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Tag: Answers in Genesis

Does the Nazareth Inscription Prove Jesus Resurrected From the Dead?

nazareth inscription

According to the latest bit of nonsense posted on the Answers in Genesis (AIG) website, the following decree from an unnamed Caesar PROVES Jesus resurrected from the dead:

It is my decision [concerning] graves and tombs—whoever has made them for the religious observances of parents, or children, or household members—that these remain undisturbed forever. But if anyone legally charges that another person has destroyed, or has in any manner extracted those who have been buried, or has moved with wicked intent those who have been buried to other places, committing a crime against them, or has moved sepulcher-sealing stones, against such a person, I order that a judicial tribunal be created, just as [is done] concerning the gods in human religious observances, even more so will it be obligatory to treat with honor those who have been entombed. You are absolutely not to allow anyone to move [those who have been entombed]. But if [someone does], I wish that [violator] to suffer capital punishment under the title of tomb-breaker.

Scratching your head? Me too. I see no evidence that remotely suggests that Jesus resurrected from the dead. The AIG article was written by Henry B. Smith Jr. Smith received his training at Trinity Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary and is currently the director of development for the Associates for Biblical Research. Here’s what Smith had to say:

 After Christ’s Resurrection, Claudius Caesar issued a decree for people to stop stealing bodies from Judah’s sepulchers. Without realizing it, he was confirming Christ’s Resurrection!

The Nazareth Inscription is a powerful piece of extrabiblical evidence that Christ’s Resurrection was already being proclaimed shortly after He was raised.
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This “Decree of Caesar” is known as an imperial rescript, having the force of law. Rescripts frequently dealt with unusual legal, religious, or political issues arising in a specific region. The text fits both the style and structure of other rescripts of Claudius.

Matthew records one of the first responses to reports of Jesus’ Resurrection. The Jewish authorities invented a lie that the disciples had stolen the body (Matthew 28:13). Their goal was to spread an alternative story explaining why the body was missing and the tomb was empty. The Nazareth Inscription is very likely the Roman response to that very same problem.
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The Nazareth Inscription forces skeptics to deal more deeply with the two major competing views of events: believing in the Resurrection of Christ or believing that His disciples stole His body from the tomb to perpetrate a great religious fraud. The account of Christ’s Resurrection was first circulated by the Apostles themselves, according to Scripture, and it was not a later invention by Christians of the post-apostolic period. The inscription is excellent evidence confirming this truth, and it brings to mind Paul’s statement, “If Christ is not risen . . . your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

According to historian Richard Carrier:

An excellent summary of the history and nature of this inscription in English, complete with a list of all other work on it up to that time, is F. de Zulueta’s article “Violation of Sepulture in Palestine at the Beginning of the Christian Era,” Journal of Roman Studies 22 (1932), pp. 184-97, and this relies heavily on the most decisive research and commentary on the stone, available only in the French of F. Cumont’s “Un Rescrit Impérial sur la Violation de Sépulture,” Revue Historique (Jan-Apr. 1930), pp. 241-66. I refer to these in what follows:

The Date: Zulueta concludes that the most extreme possible dates of the inscription, based on the style of lettering, are 50 B.C. to A.D. 50. He thinks it most likely in the middle, thus around the turn of the era, long before the death of Jesus. Cumont agrees, believing the edict to be of Augustus, although it may even be of Julius Caesar from the time of the Alexandrine War. Both arrive at this conclusion because the edict states simply “Caesar” and does not qualify with the specific successor’s name, as is almost always the case. Thus, the claim that it dates to the reign of Tiberius or Claudius is not only unsupported by any evidence, but is all but contradicted by the evidence. A Claudian date was conjectured by Dr. De Sanctis only because Galilee (where Nazareth is located) was not under the empire until the time of Claudius, but this is not very decisive for two reasons: first, allied states often voluntarily appealed to Julius Caesar or Augustus for a ruling in some issue (especially in time of war, when the power of Rome was the only effective law enforcer around); second, it is very doubtful that the inscription is actually from Nazareth.

The Location: the inscription’s origin is not clearly known. It was found in the collection of a man named Fröhner when it was donated to the Paris National Library in 1925. His notes on the item state nothing more than “Dalle de marbre envoyée de Nazareth en 1878.” That’s it. This translates as “Slab of marble sent from Nazareth in 1878.” Zulueta observes that this does not say “found” in Nazareth (découverte à), but sent from there, and it has been shown that Fröhner’s “notes on the provenance of his treasures are very exact,” thus he can be counted on to have chosen his words carefully.

In the late 19th century there were only two major market centers for all antiquities recovered in Palestine: Jerusalem and Nazareth. Thus, Zulueta makes the plausible conjecture that the slab was recovered either in Samaria or Decapolis and either purchased in or shipped out of the nearest possible place, which would be Nazareth. Indeed, Zulueta also observes that the text uses the plural form “gods” which would have been offensive to Jews, making the most likely origin the Hellenized district of Decapolis. In line with this is the constant emphasis in the decree of the cult of the dead, even as being on par with the religious worship of gods, a choice of words and phrases that would not have been much approved by Jews, no matter how much it might have been true, but would have made perfect sense in a community of Greeks. On the other hand, there is an historical event in Samaria that could have served as a cause of this decree: in 8 A.D. some Samaritans entered the Temple after midnight and tossed around corpses they had presumably illegally exumed elsewhere, possibly provoking the recall of the governor Coponius.Even so, Zulueta leans in favor of Decapolis, since this edict seems to be unconnected with a Temple violation, and to be aimed more at Greeks than Jews.

To this it can be added that a tiny village of no more than a few hundred inhabitants, none of whom are even remotely likely to have been literate (or even speakers of Greek), is not where such an inscription would be set up. Jerusalem would have been a candidate, but not Nazareth, where the inscription would be useless and a pointless expense. Though the poor quality of the inscription demonstrates that it was put up by a private person, who either was or who hired a scribe who was somewhat incompetent in Greek (but who apparently knew Latin), even this sort of person would not go to all this trouble and expense to put up a slab like this where no one would read it–though even if he did, its location would have nothing to do with the interests of the emperor or governor.[9] All of the above evidence decides fairly strongly against a Nazarene provenance, and in favor of an Augustan date.

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The Nazareth Inscription provides no evidence for Christianity or its claim of an empty tomb. It contains no new or unusual laws regarding graverobbing, the decree itself is not unique, and it has no references or direct links to Christianity of any kind. Moreover, it’s date is most likely pre-Christian, its origin is not likely to be Nazareth, and its contents are not explainable even as a muddled imperial reaction to the theft of Jesus’ body. To tie this to Christianity requires piling dozens of conjectures onto scores of speculations, and the rejection of a good supply of contrary indications and evidence, and none of this is either necessary or reasonable.

Well…there ya go readers. Are you now convinced that Jesus resurrected from the dead?  Me neither.

Smith’s little ditty is just another example of how desperate Evangelicals are to “prove” their faith. As the forces of secularism and science continue to weaken Christianity’s foundation, Evangelicals — fearing the collapse of the faith once delivered to the saints — seek the smallest bit “proof” that can be used to prop up their shack.  While such bits of “proof” might wow the intellectual giants who frequent the AIG website, those outside of  Evangelicalism just shake their head and laugh.

