Ken Ham, known as the ayatollah and grand poohbah of Kentucky and a purveyor of Fundamentalist ignorance, frequently writes articles about atheism. Several years ago, Ham asked and then answered the question, Why Do Atheists Care? Here is some of what this noted intellectual genius of young-earth creationism had to say:
Atheists get very passionate when it comes to fighting biblical Christianity. If God doesn’t exist—and life has no ultimate meaning—why do they even care?
Why do atheists get so emotional and aggressive in opposing biblical Christianity? Why does it bother them? Why does it matter at all to them?
When Answers in Genesis announced plans to build the Creation Museum, a local atheist group began attacking the ministry of Answers in Genesis and campaigning against the museum. When the museum was opened, the atheists gathered outside the museum to protest the opening of this facility. But why did they do this?
At the time of this issue’s publication, atheists are aggressively opposing a new project involving the building of a life-size Noah’s Ark, the Ark Encounter. But what is it to atheists if Christians build such a facility to proclaim the Christian message? After all, thousands of secular museums across the USA and other countries around the world are already proclaiming an atheistic evolutionary message to the public. Government schools throughout the world by and large indoctrinate hundreds of millions of the coming generations in naturalism—really atheism.
So why do atheists get so upset with a minority that stands for biblical Christianity?
During my debate with Bill Nye “the Science Guy” on February 4, 2014, Bill was asked where matter came from. In his answer he said it was a great mystery, but he loved the “joy of discovery” as he pursued such questions. In my responses to Bill’s answers, I asked him why the joy of discovery mattered to him. I explained that from Bill’s perspective, life is the result of natural processes and there is no biblical God, so when he dies, he won’t even know he ever existed or knew anything. Then, when others who knew him die, they won’t know they ever knew him, either. Eventually, from his perspective of naturalism, the whole universe will die and no one will ever know they ever existed. So what is the purpose of this “joy of discovery”? Really, the naturalistic view of life is ultimately purposeless and meaningless!
Think about the well-known atheist Richard Dawkins. Why does he spend so much time writing and speaking against Someone (God) he doesn’t believe exists? Why is he so aggressive against biblical Christianity? In an ultimately purposeless and meaningless existence, why does it matter to him if people believe in the God of the Bible and the account of creation as outlined in Genesis? Why bother fighting against such people when, from his perspective, eventually no one will even know they ever existed?
No matter how many times atheists point out to Ham that they don’t live purposeless and meaningless lives, he continues to recite these lies as a six-year-old would when reciting his memory verse in Sunday school. Ham seems to think that if he repeats the same lie over and over, it will magically become true. Later in the same article, Ham continues his lying ways by telling readers that atheists “aren’t fighting for the truth, but suppressing it” — “truth” being Ham’s literalistic interpretation of the Christian Bible. According to Ham:
Really then, when Bill Nye, Richard Dawkins, and others so aggressively oppose biblical Christianity, what they are doing is this. They are covering their ears and closing their eyes and saying, “I refuse to submit to the God who created me. I refuse to acknowledge that God is the creator. I refuse to accept that I’m a sinner in need of salvation. I want to write my own rules! Therefore I must oppose anything that pricks my conscience and aggressively suppress [sic] the truth to justify my rebellion.”
So why do these who so aggressively oppose Christianity care? They care because they are desperately trying to justify their rebellion against the truth. They don’t want to admit that they are sinners in need of salvation and thus need to submit to the God who created them and owns them.
Again, Ham continues to lie, refusing to accept the reasons atheists give for not believing in his peculiar version of God. Our objection to Christianity, its God, and the Bible is not one of deliberate denial of truth. Far from it. Many atheists such as myself spent most of our lives reading and studying the Bible. We know the Bible from cover to cover. It is not that we have some sort of intellectual deficiency or have some secret desire to eat babies or star in porn movies. Our rejection of Christianity is based on our careful examination of its claims. Are the claims Christians make for God, Jesus, and the Bible true? The atheist says no. Rather than accept this, Ham lies and tells his followers that the real reason atheists aren’t Christians is that they suppress the truth and are in rebellion to God.
