Shock — Most People Don’t Believe The Truth™

Some deeply disturbing news has come to the attention of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He tells us about it in this new post at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Moral Truth? “It’s Up to You,” Say 58% of Americans. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Who defines moral truth? Well, according to a recent survey, over half of American adults (58%) say you get to decide what’s right and wrong for yourself. [Gasp!] And it’s not just those outside the church who think this way — it’s prevalent even among those who attend evangelical churches, with 46% rejecting the idea of absolute moral truth.

For a holy man like ol’ Hambo, this is horrible news. He says:

According to the research, only 43% of professing born-again Christians believe in the existence of absolute truth! However, almost nine out of ten adults (85%) who do have a biblical worldview reject the idea that moral absolutes do not exist and that people must create their own moral standards!

That makes no sense at all! Hambo tells us:

So, in the minds of Americans, where does “truth” come from?

[He quotes from the article about the survey:] The survey found that the most common notion is that God is the basis of truth — but it was a minority of only four out of ten adults (42%). Another four out of ten believe that either inner certainty (16%), scientific proof (15%), tradition (5%), or public consensus (4%) leads to knowing truth. The remaining two out of every ten adults said that either there is no such thing as truth (5%) or that they do not know the basis of truth (13%).

Can you imagine how this news affects ol’ Hambo? Somehow, he gathers the strength to continue:

Oh, just a side question here. For those who say there’s no such thing as truth, do they accept their statement as truth?

Wowie — that was clever! Then he gets back to being serious:

This study points to the increasing secularization of our culture — a secularization also impacting many in the church. [That’s horrible!] No longer is God’s Word seen as the moral authority that is foundational to (and governs) our beliefs and actions. [Oh no!] Instead, we get to decide right and wrong by what feels good for us. Which ultimately means that anything goes. [Gasp!] This is actually a natural consequence of the naturalistic evolutionary worldview that dominates our culture.

Ah yes, the “naturalistic evolutionary worldview.” Darwin is destroying the world! Hambo explains:

If there’s an ape-like creature in our ancestry [Ooook, ooook!], then we just evolved, there’s no God, and we get to set the rules. Moral relativism quickly becomes the belief of the day.

Shocking. Absolutely shocking. Let’s read on:

Even many of those who would claim God is the basis for truth likely don’t believe God’s Word defines truth. Rather, they believe that their version of God — a god they’ve created in their own likeness — determines truth for them. … All of this is exactly what happened in Genesis chapter 3 when the devil tempted Adam and Eve to doubt God’s Word and to be their own god. And because of sin, our nature is such that we want to question God’s Word and be our own gods to decide what is “truth” for ourselves.

Skipping a bit, we come to the end:

There is absolute truth. [Yes!] It comes from God and his Word, as God is the absolute authority for everything because he is the Creator. Let’s continue to point people — especially our children — back to the Word of God as our authority in every area.

In spite of the depressing news he reported, Hambo somehow managed to be very inspirational. Now it’s up to you, dear reader. Get out there and teach The Truth

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “Shock — Most People Don’t Believe The Truth™

  1. If there’s an ape-like creature in our ancestry then we just evolved, there’s no God, and we get to set the rules. Moral relativism quickly becomes the belief of the day.

  2. That’s some reasoning there.
    1) ‘ape-like”. Note, not “ape”, but ape-like. People have noticed for hundreds even thousands of years, that there were similarities between humans and other primates. Even the Bible recognizes that one can think “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, andthat they might see that they themselves are beasts ‘” (etc. Ecclesiastes 3:18). I am not saying that the Bible endorses the idea that we are beasts, but maybe that we are, in some sense, like other animals. And John Wesley wrote: “Animals of the MONKEY class are furnished with hands instead of paws; their ears, eyes, eye-lids, lips, and breasts, are like those of mankind; their internal conformation also bears some distant likeness; and the whole offers a picture that may mortify the pride of such as make their persons the principal objects of their admiration.” (See Wikiquote)
    2) To argue from similarity to evolution – that’s a straw man!
    3) To argue from evolution to atheism. – another straw man.

  3. “Which ultimately means that anything goes.”
    Ol’Hambo’s version: “God is the absolute authority” ultimately means that anything goes.as long as he maintains that his god ordered it – including the Canaanite genocide.
    From experience I know this is an effective point against YEC fundagelicals.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Which bits of the Bible are moral truths?

  5. @MichaelF asks an intriguing question.
    One example: when injured or ill, don’t consult the wrong god and his servants. As evilution is a false religion you should not consult doctors when you catch COVID-19, because they all believe in common descent.
    This is the lesson you should learn from 2 Kings 1:2-4.

    And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

  6. Yeah, there is the problem that, if truth comes from some god, why would it necessarily be the one Hambo likes. There have been, I think, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others whose followers probably think that their favorite god told them the truth. My favorite is Ganesha. Full disclosure: I have no idea what Ganesha’s idea of the truth is, I just like him because he’s cute.