The most that can be said about the Nazareth Inscription is that the Roman government had a body-stealing problem. I know of no evidence that connects the Nazareth Inscription with Matthew 28:11-15:

 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Smith’s presuppositions force him to accept Matthew 28:11-15 as historical fact. Since the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, Smith is certain that soldiers started a rumor about Jesus’ disciples stealing his body. Smith has no evidence for this claim. Like all Evangelicals, Smith’s arguments start and end with “. . . the B-I-B-L-E says . . .”

Ken Ham Proves Yet Again That He Doesn’t Believe in the Sufficiency of Scripture

ken ham

Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis and stand-in for Captain Noah on the Kentucky Ark of Ignorance, is well-known for pointing to the Bible — God’s science textbook — as THE (only/final) authority when it comes to understanding how the universe came to be. Ham is noted for telling Bill Nye that the Bible was all-sufficient, that it alone explains how everything came to be. But here’s the thing, Ham doesn’t really believe this. Here’s proof of my contention:

ken ham tweet

Ken, I ask you, why do we need to read your materials? I thought all we needed to do is read Genesis 1-3. Now you are saying that the Bible is NOT sufficient for our understanding of how the universe and biological life came to be. What’s up with that?

Of course, Evangelicals don’t really believe that the Bible is one-stop and shop knowledge store. If this was really the case, there would be no need for the thousands of Christian books that are published every year. There would also be no need for “ministries” such as Answers in Genesis. Ham and his cadre of professional dispensers of ignorance have published over ten thousand articles that are meant to help Evangelicals understand what God said in Genesis 1-3. If God has spoken, why would Christians have any reason to read any of Ham’s articles? The answer, of course, is that Ham needs 10,000 loads of bullshit to cover up his irrational, anti-scientific, literalistic interpretation of the Bible.

 

 

Ken Ham Needs Atheists So He Can Fund His Monuments to Ignorance

lying ken ham

Ken Ham, also known as the ayatollah of Kentucky and a purveyor of Fundamentalist ignorance, frequently writes articles about atheism. Several days 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?

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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 that 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 the truth to justify my rebellion.”

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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 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 because 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. Would 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 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 avoid 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? 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. This is the real reason for building the Ark Encounter. Creation Museum visit numbers and income are in decline, and Ham needs something that will 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 ensures that the next couple of years will have increasing revenues. The new estimate for the completion of the Ark Encounter stands at $34 million. Opening July 7, 2016, adult tickets will cost $40 ($60 for a Museum combo ticket) and child tickets will cost $28 ($34 combo ticket). Parking will cost an extra $10. If attendance increases as Ham expects, his creationist empire will have over $20 million in new revenue.

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 first and second century thinking 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 says 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. 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.

Ken Ham: Exposure to Young Earth Creationism Caused Atheist to Become Evangelical Christian

nye ham debate

According to Ken Ham’s latest blog post, an atheist woman named Donna became an Evangelical Christian in 1993 after hearing his “Back to Genesis” seminar at Cedarville University. As a skeptic, I find it quite easy to dismiss such claims. I know of no informed, educated atheist who has EVER became a Christian due to exposure to young earth creationist teachings. Such a life trajectory is, in my opinion, nearly impossible. I wrote about this subject the other day in a post titled, Dear Christians: The Word “Atheist” is Not Shorthand for Your Lives Before Jesus.  So, let’s look at Ham’s stupendous claim. As I will quickly show, Ken Ham evidently doesn’t know the definition of the word atheist and neither does convert Donna.

Ham writes:

When I read some of the atheist blogs, Facebook posts, and news articles that display a sheer hatred against Christians (really, it’s a hatred against God), it can seem, humanly speaking, hopeless to try to reach these secularists with the truth of God’s Word and the salvation message it presents.

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As I read many of the comments by atheists (blasphemous and vitriolic as some of them are), I also understand that they have been indoctrinated in evolutionary ideas. Most of them have probably never really heard a clear, logical defense of the Christian faith that would answer many of their skeptical questions. It’s important to remember that God’s Word commands us to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

At the same time, it’s vital that we never divorce any arguments/defense we could present to atheists from the powerful Word of God: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”

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There’s no greater thrill in this ministry than to hear how God has used what has been taught by AiG to touch someone’s life—for eternity. Last week, I was introduced to one of our new volunteers, Donna, who is helping sew some of the costumes for the figures that will be placed inside our full-size Ark.

I discovered that she became a Christian in 1993 after attending one of my seminars (called “Back to Genesis” with the Institute for Creation Research ministry) at Cedarville University in Ohio. The Bible-upholding seminar was such an eye-opener to her about the reliability of the Bible that she became a Christian.

Ham asked Donna to share the story of her conversion from atheism to Evangelical Christianity. Here is some of what Donna had to say:

The Lord opened up this atheistic evolutionist’s eyes decades ago, through exposure to Ken’s ministry.

I was a die-hard evolutionist, completely convinced that the fossil finds in Olduvai Gorge supported the “evidence” that we evolved from less-complicated, early hominid creatures, like the so-called “Lucy”.

To keep a long story short: I attended a Creation Seminar at Cedarville College [now Cedarville University], sat in rapt attention as Ken Ham told me “the rest of the story,” and I realized that all of the fossil finds I believed supported evolution were, in all cases, misinterpreted. I was blown away! So, learning the truth about evolution preceded my realizing that God was real (after all!) and that the Bible was His Word. I became a creationist before I became a believer in Christ.

I was raised and educated Roman Catholic. My parents took all seven of us to church every Sunday. And for all that religiosity, we never spoke of Jesus at home.

After twelve years of Catholic schools, and being taught that Noah’s Ark, for example, was just an allegorical way to relay the story that “if you come on board with belief in God, he’ll keep you through the storm,” that there probably was no actual Noah’s Ark, and probably no actual Adam and Eve, it was easy to throw out the Bible as any believable “Word of God.”

I became a non-Christian. I used to say, “How can I believe a book that’s been copied over and over and over, translated in so many different versions, when it probably doesn’t even look like the original, like a Xerox copy of a Xerox copy of a Xerox copy?” It was easy to walk away from what little faith I’d been taught.

But then being exposed to creation science ministries, I had to look honestly at what I’d come to believe about God. I can’t name a specific date that I came to saving knowledge of what Christ had done for me—it was more of a season. I was that thick headed. It took a while for it all to unfold.

Today, I am feasting on apologetics, Christian music, and the inerrant Word of God. I never thought the Bible could make so much sense. Christ has loved and protected me through my years of doubt, even though I never deserved it. I know where I came from, and I know exactly where I’m going. I am free of the fears and superstitions of religion, because I have a deep, personal relationship with the most awesome Creator of the Universe!…

Does Donna’s testimony remotely sound like that of a person who was once an atheist? Of course not. Donna, like her creationist guru, conflated unbelief and being a non-Christian with atheism. Donna was raised in a Catholic home and attended parochial schools from first through twelfth grade. She was no more an atheist than the Pope. That she stopped believing is certainly a possibility, but I doubt that is the case. Donna spent much of her life immersed in Catholic Christianity. It is this exposure that paved the way to her young earth creationism conversion. Countless Evangelicals can give similar testimonies.

Evangelicals such as Ham do not think Roman Catholics are Christians. According to Evangelicals, Catholicism is a works-based religion that is leading hundreds of millions of people astray. Donna’s “unbelief” wasn’t atheism. It was classic false religion unbelief, a way of explaining life before Jesus. As is often the case, Donna is reading her present Fundamentalist young earth creationist beliefs back into the story of her life. What I would love to know is WHY Donna attended Ham’s seminar? What was going on in her life that led her to attend this seminar? Was she attending an Evangelical church at the time?

