Or I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills!
So, last time, I mentioned that a friend of mine posted my Part II of this series on a Facebook page called Evidence for Creation. At first, I watched the discussion unfold without commenting but against my better judgement I jumped into the fray. As with most internet exchanges, it did not end well. It barely started well. And I am certainly not innocent, here. I get a little frustrated after being on the defensive and arguing in circles for about 400 posts. My patience wears a little thin especially when someone suggests that I need still more education and really means that I need to read a particular scholar that agrees with them. Meanwhile, the majority of YEC contributors demonstrate a pervasive anti-intellectualism but I’m the one who needs yet another MA. We’ll get to this double-standard.
What would be apparent to anyone (except the YEC contributors) to this thread would be that at almost every turn of the argument and with every new contributor they confirm the main thesis of my post. My argument is: Many YECists, in their endeavour to defend their commitments to their particular version of “biblical inerrancy”, their peculiar interpretation of Genesis 1, and their belief that the earth is less than 7,000 years old will frequently employ statements and make assertions and recapitulate arguments that were deemed heretical and unorthodox by the Church. Moreover, the traditionally orthodox position that I set forth is greeted as heretical. Additionally, I am frequently rebuked, my faith in and commitment to Christ is questioned, and, so, the question of my salvation is up for grabs (Christ’s grace is apparently not sufficient to cover my supposed doctrinal errors).
Now, as they were responding to my post about Apollinarianism, it was not surprising that the main focus was what Jesus knew, how and when did he know it. Yet, time and again and in predictable circular fashion and as new people joined the thread (having read my post or not), the orthodox position that during the incarnation there were things Jesus did not know was rebuked as unbiblical and heretical and tantamount to denying Jesus’s divinity.
Now, a few of the contributors did throw in the occasional theological term like Trinity, person, etc and one individual even mentioned the hypostatic union as though that doctrine somehow supported Jesus’s omniscience during the incarnation. Yet, Continue reading “Heresy is the New Orthodoxy II.1: Double-Standards and Hypocrisy”
Or What Did Jesus Know and How Did He Know It
A Dubious Test of Faith
In the previous post (click here), I noted that in on-line interactions with Young Earth Creationists (YECists) it is never long before the YECist questions my faith, often in a way that demonizes me, or on more than one occasion by suggesting that I am really an atheist in disguise (which for YECists amounts to pretty much the same thing). In their judgement, I am either deceived by the devil or a deceiver in league with the devil. There does not seem to be an available third option. Yet, what truly intrigues me is that these condemnations usually occur when I have asserted something in accord with orthodox Christian doctrine. Ironically, the counterclaim that YECists offer as a corrective rebuke to my orthodox asssertion is usually a blatantly heterodox or heretical statement.
The most frequent heretical assertion that I encounter in these exchanges is the assertion that Jesus was omnipotent during his earthly ministry. This assertion is similar to the Christological heresy known as Apollinarianism (or Apollinarism). Apollinaris of Laodicaea voiced his theory in the fourth century as he attempted to defend Jesus fully divinity against the Arian theory. It was condemned at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD because it undermined the Nicene affirmation that Jesus was fully human. Continue reading “Heresy is the New Orthodoxy II: Apollinarianism Abounding”
Today, Joel Anderson and I visited Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. This post is simply a brief post to commemorate this momentous occasion. After writing about Answers in Genesis for the past year, Joel and I thought it would be kind of sort of fun to see the Ark for ourselves.
Of course, there were no real surprises at the Ark Encounter. Ken Ham and the folks at AIG have a limited number of points to make but I thought this spectacle would present this information in more detail and best light.
In the next few posts, I’ll walk you through what you’ll find as you go through Ken Ham’s exhibits.
The Ark itself is an impressive sight. Both Joel and I walked away feeling that if these were simply imaginative representations of biblical narratives, then much of what is portrayed in these exhibits would be of some value. However, every moment of these exhibits is geared toward the bizarre and frankly unbiblical claims of Ken Ham and his organization.
