Ken Ham Says: Ya Gotta Believe

A new essay titled The Slippery Slope of Unbelief just appeared at the blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum, and for building an exact replica of Noah’s Ark.

You know where that “slippery slope” will take you — the Lake of Fire. So it’s important that we pay attention to what ol’ Hambo has to say. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us. Hambo refers to a columnist who:

… writes that it fascinates him how people decide which parts of the Bible “must be understood as literal accounts of historical events and which may be interpreted as mythic, metaphorical or exaggerated.” Now some Christians do indeed just pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to believe. This is usually because they come to the text with outside beliefs (millions of years, no miracles, and so on) and not because the text itself suggests that they shouldn’t believe something.

Yes, it can be confusing, but Hambo knows more about the bible than anyone else, so he will tell us how to make sense of it all. He says:

Proper hermeneutics (biblical interpretation), however, demands we interpret each genre (type) of Scripture by the rules of that genre. This is no different from how we read a love letter, an instruction manual, and a newspaper in completely different ways. For example, when the Bible uses historical narrative, such as in Genesis, the Book of Judges, or the Book of Matthew, we interpret it as literal history. Or when the Bible uses poetry, such as in Psalms or Song of Solomon, we interpret it as poetry (realizing that biblical poetry conveys a literal truth but may use poetic or phenomenological language).

Okay, we can decide which parts are poetry. But how do we know if other parts aren’t just ancient folklore and myths borrowed from neighboring people, the way the tale of Noah and the Flood appear to be based on the much older Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh? We must harken to the words of Hambo:

Because Jesus spoke in parables, some people claim that perhaps Genesis is a parable! But Jesus either stated or made it obvious when He was using a parable! Usually it’s fairly easy to determine what genre is being used and to interpret the text accordingly.

Okay, that makes sense. We can easily determine what’s poetry and what’s parable. But what about the rest? Hambo says:

There’s no need for us to arbitrarily pick and choose what we’re going to believe in the Bible. All Scripture is from God [bible reference], and since God does not lie [bible reference], we know all of it to be true.

To understand that, we need to realize that the only “evidence” creationists have to support their beliefs is the bible — other than the nonsense generated by their creation science. We mentioned this before, but it’s important enough to repeat. During his debate with Bill Nye, Hambo often referred to his “evidence,” the bible. At one point, according to this Transcript of Ken Ham vs Bill Nye Debate [link currently not working], ol’ Hambo said:

Bill, I just want to let you know that there actually is a book out there that actually tells us where matter came from. And the very first sentence in that book says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And really, it’s the only thing that makes sense … . An infinite Creator God, who created the universe, matter, energy, space, mass, time and the universe, created the information for life. It’s only thing it makes logical sense.

Later in the same debate he said:

Bill I do want to say that there is a book out there that does document where consciousness came from. And in that book, the one who created us said that He made man in His image, and He breathed into man and he became a living being. And so the Bible does document that fact. That’s where consciousness came from. God gave it to us.

And near the end he said:

Again, to summarize the things I’ve been saying, there is a book called the Bible; it’s very unique, it’s different than any other book out there. In fact I don’t know of any other religion that has a book that starts out by telling you that there is an infinite God, and talks about the origin of the universe, the origin of matter and the origin of light and darkness, and the origin of day and night and the origin of the Earth and the origin of dry land and the origin of plants and the origin of the sun, moon and stars, the origin of sea creatures, the origin of land creatures, the origin of man, the origin of women, the origin of death, and sin, the origin of marriage, the origin of different languages, the origin of clothing, the origin of nations; I mean it’s a very specific book. And it gives us an account of a global flood in history and the Tower of Babel, and if that history is true, then what about the rest of the book?

With that in mind, here’s the end Hambo’s current essay:

As Christians, we need to stand firmly on all of God’s Word. We don’t have the option to pick and choose what we want to believe. God’s Word doesn’t give us that option: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” [scripture reference].

So there you are, dear reader. Ol’ Hambo has told you how to avoid that slippery slope. It’s your decision now.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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23 responses to “Ken Ham Says: Ya Gotta Believe

  1. As I was going through this it occurred to me to wonder if Hambo’s slavishly adoring readers, breaking off from their coloring books to read his latest divinely inspired rant, think that we evilutionsts believe Origin of Species to be the inerrant word of our own deity, Chaz Darwin?