Of course, Ham will appeal to the supernatural power of the Evangelical God. What seems impossible to us, is possible with God. Ham writes:

At AiG, we know that non-Christians are really walking dead people “who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Only God’s Word can raise the dead. So when we are witnessing to “dead” people, we do the best we can to give answers (1 Peter 3:15) to defend the faith, and in so doing, point them to the Word of God that saves! God is the One who opens people’s hearts (including atheists) and “who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Yes, God’s Word reaches even the most hardened heart. There is hope for every atheist, for the Lord “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Donna’s story might find a friendly hearing among Ham’s devoted followers, but I find her story lacking in evidence that she was ever an atheist.

Bodie Hodge: The Bible is From God Because it Says it Is

the bible says

Snark ahead. You have been duly warned!

Recently, Bodie Hodge, a writer for Answers in Genesis, decided to take a crab-fork stab at the question, Other Religious Writings: Can They Be from God, Too? According to Hodge, the son-in-law of Ken Ham, only the sixty-six books of Protestant Bible are from God. Hodge writes:

 Other alleged divine writings are not from God because they are not part of the Bible.

The answer seems too simple: other alleged divine writings are not from God because they are not among the 66 books of the Bible and, in fact, they contradict the Bible.

This is a “presuppositional” approach, which means to presuppose that God exists and that His Word, the Bible, is the truth. This is the starting point or axiom.

God never tried to prove His existence or prove that His Word is superior to other writings. God simply opens the Bible with a statement of His existence and says His Word is flawless (Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 30:5). The Bible bluntly claims to be the truth (Psalm 119:160), and Christ repeated this claim (John 17:17).

In fact, if God had tried to prove that He existed or that His Word was flawless, then any evidence or proof would be greater than God and His Word. But God knows that nothing is greater than His Word, and therefore He doesn’t stoop to our carnal desires for such proofs.

There ya have it, boys and girls. Only the 66 books of the Protestant Bible are from God. Why? Because the Bible says so. So there, take that you liberals! Hodge and his daddy-in-law Ham are presuppositionalists. They presuppose that the Christian God is the one true God and that the 66 books of Bible are this God’s words. No evidence is necessary. These truths are correct because Hodge and Ham, and by extension God, say they are.

According to Hodge, God will not contradict himself. Yes, sir he says that sober and with straight face. Here’s the quote:

In the Bible, we read that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). This is significant because it means that God’s Word will never have contradictions. Though skeptics have alleged that there are contradictions in the Bible, every such claim has been refuted. This is what we would expect if God’s Word were perfect.

Yet the world is filled with other “religious writings” that claim divine origin or that have been treated as equal to or higher than the Bible on matters of truth or guidelines for living. In other words, these writings are treated as a final authority over the Bible.

Any religious writing that claims divine inspiration or authority equal to the Bible can’t be from God if it has any contradictions: contradictions with the Bible, contradictions within itself, or contradictions with reality.

And around and around we go. These other religious writings cannot be from God because he only wrote one book, the Bible. And unlike Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame, God is not planning to write a sequel.

At the end of article, Hodge proves “conclusively” that other religious writings such as the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon are not from God. How does he do this you ask? Why he compares these writings to the Protestant Bible and shows that they have different teachings and words. This is a ploy commonly used by people who think the King James Bible is God’s perfect Word for English-speaking people. Here’s how this works. Take Isaiah 7:14, a verse Evangelicals believe prophesies the virgin birth of Jesus. The King James version renders the verse this way:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

However, the New Revised Standard Version renders the verse this way:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Oh Lord, the NRSV takes away the virgin birth, says the King James onlyist. This is PROOF that the NSRV is not from God.

Let me give one more example of this kind of thinking. Take Mark 16:9-20. You know the passage that says in verses 16-18:

 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Some newer translations omit this passage or footnote it saying that verses 9-20 are not found in the oldest manuscripts. King James onlyists see this omission as proof that modern versions are removing God’s Words. If God didn’t want these verses in the Bible he would never have written them to start with. But he did, end of story.

What’s interesting here is that while King James onlyists believe Mark 16:9-20 is the very word of God, they pretty much ignore or explain away what the verses teach. Most King James onlyists are Baptists who believe that salvation is by grace. Baptism has no salvific effect. It is nothing more than a ceremonial act. Yet, this passage clearly says, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Now who is the one taking away from the Word of God? The same goes for the verses that say that the followers of Jesus will cast out devils, speak with new tongues, take up serpents, drink poison without adverse effect, and heal the sick. I don’t know of one King James onlyist church that takes these verses seriously and attempts to put them into practice. Hey Maude, pass the strychnine. It’s my turn to drink poison.

In a similar manner, Hodge thinks if he compares the teachings of Bible with the teachings of the Qur’an he will show that the Protestant Bible is from God and the Qur’an is not. I suspect readers are by now doing a face palm. It’s like a man comparing a Ford owner’s manual with a Chevrolet owner’s manual. Yep, only the Ford is an automobile. Why? The owner’s manuals are different. Of course they are different. One’s for a Ford and the other is for a Chevrolet. Both are automobiles.

So it is with religious texts. Difference is not proof of a text’s truthfulness. Perhaps the Book of Mormon is from God and not the Protestant Bible. It is impossible to know one way or the other just by playing the world-famous Hodge Religious Text Comparison Game®. And Hodge knows this. He concludes his survey of the astounding wonders of the closed Evangelical mind with this statement:

So there are two options: place our faith in the perfect, all-knowing God who has always been there, or trust in imperfect, fallible mankind and his philosophies. The Bible, God’s Holy Word, is superior to all other alleged holy books. God will never be wrong or contradict Himself. So start with the Bible and build your faith on its teachings so that you please Him.

Finally, Hodge gives the answer to every question about the Bible and its teachings: faith. Why not start with this answer? All Hodge had to say is that by faith he believes the Protestant Bible is from God. Faith cuts off any rational inquiry. Faith keeps Evangelicals from investigating Hodge’s false claim that there are no contradictions in the Bible. Hodge doesn’t want Answers in Genesis supporters to think for themselves. Just have faith, he says. How else can someone believe the universe is 6,020 years old? Such a belief, along with a plethora of other literalistic beliefs, require great faith. This is a faith that becomes blinders for the mind, keeping people from daring to rationally investigate the claims made by men such as Bodie Hodge.

Never will there be found in their possession one of Bart Ehrman’s books. Reading such books and comparing them to what the keepers of Evangelical Biblical Truth® say will certainly lead to questions and doubt. And we can’t have that. Doubt is a lack of trust in God. Doubt is sign that Satan is gaining a stronghold. We must not have questions and doubt, Evangelical preachers say. Just have faith and your doubts will go away. And if they don’t? Dammit, stop asking questions and believe what I tell you to believe!!

Note

If you are interested in reading what Hodge thinks about atheists, please read Dear Atheists, from Bodie Hodge. Please grab a barf bag and have it nearby when you start to read. Trust me, you will need it.

 

Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent News Concerning Recent Spate of Letters from Creationists

letter to the editor

What follows is a letter I submitted today to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News. It should be published in a few days. I encourage readers to read a letter to the editor I wrote in 1999 about the same the subject. You will quickly see that my viewpoint has changed a wee bit over the past 17 years.