At least, Ken Ham points to the true origins of his teaching. In the portion of the Creation Museum dedicated to the history of the organization, Ken Ham tells how “God” in 1974 led him to Henry Morris’s book The Genesis Flood. In my view, The Genesis Flood is Ken Ham’s Book of Mormon or Course in Miracles or Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
One day, I might take the opportunity to visit the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and I suspect I will feel the same as I did at Ken Ham’s exhibits, a curious outsider, interested in the history and influence of the organization but in fundamental disagreement with the unorthodox doctrines that arose in the nineteenth century. Ken Ham’s Young Earth Creationism is more akin to other nineteenth century new religious movements like The Church of the Latter Day Saints, Creation Science, and Jehovah’s Witnesses than it is to historical orthodox Christianity.
#popchrist #kenham #arkencounter #creationmuseum
Or Truth in Children’s Books but not in Advertising.
As opening day (July 7th) approaches, Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis ratchet up the advertising for their life-sized construction of Ken Ham’s construal of Noah’s Ark. Yet, as blogger and biologist Joel Duff noted on his blog Naturalis Historia, the billboards are somewhat misleading as to what you will see in Ken Ham’s Ark.
See: Joel Duff’s New Ad for Ark Encounter Contradicts Ken Ham’s Understanding of Biblical “Kinds”
The billboards depict familiar animals. The animals that you and your family can go to see at your local zoo. However, on Ken Ham’s Ark, you will only find fantastic creatures that are the imaginary constructions of Ken Ham’s creature shop.
That’s right. Apart from a petting zoo, the creatures in Ken Ham’s Ark will be totally fantastic. That is the creatures are entirely made up. Continue reading “Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Fantastic!”
Ken Ham and the folks at Answers in Genesis (AIG) often suggest that what leads people, including biblical scholars, to propose interpretations of the early chapters of Genesis that differ from a “literal” interpretation of Genesis akin to AIG‘s own is a desire to conform their understanding of Scripture (and doctrine) to modern scientific theories, i.e. “deep time”, the Big Bang, and, of course, the theory of evolution. In other words, the suggestion is that beliefs about evolution and the age of the universe not only precede but drive Christians to seek alternate interpretations of the early chapters of Genesis that better accommodate modern scientific theories.
The polemical and apologetic narrative usually sounds something like the following from a 2011 post condemning the work of Wheaton College professor John Walton:
Why are we seeing more and more bizarre and elitist ideas (e.g., William Dembski—see previous blog post for details) coming out of Christian academia? I believe it is a form of academic pride, largely from academic peer pressure, because these people ultimately “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).
Continue reading “How Ken Ham & Answers in Genesis Led Me to Accept Evolutionary Theory”
I can’t make this stuff up. Okay, I could. But I don’t have to because Answers in Genesis has a whole staff of writers who make this stuff up.
In order to defend AiG’s assertion that death only entered the world when ha’adam ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and following a typical AiG strategy, Avery Foley suggests that ants and other insects are not living things,
Aside from the possibility that ants, and other insects, are not even alive in the biblical sense . . .
What does “not even alive in the biblical sense” even mean, is it like “knowing someone in the biblical sense”? “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.” Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Well, under the veneer of real research, AiG often includes footnotes [of course, footnote 1 is the only footnote but surely this indicates that this “scientifically” or “biblically” grounded article must have data to back up such a bold and paradigm shifting claim], let’s scroll down, shall we? Continue reading “Consider the Ant!? Answers in Genesis suggests Invertebrates May Not Be Alive in the “Biblical Sense” or Whaaaat the Sheol?!?!”
Or the Harmonization Temptation
This post continues and concludes (for now) my engagement with Augustine’s On the Literal Meaning of Genesis.
I simply want to note some of the intriguing and insightful elements in this work. I will give particular attention to Augustine’s suggestion that Genesis 1 presents God’s causal creation of all things, including human beings, while Genesis 2 describes the formal or material creation of human beings which for Augustine is God’s ongoing creative activity. Finally, I suggest that one of the errors that is common to Ham, Augustine and many errors is the desire to harmonize Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.
