Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Holy Bad Mouthing

Most Christian colleges, even in America, don’t subscribe to the philosophy of Young Earthism – this is confirmed even by a fundamentalist as fanatical as Answers in Genesis theme park boss, Ken Ham. See here and here as evidence of this. For good measure here’s another more recent affirmation by Ham along these lines (My emphasis):

With the increasing erosion of biblical authority even within most Christian colleges, it’s never been more important for your student to attend a college that stands firmly on the Word of God. (See Ham’s post at this address for the above quote)

By “erosion of biblical authority” Ham is most likely to have in mind those Christians who do not interpret Genesis 1-10 using a Young Earthist world view, a view upon which the rationale of the AiG theme park is based.

Recently Ham’s outraged denunciations of his fellow Christians has reached a crescendo. Although he has always questioned the quality of the faith of those who don’t go along with Young Earthism there has been a recent spate of posts by Ham expressing his righteous indignation with those Christians who reject his Young Earthist philosophy. Rather than let this recent flurry of bad mouthing slip by I’m using this post to note it and store it for the record so that I can access it in one place for future reference. But why exactly this outburst of holy censoriousness has occurred of late I can only guess. Is it because regime change in the US has boosted his confidence? Does he now see a chance to screw down on those Christians of the academic establishment who are of a more liberal frame of mind than himself?

In the following quotes I underline the bits where Ham is engaged in the activity of accusing Christians of the most heinous of sins. As I have said before, fundamentalists tend to go for the spiritual "nuclear button" straight away probably because:
a) They are convinced of the divine authority of their opinions and believe those opinions are being willfully rejected. 
b) They believe they act in the name of the Almighty. 
Having studied fundamentalists for many years I find I am all too familiar with what follows. Ken Ham typifies the fundamentalist mental complex; an outcome of that complex is that in attempting to justify the security and certainty of their position they are forced to go out and lay charges of compromise and/or heresy on other christian communities. My experience tells me that as a general rule fundamentalists genuinely believe that the world around them is a nasty place of conniving hypocrites (Christian and non-Christian) who deserve every censure they (the fundamentalists) can hand out; a bad conscience is not one of their faults! More's the pity!

1.      Christians accused of attacking the Character of Christ
See for the following quotes:

Can Christians believe in millions of years? Yes, inconsistently. Christians who believe in molecules-to-man evolution and millions of years are undermining biblical authority and thus are undermining the Word of God. Of course, salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ alone, so you can be a Christian without holding to a young earth. But an old earth undermines God’s Word!
Those Christians who say God used evolution are actually saying God calls death and disease (e.g., cancer as seen in fossils) as “very good.” Death is an intrusion because of our sin. God describes death as an “enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26). God didn’t use death to create—death is the judgment for sin.
Christians who believe evolution are really attacking the character of Christ by blaming Him for death, suffering, and disease! Sin is to blame, and our Creator Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin (death) by dying on the Cross, rising from the dead, and He now offers the free gift of salvation.

My comment:  I’m not going to answer Ham’s criticisms here: My purpose in this document is to expose and record Ham’s tendency to lay the most extreme charges at the door of other Christians. Like an interrogating inquisitor he does this by thrusting his straw man reasoning, his twisted logic and his words into the minds and mouths of other Christians. Ham is too suspicious an operator to accept that the case against his “logic” is anything other than deceitful pleading by those he is accusing.  He really seems to believe that Christians who reject his Young Earthist world view are secretly as persuaded by his logic as Ham is himself and they must therefore be covering up bad consciences. True to the fundamentalist personality Ham just can’t accept that other Christians (like for example Denis Alexander) can hold an intellectually sophisticated contrary position with a clear conscience. The fundamentalist mind can’t but help believe there are dubious motives lurking behind the scenes of the Christian academic establishment. Given this almost paranoid behaviour one can see why fundamentalists are such fertile ground for conspiracy theorism.

2.      Christians accused of attacking God’s word and undermining the Gospel.
See  for the following
God’s Word is under attack, not just by secularists and the media—many Christians (and particularly many church leaders and those in Christian academics) attack God’s Word when they compromise the clear teachings of the Bible with man’s ideas. We see this especially in regards to Genesis and issues such as the age of the earth, Creation, and the global Flood of Noah’s day.
Biblical creation is being rejected even within the evangelical church, and secular and atheistic philosophies about earth’s origins are taking its place. This is undermining the foundation of our doctrines—including the gospel—and opening the door for more compromise.

My Comment: Yes, many, many evangelical Christians are definitely undermining the foundation of the alleged divine authority of Ken’s opinions! But I don’t see these evangelicals having any less faith in God and his word than does Ken! To recycle a well-known saying: Same Biblical facts, different interpretation! What Ken thinks of as Biblical facts, are actually interpretations.