  7. Why can we trust what a god says as being true, according to a human criterion of truth?
    Just as we cannot use human judgment of good to judge divine action.

  8. Dave Luckett

    The Book of Job has the theme that God is not constrained by what is good or evil. What He does is not to be assessed by that rubric. God is God, that’s all.

    But TomS, we can use human judgement of good and evil, for if our judgement is inherently faulty and unreliable, then we are innocent. But of course it is faulty and unreliable. We do evil, not knowing what we do. Jesus Himself pleaded for us on those grounds. And that is in itself evidence that things do actually change on the moral front. It would take a deranged psychopath to think, today, that there was not something inherently evil in crucifixion. But in Jesus’s day, it was accounted just and correct retribution for slaves who struck their masters, and by extension, rebels against the State. Things, including morals, change – in this case, for the better.

    It’s Ken Ham that wants morals to be defined by immutable authority: the Bible. Wearing two threads, Ken? Cultivating two crops in the same field? Handling pigskin? Forbidding slavery altogether? Eating shellfish? (Yes, yes, I know Paul said that was OK. But what about fricassee?) Working on the Sabbath? What, as a nurse? A firefighter? The Talmud says that’s OK, but what would those Jesus-rejecting rabbis know?

    Oh, we’re under a new covenant, are we? Not the old one that most of the Bible is about? So… the Bible’s rules do change, after all. Who knew? But how do we know which of the rules still apply? Come to that, how does Ken Ham know?

    Ken certainly does ignore whatever rules don’t suit him. Jesus said to give everything to the poor and follow Him. He said to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, nurse the sick, and care for the widow and the orphan, none of which seems to have risen much above Ken’s moral horizon.

    And Jesus’s worst condemnation of the enemies he faced in his day, was to call them liars and hypocrites. Perhaps when you consider the career of Ken Ham, you could say that that’s another moral value that has changed, in this case for the worse. It does not seem to cause Ken Ham’s coterie any moral qualms.

  9. @DaveL doesn’t grasp the near-infinite wisdom of Ol’Hambo: “But of course it [human judgment – FrankB] is faulty and unreliable.”
    With the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else, I point out that your human judgment of human judgment is faulty and unreliable too.
    You better put your faith in YHWH’s words as explained by the fourth in line (immediately after the father, the son and the holy spook). ‘Cuz it’s the absolute TRVTH.

  10. Socrates nailed this in the Euthyphro. 58% of Americans have now caught up

  11. Only for omni-everything gods. Hindus will just shrug. Same with the problem of evil.

  12. And I’m interested in the 20th century Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.
    In its variant: the Design Argument Against Spirit
    If human reasoning is designed involving a spirit (other than natural), what warrant does that provide for the reliability?
    We all know of plenty of examples of the unreliabity of spirits: trickster sprites, ultra literal genies granting wishes, and even malevolent demons. And we also know that design is no gusrantee of reliability.
    If, for example, despite the overwhelming evidence for our natural relationship with the rest of the world of
    life, the world and our ability to deal with it has been designed so that we accept that relationship, the fact that that has been so designed does not guarantee its truth (even if the design is spiritual).
    BTW, even if this argument is flawed (I think it is as flawed as is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism). and even if the EAAN showed that there is no natural evolutionary warrant for truth; the EAAN does not show that there is a spiritual (non-natural) warrant for truth.

  13. @TomS, I think the EAAN is the silliest argument I have ever heard. Plantinga maintains that evolution could equally well have given us a set of misapprehensions, of equal survival value to our world view which is accurate and therefore not the result of evolution. Thus we may run away from a tiger (his example!) because we think that being mauled by a tiger is delightful, but that the best way to make sure it happens is to run away.

    However, we very quickly learn that if you run away from something, that increases your distance from it, and in general there is no ways that a network of false beliefs about the world can survive, In an animal intelligent enough to learn, the experience of it. Indeed, the boot is on the other foot. There are lots of ways in which we know that our minds are not very good at grasping reality, and can easily suggests evolutionary explanations for these.

  14. @Paul Braterman
    There are quite a few arguments which are contenders for that title, but I won’t argue with you about that.
    When I first heard of the argument proposed by a professional philosopher with some reputation, I thought that it would be possible to address it. But there is too much written about it in professional literature. (I know that there is pressure for philosophy professors to publish, but golly gee, isn’t there some professional pride involved?)

  15. @TomS, The really disconcerting thing is that Plantinga is under no pressure whatsoever, being well tenured and I think now actually retired. He really does think that he’s got hold of a clever argument, and in a way he is quite right because you have to be really quite smart to come up with anything so self consistently stupid. This gives me pause for thought. How many really stupid things do I believe on the basis of vacuous and over sophisticated arguments?

