Ken Ham Continues to Contradict Himself

We’ve recently heard Ken Ham denying knowledge of where the notion of humans riding dinosaurs comes from, when it was his own books. Now we have Ham denying the stance that his own representative, Terry Mortenson, articulated during a recent visit to Butler University. As Joel Watts noted, Ham’s claim that it was atheists who were denouncing the terrible quiz from Blue Ridge Christian Academy that made its way onto Reddit is either a lie, or indicates that he really considers the enormous number of Christians who disagree with him to be atheists.

Ham and his organization have repeatedly emphasized that acceptance of a young earth is not a salvation issue. Is atheism not one either from his perspective? Or is he simply being dishonest in one of the two contradictory things he has been saying, as many of us have long suspected? Ken Ham shows his true colors when he says that it is “atheists” who find that travesty of a “science quiz” horrific. In actual fact it is Christians as well as atheists and anyone and everyone who considers truth important and science one of the ways we learn and discover truth.

So once again Ken Ham is shown to be like an unsavory politician. He is saying different things to different audiences, pandering to constituencies for his own personal gain.

The really sad thing is that Christians jump on the young-earth creationist bandwagon precisely because they think that they are supposed to avoid what the world says, and reject teachers who pander to them rather than challenging them with the truth.

And yet Ken Ham is precisely the sort of panderer that the Bible warns about, one who tickles the ears. Because some Christians simply don’t want to be different from the world by living lives of self-sacrificial giving and love for enemies. They would rather engage in self-righteous rejection of mainstream science. But you don’t have to know the Bible all that well to know that the call of Jesus is the former and not the latter.

If he wants to, Ken Ham can continue to pretend that he doesn’t think young-earth creationism is something without which one cannot be a Christian, only to let the mask slip occasionally. I, on the other hand, will come right out and say what I think. You cannot embrace Ken Ham’s false teachings and call yourself a lover of the truth. You can only be a Christian and a young-earth creationist if you believe that Christianity is compatible with deliberate deceit and distractions from the teaching of Jesus.

  • http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/ Jonny Scaramanga

    I find it refreshing to meet a Christian who is ready to publicly and uncompromisingly speak the truth about Creationism. I know lots of Christians who aren’t Creationists, but who don’t criticise it too much because they don’t want to attack their ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’.

    • Stephen Snead

      Good article. Might I add as far as Christians not wanting to attack young earth folks. I consider myself a liberal Christian. More of a Christian Agnostic to be completely honest. But, it appears to me that “some” folks who embrace evolution (as more of a religion than a mechanism.) have done to the word “creation” what Ronald Regan did to the word “liberal.” They have worded it so that when one comes out and says I’m not a six day creationist but I still believe in a ” creative source” behind life, that they get tarred and feathered with the word “creationist” as if they are anti logic. Just something I have noticed in my travels around the “interwebs.” :-)

    • Stephen Snead

      Good article. Might I add as far as Christians not wanting to attack young earth folks. I consider myself a liberal Christian. More of a Christian Agnostic to be completely honest. But, it appears to me that “some” folks who embrace evolution (as more of a religion than a mechanism.) have done to the word “creation” what Ronald Regan did to the word “liberal.” They have worded it so that when one comes out and says I’m not a six day creationist but I still believe in a ” creative source” behind life, that they get tarred and feathered with the word “creationist” as if they are anti logic. Just something I have noticed in my travels around the “interwebs.” :-)

      • the_Siliconopolitan

        but I still believe in a ” creative source” behind life

        Well, that does make you a creationist. If you posit a Creator, then how can it be otherwise?

        In that respect the word is no different for “Christian” which nicely encompasses you, Ham, our host, pope Francis and Hitler.

        Or, to forestall the inevitable, the way PZ Myers, Madelyn Murray O’Hair, Bill Maher, Lenin and Pol Pot all fall under the umbrella of atheism. (With the exception of Pot, of course. He’s still a Catholic as I understand the working of the Church.)

      • MainlineP

        I’m also concerned by the polarized view of science and evolution which requires me to deny any divine action (even to let evolution take its course). This is a false choice. Many of us support the accepted science of a very old earth and evolutionary change, imperfect though it may be in answering every question. Cosmology, the study of our universe and its origins is in its infancy and science has scratched the surface. Hubbell has been in orbit how long? None of us has the right to smugly dismiss those of us who see science and faith as compatible including some form of divine supervision, but not direct literal active intervention in the development of species.