We can see from the second sentence in the above quote that “compromise” is a term Ken largely uses of those Christians who reject  his interpretation of Genesis chapters 1 to 10, an interpretation based as it is on a world view which posits the dichotomy God did it” vs. “natural forces did it. In particular notice also the reference to Christian leaders and academics who in the main reject the Young Earthist philosophy. Ken’s rejection of the Christian establishment has parallels with Donald Trump’s campaign against the political establishment, so perhaps, as I have already submitted, Ken’s recent focus on bad-mouthing Christians has been spurred on by Trump’s recent accession to the presidency. After all, it is quite likely that the more reasonable evangelicals, especially evangelical academics, would not be Trump supporters. So perhaps Ken is trying to hit them while they are down. What seems to have completely passed Ken is that his holy-than-thou censoriousness is not the way to win friends and influence people! But having said that Ken’s threatening spiritual language will be welcomed by his followers.  

3.      Christians accused of attacking the Gospel and totally undermining scripture.
See  for the quote below:
One of the most attacked biblical figures of our day is the first man, Adam—the head of the human race. Increasingly secularists and, sadly, even many Christians (including seminary and Bible college professors), claim there never was a literal Adam. But a historical Adam is foundational to the gospel!
An attack on Adam is an attack on the gospel. You see, if there never were an Adam, there was no first sin and there was no original sinner. And if there were no first sin and original sinner, then why did Jesus have to come as a man and die to pay the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22)? After all, if man evolved over millions of years, death and bloodshed existed prior to sin, so why did Jesus die? Believing in millions of years of bloodshed and death before sin totally undermines the Scripture which says, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
The gospel is grounded in literal history!

My comment: Notice once again how Ham, like an inquisitor, projects  his perverse  logic and thinking into the minds of Christians who disagree with him: He just can’t believe that Young Earthism is anything other than the plain teaching of scripture and therefore to his mind those Christians who disagree must be harbouring ulterior motives and/or bad consciences.  Ham questions the faith of those who question his world view.  But let me reassure him that from my observations the Gospel of Grace is quite safe in the hearts of those evangelicals who don’t view scripture through his Young Earthist lens.  They therefore don’t construct the logic in quite the same way that we see in Ham’s quotes!

4.      Christians accused of turning the Gospel into myths and lies
See for the following quote:
It’s becoming increasingly popular among many Christians to claim that Old Testament characters, especially Adam and Eve, and events such as the worldwide Flood weren’t literal people or historical events. They claim they were just figures or stories created to teach some kind of theological lesson. But does biblical revelation support this position?
Well, the writers of the New Testament, or those whose words are recorded in it, certainly wouldn’t agree with these Christians. Paul, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, clearly speaks against biological evolution and the idea of a nonliteral Adam and Eve when he states,
For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (1 Timothy 2:13)
In 1 Corinthians he again confirms the Genesis account of Eve being made from Adam:
For man is not from woman, but woman from man. (1 Corinthians 11:8)
The New Testament writer Jude, in his short epistle, lists Adam as an historical individual:
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam. (Jude 14)
Others claim that the account of Noah and the Flood is not history but was borrowed from ancient Near Eastern cultures to teach a theological truth about God. But if that's true then the Apostle Peter, the author of Hebrews, and Jesus Christ—the Creator God in the flesh!—all lied because they taught that Noah was a historical individual and that the Flood really happened (Matthew 24:37; Hebrews 11:7; 2 Peter 3:5–7).
If Genesis is myth then the gospel—as it's foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15 and 21—is myth also. The gospel is founded in Genesis and grounded in a literal Adam who literally sinned and brought literal death into creation as the penalty for sin. If Noah is a myth, then so are all those listed in Hebrews 11, such as Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, and others. Genesis is literal history!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

My comment: Yet again Ken is slandering Christians by placing his quite outrageous logic in the heads of his Christian detractors: Viz …they are making the gospel writers liars and the gospel fiction!   In Ken’s illogical head it seems to follow quite logically that if Genesis is a myth then so are the NT gospel events! Ken’s coup-de-grace is his attempt to manoeuvre those who disagree with him into the position where they are saying the apostles all lied! This is a familiar fundamentalist tactic I’ve recorded before: Viz A certain Andrew Holland, a fundamentalist of whom I’ve quoted on this blog before,  tries to  make out that those who disagree with him are making God a liar:

….the historical parts of the Bible, such as Genesis, should be taken at face value, otherwise it is tantamount to calling God a liar! Thus the account of creation, Noah's flood and Jonah's adventures are accurate and can be completely trusted. They are all verified in the New Testament. (Andrew Holland, my emphasis)

5.      Christians accused of recommitting the original sin
See for the quote below:
The very first attack, what I call “the Genesis 3 Attack,” was on God’s Word: “And [Satan] said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said?’” (Genesis 3:1). Satan used the ploy to get Eve to question God’s Word, thus creating doubt that ultimately led to unbelief. That same attack on God’s Word has never let up and continues each day.
Sadly, many Christians accept evolution and millions of years, the foundation of the secular religion. This evolutionary religion attacks the Word of God by undermining what God plainly told us. It’s like Satan is whispering in our ears once again: “Has God indeed said . . . ?”
Compromising Genesis with evolution and millions of years undermines the authority of the Word, because this involves taking ideas from outside of Scripture and forcing those ideas into Scripture. When they do this, Christians are making themselves (fallible man) the authority over God’s (infallible) Word! Basically we’re saying that we know more than God and that we can reinterpret and edit His Word to adjust it to man’s ideas. But a Christian should never knowingly compromise God’s Word.
How should Christians view God’s Word?
Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89)
For I trust in Your word. (Psalm 119:42)
I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. (Psalm 119:16)
Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. (Psalm 119:67)
And remember how important it is to preach the Word with authority:
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
You see, man’s word (like evolutionary ideas) changes nearly every day, but God’s Word never changes. We need to choose to trust God’s Word and ignore the lie of “Has God indeed said . . . ?”
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

