Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Creationists' Biggest Mistake

I wrote a post on this subject a couple of days ago, but the blog Hell’s Handmaiden brought a poignant article from Answers in Genesis to my attention, and it inspired me to expand on some of my ideas. The article’s author, Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham, laments the fact that most colleges will not accept credits from Christian home schooling or Christian schools:

Let’s face it. Secular humanists have, by and large, won the culture war in America’s public schools. But not just satisfied with victories there, they are now aiming at Christian schools and homeschools. Yes, Christian institutions are becoming more and more marginalized in the US. And, I think you will be shocked at the latest developments.

Then he goes on to show his winner takes all mentality:

So, the major argument presented against homeschooling in the US and Britain is that most of the parents teach their children the biblical account of creation. The secularists recognize that if the account of creation in the Bible is true, then Christian doctrine and morality are also true—and that humans are accountable to their Creator God (who is the absolute authority in all things). Therefore, people who deny they are responsible to a Creator—and who demand that morality be relative and lobby for the legalization of abortion, “gay” marriage, etc.—are often intolerant of those (i.e., biblical Christians) who oppose them.

The logical, if unsaid, flip side to Ham’s argument is that if the biblical account of creation is untrue, then Christian doctrine and morality must be false. I don’t think Ken Ham realizes how damaging this can be to his religion. He stakes the entire basis of his faith on whether or not Genesis is 100% accurate then leaps headfirst into an argument he’s poorly prepared to fight. People don’t need their scriptures to be completely true to maintain their faith. Just ask the millions of moderate Christians in this country who accept evolution.

Plus, Ham chooses to ignore the reams of evidence in favor of an old Earth just so he can validate his faith. Unfortunately for Ham, it’s hard to fight reality. Galileo is an excellent example of this. It took a few centuries, but the Catholic Church eventually had to reconcile with the fact that the earth is not the center of the universe and apologized to Galileo. Reality simply didn’t support that biblical claim, and forced the Church to admit that the Bible should not be taken literally.

More than anything, Ham’s efforts don’t help him spread his faith. It might make the true believers feel good since they won’t do any research, anyway. However, the more moderate, educated Christians will scoff at Ham’s efforts and might even buy into his winner takes all mentality, except they’ll probably go the opposite direction from what Ham wants. It might make them actually question the validity of their faith when they look at the evidence against the Bible being 100% accurate.

How do I know? Well, it’s what drove me away from Christianity. I grew up with a general acceptance of the findings of science, and, at the same time, I was comfortable with the idea that the Bible was more a set of morality tales than literal history. I didn’t need it to be true to have faith. However, the more I noticed the Creationist claims against evolution, the more I did some research to formulate my own opinion. I learned what the evidence was for evolution and a 4.6 billion year old Earth and what the Creationists' counter evidence was. I found the Creationist side to be severely lacking. It showed me just how lousy Creationist evidence is and how dishonest and willingly ignorant they are. It also caused me to actually read the Bible and realize that we don’t get any of our morality from it. If anything, Christians ignore most of the morality requirements in the Bible, particularly those in the Old Testament. In the end, it showed me that I didn’t need religion to have a fulfilling life. And it was all because of the Creationists. For that reason, I’m actually thankful for their efforts. They helped me gain a better perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

Finally, Ken Ham is sorely mistaken if he thinks humans must be “accountable to their Creator God (who is the absolute authority in all things).” Is it so wrong to be accountable to you fellow man? Sure, no human can threaten you with eternal damnation, but is that really a bad thing? In my opinion, it is morally superior to help others because you want to alleviate suffering in the world, not because you’re afraid of punishment. Mr. Ham, you must have a terribly dark opinion of your fellow humans if you think the threat of punishment is the only way we can be good. Shame on you.

1 comment:

Mothman said...

There are many issues we as humans are so ignorant about; how the universe was formed; why it was formed; why are we here; what is truth; where is everything going. In the scope of things we are less than quark size and shrinking at the speed of light.

These are universal questions though, asked since man existed. If you believe we pre-existed to our current state as mindless, animal-like beings, you may. If you believe we were created to be an object of love for an intelligent creator, I guess, then you may as well.

This is however the premise of neo-philosophy; new age, post-modernist relativism - nothing has a centre and there is no absolute truth. It is in this ambiguous bubble of life that people are trying to find meaning - but nothing is sure because what is true for me does not necessary have to be true for you. You might think I'm exaggerating, but pragmatism is just that: "If it works for you, it is good".

Being the god of our own destiny has consequences - being (a) god has, period.

But then one must look at the logical conclusion of all this - no (moral)(epistemological)(etymological)(....-ist) centre means inevitably no accountability to anyone (i.e. god complex). We don’t have to, and frankly cannot then refer to anything as an anchor because NOTHING may hold up. It is like living in antithesis, living an oxymoron. You cannot tell alie .. or the truth for that matter. "Anarchy Rules!" The principle of having no absolute denies all identity, individuality, freedom, ... because it denies any boundaries, right or wrong, in or out, belonging or not belonging ...

Where and who and what was at the beginning?

Did we create ourselves? Yes, our inner universes exist and may cause us to think we had something to do with all this. But try and see the bigger picture.

A quick exercise:
You admit, in a way, to a 'creation' event in your article. Although not exhaustive or modally correct, let me take us on a journey. Assume creation, thus a beginning, thus to a beginner (v), thus intent, thus, intelligence, thus, purpose, thus, outcome, thus conclusion, thus evaluation, thus, separation ... although a lot can be added/taken away, follow the logic.

Intelligent design is what we see all around; observe nature only and see man echo its form and function. Man has NEVER created. Our ability is merely to assimilate, process and export it onto medium; always re-created or presented in a 'different' package - art, architecture, music, science, ... all elements already existing in shape, tone or texture and formulation, ... merely repackaged.

We are clever all right; curious rather, and at the same time so incredibly blinded by our own achievements. It was in the industrial revolution where we proved to be the most bloated. "We have discovered all there is to discover." In other words: Progress as we see it (today) will (have) cease(d) by the end 1800's?

There is much more to say. I leave that up to you who are looking to know and find the truth ... its out there.

Final thoughts. Whether creation is factual or not, whether ..... it doesnt matter. What does matter is that you have to admit that there has been, and always will be that yearning inside, that measure of belief in what you cannot see, because the evidence is staring you in the face!
What will fit this empty mould is already; waiting to be inspected, scrutinised, tested, ... and put in place.
No better fit than the original!

Until we meet ..