  2. You quote Ken Ham as saying that all scripture is from God, but you leave out the Bible reference he quotes. That particular verse has the word ‘is’ repeated twice, both italicized. The italics indicates that the word does not appear in the original Greek NT, but was added by the translators. Including or omitting the word ‘is’ in the second instance would have little impact on the meaning, but in the first instance it would make a substantial difference. One wonders what Ham would say if it only read ‘all scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for . . .’?

  3. michaelfugate

    Ham’s logic is impeccable. The Bible is God’s word because the Bible says the Bible is God’s word. The Bible is true because the Bible says the Bible is God’s word and the Bible says that God doesn’t lie.

    Some people might claim the Song of Solomon is poetry, but is it really? Why is it deemed poetry and Genesis history – I don’t see the difference.

    1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
    2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
    3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
    4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
    5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
    6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
    7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
    8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.

    This seems more likely to depict a historical event than does Genesis.

  4. More poetry from Genesis:

    A flood is coming said wise Sam
    We all need to build a big dam
    The angles said “hark
    We must build an Ark”
    And send all your money to Ken Ham

  5. Yes, realthog, many of them really do think that way. Unfortunately, I interact with a fair number of creationists. In my experience, despite what many accommodationists tell us, committed creationists really are that dumb and narrowly educated. Sad, really, and scary.

  6. michaelfugate

    How about a haiku contest about Ham – we could call it “Hamku”.

    Bible literal
    Evolution is untrue
    Dumb as a post

  7. My Hamku:

    If men were monkeys
    Why do monkeys still exist?
    Checkmate, atheists.

  8. Whether AIG,
    Discovery Institute,
    or ICR: False.

  9. michaelfugate

    drool, drool, drool, drool, drool
    droolie, droolie, droolie, drool
    Hambo’s followers

  10. Dinosaurs on Ark:
    Forty days and forty nights,
    Long time hold poop in.

  11. And it gives us an account of a global flood in history and the Tower of Babel, and if that history is true, then what about the rest of the book?

    Gee, he’s a good sport about all this–particularly because the real evidence shows that the global flood and tower of babel are not true, but simply old tribal myths. So, I guess, whoops, there goes the rest of the book too.

    Of course he would never admit any of this because, as Heinlein noted, “Belief gets in the way of learning.”

  12. An ark in a park,
    Ham boasts, it will gather hosts!
    Prays it will not rain.

  13. Dave Luckett

    Ham has his usual drop-in-an-ocean admixture of truth, here. It is possible to discern the markers of genre.

    I read the first eleven chapters of Genesis, and I discern the markers of mythic narrative and legend, which are subsets of fiction. Talking animals, check. Numinous object, check. Supernatural explanations for natural events, check. Divine origins for human customs, check. Personification, check. Limited omniscient narrative, even when dealing with God, check.

    So, on Ham’s own theory, by discerning the markers of genre, I conclude that Genesis 1-11 consists of myth and legend.

    Jesus made it clear enough when he was telling a story. He didn’t always say so, though, not even by using the words “like” or “as if”. Possibly the most famous parable of them all, the Good Samaritan, starting at Luke 10:25, contains no such specification; Jesus might be quoting from a police blotter. It reads simply like a sober account of events. And there is no reason at all why it might not be true, except possibly for the use of the convention of three, which also applies to other events in the Bible – the calling of Samuel, for instance.

    Finally, a Hamku:

    Appalachian spring.
    Rain only nurtures the fields.
    Arks hold no water.

  14. I wish Ham would explain the correct reading of Deuteronomy 22:13-21 which explains what to do with brides that don’t bleed (“tokens of virginity”) on their wedding night. The Bible says:

    “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel,
    21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die, because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house; so shalt thou put evil away from among you.”

    Stoning to death for pre-marital sex (for the woman, that is)! Is that really the Eternal word of God, Ken? If it isn’t, then the Bible’s not always true, is it? How do you know which parts of the Bible were actually inspired by God? Were you there?

  15. Dave Luckett

    @Ted Lawry:
    Ken’s answer, as I have said before, is that we live under a new covenant. He would probably also reference the story of Jesus preventing the stoning of an adulteress, by asking those without sin to cast the first stone.

