Ken Ham Offers Hope, Meaning, & Purpose

Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — has often written that atheism (which it equates with evolution and every other scientific theory they don’t like), is a religion. A typical example is Atheists Follow a Dogmatic Faith, where we quoted AIG saying:

Chief among these elements of blind faith is your belief that God does not exist. Since you could never prove the nonexistence of God without possessing all knowledge (in which case you would be God), this is a tenet of your system that is held by blind faith.

They’re doing it again today in a new post of which ol’ Hambo is co-author, along with Avery Foley. AIG says she holds a masters of arts in theological studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, which certainly qualifies her to write for AIG. The article is titled Atheism: Hopeless, Meaningless, Purposeless. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

[W]hen I call atheism a religion on social media, many atheists get very upset. They hate having atheism referred to as a religion or a belief system. But that’s exactly what it is. One of the definitions of religion is:

A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

Hambo’s done that before. Other creationists do it too. It’s the fourth definition of religion in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which you can see here. AIG skips the more commonly-used definitions given earlier, such as “the service and worship of God or the supernatural,” and “commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.” The last time Hambo used that 4th definition, we said that your Curmudgeon’s devotion to the principles of the US Constitution would also be a religion — which of course it isn’t.

So far, Hambo has just been repeating himself. But then he says:

Below are some of the tenets of this belief system. Notice that none of them are scientifically proven (and even go against science!) — that’s where atheists’ faith comes in. They accept these assertions based on faith that they are true.

• There is no God or gods.
• There is no supernatural.
• Everything is the result of naturalistic processes over time.
• Life evolved from a single-celled organism.
• Death is the end — when you’re dead, that’s it.

Well, dear reader, can you deny Hambo’s claim that none of those things has been scientifically proven? Of course you can’t! Aha — then he’s gotcha! Hambo believes the opposite of each proposition, so who’s the religious fanatic here? Then he asks:

Is atheism a good alternative religion? Does it provide its followers with hope, meaning, and purpose, something human experience shows we all crave? Or is it a religion devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose?

That’s a powerful question. Does your godless science offer you hope, meaning, or purpose, dear reader? Hambo then spends several paragraphs expanding on those points. Here’s just a bit of it:

Hope? Consider this: according to the atheistic religion, there is no God and death is the end. … We won’t remember we ever lived, and eventually no one else will either. … Not only is each individual human rushing headlong toward the grave, so is our very universe. Our species, just like every other species, is destined for extinction. … This is certainly a bleak and hopeless perspective.

Meaning? “Why am I here?” is a question that every human wants answered. We innately know that our lives have some kind of meaning. But where does it come from and what is it? Does atheism give the answer? … In an atheistic view, our lives have no real meaning. We are just the result of random, chance processes over millions of years, and it’s just an accident of nature that we happen to be here. How’s that for meaning for your life?

Purpose? Does atheism offer a sense of purpose for our short lives? To put it simply, no it doesn’t. You see, in an atheistic worldview it doesn’t matter how we live or what we do, because there is no ultimate standard for right and wrong and because everyone’s fate is the same — death. … Atheism offers no purpose to life because no matter how you live or what you do, your fate is the same: death.

We’re only about half-way through Hambo’s post. The rest of it is bible quotes, which Hambo says offer you hope, meaning, and purpose — the very things your science doesn’t provide. So there you are, dear reader. Which religion is the better one? It’s your decision.

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

19 responses to “Ken Ham Offers Hope, Meaning, & Purpose

  1. Hope, meaning, purpose, for an North Carolina atheist:
    Of course. Like my football coach told me:
    Leave it better than you found it.

  2. Chief among these elements of blind faith is your belief that God does not exist.
    No, I see no credible evidence that any deity exists, a deity that Ham takes by his faith. He has in no way demonstrated the truth to his assertion. Per Ham lack of evidence, one can conclude:
    • There is no God or gods.
    • There is no supernatural.
    • Everything is the result of naturalistic processes over time.
    • Life evolved from a single-celled organism.
    • Death is the end — when you’re dead, that’s it.
    Particularly important is the last item to Ham and his like religious followers, which I believe is the foundation of deity based religions, historical and present day, the desire to live an eternal life beyond the mystery of death. It is a powerful point, but again is simply a matter of faith with no evidence to support it. So many people just cannot accept the finality of death, they want to see Ma and Pa and Auntie Jean, and Fido, and live in perpetuity with everyone for eternity. It’s also tied in with the reward/punishment schema of religion, the good live forever, the bad go to hell. Even good slaves might go to heaven, though they’ll have to use their own bathrooms and fountains up there, and good people here are rewarded for their actions whereas baddies are punished for eternity by their all-loving deity.

