Ken Ham’s Definition of Religion

Wikipedia’s article on Religion offers many definitions. Here are a few:

A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people may derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle.

Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of a deity, gods, or goddesses), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.

[…]

There are numerous definitions of religion and only a few are stated here. The typical dictionary definition of religion refers to a “belief in, or the worship of, a god or gods” or the “service and worship of God or the supernatural”. However, writers and scholars have expanded upon the “belief in god” definitions as insufficient to capture the diversity of religious thought and experience.

It’s a fuzzy concept, but not without meaning. Okay, here’s the big question: Is science a religion? Most people would immediately say “no,” but that’s not the opinion of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He’s famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Hambo just posted this to his blog: No Religion In School . . . Except . . .. He begins by discussing a controversy in Tennessee, where:

In a response to alleged Islamic teaching in public schools, a “Tennessee state legislator has proposed a state law that would prevent public schools from teaching anything about religious principles until students reach the 10th grade.”

Then Hambo asks:

But if this bill were to become law, would this actually stop schools from teaching religious principles before the 10th grade? No!

After that, he explains why, in his opinion, what he considers religion would nevertheless be taught in public schools. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

You see, from very early grades right until they graduate, students in public schools are learning the “religious principles” of the secular religion!

Oooooooooooh — the secular religion! Let’s read on:

Public schools are not neutral. As Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30). There is no neutrality.

Got that? No neutrality! Hambo continues:

Students in government-run schools are being thoroughly educated in religion — the secular religion of naturalism. Evolution and millions of years are the major principles of this religion.

Huh? Where’s the supernatural element in evolution? Where are the scriptures, the holy places, the rituals, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, prayers, and all the rest? Here’s more:

The public school textbooks often define science as explaining things only by natural processes and that supernatural explanations are not allowed to be a part of science. Naturalism is really atheism!

Aaaargh!! We’ve been through this “not allowed” stuff before. Science doesn’t work with supernatural forces because they can’t be verifiably detected, measured, or tested. If it were otherwise, they would be part of science — see Bring Me An Angel Detector! Moving along:

Now if the students are taught there is no Creator, then there are no moral absolutes and man makes the rules. Of course, this is exactly the kind of morality — a secular morality — that is being taught in public schools. It’s a secular religion that is being taught to millions of students without them even knowing it.

Aaaargh!! How does Hambo leap from the inability of science to work with supernatural forces to actually teaching students that there is no creator? In Hambo’s world, if you don’t include a creator in science class, you’re teaching atheism. Another excerpt:

So if this proposed bill passes, will the students actually not learn religious principles until they get to grade 10? Of course not! They will continue to learn religious principles from the secular religion, just as they have for years.

It’s an outrage! And look at the results! According to Hambo:

Sadly, generations of students have been indoctrinated with naturalistic beliefs that reject God’s Word, and the fruit of this is seen in our nation in abortion, gay “marriage,” gender confusion, racism, and so much more. In essence (except for the minority of Christian teachers in the system), public schools are, in reality, churches of atheism.

Egad — science is causing everyone to be gay! One more excerpt:

We are in a spiritual battle right now for the hearts and minds of our young people. It is so vital that we raise our children with a biblical worldview so that they know that God’s Word is their authority and so they can judge everything by that standard.

The rest of Hambo’s post is a promotion for his books. Well, dear reader, whatcha gonna do? According to Hambo, you’re either with Jesus or you’re against him. You’ve got some decisions to make.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Ken Ham’s Definition of Religion

  1. Our dear SC asks: “Where are the scriptures,”
    Here ao:

    http://www.nature.com

    “the holy places,”
    Here ao:

    “the rituals,”
    Here ao:

    “sacrifices,”
    Here for instance:

    http://www.occupyforanimals.net/ uploads/7/7/3/5/ 7735203/ 5239714_orig.jpg

    Better don’t watch this picture just before dinner – it’s quite gruesome.

    “festivals, feasts,”
    See above, under rituals.

    “trances, prayers, and all the rest?”
    OK, I give up.

    But there are holy relics as well:

    Better be a bit careful next time, dear SC.

  2. You know, it’s oh so easy to laugh at fatheads like Hambo, because they’re so obviously risible, but in reality they’re as damaging to the fabric of our society as any ISIS infiltrator could hope to be and as pernicious as a yeast infection, which in other ways, too, they strongly resemble. People believe this crap, and they go out to vote preferentially for politicians who at least claim to believe this crap, which means we often end up getting governed by cretins who deny evolution, climate change and more. Really we should be treating Hambo like a Fifth Columnist, out to destroy the US from within.

    indoctrinated with naturalistic beliefs that reject God’s Word, and the fruit of this is seen in our nation in abortion, gay “marriage,” gender confusion, racism, and so much more.