Dear Editor:

If I didn’t know any better, based on recent letters to the editor and church advertisements touting young-earth creationism, I would think that we are living in the 1920s — the era of the great creationist versus evolution debate.

We are almost 100 years removed from the Scopes monkey trial, yet Christian fundamentalists are still trying to hoodwink unwitting people into believing creationism is a scientific theory. Not only do they want the scientifically ignorant to believe that creationism is a scientific theory, Fundamentalists also want them to believe that it is the only explanation for the biological world.

Readers of the Crescent-News need to understand exactly what Christian fundamentalists are saying. According to them, the universe was created by the Christian God 6,020 years ago, in six 24-hour days. They also want you to believe that 2,000 years later God, in a genocidal rampage, killed every living thing with a flood, save Noah, his family, and two of every animal.

While these stories make for wonderful bedtime readings to children, they have no business being taught, outside of a comparative religion class, in the public school classroom. Creationism, along with its gussied-up sister intelligent design, is religious dogma, not biological science. I am of the opinion that any public school teacher found to be teaching creationism should immediately be removed from the classroom. We owe it to our children to make sure that they are taught sound scientific principles. God did it, is not such a principle.

I am sure my letter will bring howls and gnashing teeth from local Christian fundamentalists. They will, as they always do, cut and paste supposed rebuttals of evolution from bastions of ignorance like Answers in Genesis or The Institute of Creation Research. What they will fail to produce is peer-reviewed studies supporting their creationist claims. If creationists want to overthrow evolution, then I suggest they start publishing papers in non-Evangelical science journals. When the weight of the arguments become so overwhelming that they cannot be ignored, I have no doubt that scientists will declare creationism the winner.

This will never happen, of course, because creationism is theological in nature, not sound biological science. If people want to believe that a mythical God created the universe 6,020 years ago, fine. Ignorance is a permitted vice in a free society. But we should insist that public school children be taught science, and not long-discredited religious myths.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Once Again, Ken Ham Denies the Sufficiency of Scripture

ken ham

I previously wrote about that fact that Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis, doesn’t really believe that the Bible is all-sufficient.  (Please see Ken Ham’s Ark Project Shows He Doesn’t Believe in the Sufficiency of Scripture.)  Evangelicals like Ham supposedly believe the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God. I say supposedly, because upon closer examination of their orthopraxy (correct practice), Evangelicals are quite willing to ignore the Bible when it suits them.

Take Ham’s latest monument to Fundamentalist ignorance, the Ark Encounter: a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark. The Bible records in Genesis 6-9 the mythical story of Noah and the flood. According to the Bible, God, sickened and angered by the sin of human race, decided to use a global flood to kill everyone, save Noah and his family. Out of the millions of people on the face of the earth, only Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, were deemed worthy of God’s grace (evidently Noah’s grandchildren didn’t make the cut).

God told Noah to prepare a big boat, by which he, Jehovah, would save Noah and his family. In Genesis 6:13-16, God gave Noah strict engineering plans to follow when building the ark:

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

God told Noah to use gopher wood for the Ark’s construction. The word gopher is used only once in the Bible. Some English translations leave the word untranslated, while others, especially modern Bible versions, translate the Hebrew word as cypress or cedar. Knowing these things, imagine my surprise when I read that Ken Ham is using spruce trees (Englemann spruce) to build his replica of Noah’s Ark. Ham writes:

When you visit the Ark Encounter next year, one of the things that will just blow you away is the massive scope of the Ark and the colossal size of the trees that were used to construct it. We’ve heard people ask what type of trees they are and where they came from. The trees were standing dead Englemann spruce that were over 200 years old.

….

They were responsibly harvested from a forest in Utah. There are select forests managed by the forestry service where dead trees, before they begin to rot, are harvested and repurposed; then the forest is replanted for future harvests. What’s really nice about these gigantic 66 foot tall logs that are 50 inches in diameter is the fact that they are already dry, so they won’t move or twist once in place.

Why isn’t Ham using gopher wood? Surely, God meant what he said when he told Noah exactly what wood and dimensions to use in constructing the Ark. Evidently, Ham doesn’t really believe that the Bible is all-sufficient. If he did, he would either scour the earth looking for gopher wood or he would use cyprus/cedar to build the Ark. Instead, Ham chose a wood that met project engineering and cost requirements. In other words, he allowed modern science and mathematics to dictate the construction of his modern-day Ark. It is too bad that Ham can’t do the same when it comes to the creationist story of Genesis 1-3. Why does Ham demand a literalistic interpretation of Genesis 1-3, yet ignore this hermeneutic when choosing which wood to use for building the Ark? Ham demands that modern scientists bow to the authority of the Bible, yet he is quite willing to ignore it when it suits him.

Ham presents the Ark project as one that is environmentally responsible. Ham says the project’s spruce trees were “responsibly harvested from a forest in Utah.” What he fails to tell readers is why these trees were available for what Ham calls the “largest timber-frame structure in the world.” According to the The Salt Lake Tribune, spruce beetles have destroyed the state’s once burgeoning Englemann spruce population. In 2011, Brandon Loomis, a writer for The Tribunewrote:

Some three-toed woodpecker in these woods is pleasantly plump on beetles, but the buffet can’t go on forever. It lasts only as long as the trees.

The gluttony is written on and around a stocky spruce that looks green and mostly healthy to the untrained eye, except for the fact that it’s pecked nude from the waist down.

No bird harmed the tree, though. The damage was already done.

“These trees are loaded with bugs,” said Liz Hebertson, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist, down from Ogden to survey this year’s spruce-beetle infestation in south-central Utah. Peeling back a neighboring spruce’s bark confirms that larvae are maturing, readying for the short flight of their lives in search of new pine prey.

It’s nothing new to her. Mountains of Utah’s verdant spruce slopes are gone. If climate scientists are right, they might never be back.

After a rain, Utah’s high spruce forests evoke the misty Pacific Northwest — unlikely lush islands rising from redrock desert and olive chaparral. Now a complex set of threats conspires to take them down.

One is natural — the beetle with a taste for older trees, aided by a decade of tree-stressing drought. Another is a century of fire suppression that built up fuels to the bursting point. Aiding both those killers is a rising thermometer.

Even if a warmer climate can again support Engelmann spruce — the state’s dominant commercial-grade tree — it will be 200 years or more until they grow back to the towering sentinels that 20th-century Utahns knew. In the meantime, subalpine firs may spring up in their place, replacing green for green but not with dollars. Subalpine firs are more brittle — not lumber material.

….

It’s been a losing battle so far, and science suggests it’s a long-run lost cause.

First, there’s the insect’s physiology and its response to increasing warmth. The cold-blooded spruce beetles in these hills once took two years to mature from the egg and fly on to breed in new trees. In the early 2000s, Hebertson said, forest scientists documented a switch to one-year cycles here, which boosted the population and primed a disaster.

Beetles have taken 2 million acres of Utah forest in roughly that time, the largest share of it spruce. The outbreak started in the 1990s around Cedar Breaks National Monument in southwestern Utah, where Hebertson has seen no evidence of spruce regeneration since.

The Forest Service has found that higher temperatures aid and speed beetle production. The Utah Climate Center at Utah State University finds that since 1970 the mercury has risen swiftly when it counts most — more than 3 degrees on average during bug-killing winter lows at a monitoring station at Capitol Reef National Park in southern-central Utah.