    Now, to a rational mind, this would demonstrate that the Bible says different things in different places. That is, it actually contradicts itself. Ham, of course, can’t countenance such a thought. What it means to Ham is that he gets to choose which parts he regards as metaphorical and/or non-operational, and which parts he regards as literal and mandatory – and he doesn’t have to have any rational reason for the distinction.

    This last is the crucial difference. Of course the Bible contradicts itself. Of course an understanding of genre, with the conventions that pertain to each genre, is essential to reading all texts, not just the Bible. By understanding genre, and the culture from which it arose, it is possible to understand the meaning intended by the texts. That meaning can be compared to what can be accepted, in conscience. Doing to others as you would have them do to you on the one hand; stoning young women to death for not being virgins on the other. That yields a rational reason for deciding on the value to be attached to each part.

    But that process is beyond Ham’s mental horizon. To Ken Ham, his thoughts and opinions are the measure of the universe. The thought that he could be wrong simply cannot occur to him. There is no evidence that could persuade him, as he told Bill Nye. But his decision on what he accepts and what he doesn’t is simply arbitrary. The Bible must be read literally and granted infallible authority where Ken Ham says. Or not, where Ken Ham says.

    Of course this must mean that the real authority is Ken Ham, not the Bible. And to Ken Ham’s mind, that is as it should be. And that is the true measure of the man.

  16. michaelfugate notes

    Ham’s logic is impeccable. The Bible is God’s word because the Bible says the Bible is God’s word. The Bible is true because the Bible says the Bible is God’s word and the Bible says that God doesn’t lie.

    Yep. And just as Epimenides the Cretan said, “All Cretans are liars.”

  17. @Megalonyx
    And the Bible says that what that Cretan said is true.

    As far as tbe Bible saying that God doesn’t lie:
    If God kills someone, is that murder? Of course not.
    If God takes someone’s property, is that robbery? Of course not.

  18. The Bible does not tell us about the origin of matter. The first verses of Genesis describe the beginning of God’s creation taking place when there is a wind blowing over the face of the waters. It does not say anything about the origin of the wind and the waters.
    The Bible does not say anything about the origins of the majority of life: the microbes.
    The Bible does not say anything about the origins of Dark Matter, which accounts for the majority of matter, and of Dark Energy. The Bible does not tell us about the origins of gravity or the strong and weak nuclear forces, or of atoms or of hydrogen or of helium. The Bible does not tell us about the origins of space, or of spacetime.

  19. @Dave Luckett

    The story of Jesus and the adulteress was not in the oldest manuscripts, but appears to have been added later. Since Ham states the bible is literally true in the “original autographs”, he could not use that story as an example of a case where God changed his mind and it is no longer required to stone adulteresses.

    Makes one wonder how many other stories were added or deleted between the “original autographs” and the versions we have today.

  20. Dave Luckett

    Ken, like everyone else, has not a clue what the original autographs said. They are lost. Yes, I am aware of the curious status of the story of the woman taken in adultery. It wanders in its place in John, and even sometimes appears in Luke, with more variations than the rest of the text.

    Of course one wonders about what the original autographs said, or even if there were any original autographs.

    Consider Papias, (early second century) who is quoted as saying that Matthew was originally written in the Hebrew, not Greek. That might mean Aramaic, and it might also mean in the Hebrew idiom or even according to Jewish principles, although that last is more of a stretch. Whatever, Papias (if he is quoted correctly by Irenaeus) seemed to be saying that the Gospel of Matthew that he knew is not the one we have..

    Original autographs? Nobody knows, certainly not Ken Ham.

  21. Dave Luckett

    I have stuffed up the formatting. May Heaven forgive me!

    [*Voice from above*] You are forgiven.

  22. Even for books written in the 20th century, it can be not clear what we mean by the original. It is possible that some of the Bible was composed in oral form. Some of it was dictated to an aide. Take a look at what we know of the Book of Jeremiah.

    But even if someone has excuses for these difficulties, what we have is just someone’s own personal opinion. There are other opinions with as much backing, such as: The Peshitta, or the Vulgate, or the Textus Receptus, … Is the authoritative text.

  23. Sorry, TomS, that your comment was delayed by the profanity filter. It never encountered the Peshitta before. Future references to it, including this one, will meet a similar fate.