At one time I was willing to give Ham the benefit of the doubt. I thought, Ham is sincere. He genuinely wants atheists to be saved. I no longer believe this. Since Ham refuses to accurately report the atheistic/agnostic/humanistic/secularist worldview, I can only conclude that he has some sort of ulterior motive that requires him to lie about his adversaries. What could that motive be? you ask. I think Ken Ham needs atheists. He needs an enemy to fight, a war to wage. Ham believes that True Christians® are called on to wage war against Satan and his earthly emissaries. Atheists are an easy target because most Evangelicals equate atheism with Satanism (and Ham does nothing to dispel this notion). Ham knows that Evangelicals — his primary target audience — live lives that are indistinguishable from those of non-Christians. In order to stir up the passions of these passive Christians, Ham uses hyperbolic language when speaking of his three great enemies: secularism, atheism, and liberalism. Ham knows that stirred passions mean more donations, so this is THE reason Ham continues to misrepresent what atheists and secularists really believe. Ham lies because lying is good for business. Evangelicals, thanks to rapturist eschatology, are conditioned to believe the “world” is an awful place and should be avoided at all costs. And what better way to avoid the world than to visit Ham’s monuments to ignorance — the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.
Ham knows that his Museum and Ark theme park won’t bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I don’t know of one atheist who has become a Christian as a result of visiting Ham’s entertainment facilities. Ham’s goal has never been to save souls. The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter are meant to reinforce Evangelical young-earth creationist beliefs. Why does Ham encourage Christian parents to bring their children to the Museum and Ark Encounter (by giving children free admission)? Why are most of the things in these facilities geared towards teenagers and young children (i.e., zip line, petting zoo)? Ham’s objective is to indoctrinate another generation in the creationist way of thinking. By focusing on children, Ham ensures that when these children grow up and marry that they too will bring their children for a visit, thus providing continued income for his empire.
As with much that goes on in the name of the Christian God, it is all about money. Ham knows that the key to his future prosperity rests on his ability to generate income. That was the real reason for building the Ark Encounter. Creation Museum visit numbers and income were in decline, and Ham needed something that would stir the passions of his fellow Evangelicals, resulting in them paying his ministries a visit. By building a wood replica of a fictional boat and throwing in a few amenities homeschoolers and children will be sure to love, Ham ensured that the next few years will have increased revenues. Knowing that revenues will later decline, Ham is already planning to build a new attraction, a monument to speaking in tongues, the Tower of Babel. What’s next? A water park where children can watch God drowning men, women, children, and unborn children while Noah and his clan float by in a wood boat?
Ham knows that fighting the atheist horde increases the bottom line, and it is for this reason he really doesn’t want to see any of us saved. If all the secularists and atheists got saved, Ham wouldn’t have anyone to rail against. And with no enemy, revenues would decline and Ham’s monuments to ignorance would fall into disrepair. Ham will continue to lie about atheism because, in his mind, the end justifies the means. He cares more about money than he does honesty. For those creationists who object to my portrayal of Ham as a money-grubbing liar, the easy way to repudiate my claims is for Ken Ham and his ministries to publicly release their financial reports. Of course, it will be a cold day in Kentucky before Ham ever releases his financials.
Twenty years from now, Ham’s ministries will be in decline, facing increasing financial pressures. Ham surely knows that Evangelicals won’t treat the Creationist Museum and the Ark Encounter as they do nearby King’s Island. Once Evangelicals have visited the Museum and Ark Encounter, they are unlikely to return. Been there, done that, Evangelicals say to themselves. Imagine children being forced to repeatedly visit a museum. Doing so is not their idea of summer fun. When asked what they would rather do: visit Bro Ham’s ministry or go to King’s Island/Cedar Point, I suspect most children will quickly opt to ride roller coasters. And since the Museum/Ark Encounter combo ticket is more expensive than that of the amusement parks, many Evangelical parents will decide to take their families to one of the theme parks instead. Facing financial decline, Ham will be forced to scale back his empire. As science continues to draw future creationists away from his pernicious teachings, Ham will be forced to rely on fund-raising appeals or large estate donations from dead supporters. These too will dry up as older supporters die off. By then Ham will likely be dead, leaving others with the responsibility to manage the Creationist Titanic. Eventually, Ham’s monuments to ignorance will close their doors and become decaying testimonies to the dying breaths of a thoroughly discredited system of belief. I will likely be dead when this happens, so I will leave it to my grandchildren to say good riddance.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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It’s just like the movies God’s Not Dead 1 & 2; evangelicals NEED to believe they are being persecuted (especially in the US, when they are treated quite the opposite). It only reinforces what the bible tells them about persecution and helps them feel better about themselves. Even though most of us could careless what evangelicals do, we only really care when they try to bring it into politics and discriminate against others. Of course, like Bill Nye, I also think it hurts humans and slows down our advancement as a species to deny scientific advancement–like Ken Ham is trying to do–all while profiting from ignorance and wishful thinking of others.
