Saturday, May 05, 2012

Point Made, We Suppose

Our little blog has now passed into a new realm of significance. Once we got a link at Slate. Here and there we've been linked at other big-time sites for silly reasons. For awhile a picture that we had reposted of a certain gigantic, outdoor sculpture in our area climbed to the top of the "Google Images" listing for a certain set of key words.

But now Ken Ham has taken us to task on his celebrated blog. After years of openly criticizing Answers in Genesis when it suited the SWNIDish purpose, we have been "refuted" (the term of a staffer at AIG) by Mr. Ham. He left a comment here and then developed it at his own blog, which as far as we can tell doesn't receive comments.

What to say about all this? Well, we make it a point not to respond point by point, and it's especially apt not to do so when Mr. Ham is as demonstrably stubborn in his views, persistent in his tendentious interpretations of what he reads, unable to engage in thoughtful discussion of issues, and unaware of the way that he functions socially. That is to say: (a) we know that we won't persuade him: (b) he misunderstands us about as much as he misunderstands the Bible, though with less consequence for the former than for the latter; (c) in responding as he has, he confirms for those not already persuaded by him that he is aggressive in his own criticism of others but unable to accept any criticism of himself; (d) he is somehow persistently unaware that he cannot say that people are unfaithful to God's word because they disagree with his views and at the same time say that he isn't making his views a test of faith.

But there is one point to be made, we suppose. Ham and those who follow him style Christian criticism of their organization as placing "stumbling blocks" before what would otherwise be a more effective evangelistic ministry. We're on record as disagreeing with that, most vociferously. By feeding the media machine a steady diet of press releases and events presenting an extremely young earth as indisputable biblical truth, Ham himself sets a stumbling block for anyone with the scientific savvy to understand just how unlikely such a thing is. There's no way to count such things, of course, but one doesn't have to go far to see Christianity ridiculed for believing what interpreters of the Bible as early as Augustine understood that the Bible does not say.

We think that Ham is so convinced that his approach to creation issues is so consistent, so logically watertight, that he need never give a thought to the merits of others' positions except to "refute" them. He seems frustrated by the fact that other people who claim to believe the Bible disagree with him, we suspect because he cannot fathom that others are not as persuaded by his views as he is.

Very well. We mock ourselves with the title of our blog and the pompous persona with which we write. Others may act on whatever measure of self-awareness they possess on such matters.


KevinAK said...

Perhaps SWNID should stick to criticiaing REAL ENEMIES of Christianity -- people like Martin Luther or Alexander Campbell.

Anonymous said...

Being mocked, for many, is a spiritual discipline. You should take up an offering in order to continue this ministry.

Jim Shoes said...

I remember comments on earlier posts that mentioned the fear that many pastors in the Cincinnati area felt as AIG weaponized popular opinion against anyone who disagreed.

There's a particularly vile video loop in the museum that portrays a milquetoast preacher mouthing theistic-evolutionist platitudes while a mother tries to deal with her defiantly fidgety children in the pew. The implication was that if your pastor sounds like this, your kids will grow up disobedient. Nice.

So let's see what happens when people stand up to the bully.

Micah said...

I'm amazed that he can say with a total lack of (intended) irony that nobody at CCU is willing to "uphold the authority of God's Word" in the same blog post that he says that many wonderful pastors and theologians disagree with him.

If they don't "uphold the authority of God's Word," by what standard are they a wonderful pastor or theologian?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ken Ham and his AIG ministry single handedly destroyed my home church by focusing on questions and theology that does not matter. In my opinion, he's a straight pseudo-scientist who (literally) got his degree from the mail.

Anonymous said...

"he somehow persistently unaware that he cannot say that people are unfaithful to God's word because they disagree with his views and at the same time say that he isn't making his views a test of faith."

Does not SWNID, in a way, do the almost same thing in saying that Ken Ham persistently misunderstands the Bible and, with his insistence on a literal view of the Genesis account as the only valid view, put a stumbling block for many? Is SWNID not saying that he is being unfaithful to the intention of the Word of God? Or is SWNID that this is a test of faith? Or is their a subtle difference that this anonymous reader has overlooked.
The point of my question is this: is it not possible for someone to be unfaithful to the Word of God in some point, and still be Christian? Could Ken Ham's supposed error in this not be justified if his original view (regarding the necessity of a literal view of Genesis) were considered correct by SWNID?

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

A legitimate question, gentle anonymous person.

We split the hair thus:

SWNID decries the Hamish position not just because it is wrong but because Ham uses it as a wedge to separate Christian from Christian. Were Ham not so constant in describing all who depart from his view as unorthodox (not unsaved, mind you, but but his soteriology and ecclesiology are no more out of whack than many evangelicals'), we wouldn't bother to comment on him at all.

But then he wouldn't have a multimillion-dollar museum and such. It's not his position alone that raises the money, or even the concept of a museum to promote it. It's the rhetoric that makes his view the linchpin of the gospel. It's essential to everything he does to say that his way is the only way. "True from the very first word": like SWNID thinks the Bible is true except where it isn't. Sheesh.

Ham can have the SWNIDish blessing (sarcasm alert: SWNID does not have authority to grant blessings) as long as he doesn't act in so divisive a way as he has lo these twenty or so years past. Our breath will not be held in anticipation.

So yes, "almost," and there is a distinction not to be missed.

Note well that in pointing out how Ham puts a stumbling block in the way of evangelism, he does so not by believing or even advocating a young earth but by saying that a young earth is THE ONLY WAY to understand the Bible. So, says someone who knows the geology and astronomy and paleontology, I can therefore never believe the Bible.

Differently: we think Ham's young-earthism is wrong. But there's nothing exceptional about that. We think his mode of advocacy for it is dangerous to the church. That's exceptional, though sadly not unique.

On the side, we are glad to see more in the community standing up to Ham. Like the homeschooling convention that banned him from their conventions for his divisive rhetoric. See Wikipedia.

We happily report that the ripples of this altercation between us and him have been barely noticeable. No one much seems to care that SWNID isn't a Hamite.