[For related Ham-Handed posts follow these links: Augustine I, Augustine II, Augustine III)
Continue reading “Ham-Handed Hermeneutics VI: More Hippo, Less Ham”
Even in recent history, committed atheists are a relatively small number of the world’s population and some statistics show that as atheism rises in a particular culture so does superstition. Despite their small numbers, some committed atheists are a very vocal minority which in other posts I have referred to as “evangelical atheists” or EAs. That is, some atheists feel it is their duty to spread the good news of atheism.
The assumption is that if theists are awakened from this perceived delusion the world will be a better place, somehow. Public figures like the comedian Bill Maher seem to think that theism is the root of all evil and holds humanity back from our true potential.
Yet, I question the wisdom of awakening humanity from its religious dreams.
For the sake of argument, let us say that the atheists are correct. Let us say, there is no god, there are no gods, etc. Let us say that there is nothing but the material world and that what we call mind is simply an emergent quality that ultimately has a physical explanation.
Of course, if the atheists are correct, then belief in the supernatural, in gods, angels, demons, astrology, ghosts, bodhisattvas, etc. (let’s lump them altogether for the sake of argument) are a byproduct of our biological evolution. Indeed, our imaginations, our ability to imagine the past and future, to think in abstractions, to use metaphor, seems to be something that gives us a distinct advantage as a species.
So, what if theistic beliefs likewise gives us a survival advantage? Are Evangelistic Atheists engaging in a dangerous experiment that could threaten the survival of the human species? Continue reading “Shh . . . Don’t tell the theists! An Atheistic Evolutionary Argument for the Conspiratorial Perpetuation of Theism”
A Brief Interview with N.T. Wright
As I was writing my previous post, What Motivates Ken Ham? or What AiG Gets Wrong about N.T. Wright, I thought to myself maybe I should just ask Dr. Wright myself.
I wonder if the folks at Answers in Genesis have thought of this radical off the wall approach to dialogue. Do the writers at AiG consider actually engaging in conversation with the scholars that they so readily judge and condemn? I have it on good authority that Wright and other scholars do receive mail from Young Earthers, hate mail, that is.
In my view, scholarship is engaging in an ongoing conversation. Conversation requires listening and responding. Moreover, as the word itself suggests true conversation allows for the possibility of conversion. That is, when one enters into a conversation it is possible that you or your conversation partner may have a change of mind. (see “The Discipline of Study” in Richard Foster’s The Celebration of Discipline) In Academics, this dialogue is often carried out by reading one another’s writings and seriously engaging with and responding to each other’s arguments and thoughts.
Now, I have met Wright a few times at Regent College and at Society of Biblical Literature meetings. He likely does not remember me but we do have some mutual friends who could vouch for me. So, I re-introduced myself and asked him the following questions:
1. What motivates you to engage the Academy?
2. What motivated you to accept the theory of evolution (if indeed you have)? Continue reading “What Motivates N.T. Wright? Well, Why not Ask Him? So, I Did.”
A common tactic of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis (AiG) is to attack fellow Christians and accuse them of being “compromised Christians.” In the process, if they don’t outright misrepresent these men and women (mostly men), then they most certainly under represent their significant and valuable contributions to the Church and yes, even to, the Academy.
Most recently, Simon Turpin, one of the UK spokespeople for AiG, has aimed his crosshairs at the distinguished Biblical scholar and former Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright. (Click for AiG article.) Wright has devoted his entire life to the service of the Church and the Academy. Moreover, he is of that all too rare and special breed of scholar who is not only able to write to his academic peers but to translate that work into simpler, more accessible, popular books. Indeed, he helps his reader by using the name N.T. Wright on his more difficult and erudite books and Tom Wright on his more popular works. In addition, he is an incredible public speaker and is among the best preachers I have had the privilege to hear.
Later in this post, I will address Turpin’s misleading portrayal of Wright. For now, it is enough to suggest that even Wright’s “secular” colleagues and critics would be amused to hear him described as compromising and seeking their approval. Indeed, if they read Turpin’s descriptions, they would likely mistake his descriptions as ironic or satirical like when you name an elephant Tiny. Having met Wright myself, I suspect this description would be met with a chuckle. Continue reading “What Motivates Ken Ham? or What Answers in Genesis gets Wrong about N.T. Wright”