A decade of beetles-gone-wild might not spell doom in normal conditions. Big outbreaks have shown up before, and the spruce have rebounded. This time, though, computer models based on society’s carbon emissions aren’t looking good. They show Engelmann spruce practically blinking out in Utah by 2090, limited to a strand in the High Uintas.

….

Global warming is the reason Ham found reasonably priced spruce trees for the Ark project, the very climate change Ham denies is materially affecting the earth. Rod J. Martin, a self-described independent researcher with no stated scientific credentials, explains Answers in Genesis’ official global warming position this way: (link no longer active)

The Bible does not speak directly about what we call global warming. It does, however, provide a framework for evaluating the merits of global warming claims. To reiterate, the global warming discussion centers on CO2 (the atmosphere) and trees (plants). The Bible, of course, addresses the atmosphere and plants. The biblical framework for evaluating global warming is primarily found in Genesis. The RATE study mentioned above established that Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 (the Creation account) was narrative. The study also determined that the Flood account (Genesis chapters 7 to 9) is also narrative (Vardiman et al. 2005, pp. 661 and 667). This paper will also briefly reference the dispersion of the nations at the tower of Babel in the summary. Although the RATE study did not evaluate the Tower of Babel, I believe that if the creation and the Flood passages are narrative then the tower of Babel passage is narrative also. These passages describe real events and real people. The following sections briefly discuss passages related to the atmosphere and plants.

….

The biblical history of the earth, contained in the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis, provides a useful and sufficient framework for evaluating the current global warming issue. As we have seen, CO2 is a natural atmospheric gas that is essential for man’s existence. It is not a pollutant. The atmosphere is likely deficient in CO2 compared with the original created atmosphere. Reducing CO2 would definitely create problems, but increasing it will not. Burning fossil fuels merely returns CO2 to its place of origin. Forests are to be used for man’s benefit. They are not needed to produce O2 and they have no intrinsic rights, but should be managed responsibly and effectively.

Basic science is consistent with the biblical history and argues strongly against the global warming hypothesis. Melting glaciers and changing climates are not an indication of man-made global warming. These natural phenomena have been operating for thousands of years. Temperature histories are imprecise and unreliable. Global warming is built on an evolutionary earth history and an evolutionary time scale. Anything built on a faulty foundation cannot stand. Global warming is an offshoot of evolutionary thinking and is needlessly creating mass hysteria. God is in control of the earth, not man.

It can be expected that several trends evident since the Flood, however, will continue: sea level will rise as polar glaciers continue to melt, and deserts will expand. These trends, as we have shown, have little to do with CO2, they are a consequence of a God ordained event, the Flood. Governments with either ocean boundaries or deserts should consider how to efficiently and economically address these trends. There is no viable justification either biblically or scientifically for limiting the generation of CO2 or restricting logging of forests.

….

When it comes to the type of wood to use for his colossal tinker toy project, Ham ignores the Bible and, instead, buys a wood that is affordable thanks to global warming. Yet, when it comes to the warming of the planet and what problems rising global temperatures will cause, Ham, Martin, and the “astute” scientists at Answers in Genesis, demand a return to a strict, literalistic reading of Genesis 1-3. Simply put, global warming is much ado about nothing, because…drum roll please, the BIBLE says. While Ham uses modern engineering practices and cost studies for building the Ark, he reverts to knuckle-dragging, young-earth-creationist talking points when it comes to global warming.

I wish Ken Ham would make up his mind about the sufficiency of the Bible. Either it’s God’ divine science textbook or it’s not. Either God did or he didn’t tell Noah everything he needed to know about building a large boat in the desert. Which is it? Or perhaps Ham, like all Evangelicals, gives lip service to the sufficiency of the Bible. When it suits him he demands literalism, but when necessary Ham is quite willing to abandon the all-sufficient Bible in favor of modern science and technology.

Ken Ham Warns Atheists Are Out to Steal Children and Eat Them Too

Ken Ham

Eat them, metaphorically speaking, with BBQ sauce.

In 2012,  Ken Ham, a young earth creationist, snake oil salesman, and the CEO of Answers in Genesis, warned his followers about the dangers of secularism and atheism:

… Christians today are hungry to be equipped with the resources to fight the battle before us in this increasingly secular culture, where God’s Word is being attacked on nearly every front.

I love teaching children. Once again, as we’ve seen across the country at similar conferences, we were able to reach hundreds of children and young people who attended the special school assembly programs in Florida.

I want to remind you that our theme at AiG for the next two years is “Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids” as we focus on rescuing them from this present evil age.

Recently, I coauthored an article for the AiG website about Arizona State University Professor Lawrence Krauss. He has now posted videos accusing Christians who teach their children about creation of committing “child abuse.” He even accuses those who teach their children about hell of committing “child abuse.”

Lawrence Krauss is an atheist, and he is an atheist on a mission right now to capture your kids for the anti-God religion of atheism. Think about it—he wants you to hand your kids over to him so he can try to brainwash children into believing they are just animals and that they are not made in the image of God. He wants them to be taught when you die, you rot—and that’s it! In essence, he wants your kids to be captured for the devil.

You know, I often think about why people such as Krauss are so aggressive in preaching their anti-God message of meaninglessness, purposelessness, and hopelessness. We we know that in Romans 1 we are told such people know that God is real, so they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” And it’s even more than that. They want the focus on them—it is a self-centeredness. They want you to think they are a god! They have succumbed to the devil’s temptation in Genesis 3:5—they want to be like God—they want to be a god!

Such God-haters like Lawrence Krauss and others usually go ballistic when they hear of AiG teaching kids about Genesis. And they just hate me teaching children the truth about science, origins, and how to think correctly about such matters.

This past Monday in Florida, I taught young children for an hour and a half, covering topics like dinosaurs, fossils, the Flood, creation, evolution, the gospel and much more. I showed them how the history recorded in the Bible explains dinosaurs and that observational science confirms the Bible’s history. Secularists hate me teaching children to think correctly about origins as I help them understand what God taught Job in Job 38:4. God asked Job if he was there when God made the earth. But of course, he wasn’t—and that’s the point. When it comes to origins, no human was there to see the earth come into existence! But God has always been there. Evolutionists were not there to see the supposed millions of years of evolution. So I love to teach the kids to ask the question, “Were you there?” when someone talks about millions of years. The kids get it! The atheists don’t want to get it because they don’t want to give up the starting point for their worldview—i.e., that fallible man determines truth.

I taught the high school students how to understand science in relation to the origins issue by showing them the difference between beliefs about the past and knowledge gained by observation, which enables us to build technology.

Recently, Dr. Krauss made the false statement that evolution is the basis of biology and the basis of technology. Absurd nonsense! I made sure I taught the students how to think correctly about such issues. Then I gave them answers to many of the questions skeptics will use to try to make them doubt God’s Word—questions like these: Who made God? How did Noah fit the animals on the Ark? Isn’t natural selection evolution? What about Carbon dating?…

Evangelicals like Ham love a good conspiracy theory. They believe we are living in the last days and Jesus could return to earth at any moment.  (Though I suspect Ham secretly hopes Jesus doesn’t return before he open his Noah’s Ark Amusement Park.) They also believe the world will become increasingly more sinful the closer we get to the return of Jesus. The rise of secularism and atheism is proof to people like Ham that we are living in the last days.

Ken Ham, and millions of other Evangelicals, believe they are called by God to stand against Satan and his lies. In their eyes, secularism, atheism, humanism, evolution, acceptance of homosexuality, and legalized abortion are Satanic lies that must be exposed and defeated.

