Ham, throwing out the bait: “The battle for 6,000 years has been one between God’s Word and man’s word.”

    More importantly one entirely within creationism, “between one creationist’s word and another creationist’s word.” So anytime a creationist whines about “Darwinists” while merely ignoring other creationists on the “age” issue, they’re pulling your chain.

  17. hnohf “Where would the legislators of fundamentalist, theocratic Hamerica draw the line? And what exactly would happen to the ones that were not Christian enough? Would they become second-class citzens? Would they be expelled from the country? Imprisoned for religious thought-crime? Worse?”

    We can get an idea of what would happen just by looking at what’s happening in Iraq today — Sunnis vs. Shiites.

  18. Pope Retiredsciguy imagines a Theocratic USA:

    We can get an idea of what would happen just by looking at what’s happening in Iraq today — Sunnis vs. Shiites.

    –but worse, IMHO. Imagine ‘Jehovah’s Jihadi Witnesses’ and ‘The Baptist Brotherhood’, fully armed and on the loose…

  19. anevilmeme “Ken, it’s not man’s word, it’s reality’s word. We didn’t make up the age of the earth; we merely discovered it.”

    Times two. Nicely put.

  20. Stephen Kennedy’s spot-on analysis of Ken Ham’ psyche really got the ball rolling on a good thread. Great comments, all.

  21. Megalonyx, if your nightmare vision of a Theocratic USA were to occur, we’d have to join you in the UK. Or if there’s not enough room there, maybe Canada, Australia, Siberia, Antarctica…

  22. @Eric Lipps: where I come from – The Netherlands – there have been fundies around almost as long as in the USA. They have been tamed – hence they are not coming.
    Where I live – Suriname – they are coming indeed. They won’t listen to an atheist like me anyway, so if you have practical suggestions to stop them you’re welcome.

    @Diogenes: “we no longer tolerate Christian leader’s right to harm others”
    Gotcha! Persecution!

    @hnohf: “What kind of nation would result after Ham’s ideology had been translated into actual legislation? ”
    We can get a glimpse by looking at Dutch history, at a period Dutch calvinists tried to do exactly this.

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

    Yup, death penalty, life long imprisonment and exile.
    Note that this happened after eliminating catholicism as a political factor in The Netherlands.

  23. hnof:”An intereresting, if potentially disturbing thought experiment: What if Ham could persuade, say, 70 % of the population to adopt his way of thinking?”

    He, or more accurately, the Discoveroids, already have at least 70% thinking their way. I am counting not only the 40-45% that choose the “creationist” answer to the idiotic Gallup poll question, but another ~25% that thinks it’s fair to “teach both sides.” In contrast, only 10-20% are convinced that the universe, earth and life are less than 10,000 years old, and that % can only go down if people give more than 5 minutes’ thought to the evidence and/or to the hopeless contradictions within creationism. And that’s what the Discoveroids are hell-bent on covering up, while Ham, bless his idealistic little heart, exposes to potential critical analysis.

    Despite the media’s fascination with Ham, he will never be taken seriously by more than ~30% (committed fundamentalists, including OECs). In contrast the DI’s big tent strategy has the potential to indirectly fool even more than the ~70%, even though few people can name any Discoveroid, or know that talk radio’s Michael Medved is one.

    Nevertheless, I give it near zero chance that we’ll get that theocracy that Ham wants, at least in this century. If anti-evolution activists ever do manage to get enough radical authoritarian theocrats elected and appointed, I predict that the US will only be a Christian theocracy for a few years or less, before being taken over by a Muslim one.