        • the_Siliconopolitan

          So you’re a Deist? Nothing wrong with that.

  • Jeff

    Sorry, I’m not a lover or supporter of Ken Ham, but your statement at the end, “You can only be a Christian and a young-earth creationist if you believe that Christianity is compatible with deliberate deceit and distractions from the teaching of Jesus,” has me a bit perplexed. Ken Ham aside, how is a belief in “young earth creationism” compatible with “deliberate deceit and distractions from the teaching of Jesus?” Are you suggesting that one has to be a believer in some sort of “old-age evolutionism” to be a true christian or follower of Jesus? I fairly certain that as far as our knowledge of Jesus goes, he did not speak a word about the age of the earth or evolution, and at least seems sympathetic to the Genesis narrative.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I don’t think that you can misrepresent evidence, and demean and denigrate Christians who work in the natural sciences, in the way that proponents of young-earth creationism do, and be adhering to the emphases of Jesus himself. Of course, we all fall short at times, but when a system of thought has deceit and misrepresentation at its very core, one has to ask about the level of commitment on the part of someone who chooses to live in sin in that fashion.

  • arcseconds

    Maybe he’s just a very confused man?

  • Nick

    Well, let’s be fair, I think there are a lot of Creationists who just are unaware of Ham’s lies or who dismiss any criticism of him without looking into it. Sort of being unintentionally deceptive.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I don’t think that embracing lies and then being emphatic that they are the truth is excusable. It may be unintentional, but that is precisely the problem. To avoid being deceived, we need to be intentional about it!

      • Nick

        Sure, but lazily neglecting one’s due diligence is not the same as being a venal liar. I’m trying to invoke Hanlon’s Razor here.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Hanlon’s Razor (for those who may not know it): “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

          I am not sure that malice is the only motive for participating in deceit. But I would be willing to consider the average young-earth creationist to be more like a gossip – someone who repeats what they hear – than a liar in the sense of someone who actually invents falsehood.

          Not less sinful from a Christian perspective, and so I think my central point stands. To be a young-earth creationist is to make a lifestyle choice that is at odds with Christianity’s moral teachings.

          • Boscoe

            In this case, I’d posit that it is sheer terror, not malice or stupidity.

            When your faith is so fragile that you cling desperately to the notion that every word MUST be absolute, literal truth otherwise you cannot justify why ANY of it should be believed, you have no choice but to assume and defend an uncompromisingly extremist position, regardless of evidence or rational inquiry.

            Ham doesn’t believe the Bible was *influenced* or *inspired* by God, he believes it was DICTATED in absolute holy perfection.

            This is what you get when you put your absolute faith in A BOOK. He has jettisoned his capacity for rational inquiry in favor of absolutist dogma. He doesn’t worship Jesus, he worships TEXT. Which would be fine, except that for some reason he feels he must publicly JUSTIFY and “validate” his faith in God, the author, as equal or superior to the results of hundreds of years of rational inquiry.

            Otherwise, let’s be honest; he knows he’d just look like the kind of irrational idiot who might do something crazy, like spending millions of dollars building a diorama of Jesus hanging out with Velociraptors…

            The thing that gets me, is the Bible says the worst sin you can commit is adding to, or taking away from, the WORD. And that’s pretty much Ham’s entire stock-in-trade, isn’t it?

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              While Ham certainly does some adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, I do need to point out that it simply isn’t true that the Bible warns about adding to the Bible, much less that it defines that as the worst sin. You presumably have in mind the warning at the end of the Book of Revelation, which is a warning not to add to that book. When those words were written, they were not yet part of a Bible.

    • Robert Day

      The above article is nothing but slander. No where in the entire article does the author specifically reference any material that a person could look up themselves to confirm or deny what is said above. This article is extremely biased and unsupported by facts. I am open to the fact that Ken Ham could say things at times that don’t bring glory to Jesus, but he is flawed just like all of us. I think it is our responsiblity to look at the facts before we judge and not listen to someone’s opinions and call them facts.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        As you will, I have been documenting Ham’s false claims about both the Bible and science on this blog for some time. Complaining that this post only deals with one topic is not a fair criticism. This is a blog, and so please read it as such. Feel free to click on the relevant tags. And here is a round-up of some of my much older blogging about young-earth creationism. Hopefully it will help you to see what am talking about. It is not about Ham being flawed. It is about him being a charlatan, claiming things that are demonstrably false.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2008/09/blogging-creationism-the-highlights.html

  • David Williams

    Is it about a rejection of mainstream science, or is it just a desperate effort to defend the literalism that rose from modern era empiricism? More deeply, I find myself struggling with a peculiar reality: people who believe the wackadoodle absurdity of Young Eartherness can nonetheless follow Jesus in every way that matters. You know, being kind, loving neighbors, visiting the prisoner. Those things. I have trouble processing this.