    Atheism causes racism? Tell me, pray, Hambo, what exactly was the professed religion of the lynch mobs who sadistically murdered countless black people in the first half of the last century? Those burning crosses that were placed on people’s lawns — were they somehow an atheist symbol? The preachers who promoted white supremacy from the pulpit were actually atheists? I think we should be told.

  3. @mnbo

    You missed out the annual celebration of Darwin Day.

  4. The whole truth

    So, religious principles are being taught in Tennessee public schools? And this bill would only prevent that until students reach the 10th grade? Since when is it legal to teach religious principles in public schools in any grade?

  5. The whole truth

    A part of hambo’s biblical “morality” and “religious principles”:

    5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. (Ephesians 6)

  6. Realthog nailed it. Hambone apparently is under the mistaken impression that the noxious history of racism in this country (and many others) didn’t exist before The Origin of Species. And women didn’t die from coat hanger abortions. And no one was gay in the good old days, either. I would say Hambone’s crazy as a loon, except that’s an insult to the lovely Gavia immer.

  7. Sadly, generations of students have been indoctrinated with naturalistic beliefs that reject God’s Word, and the fruit of this is seen in our nation in abortion, gay “marriage,” gender confusion, racism, and so much more.

    Is Ham serious?

    Really?

    Ken, are you cereal? You can’t be cereal.

  8. “Secular religion” is an oxymoron favored by morons who got too little oxygen during birth.

    Seriously, what does that term really mean? “Secular,” by definition, means “nonreligious.” (It does NOT mean “atheistic”; one can believe in both God and a secular society. Societies which insist on demonizing secularism tend to go bad; imagine the U.S. as a Christian version of Iran.)

  9. Derek Freyberg

    “Oh Kenny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

    And it’s you, it’s you must go, and I must stay”
    With apologies to whoever wrote that lament,
    but let’s hope Kenny boy goes, and rationalism stays.

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    Ham implores [with emphasis added]:

    “We are in a spiritual battle right now for the hearts and minds of our young people. It is so vital that we raise our children with a biblical worldview so that they know that God’s Word is their authority and so they can judge everything by that standard.”

    Appears Ham may have done his research well, and is boldly suggesting the very same time-tested strategies used by some of the best despots in the history of civilization. But that stuff Ham mentions about “biblical”, and “God” is actually optional; there are lots of ways to frame the ploy. What really matters is the strategy of the operation:

    First round up the unformed minds of the kiddies, then teach them that authority always trumps reason, and finish up by giving his brainwashed kiddies the actual power to pronounce judgement on the non-conforming.

    On the other hand Ham may merely be guilty of having plagiarized a bit from the Boy Scout USA manual.

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    So let’s say that science lab at school is really a ritual. Then for bible class they should have a equal ritual lab, too, right? All the students get staffs and have to throw them to the ground and create snakes. No snake, you fail the lab.

  12. What is Ham’s motivation for making such statements?

    Well, as the saying goes, follow the money. He’s doing all he can to get people to buy into his whacky religion of Creationism so that they will flock to his $39.95 per head (or whatever he’s charging now) Creation Museum, and be more likely to “invest” in his incredible waste of resources that he’s calling an “Ark Encounter”.

    He’s gotta make a living, don’tcha know.

  13. Charles Deetz hits the nail on its head: science works, religion doesn’t and neither does creationism.

  14. Ham loves to throw a certain Bible quote around. “As Jesus said, ‘He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad’ (Matthew 12:30). There is no neutrality.”

    I have NEVER read any piece by Ham where he quotes what Jesus says at Mark 9:40, telling his disciples: “He that is not against us is for us.”

    So there is the inevitable cherry-picking of scriptures. But if Ham wants to cling to his “no neutrality” line, is he saying that his adopted homeland is anti-Christian? The separation of church and state is a basic principle of the US constitution. But in Ham’s world, anything that is not explicitly Christian is to be regarded as hostile to Christianity.

    Ham often bemoans how “America” used to be a Christian nation but steadily has its Christian qualities undermined and eroded by secularism and evolutionism. Ham casts himself as a defender of the supposedly “true” or original qualities of the nation. But he has never, to my knowledge, challenged the intentions of the Founding Fathers by questioning the church-state divide — even though the “no neutrality” line in Matthew 12:30 would seem to be every bit as relevant in that context.

    So I guess Ham chooses his battles wisely. He knows eminently well what kind of rhetoric his audience will appreciate, and what they will likely not appreciate. Questioning the Constitution is therefore out of the question, even though Jesus apparently would not have liked its principles.

  15. winewithcats

    “As Jesus said, ‘He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad’ (Matthew 12:30)”

    …but… being Aussie, Ham has scattered abroad. I’m sure we could conclude something from that.

  16. @winewithcats
    Ham has scattered abroad

    TMI!

  17. Techreseller

    SC states we have a decision to make. Made it 30+ years ago. Rationality all the way. Not going back.