Ham is right about one thing; America is becoming more secular. He is also right that the battle for the future of America will be fought in our public schools and universities. Make no mistake about it, secularists, humanists, and atheists believe the kind of Christianity Ham peddles is intellectually harmful and retards the thinking of young people.

And so we fight. No longer do secularists, humanists, and atheists hide in the shadows, fearing the wrath of Christian America. We can sense the tide is turning, and so does Ken Ham.

Secularists, humanists, and atheists use reason and facts to show  young people a better way. They show that there is no need to appeal to myth or religious superstition to explain and understand the world. Science is revealing a universe to us that is amazing and wondrous, but it is also showing that the religious narratives of the past 1,800 years are no longer credible explanations for the world we live in.

Ham does his best to disparage secularists, humanists, and atheists. According to Ham:

  • We preach a message of hopelessness
  • We preach a message of meaninglessness
  • We preach a message of purposelessness
  • We know God exists but suppress it
  • We are self-centered, it is all about us

Only with his last point does Ham get it right. Secularists, humanists, and atheists plead guilty to being human-centered (though that is not the ONLY focus we have).  We know that focusing on prayer, God, or pronouncements from ancient religious texts will do little to improve the world. In fact, such beliefs might actually cause great harm (Many of the people who deny global climate change do so for religious reasons.)

Ham and his devoted disciples are infuriated that people like Lawrence Krauss say teaching children creationism is child abuse. However, let’s consider for a moment whether Krauss’s claim is true. If creationism is religious fiction, then teaching children it is true is a lie. From the time they can walk and talk, Evangelical Christian children are taught all sorts of lies from the Bible. How can this not have a negative effect on children? (Especially since belief in the creation myth is carried into adult life.)

Teaching children the earth is 6,020 years old, that God killed with a flood every human being save eight a few thousand years ago, and that anyone who does not accept the Evangelical version of the Christian God will be tortured by  God in hell for eternity, is quite harmful to the intellectual development of children.

The waiting rooms of mental health professionals are filled with people who have had their sense of self-worth damaged or destroyed by Christian teachings like original sin. Being told you are wicked, that you can be oppressed or possessed by Satan, and that God holds absolute power of your life, does not make for a healthy mind.

So, to Ken Ham, I say this: Yes we are coming for your children.  We don’t actually want to dine on fat Christian sucklings, but we do hope to expose them as they get older to the wide, wondrous universe we live in. We hope to teach them to think critically and not to accept something as fact just because a preacher declares from the pulpit  God says __________________.

I am not anti-Christian or anti-religion. I am, however, anti-ignorance. I think parents hurt their children when they keep them from ALL the knowledge available about the universe and their place in it.

Ken Ham Approves of Brothers Having Sex With Sisters

ken ham incest chart

Not now of course, but young earth creationist Ken Ham thinks that incest before the giving of the Mosaic law was OK.

Ham writes:

…Perhaps no woman mentioned in Scripture has caused more confusion among Christians. Despite the fact that we have regularly addressed this issue in numerous books, articles, and presentations, the issue of Cain’s wife is still one of the most common questions we receive. Who was she, and why have so many believers struggled to give a biblical answer to this inquiry?

The simple answer is that Cain married his sister or another close relation, like a niece. This answer may sound revolting for those of us who grew up in societies that have attached a stigma to such an idea, but if we start from Scripture, the answer is clear.

1 Corinthians 15 tells us that Adam was the first man. Genesis 3:20 states that Eve was the mother of all the living.(NASB), and Genesis 5:4 reveals that Adam and Eve had sons and daughters (besides Cain, Abel, and Seth).

There were no other people on earth as some have claimed. God did not create other people groups from which Cain chose a wife, as we are all made of one blood (Acts 17:26). If He had made others, these people would not have been able to be saved from their sins, since only descendants of Adam can be saved—that’s why it was so important for Jesus to be Adam’s descendant.

Doesn’t the Bible forbid marriage between close relations? It does, but the laws against marrying family members were initially given as part of the Mosaic covenant, approximately 2,500 years after God created Adam and Eve. Due in part to genetic mistakes, these laws were necessary to help protect offspring from mutations shared by both parents.

But that’s incest! In today’s world, this would be incest. But originally there would have been no problem with it. Looking back through history, the closer we get to Adam and Eve, the fewer genetic mistakes people would have, so it would have been safer for close relatives to marry and have children.

Christians who have a problem with this answer need to remember that Noah’s grandchildren must have married brothers, sisters, or first cousins—there were no other people (1 Peter 3:20, Genesis 7:7). Abraham married his half-sister (Genesis 20:2). Isaac married Rebekah, the daughter of his cousin Bethuel (Genesis 24:15), and Jacob married his cousins Leah and Rachel. Clearly, the Bible does not forbid the marriage of close relatives until the time of Moses…

Ham’s argument is necessary if one reads the Bible literally. In Ham’s world, the earth is 6,020 years old and evolution is the lie of Satan. However, in the aforementioned post, Ham reveals that he is not really as much of a literalist as he claims to be.

Ham says Cain married his sister or niece. Where does the Bible say this? Where does the Bible say Cain married anyone? Perhaps people didn’t get married in Cain’s day. Perhaps Cain actually had sexual relations with his mother. Why doesn’t Ham mention this as a possibility? Ham repeats the same story when trying to explain where the children of Noah’s grandchildren came from.

According to Ham, a law against incest was not necessary until 2,500 years after God created Adam and Eve.  The reason?  “…genetic mistakes, these laws were necessary to help protect offspring from mutations shared by both parents.” Again, where does the inerrant, inspired, infallible Bible say this? Shouldn’t Ham follow the mantra, where the Bible speaks we speak, and where the Bible is silent we are silent?

How is a human behavior not sinful for 2,500 years and then, all of a sudden, it becomes sinful? How can an immoral act be moral? Does this mean God changed his mind? Does this mean God permitted immorality so he could accomplish a greater good? I thought Jesus (God) was the same yesterday, today, and forever? Doesn’t Ham’s explanation lay waste to this “Biblical truth?”

Sooooo many questions…

Ken Ham Asks His Disciples to Pray for Me

dinosaurs on the ark
Cartoon by Mike Peters

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post titled Ken Ham Warns Atheists Are Out to Steal Your Children and Eat Them Too. While this post was lost in a server crash, I was able to recover the part of the post that resulted in Ken Ham asking his devoted Facebook followers to pray for me:

…Teaching children the earth is 6,000 years old, that God killed with a flood every human being save eight a few thousand years ago, and that anyone who does not accept the Evangelical version of the Christian God will be tortured by the Evangelical God in hell for eternity, is quite harmful to the intellectual development of children.

The waiting rooms of mental health professionals are filled with people who have had their sense of self-worth damaged or destroyed by Christian teachings like original sin. Being told you are wicked, that you can be oppressed or possessed by Satan, and that God holds absolute power of your life, does not make for a healthy mind,

So, to Ken Ham, I say this: Yes we are coming for your children. We hope to expose them to the wide, wondrous universe we live in. We hope to teach them to think critically and not to accept something as fact just because a preacher said or God said __________________.

I am not anti-Christian or anti-religion. I am, however, anti-ignorance. I think parents hurt their children when they keep them from ALL the knowledge available about the universe and their place in it…

Instead of praying for me, the Hamites, a species related to the Dodo Bird, went on the offensive, and in doing so they exposed their ignorance about and hatred for atheists. Here’s what some of Ham’s disciples had to say:

Start of Quotes

The level of pure hatred in their writings are almost palpable. They are the blind, leading the blind right into Hell!