  3. I think it would be justified to call Ken Ham the “Head Worshipper of Pseudoscience.” Append that to his title of the “Ayatollah of Appalachia.”

  4. Once again we journey far into space, to the cube-shaped Bizarro World where beauty is ugliness, people do the opposite of all Earthly things and opposition to religion is a religion.

  5. Once again we journey far into space, to the cube-shaped Bizarro World where black is white, beauty is ugliness and lack of religion is a religion.

  6. It is interesting how many of the Hamster’s arguments involve the obvious logical fallacy known as “argumentum ad consequentiam”.

  7. Our species, just like every other species, is destined for extinction. … This is certainly a bleak and hopeless perspective.

    Amazing! Just because Ham doesn’t like something it must be false. I don’t like that I can’t stay forever young, am not hitched to Julie Delpy and am not rich beyond the wildest dreams of Croesus, therefore — yippee! — that hopeless, reality-based conclusion is a FALSEHOOD.

    Hey, Julie, come look at what I just typed . . .

  8. Hamster’s post well demonstrates that he’s a big, bad ogre.

  9. Sorry, I don’t want to live forever in heaven hobnobbing with the smug clique who are cocksure of going there. I mean, for example, the minister who taught church history in my freshman year of college, as well as a sizable share of the student body.

    I’m going to shamelessly commit argumentum ad consequentiam here: I look with equanimity upon death as eternal oblivion in part because that fate is preferable to eternity among such company. I spent two semesters, which is the limit a person should be required to endure.

    You can add other earnest leaders such as Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, and Ken Ham. Also their earnest followers.

  10. Ham’s definition of atheism is as usual very broad indeed. I would think that to be an atheist, you just have to disbelieve in a God or gods. However, Ham takes it completely for granted that “atheists” are strict naturalists or philosophical materialists that can never believe in anything beyond crude matter. Sometimes you even see articles on the AiG site arguing that such things as mathematics or laws of nature must be inexplicable to an atheist because they aren’t “material”!

    He is wrong, of course. Technically, you can eminently well believe in even spirits, ghosts, an afterlife etc. and still be an atheist. You just can’t believe in any spirits so great and powerful that they would qualify as “gods”; human souls would plainly not be at that level.

    But undoubtedly very many atheists do also tend to assume that death is the end. Such a notion would apparently rob the Ham-minded of all joy and purpose. There is a palpable narcisssism on display here: If _I_ can’t live forever, nothing has any meaning anymore. Seriously, Ham once wrote that if evolution is true, there is no point in going on holiday, because eventually you will die and not even remember that you were on holiday!

    I’d still enjoy my holiday, thank you, Mr. Ham.

    Ham seriously seems to think that if his god does not exist, the universe is just one big cruel joke. If we can’t find the courage to commit outright suicide, we should presumably just be boozing or doing drugs until death mercifully ends our pointless existence.

    Some would rather say that if our time is limited, it is all the more precious, and that our aim should be to improve the world; when about to pass, we can have the satisfaction that our children and grandchildren will live in a better, freer, saner place. It’s not all about “me” as an individual.

    But this is not a possible perspective for Ham. In his view, the world is hopelessly corrupted by sin, little can be done to improve it, and God is in any case going to burn it. However, if you believed in exactly the right stuff, you will then be able to enjoy transcendent happiness forever. The hope of achieving this joyful state is all that gives “meaning” to Ham’s existence. An implied part of the whole package is that once in heaven, you won’t give a damn about the infinite tortures suffered by the unsaved (including perhaps members of your own family). After all, if you did care, you wouldn’t enjoy perfect happiness in heaven.

    I can’t help it; I seem to prefer lack of absolute meaning to this puerile, thoroughly self-centered scenario.

  11. With respect, Fausganger, Ham’s definition of “atheism” is very narrow, not very broad, as you show. Ham thinks that atheists say that there is no God out of conviction, when what atheists say is that they do not believe in any god, because there is no verifiable evidence for any. The former would be an assertion of knowledge, if it were made; the latter is a statement of lack of belief, and no more. Of course Ham prefers the former, as being easier for him to misrepresent.

