Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ken Ham Waxes on the Cost of Belief in Evolution. Dan Wilkinson of Unfundamentalist Christian Responds

Ken Ham had a personal note on the AiG page about the upcoming debate.  He writes, in part:
Because our ministry theme for 2013 and for 2014 is “Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids,” our staff thought that a debate on creation vs. evolution with a man who has influenced so many children to believe in evolution would be a good idea. Now, those of you who know me realize that I don’t relish public debates, so please pray for me. But this debate will help highlight the fact that so many young people are dismissing the Bible because of evolution, and even many young people who had grown up in the church decided to leave the church because they saw evolution as showing the Bible could not be trusted. This exodus of young people from the church is documented in my coauthored book Already Gone.
Dan Wilkinson, on his blog Unfundamentalist Christian, responds:
No, Mr. Ham, no one’s leaving the church because evolution shows that “the Bible could not be trusted.”

Mr. Ham, they’re leaving the church because of people like you: people who fervently create walls, erect barriers, establish rigid rules for what one must believe in order to be a Christian. They’re leaving the church because your version of Christianity has nothing whatsoever to do with right practice, and everything to do with “right” belief. They’re leaving the church because by essentially demonizing everyone who doesn’t agree with you, you’ve made believing in Young Earth Creationism* more important than Jesus’ explicit explicit commandment to love God and neighbor.
Ken Ham did not like this much. He responded thus:
Apparently they call this sort of thing 'Progressive Christianity.' I guess that means 'evolving Christianity'--whatever the secular world believes about where they came from, you accept that as infallible and then change their assumed fallible Word of God to fit! So sad. In many ways these sort of people are more dangerous to Christianity than the atheists.

Note--the typical personal attack; no research cited (at least AiG had a professional group--America's Research Group--conduct real research into why kids are leaving the church and published it in the book 'Already Gone'); only one verse of Scripture referred to (Matthew 22); just this person's fallible opinions to justify holding man's word as infallible and God's Word as fallible.
Ham is correct about the lack of research. Wilkinson is working off of anecdotes and conversations. He could quote Glenn Morton, however, who left young earth creationism exactly for the reasons that Wilkinson writes about.  There are others out there, I am sure.  I personally know of one person who walked away from the faith after being home schooled using a young-earth curriculum.  When she got to college, her faith was rocked by the fact that there was quite a bit more evidence for evolution than she had been told.  Ham is also correct that there is invective and ad hominem in the post.  It would have been better if the writer had steered clear of such language. 

On the other hand, Ham, himself, has been guilty of the same kind of behavior, personally attacking Peter Enns to the point where Ham was dis-invited from a home schooling conference for his lack of Christian spirit.  He seems to be unrepentant about this.

Additionally, Ham is guilty of a "one way" approach to the scriptures, in which there is no value placed on either current or past interpretation.  Scripture is revealed directly to us and we do not question what it says or how it says it.  Consequently, passages that have provoked discussion and disagreement in the past are rendered flatly, with no color or depth.   He seems to be unwilling to admit that there may be different interpretations of scripture out there by very thoughtful, honest Christians.  Everyone who thinks differently from him is guilty of believing "progressive Christianity."

Most of the folks at BioLogos and the ASA are charitable to young-earth creationists, even if they don't agree with them.  There is no such reciprocity from Ham.  In describing the EC/TE mindset, he is venomous, calling us "more dangerous to Christianity than the atheists."  More dangerous to Christianity than Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers and Sam Harris?  Really?  We seek to follow God, understand His ways and trust in Jesus as our savior, just as Ham does and yet, for him, that counts as nothing.  That is sad. 


  1. Anonymous1:57 PM

    I actually think Ken Ham is more dangerous to Christianity than the atheists mentioned. Because he agrees with them about how science and religion can't co-exist - but they are the ones with the facts.

  2. I'm a former evangelical Christian now more an agnostic and certainly no longer active in a church here in the UK where YEC-ism has much less influence. Your comments seem fair. I'm sure evolutionary science and YEC dogma BOTH can cause different young people to leave churches (or perhaps move to more 'liberal' churches).

  3. Thanks for interacting with my blog post...I appreciate your thoughts on this, as well as the work you do in relation to the larger evolution/creation debate.

    Yes, my piece contained some over-the-top rhetoric, but that was at least part of the point: not to craft a careful logical argument about the varying positions on each side, but rather to offer up a forceful polemic against a position that I view as entirely untenable and extraordinarily dangerous. Patient, irenic dialog and carefully reasoned and researched arguments have their time and place ... but so do impassioned expressions of our heartfelt thoughts.

  4. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Are you greater than God that you need to question his work? Are you higher than God that you get to change his word because you do not like it and think the deceived secular world has the answers that God does not?

    Is it venomous to speak the truth?

  5. Why should I take your comments seriously, since you refuse to show yourself?