    • arcseconds

      Why should this be a problem? Presumably people were kind prior to Darwin, Lord Kelvin or Kant, or whenever it was that believing in an old earth became intellectually respectable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/herman.cummings.12 Herman Cummings

    In no way, shape, or form, does Genesis 1:1 explain the origin of the water.
    It is deceitful to try to use verse one as a commencement of “the first day”.

    On the first day, God said “Let there be light”. Why didn’t God say “Let there be a planet of water”? It’s because the water covered planet was already there. Young Earth creationism refuses to face reality and acknowledge this.

    What happened to the “young Earth” practice of literal interpretation of scripture? They redefine scriptures to make them fit their foolish doctrines!

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

    • Marcus

      you mean like the VERY NEXT scripture that says the world was without form, and void. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters? Oh.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        What he is saying is that the waters are not said to be brought into existence. The watery chaos seems to already exist, and then God brings order without eliminating that chaos.

      • Roldan Fz

        chaos

    • Jonathan Shelley

      In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. I am confused as to why you are suggesting their is no earth. The earth was only water as understood by the verses stating it was without form, and void. This is a clear depiction of water. Then it states God was hovering over the waters. The scripture does not read God was hovering over waters and then he created the Earth which was without form and void. We know that all life is formed from water. Even more understanding that the original Earth was just water is in day two when he separated the atmosphere from water and gave form to the earth.

      You have also fulfilled prophesy by your comment.

      2 Peter 3: 5-7

      5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

      The bible clears states that it is his infallible word. Why would any Christian mock a literal interpretation. They are just trying to be consistent.

      God Loves You!

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        The text literally says that a dome was created to separate waters above from waters below. Is that what you literally believe?

        The Bible does not say it is “his infallible word” or anything else about itself, since obviously when the texts in question were composed they were not yet part of a Bible.

        Trying to use a late pseudepigraphal text which is wrestling with the delay of the parousia as though that proves something simply shows that you do not know the Bible as well as you seem to think.

        • Jonathan Shelley

          God Created the Earth first. Why do you not believe the earth was not created from water. If God referenced part of the Heavens would they not exist because he did not specify every molecule used to create the Heavens? Did God have to specifically, define for you that God created the Heavens and the Earth and he used water as the basis of earth for you to believe? It says the Earth was without form and void. The only substance that can be attributed to such would be water which we know to be the base molecule for all life. God further explains in 2 Peter that man will deliberately refute the creation of the earth first from water. In comment to, “the Bible says nothing about his infallible word”, please refer to Titus 1:2 and 2 Timothy 3:16. There are several scriptures which give testimony to the fact that the Bible is authored by the inspiration of God. God cannot lie and inspired the Bible. You can either reject it all or believe it all.

          Yes. I trust God’s word as truth and believe in all creation as read by scripture. Is the creation of the atmosphere harder to believe than the entire universe.

          There is no example of parousia in the depiction of water as God clearly created the Earth first and it is described as formless and void. To your point of pseudepigraphal text again please read Timothy 3:16. All scripture is God-Breathed.

          Titus 1:2
          2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

          2 Timothy 3:16
          16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            I see you didn’t understand my comment. And you have now added to it the false antithesis that one can either believe all of the Bible or one must reject all of it. Paul seems to have managed it when he rejected circumcision as a requirement for all who would be part of Abraham’s household. But I realize that setting up a false dilemma and dealing in false antitheses is the only way to market your false teaching.

            • Jonathan Shelley

              If one has truly read and been revealed the truth of God’s word they would understand that you are only saved by Grace through Faith. Paul is helping those of a weak mind understand the difference between works and showing that anyone can be saved but only those whom accept him and his son will be saved.

              No mathematician would use a formula with error, in the same logic one cannot choose which parts of the Bible to believe. I really have no understanding of what you believe. Either you believe God’s word in entirety or you don’t. Otherwise you are a hypocrite to both sides.

              Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters”

              Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

              • stuart32

                This is grammatically inelegant. I suggest the following translation:

                If someone has read the word of God and thereby experienced a revelation of God’s truth, he will understand that we are only saved by Grace through Faith. Paul helps those of a weak mind to understand that salvation does not come through works. Instead, he shows that anyone can be saved, but only by accepting God and his son.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                The Bible is not “God’s word” except perhaps in a metaphorical sense. But I see now the problem. You are committing idolatry, taking human words and divinizing them. That is a serious sin.

                Your point about equations makes no sense, especially when we have the value of pi rounded to 3 in the Bible, and when Matthew says that he lists three groups of fourteen generations, and yet one has only thirteen while another reaches fourteen only by omitting generations in his source material. By your standard, these works should be ignored and discarded. But the problem is not with the texts, but with your dogma about them which claims they are something they clearly are not.

  • Philip Bruce Heywood

    I see that Ken is delving into the big bang for more feedstuff. It’s a bit like the communist revolution. No-one knows what the revolution is about but if you keep the wheel turning, it attracts attention away from reality. Quoting his blog:

    “Now, the big bang view teaches a concept of creation that is completely opposite of Scripture’s account. According to this view, the universe came into existence billions of years ago. The big bang eventually led to the slow origin of the earth and solar system, and the earth was a molten, fiery rock. But Genesis 1 clearly describes liquid water when God created the earth:

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1–2) ………………….

    Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the earth was created before the sun (Genesis 1:2-9,16), but the evolutionary ideas state the opposite. What more needs to be said about the fact that the Scriptures teach against these ideas?” End quote.

    Anyone who can actually read — not too many, at A.I.G. — will have just now read that in the beginning the earth was without form and void — it was not Earth the planet, if it had been Earth the planet it would have both had form and not been void. King’s English. The obvious meaning is that the materials from which the Earth was to coalesce (and the Bible implies it coalesced) were ‘waters’ — plasma, dust, vapour, fragmentation and instability –anything without form. So Earth the planet is not said to have been created before anything much else at all, sun included. It may or may not have been ‘gathered together’ before the sun: what the Genesis account stipulates is that the Earth as a planet existed before the regular day-night pattern and the seasons kicked in. The sun may have pre-existed Earth, provided it was either shrouded by vapours and largely invisible from the Earth, or was yet to be introduced to the solar system.

    These people ask for money for the privelege of telling the world what the Bible does not say? Don’t worry — scholarly facts such as the above are the one item you will find banned banned banned by Ham and followers.

    • Charles

      Dinos and human beings did not live together. I am not an evolutionary creationist; however, I am an Old Earth Creationist, Day-Age Theory. I believe that this view best fits the scientific data as well as the Scriptures.
      Charles E. Miller, Jr., AB, Old Dominion University; MA, Liberty University

  • Beau Stoddard

    It’s not really for you or Ken to say who’s a true believer. Are you sure he doesn’t believe what he teaches? You’ve chosen to fall in line with science which is ok, but let’s not act like the two worldviews are friendly.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Science and Christianity are only separate worldviews if one adapts Ken Ham’s version of Christianity, rather than the historic Christian approach which recognized God as Creator and thus data from the natural world as relevant to our thinking and not something to be opposed on the basis of a literalistic reading of Biblical texts.

      • gimpi1

        Thank you for this, Mr. McGrath. My husband is a geologist, and I get no end of frustration at those who refuse to deal with the physical age of the earth or the mechanism by which a diversity of life spread across it.

        Science explores the physical world. Religion explores the inner world of the soul (if it exists) and of our ethical beliefs. They aren’t in conflict, unless you wed yourself a mythology that is not supported by any physical evidence.

        Personally, I am not religious in a classical sense, but when my husband took me through the Yellowstone resurgent caldera, I felt no little awe at the power it held. Perhaps a start on touching the spiritual?

  • Suzanne Tade

    This article is disappointing. The unsavory politician is the one not accepting Creation as it reads and criticizing someone else! Ken Ham is teaching God’s Word!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      That is exactly the response that anyone who has been taken in by a false teacher will give. Would you mind telling me what steps you have taken to ascertain whether what Ken Ham claims about the meaning of the Bible is not merely something that someone reading an English translation today can be persuaded of, but what historians and scholars believe the authors intended and its earliest readers would have understood?