Ham’s claim of anti Christian protests weren’t totally honest. People weren’t protesting his religion but his expectation of state monies. Requiring a specific religious world view is a no-no if you want state dollars Mr Ham.
I don’t understand how these Christian supremacists claim the moral high ground while breaking every rule in their own holy book. Confuses me greatly, it does.
For fundamentalists like Ham it’s what the Bible says, or appears to say, about the thoughts and motivations of unbelievers – in the 21 st century – which is The Truth. What the people themselves actually say, or claim that they think, is Lies. So he is free to dismiss it and act as though he never heard it, let alone address it. Simple.
If Ham’s Ark Park lasts 20 years I’ll be impressed and Ham will also retire/die a rich man.
To answer Ham, why do atheists care? I can think of several reasons. One thing is a religious plurality subjects the atheist minority to all kinds of craziness. Everything from a prayer on the money to prayers before public meetings, to tax free churches with multimillionaire clergy. There also is a distinct difference between converted atheists and raised atheists. Raised atheists aren’t as likely to think about God at all.
All in all it is hard to blame Ham for not exploiting the rising tide of Atheism. One thing you notice is marketing to grandparents for Ark passes… In addition being close to actual fun stuff might not hurt Ham at all, Kids we’re going to King’s Island, but first we’re going to see a life sized Noah’s Ark!
You mentioned that you’d never met an atheist who was converted to Christianity by this museum. Neither have I, but I can tell you that a visit to that museum was a HUGE boost in moving me along to atheism. I was already a progressive Christian when I went, but seeing the ridiculous statements put forth by that museum showed me the stark absurdities of creationism and Christianity in general. It’s not even so much a museum–which would display actual fossils and, well, you know, PROOF of things–as much as it is an animatronic set piece. It’s flashy, and to be sure it’s well designed, but it is 100% style over substance.
And yes, it is expensive as all hell. My wife and I went, and we bought the package with the planetarium show. It was $100 for us to just get in the door. (My daughter had not yet been born, or we could not have afforded it!) That’s not including the parking fee. Oh, and the food we ate there was super expensive. (I guess AiG hasn’t quite got a grip on the Bible verses regarding price gouging and usury.) The petting zoo was a separate cost. By the time we got out of there, bought some cheap over-priced shit at the gift shop, and did all we came to do, we had spent well over $200. Yep. $200 for a childless couple. Imagine what kind of show or event I could’ve taken my wife to for that kind of money! We could’ve had front row seats at a good concert, seen several movies, gone to an actual fun museum (probably for free), taken a trip to the beach… For these prices, only the ardent and faithful will come, and it can’t possibly be a sound business plan. But that doesn’t matter, as I’m sure Ken Ham will make all the money he wants and then retire right before the business falls to shambles. Then he can blame whoever takes over.
Thank you for sharing your firsthand account. I found it quite informative. It made me think that maybe I should take up a lover offering for your expenses. 🙂 Polly and I may go to the Museum some day. Maybe…in a weak moment. 🙂 I would love to see things first hand. From what I understand, the Ark Encounter is 45 miles away from the Museum. That’s quite a distance. I thought they were nearby. I suspect many creationists treat their visits as Muslims do their trek to Mecca.
It is tempting to go see it, especially when you live close by, but I’m certain it will be a bore.
I’m guessing Ham will give free admission on Christmas eve, like the museum, but who wants to go then anyway?
Whachoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis, you weren’t there! THIS is how it was!
As a member of the Tri-State Freethinkers (the group that he has been going on about ever since we announced a counter billboard) all I can do is repeat what our president Jim Helton has said multiple times. We do not oppose him building his Ark Park. We fully support his rights to do so. We oppose him using tax incentives while having discriminatory hiring practices. And we oppose him promoting the park as family friendly when the story it is for is based on genocide and incest.