    I, too, would prefer lack of meaning, absolute or otherwise, to Ham’s solitary ego trip, and the horrors of his heaven. Fortunately, I do not have to choose lack of meaning. My life has meaning enough.

  12. Even if atheism were a religion (which of course it is not), it would be superior to Ham’s brand of religion in one respect — it does not lend itself to being used to control the behavior of others.

    For instance, without the belief in an afterlife, suicide bombers would be hard to come by.

    As mentioned by a commenter on this blog a few years ago, “agnostic” may be preferable as a more accurate term than “atheist” to describe the worldview of those Ham would call atheist. If my understanding of the linguistic roots is correct, “atheist” means “one who declares their is no god”, while “agnostic” means “one who declares we do not know”. After all, the lack of evidence of a supernatural force is not proof there is no supernatural force. Likewise, it’s very unlikely that you have 200 pounds of gold bullion buried in your backyard, but you can’t prove it without digging down to bedrock on every inch of your property. But no matter how deeply we dig, we will never find evidence proving the existence of God — at least, not in this life. So a belief in God is taken on faith.

    Ham can claim that atheism, the declaration that there is no God, is taken on faith. On the other hand, he can make no such claim about agnosticism, since there is no rational argument about “we do not know.” It’s not a belief taken on faith; therefore, it cannot be argued that agnosticism is a religion. It is truly a matter of fact.

    Besides, “atheist” is a loaded word in America. It riles the public, similar to “communist” or “fascist.” “Agnostic”? Not so much.

  13. SC: I also used “their” instead of “there” in the third paragraph (“atheist” means “one who declares their is no god”). Guess I should proofread first, rather than after posting.

  14. Ham is right!

    If only those nasty atheists who fly planes into skyscrapers or blow themselves up in the middle of crowds of civilians had instead embraced a compelling belief in a blissful afterlife for the righteous smiters of the ungodly infidels — … no, wait ….

  15. The etymological roots of “atheist” are Greek, of course. The “a-” prefix is generally taken to mean “lacking” or “without”, as in “amoral” or “asexual”. “Theos” means god, and the general English sense of “ism” is an ideology or belief system. Atheism, therefore, is an ideology or belief system that is without god. However etymological rigor is not the whole story. Atheism is now generally taken to mean “lack of belief in a god”. But it still does not necessarily imply an absolute denial of the existence of a god, and most atheists would not make any such claim. Ham is misrepresenting the position, as is his normal practice.

  16. Dave Luckett:

    Ham’s understanding of atheism seems crippled by his own religeous mentality. I cannot speak for all atheists, but I suspect that many share my view: being an atheist does not govern the way that I think, rather I am an atheist because of the way that I think. To spell it out for blinkered faitheists like Ham: atheism is the inevitable consequence of the way that I think, and I would bitterly resent any suggestion that I must have faith in any particular proposition simply because I call myself an atheist.

    No surprise that Ham has got things [edited out] about face.

  17. “Does it provide its followers with hope, meaning, and purpose, something human experience shows we all crave? Or is it a religion devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose?”
    I wonder again how far Ham managed to read into the Bible before thinking that was all he needed:

    Ecclesiastes 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
    3:19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
    3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
    3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
    3:22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

  18. Ham thinks atheism robs life of any meaning. Does he derive meaning only from his belief in a God and an afterlife? That seems like a very impoverished life. A full life includes finding meaning in love, family, work, art, music, service to others, and many other things – all of which exist independent of whether or not one believes in a supernatural entity.

    What meaning does Ham get from building a giant wooden boat-shaped building in the middle of nowhere, as opposed to raising funds to provide a service to others? On a larger scale than Ham’s boat-like object, world religions combined must possess perhaps a trillion dollars in assets (money, buildings, other properties, etc). Imagine if those assets were invested in public works and services to others.

    Finally, while Ham believes we are slaves of a supernatural creature and of no independent value outside of our role as its slaves, atheists can find much, much greater sense of worth in the absence of the supernatural. Brian Cox once said; “We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.” Not a small matter at all.

  19. Brian Cox once said; “We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.” Not a small matter at all.

    Too true.

    Or, as Joni Mitchell sang, echoing Carl Sagan, “We are star stuff.” Anyone who fails to find this fact mindblowing (hi there, Ken) is living a depressingly small existence.