  • cadman777

    The above article appears to be a ‘rant’ based on personal opinion. I see no ‘edification’ in that, if the author claims to be a “Christian”.

    Ham may have compromised his morality/ethics in some ways, which is easy in today’s political world controlled by banksters. Everybody needs to make a living. But nobody has any excuse for violating God’s LAW in the process. The question is: What facts and evidence exist that Ham violated God’s LAW during the course of making his living? The next question is: What social “leader” is “perfect” in the use of his words?

    If Ham violated God’s law in making his living, should that be grounds for us to “throw the baby out w/the bath water”?

    The fact remains that “creationism” and “evolution” are ideas confined solely to the realm of speculation, b/c no credible personal knowledge testimony exists today in proof or in denial of it. The only testimony we have of “creation” is found in the 1st 2 chapters of Genesis, and in some of the surviving ANE texts. Otherwise, ALL evidence is, at best, chained-together circumstantial. That kind of “evidence” would never hold up in any competent human court.

    On the other hand, I see no discussion about the “Christian’s” covenant obligations towards God, one of which is “love of the brethren” and “abstaining from slander … and backbiting”.

    Francis Schaeffer said it best:
    The evolutionary world-view is based on “material and energy shaped by pure chance” … “it gives no hope” … “man is at its center, not God”.

    Categorically speaking, those “Christians” who hold to the ‘hypothesis’/’religion’ of evolution are traitors to their covenant obligations, in that they deny the Creator’s act of creation.
    In law, the creator is absolute owner. Without absolute ownership, no sole-sovereignty exists over the claimant’s property. Such an idea violates and negates the first 2 Commandments of Exodus 20/Deuteronomy 5. Such proponents are advocating the disobedience to those 2 Commandments.

    Either God is “Lord of all”, or He is Lord of nothing.
    Elijah’s dealings w/Jezebel’s prophets-of-Baal serve as one of our best examples of that moral absolute.
    Christ agrees: “You cannot serve both God and mammon”.
    Paul also agrees: “What fellowship has Christ w/Belial?”
    Either we accept the Biblical creation account as “handed down” for our “belief” in God’s absolute Sovereignty over all creaton, and our responsibility to fulfill the associated trust. Or, we have nothing of value to gain from the Genesis record.

    Cheers … Chris

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I must strongly disagree. On the one hand, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming and unless one eliminates all arguments that involve deductive reasoning based on evidence, then there is no disputing that it occurred. And if we eliminate deductive reasoning based on evidence, then the Christian cannot connect the claims of the Gospels to actual events except by a leap of faith which of course anyone can make about any claim or idea they choose. On the other hand, the text of Genesis provides internal indications that it is not offering science or history, and so to treat it as though it were is to create a problem where none need exist.

  • Jonathan Shelley

    The bible clears states that it is his infallible word. Why is it so wrong to teach that? Why would anyone teach biblical inconsistency?

    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

    God Bless Ken Ham and all those who stand on the word of God as his infallible doctrine.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Where do you see infallibility in that verse, even in that translation? The word used is literally “God breathed” which seems to recall the story of Adam. God gives life to what otherwise would be dead words. That is what makes it useful in the ways the verse lists.

      That statement is of course not about the “Bible” you have in mind, since when that letter was written, it was not part of a Bible.

      It is crucial to look not only at what texts say, but what they show themselves to be. Ignoring that is not respecting the text, and may even involve imposing your predetermined dogmas upon it.

    • Jordan

      .. How do you explain

      1. The First Council of Nicea in 325AD where the christian dogma was invented by man?

      2. The gospels were written centuries apart?

      3. What about the nativity stories in Luke and Matthew having conflicting timelines and explainations…

      2nd Timothy was written by Paul the christian killer at least 125+ years after jesus died. He was a known mass murderer… Do you have charles manson quotes? He killed less people at least.

      If it is all fact, how do you explain the 500 or so known controversies..

      For example, Can we wear long hair? Judges 13:5 & Numbers 6:5 encourages people to grow their hair and insists it is a source of strength. 1 Corinthians 11:14 calls long hair a “shame”

      or, Was the law of the Old Testament destroyed by Christ’s crucification? Luke16:16, Ephesians 2:15 & Romans 7:6 says that the old law is no longer binding. Yet Matthew 5:17-19 and MANY other verses say that the old law is forever binding.

      You can’t resolve that. Plus everything in the old testament before King David doesnt match with ancient history. I just dont get it.


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