Ken Ham continues to keep on spreading his misinformation to fellow Fundamentalists and seeks to brainwash school children. His ‘Ark’ and ‘museum’ are a colossal waste of money spreading scientific ignorance to the populace. He has studied evolutionary biology, yet he willfully rejects the evidence in favour of his literal interpretation of a so-called infallible holy book.
While the money keeps on rolling in,Ham will continue to do his damage. He, and his fellow young earth creationists, seek by every means at their disposal to infiltrate public schools where they are able. These attempts must be resisted by all who respect the scientific evidence.
I’ve actually been to several kinds of science museums in my lifetime, plus zoos. And those places are still interesting and fun. Ark Encounter has plastic(?) dinosaurs. Once people go through the museum they will be done. At least Ham is getting his money.
I’d flip Ham’s questions over and ask him why he’s so passionate about something that surely isn’t a threat to him and his beliefs, if atheism has nothing to offer? How much time and effort does he expend in fighting atheism, and why is he bothering, unless he is threatened in some way?
What Ben says above is sensible of course if one does not pay attention to the great commission, the duty of believers to go out and harm hearts and brains. As a youngster I was pretty much convinced that as a Christian kid who did not proselytize, I was headed for eternal burning hellfire. Non-believers fall into a category we might coin as ‘the merely human commission’, meaning we may choose to point out the silly Hams or not. If we choose to reveal the utter bankruptcy of a Ham, then fine but its okay as well to simply ignore the babbling.
Yesterday morning while driving a Red Cross truck full of equipment to a BC town for delivery, I clicked into some spectacularly fast recital of what was likely Koran. Not sure of the language spoken… It was traveling out of the mouth of a man who used almost no tone or inflection but simply robot-recited but at a very fast pace. Not one word was known to me although ‘Allah’ seeme to zip by occasionally. What i discovered is that this nonsense (to me) was an interesting noise for meditation as i drove along in the dark and I listened to it for about 15 minutes, occasionally breaking into babble myself (truly indecipherable babble). This was, I suppose an affront to His Honor but how to resist such a performance, such syllable salad. I believe Ham could be used like this too, an interesting change from say, a babbling brook as one sits quietly in life and waits attentively. Just take a recording of Ham and speed it up so it reveals its essence. I would hazard that these forms may well be some of the very best religious preaching available, some of the most honest and healthy ‘religion’, entirely noise.
A nice article to repost. Interesting we are about a third of the way through my 20 year challenge for Ham. We’ve been through a Trump presidency and are emerging? from a pandemic. It’s interesting to see the safety fee statistics, it is still hard to say if the Ark Encounter is on a slow decline or not. If I had to bet I’d say it lasts longer than Ham does.
Rereading the article it did occur to me that Ken Ham isn’t interested in preaching to atheists…after all should there be an “atheists are free!” day at the Ark Encounter? Maybe EVERYDAY should be atheists are free day?
I suppose everyone needs a nemesis. The church used to have Satan, but now atheists will have to do. And on that note as far as a nemesis goes, at least Ken Ham is the only young earth outfit I find the least bit entertaining. For example the “Discovery Institute” has very little panache, they make a little noise now and then but nothing as garish as the Ark Encounter.
I am tempted to go to Kentucky Ayatollah Ken Ham’s Atrocious Tribute to Anti-intellectualism but I really don’t want to give that place my money. I doubt if I coukd persuade my family to go either unless we carried in our own booze to help fuel our snark…..
Ken Ham needs us truth-denying, brainwashing,
God-obsessing Atheists for exactly the same reason why the TrumpAnon-ists need illegal alien-helping, paedophile ring-enabling, election-stealing Critical Race Theory-big progressives.
In other words, anyone whose belief system is based on something demonstrably false needs a
bogey-person. Since that monster doesn’t exist in real life, they have to believe an exaggerated version—a parody, really—of whomever they find most threatening.
That is how Bruce becomes to Ken Ham (or any number of folks who troll Bruce) as Nancy Pelosi is to Trump.
Same grift, different day. Ham isn’t even the only game in town as far as flashy creation “museums” go. ICR just finished one in the Dallas area in the last year. I want to see it from a morbid curiosity point of view but also feel like I would leave with less brain cells than I went in with. Better save my money then