  16. TomS says: “I know that there is pressure for philosophy professors to publish, but golly gee, isn’t there some professional pride involved?”

    That reminds me of the old joke about the cost of equipping a professor of math compared to a professor of philosophy. The latter is less expensive because he doesn’t need a wastebasket.

  17. jimroberts

    Quine’s earlier observation is more convincing than Plantinga’s nonsense:

    Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind.

  18. @jimroberts
    Yes, and on the other hand, I know of no claims of the sort:

    Designed things have a tendency to be right in their inductions. (Computer spell-checkers don’t make mistakes?)

    Creation tends to make for correct inductions.

    Involvement of spiritual factors tend to make conclusions right.

    Creatures, designed things, and/or spirits tend to reproduce offspring with the tendency to make correct inductions.

    I may be mistaken, but I would really be suprised to hear of a defence of such rules.

  19. jimroberts

    @TomS
    You say “on the other hand”, but you seem to be agreeing that Quine was right and Plantinga was wrong. Shouldn’t you have said something like “furthermore”?

  20. @jimroberts
    Maybe “contrarywise”?
    I don’t think that supporters of EAAN would ever be so blatant as to claim that reliability is a mark of design. Indeed, one meaning of “design” is something like “fraudulent”.
    I intended to point out the gaping hole in the EAAN. Whatever weakness in Quine’s claim, the EAAN has it in
    spades.
    The conspiracy theory about the Apollo Moon mission is a neat example. The promoters of the theory say that the
    Moon landing was designed – a fraud. The opponents say that the theory itself was designed – a fraud. Nobody says that being designed is a mark of truth.

  21. Charles Deetz ;)

    Pastor, pastor, I can’t decide, it isn’t right of me to do so, can you tell me if I should tell my mom the truth, her cake is too dry?

    God gave us free will as early as Genesis, for Pete’s sake.

  22. @TomS: “Whatever weakness in Quine’s claim, the EAAN has it in
    spades.”
    Yup. It’s always handy to take a look at underlying assumptions, especially when not explicitly formulated and hence taken for granted.
    One assumption of EAAN is that perfect access to truth is a necessary condition for evolution resulting in sentient beings. Ah well, what else to expect?

    https://www.chronicle.com/article/what-darwins-doubters-get/64457

    Plantinga is just another apologist with way too much sympathy for IDiocy. Ít speaks for him that YECers don’t like him – CMI has opposed him (short version: Plantinga’s version of christianity is a wrong one).

  23. @FrankB, Interesting article. Do you have a link to CMI opposing Plantinga, and do you know if they oppose Meyer and Johnson (both Old Earth creationists), or Behe who seems to accept common descent?

    I find it amusing when creationists stand revealed as a collection of jarring splinter groups, although the creationists might find it equally amusing when they contemplate, for example, what Coyne has to say about those who are guilty of the accommodationist heresy

  24. @PaulB: here it is.

    https://creation.com/plantinga-conflict-evolution

    I omitted it because I didn’t think it particularly funny or interesting.

  25. @FrankB, thanks. CMI are commenting on Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism, Plantinga 2012, in which he accepts the scientific account, but thinks that it is driven by spooky causation and that scientists commit a philosophical error by not taking this possibility into account. Plantinga, clearly, is not opposed to evolution but to naturalism. Pauli, I believe, described a certain scientist’s work as “not even wrong”. Behe and Plantinga, who seem to me to be in substantial agreement, deserve their own special category, perhaps “not even boring”

  26. @Paul Braterman
    Yes, Pauli
    See Wikipedia article “Not even wrong”

  27. Both Behe and Plantinga had their zenith: Behe during the Dover-Kitzmiller trial, when he admitted that astrology is as scientific as Idiocy. Plantinga has written some funny things about the so called sensus divinitatis. Basically unbelievers like me are spiritually handicapped due to our sinful nature.

  28. @FrankB
    So it isn’t material, physical or natural functioning that makes for mistakes, but a consequence of spirit, the sinful soul. Adam’s body was perfectly designed.

  29. Techreseller

    Ham, most likely a Trump supporter. If anyone on our planet is among the 5% it is our Great Orange One occupying the White House. Alternative facts, different “true” answers to the same question over time. Yet, yet, Hambo supports Trump as a savior of the evangelicals.

  30. @Techreseller, do you have AiG endorsng Trump? They come close in a 2015 artcle I found.

  31. @PaulB: I don’t think there is any besides The “Donald Trump Phenomenon” from 2015. I did the simple thing, ie a search on the site of AiG itself.
    However I found this,

    https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/06/26/former-creation-museum-staffer-exposes-toxic-culture-of-ken-hams-empire/

    It’s impossible to imagine, but if anyone feels the urge to follow our dear SC’s advise and apply for a job there – don’t.