Should not their own venomous hatred be a warning to them that they are not thinking clearly and rationally? How can they possibility imagine that they are walking in truth when they are eaten up with bitterness and loathing?

And as is highly typical of skeptics, they use lots of insults and personal attacks.
In fact, insults are their personal mark and business card. Remember too – Satan is called the accuser of the brethren.

Sad for them. Their hearts are hardened.

evil is cancer…it spreads quickly everywhere…it destorys the ability to think or even reason…the worldly mind just cannot understand the wisdom of God. Praise God for grace.

So much anger and hatred. Just proves, in my mind, that this is a spiritual battle.

I really think the average Christian needs to have a better quick come back for the “God said” “God is speaking to me” and why the Bible is true… Those objections are voiced over and over again and I find the average Christian raised in our churches today simply has no good quick answer….

Jesus said we would be hated by this world because it hated Him first. Also all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

“we are coming for your children.” Over my dead body.

“We are coming for your children” … Arrogant, conceited, rude and intrusive, aren’t they?

This may be the most difficult part of being a Christian, Ken: standing in the face of uncalled-for hatred. Perhaps we should all think of Jesus being nailed to the cross as we hear this kind of nonsensical hatred. Their pride will destroy them. Repentance is the only way….

While we MUST expose the wiles of the evil one, we must also remember that apart from the Grace of God, many of us would likely be in the same position they are in. Jesus warned us that in the End Times there would be a great deception and this is obvious. It is only by the Grace of God that we do not fall for this deception. We are indeed in a war and our enemy does not play fair. Fortunately, we fight with a Commander-in-Chief who also does not fight fair. Our Commander wins…PERIOD because he overcame death, sin, the grave, deception, and every other weapon the enemy throws at us. NO WEAPON formed against us shall prosper. The lies, the hate, the slander, the fear, all the weapons these atheists throw at us shall not prosper.

These atheists are not as secure as they present themselves to be. The truth of God’s Word dispels darkness. Be encouraged Ken. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Romans 5:20

The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true. Since the Bible is true, that would be impossible! If science from the beginning had believed and searched the scriptures, there would have been more progress. For example, science once believed in bleeding people to make them feel better, a flat earth, and more. Bible knowledge would have prevented those errors of “science” along with the impossible theory of evolution – the “belief” that everything came from nothing with no influence from any power or intelligence. Now that’s retarded thinking.

And again we see the humanists’ “tolerance”!

I’m interested in reading these updates, but I’d like to follow up on something you wrote above. I have NEVER met anyone who hates God, ever. I’ve never heard anyone say that. They do hate us and our interpretation of God’s word (truth!).

Thank you for sharing. It is so sad that the lost cannot understand the truth and their deception turns their anger towards those who proclaim the truth. We need to understand those on the other side to know how to combat their influence.

Wow…such hatred. I think it is sad that the Christians use to be dogmatic, and that crowd was quiet, and now it has flipped around. They are dogmatic, and the Christians have become the quiet ones. And the gall of people like this to discredit all Creationists, and especially to discredit the credentials of scientists who are Creationists, is unjust. These scientists have payed for their education, and spent as much of their life in school, as the secular scientists, and so it is unjust to claim that these guys are dumb and stupid.

Never forget a man got up and walked out of the grave……….Atheists are such fools.

He needs to know that we don’t believe in the 7 day creation because a pastor said “God said,” but because God said! We need to stick to the word. Thanks Mr Ken.

if God is not real, why would I waste my time arguing or caring about what Christians thought….nothing meanings anything if there is no God….so I would spend my time in as much pleasure and selfishness as possible as I only have maybe 80 years of meaningless existence…I would not want to waste a second on science or Christianity…who cares?…the fact they oppose so strongly shows they are scared and insecure in their own beliefs

I asked a few Athiest once, why do you talk about God so much if God doesn’t exist? Why do you mock it? An Athiest told me its because of all the violence and wars. And I asked if that is true. Why is it a Christian God and not any other gods, for example Allah the god of Islam?.. I have personally paid attention to the media and tv shows that would make fun of religion. And also been in Philosophy classes where they would bring up a Christian God most of the time. Even they say Christianity copied other religions when it was the other way around they pic and choose things. Indeed we are living in the End times I believe. More Christians are being persecuted there was/still is being more Christians being persecuted in the last century than the 1900 years after 0A.D all together. The Lord has really told me that He is my shield. And to have full Faith in Him. As I’ve been reading Scripture lately.

End of Quotes

Here’s my favorite comment, written by Don Swaringen, a 1961 graduate of Bob Jones University :

The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true. Since the Bible is true, that would be impossible! If science from the beginning had believed and searched the scriptures, there would have been more progress. For example, science once believed in bleeding people to make them feel better, a flat earth, and more. Bible knowledge would have prevented those errors of “science” along with the impossible theory of evolution – the “belief” that everything came from nothing with no influence from any power or intelligence. Now that’s retarded thinking.

Let’s see:

  • “The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true.” Why ? The “Bible is true”, Swearingen says.  Talk about circular reasoning; the Bible is true because the Bible says it is true.
  • Bloodletting? A procedure performed on the sick for 1,900 years, long before the modern scientific era.  Numerous Christians and clergymen were bled by Christian doctors. All of them had the Bible at their disposal, yet none of them found the “truth” about bloodletting. It took scientists, not theologians, to find out that, in most cases, bloodletting does not help the sick.
  • Flat earth? Evidently, Swaringen is not aware that the flat earth belief came, in part, from the Bible. Daniel 4:10, Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7:1, Matthew 4:8 (Excellent article (link no longer active) by Adrian Swindler on the relevant Bible passages that teach the earth is flat. Here’s another article (link no longer active) by Swindler about the one time common belief that the earth was flat)
  • There would be more progress if science believed the Bible? Really?  What about the scientists who were killed for going against the Bible and the teachings of the Christian church? What does history tells us about countries that have a religious-text based science? Look at the Muslim world and see what happens when theology trumps science.
  • Science does make errors, but it correct them. When’s the last time the Don Swaringen’s of the world have “corrected” an error in their Bible or theology? Everyone now…NEVER!

Notes

Ken Ham’s Facebook page

What Ken Ham Thinks the Atheist Agenda Is

answers in genesis sign

Based on a YouTube video produced by a few atheists talking about creationism, homeschooling, and Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis, the Creationist Museum, and the Noah’s Ark Amusement Park has concluded:

A recent video of an atheist chat session on the internet is a must watch for all Christians! Every pastor, Christian leader, homeschooler, teenager, Christian parent, and, in fact, all Christians need to see this video chat featuring a number of very intolerant atheists (and some are hateful and angry). In fact, watch it at your Bible study, youth group meeting, home group, home, and so on—you will hear for yourself some of the best practical illustrations of many passages of Scripture come to life, including Romans 1, 2 Peter 3, and many other passages of Scripture that refer to people who oppose Christians. This can be an excellent practical Bible study for you.