My comment: Ham continues to stuff his perverse logic into the heads and mouths of other Christians thereby justifying to himself why he can dish out the utmost censor on them. In his attempt to avoid looking like a common-or-garden Christian cultist Ham is often at pains to stress that he’s not saying that belief in Young Earthism is a salvation condition. But I think this is just a piece of lip service; in the final analysis he’s certainly making Young Earthism a very stringent faith test and goes as far as he possibly can in rubbishing the faith of other Christians who fail it; so much so, in fact, that the question of whether he actually considers them to be Christian is academic. For example, in the quote above we find Ham going as far as to suggest that those who contradict him are listening to Satan and repeating the devastating sins of the fall! As usual he more than hints that he believes these Christians to be knowingly compromising God’s word. This is the language of character defamation and is exactly the kind of thing one gets from the Jehovah’s witnesses  when they are talking about ex-witnesses. So in my books Answers in Genesis, unless it should be headed up by a less bullying leader, classifies as all but cultic in ethos. As I have said before I don’t recommend Christians have contact with fundamentalists; they are spiritual empire builders who do not shy away from using spiritual pressures to build their social network. See also his comments I've recorded in this post where Ham makes it clear that he regards anything other than young earthism to be an "attack on the cross" and effectively preaching a "Jesus different from the Jesus of the Bible"

The Bible is “God’s word” in as much as it is a conduit for information about God’s personality and salvation; it is part of the divinely managed signalling medium through which revelatory information passes to the recipient and takes root in his/her psyche. As I have pointed out before natural language, such as we find employed in the Bible, doesn’t contain meanings; rather it delivers meaning by way of connotation. That is, it triggers meaning in the neural association complex of the reader, an association complex that is a function of its cognitive traits, culture, and history. Thus the whole process, if it is to deliver theological truth, only has a chance of doing so if it is under immanent divine management from start to finish. Unfortunately as a rule Western fundamentalists often have a “natural forces” vs “divine interventions” view of God’s relation to his world. They therefore find the immanence of God difficult to take on board. Because of God’s intimacy with his created order the Bible is organically jointed to the rest of creation and transmits and delivers information like any other signalling medium in God’s world.

Of course, the process of Biblical information delivery can, and clearly does, go wrong (as does any other signalling system) at any stage along the transmission line especially at the destination where interpretations are generated. Therefore the Bible doesn’t deliver certainty. Trouble is, the insecure conspiracy theory touting fundamentalist mentality is liable to feel that anything less than 100% truth equates 100% uncertainty – a position which we know to be untrue. Information carrying signals need not return the statistics of certainty to convey information; e.g. we can’t be absolutely certain when we board an aircraft that it won’t be involved in a major crash, but nevertheless we consider the safety statistics of air travel to convey information about high reliability, and this we regard as useful information.

We can see that Ken Ham is light-years away from understanding just how natural language works when he says this (See above):

Compromising Genesis with evolution and millions of years undermines the authority of the Word, because this involves taking ideas from outside of Scripture and forcing those ideas into Scripture. When they do this, Christians are making themselves (fallible man) the authority over God’s (infallible) Word! Basically we’re saying that we know more than God and that we can reinterpret and edit His Word to adjust it to man’s ideas. But a Christian should never knowingly compromise God’s Word.

What Ken fails to see is that meaning is ultimately sourced in the recipient. i.e. the reader.  Meaning doesn’t exist inside the symbols of the transmitted Biblical text: Meaning is an extrinsic rather than intrinsic property of the Word. As such the Word is a trigger of meaning and therefore it is fallible (wo)man that assigns meaning – but it is an infallible God who manages this highly complex process of meaning delivery. The irony for Ken Ham is that in a sense meaning always comes from the reader, the reader who must be correctly initiated in order to make the right interpretation. Of course I don’t expect someone as lacking in subtlety as Ken Ham to ever understand this.  Ken Ham doesn’t live by faith; he lives by what he estimates to be certainty.

Some links on the nature of language:

It's worth reading this AiG article by Ham:
Ham's righteous anger at Christian acdemia is plain to see in this article. In many ways it's encouraging that he paints such a bleak picture of what to his recriminating mind is rampart "compromise" among Christian academics. Obviously Ham's futile fulminations aren't going to hold much weight with Christian academics. But they will have weight with other fundamentalists, who are assured by Ham that they will be on the  receiving end of divine displeasure should they be tempted by "compromise". Ham is almost shaping up to be classified as a cult leader; compare the Watchtower who control their publishers, like Ham, using character defamation and the threat of divine displeasure to intimidate their followers. 

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