The atheist video is one of the best I’ve seen to illustrate atheists exhibiting the following traits:

  • Intolerance and arrogance
  • Hatred of biblical Christians
  • Hatred of the Bible
  • Ignorance
  • Wanting to control education and capture your kids’ hearts and minds
  • Extremism
  • Fighting against freedom of religion
  • Wanting to close down or limit biblical, Christian homeschooling
  • Seeking to control what private organizations teach
  • Desiring to control what you teach at home
  • Claim Christians are scientifically ignorant but are themselves scientifically inept
  • Sanctimoniously determining morality for themselves
  • Attempting to shape the culture according to their anti-God beliefs

First, let me say I wish atheists/humanists/secularists would STOP putting out videos like the one mentioned by Ham. The video is poorly done, quite embarrassing, and certainly should not be taken as a representation of how all or many atheists, humanists, and secularists think.

Second, Ham is an expert at ginning up support for his conspiratorial ideas about atheists, humanists, and secularists. It is NOT in our best interest to give him things that he can easily manipulate to gain his desired objective.

Now to Ham’s delineation of what he thinks the atheist agenda is. My response is indented and in italics.(it may not appear this way on some mobile devices)

Intolerance and arrogance

Intolerance and arrogance are human traits and not specific to any group. There are lots of intolerant, arrogant Christians, Ham included. Besides, intolerance has its place. We should be intolerant of beliefs that deliberately promote ignorance; beliefs like the earth is 6,020 years old and that global warming is a myth.

Hatred of biblical Christians

I am sure that there are atheists who hate Christians. However, most atheists do not hate Christians. They hate their beliefs. They hate their attempts to promote ignorance. They hate their attempt to hijack the U.S. government and turn our secular state into a theocracy.

Hatred of the Bible

Hate the Bible? Really?  Who in their right mind hates a book, an inanimate object? I HATE you, Moby Dick!  This is a silly statement. What we DO hate is what Christians DO with the Bible,and that’s trying to force everyone to worship their God and obey its commands.

Ignorance

Ignorance of what? The Bible? Not a chance. I may be ignorant of many things, but ignorance of the Bible is not one of them.  Ham mistakes disagreement for ignorance. He is also oblivious to the fact that many of us were raised in church and know the Bible inside and out. Some of us are even college or seminary trained former pastors.  We are anything BUT ignorant.

Wanting to control education and capture your kids’ hearts and minds

If Ham is talking about public schools then the answer is yes. Public schools should be secular, tax-supported institutions.  People like Ham, holding to ignorant, unscientific beliefs, have no business being anywhere near the public schools. If parents want to school their children in scientific ignorance they are free to home school them or send them to a private Christian school.

Extremism

What’s extremism? In Ken Ham’s world, extremism is anything that differs from his narrow, peculiar beliefs. Besides, whose beliefs are extreme? Those who follow the path of science or those who get their science and history from a literalistic interpretation of an ancient text written by unknown authors thousands of years ago?

Fighting against freedom of religion

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

We are fighting against those who want to establish a theocracy. We are fighting against those who say the separation of church and state is a myth. Ham and all persons are free to worship God as they see fit as long as they stay on their side of the wall of separation of church and state. Want to drink poison and handle snakes as Mark 16 commands? By all means, go ahead. But, poison-drinking, snake-handling beliefs have no place in public schools or in official government policy.

Wanting to close down or limit biblical, Christian homeschooling

Limit, yes. Close down, no.

Home school teachers should be competent and society has a right to expect that every child receives a quality, comprehensive education. If home schoolers are willing to do this, I have no problem with home schooling. However, a number of states need to improve their home schooling and non-chartered private school laws. As it stands now, there is far too much latitude given to parents and private schools, and this often results in a poor, substandard education.

Seeking to control what private organizations teach

Again, we all have a vested interest in what children are taught. Our future depends on them receiving a quality, comprehensive education.

If he is talking about the Home School Convention, Answers in Genesis, or the Creation Museum, then yes they should be free to teach whatever they want as long as tax money is not being used to support these ignorant “teaching” endeavors.

Desiring to control what you teach at home

See above. Ham has repeated this point three times.

Claim Christians are scientifically ignorant, but are themselves scientifically inept

No, we don’t say Christians are scientifically ignorant. We DO say that young earth creationists are scientifically ignorant.  Anyone who thinks the universe is 6,020 years old or thinks dinosaurs walked on the face of the earth at the same times humans did is scientifically ignorant. Every time science comes up with a new discovery that  repudiates creationism, Ham fires up his IBM 286 computer, opens up Word Perfect for DOS, and writes a post disagreeing with the new discovery. He then posts it to the Answers in Genesis BBS. Wrong decade? Not in Ken Ham’s world.

Sanctimoniously determining morality for themselves

Duh, who else is going to determine what my morals are but me? Ham wants everyone to have his morals because he got his morals directly from God. If Christians all get their morals from God, why is it so many of them have differing moral views?

Attempting to shape the culture according to their anti-God beliefs

Guilty as charged with one caveat. I am trying to shape our culture with my humanistic beliefs, not atheism.

You can check out the video in question here.

Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, Dinosaurs, and the SIN of Smoking

Snark ahead.

Two years ago, our youngest son moved out, and he left behind a box of trading cards for our grandson. He had hundreds of trading cards, including some from Answers in Genesis. I am not sure how old these card are, but I suspect they are at least 15 years old. I did not know these cards were in the box, and my oldest son found them when he was going through the collection with our grandson.  We had a lot of fun with these cards, a reminder of what we once believed.  I thought you might enjoy the good science these cards teach, so I scanned a couple of them just for you!

ken ham propaganda

ken ham propaganda 2

I love the logic of this card. Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis are committed to a Fundamentalist, literalist interpretation of the Bible, except when it not convenient to do so. Since the inerrant, infallible, inspired creationist science textbook, AKA the Bible, doesn’t mention dinosaurs, and Ham and Co. know dinosaurs existed at one time, it is imperative that one of the animals mentioned in the Bible be a dinosaur. Kids love dinosaurs and  have lots of questions about them. Using his magic Bible word-decoder ring, Ham determined that the behemoth in the book of Job is actually a dinosaur and that dragons are also dinosaurs.

ken ham propaganda 3

ken ham propaganda 4

I found this card interesting for a different reason. The card states emphatically that the Leviathan mentioned in the book of Job is actually a sea monster. No, actually it is a Leviathan, right? We must not tamper with the inerrant, infallible, inspired creationist science textbook, AKA the Bible. But again, when a point needs to be made, Ham and Co. have no problem ignoring the hermeneutic they demand all other Christians use.

Forty years ago, I heard a sermon on Job 41:19-21, but it wasn’t about a sea monster. Oh no, this IFB preacher was quite novel and his sermon showed that you can make the Bible say almost anything. The text says:

Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.

Are you ready for it? Drum roll, please! According to this preacher, these verses are about SMOKING!  Surely you can see it:

  • Out of his mouth go burning lamps (the burning cigarette in the mouth)
  • Out of his nostrils goeth smoke
  • His breath smells bad

This is definite proof that smoking is a sin.

And now let us go to a Sunday service at Bible Baptist Church. It is manipulation time, time for the altar call:

Every head bowed, every eye closed. Is God convicting you of the sin of smoking? If so, with no one but God and me looking, please raise your hand so I can pray for you.

I see that hand, and that hand. Praise Jesus.

Dear baby Lord Jesus, I pray right now for those who have admitted they are sinful smokers. Please forgive them of their sin and give them the victory over Marlboro. And while you are at it Lord…please help them to see that the money they are saving by not buying cigarettes can be put in the offering plate so the church can continue to preach the gospel of no smoking.

In the name above all names, the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

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