Ken Ham : Buddhist Temple :: Rationalists : Creation Museum

The pot meets the kettle again.

The Creation Museum’s founder Ken Ham has been visiting Japan this past week.

He made a trip to a Buddhist temple, and it’s very strange to see him discussing the faith. He sounds remarkably like the rest of us do when visiting his museum…:

We were able to visit a Buddhist Temple.

I took photographs of a couple of their “gods” — I notice they were not very powerful, as they couldn’t even get out past the netting wire that “protected” them!

It was so sad to see people praying to the “god” behind the curtain — what a reminder they need the gospel to free them from the bondage of this false religion that gives them no hope for the future!

To rephrase: I visited a religious space and took pictures. How ridiculous that anyone could believe in these things! Don’t they know how crazy they look? These stories are ridiculous! These people have no hope! If only they could see things from my point of view, they would see the light.

Somehow, I think I just bonded with Ken Ham.

*shudder*

  • Reginald Selkirk

    praying to the “god” behind the curtain

    Pay no attention to the god behind the curtain.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-8922-Portland-Skepticism-Examiner Charlie

    It’s like they say…non-theists believe in one less god than they do. That’s the only difference.

  • Joel

    Does he really fail to see the irony of this situation? How unbelievably blind could he be? Well, this is Ken Ham we’re talking about.

  • Brian E

    How can someone be so blind to their own irony?

    Additionally, someone should ask Ken Ham why Jesus never visited China, or any other country, if God cares so much about the world and not just Israel.

  • http://defiantskeptic.wordpress.com/ defiantskeptic

    It’s always a little disturbing to realize you have something in common with an utterly despicable person, isn’t it?

  • http://theinfinityprogram.com Kevin

    Yep, only atheists are rude towards a religion when they speak like Ken Ham.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    I notice [their gods] were not very powerful, as they couldn’t even get out past the netting wire that “protected” them

    What does that even mean? What did he expect? How many times has a crucified Christ image gotten down and mingled with the congregation over coffee after the service? If that’s his logic, the Xtian god must not be very powerful because he/she/it needs to be constantly defended by mere humans.

    Also, I thought that one of the founding principles of Buddhism was that, while they believe in gods, they don’t actually think they do diddly for humanity and thus aren’t worthy of praise or worship. Am I wrong on this (the ‘biography’ of the Buddha I read last year was very long)?

  • Matto the Hun

    We were able to visit a Buddhist Temple Christian Church.

    I took photographs of a couple of their “gods” their “god” and “demi-gods”, a.k.a “saints” — I notice they were not very powerful, as they couldn’t even get out past the netting wire that “protected” them! as their Jesus could not get off the cross he’s been nailed to for hundreds of years now.
    ————-

    There fixed that up.

    As for “not being powerful” and protection. What did this knucklehead expect, a divine blast of lightning that would knock him out of the temple? That they would stand up and put their stony feet up his arse?

    I’m pretty sure that’s never happened at a church or at the Laugh Factory… errr… Creation Museum.

    Also, I was under the impression Buddhism doesn’t have any gods? Isn’t that the case?

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • Anon

    “The Creation Museum’s founder Ken Ham has been visiting China this past week.” That should read Japan not China.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism – The concept of god in Buddhism doesn’t seem that vital compared to the god of Abrahamic faiths.

  • http://anthonyrmiller.com/blog Tony Miller

    Glass houses Ken, glass houses.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    The god behind the curtain strongly reminds me of Yahweh, the god who was only ever actually seen when Moses saw him in his home in a volcano.

    Yahweh was really just an overblown volcano god.

    By the way:

    How can someone be so blind to their own irony?

    In his mind there is no irony. He assumes a priori that his beliefs are self-evidently true, and that all others are just mockeries.

  • keddaw

    There is no curtain.
    @Matrix

  • Siamang

    Yeah, he’s in Japan, not China.

    I found this interesting, from Ham’s blog:

    Please pray for the people of Japan—less than 0.1 percent are Christians

    WOAH!!! I knew Japan was awesome!

    Boy, they must have a huge problem with crime! LOL! Their murder rate must be HUGE compared to the US! What with having no Christian Morals.

    LOL!!!

    I had the good fortune to spend 3 weeks in Japan a few years ago. I can’t wait to go back. A great country, and really sweet people who greatly value art and creativity.

    They must look at Ham like he’s totally insane. Hey, dumbass… don’t go trying to peddle your bullshit in a country where their science education is BETTER than the US. That’s a losing game!

    Wait. Ahem.

    KEN HAM, PLEASE spend all your time and resources trying to recruit the Japanese public into Young Earth Creationism. They are defenseless to you, and they SO MUCH would LOVE to hear your FASCINATING insights on how the world was created!

  • Miko

    Also, I thought that one of the founding principles of Buddhism was that, while they believe in gods, they don’t actually think they do diddly for humanity and thus aren’t worthy of praise or worship. Am I wrong on this

    Buddhism developed in a culture that had a pre-existing belief in deities, but did nothing to stress their importance. (Most mentions of gods in the Tipitaka occur in the form of petitioners asking the Buddha about the gods; AFAIK he rarely mentioned them of his own volition.) As it expanded into other cultures, people often shoehorned their local deities into it. Other cultures didn’t bother with the god parts, leading to atheistic Buddhisms. So, the answer is both “yes” and “no” depending on which Buddhists you ask.

    One of the more common versions suggests that godhood is one possible destination for the virtuous on reincarnation, but that being a god puts one so far away from normal human concerns that they forget how to be virtuous, until they eventually die and reincarnate as a mortal again. So, gods are basically working off their “good” karma (a better translation is “positive” karma) until they get back to a neutral baseline from which it’s possible for them to try for enlightenment again.

    Any way, questions about the gods are at best peripheral. The founding principles don’t mention gods at all.

  • http://jonathan-keith.com Jon

    Hemant, Hemant, Hemant….Again, a post with no thinking.

    Original quote:

    I took photographs of a couple of their “gods.

    Hemant’s interpretation:

    To rephrase: I visited a religious space and took pictures.

    I think it’s pretty clear where you went wrong here, Hemant. Ken is lamenting the spiritual expression of these people towards physical objects that have no more personality than a “dining room table”, vs. praying to an omnipotent, omnitient God who is involved personally in our lives. Just because the God of Buddhism is a little rock statue doesn’t mean make the God’s of any other religion (including the God of Atheism) any less real.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    @miko:

    Thanks! That was both enlightening and a little confusing.

    I forgot about the wide range of Buddhist sects.

  • Peregrine

    I was born to a Christian family, raised in the faith, and became an atheist in highschool. I became interested in Buddhism in university, more as a curiosity at first, but the more I looked into it, the more I felt drawn to it. I was particularly drawn to the idea that it wasn’t asking me to believe in anything wholesale. So I didn’t have to give up being an atheist to be a Buddhist. I took on more practice, study, philosophy, and so on.

    One of the things that I find appealing about Buddhism is that it doesn’t forbid nor require the belief in gods, or anything supernatural. It’s true that eastern traditions tend to have significantly more gods than the newer western varieties, and inherited many from the Hindu pantheon. But Buddhism itself doesn’t bring any new gods to the table. (at least none that I know of… so far.)

    I’m the first to admit that I’m far from an expert on Buddhism, especially anything outside my own practice. But Ken Ham really demonstrates his ignorance here. He should learn to do his homework. But then, that’s where he tends to run into most of his problems, isn’t it?

    I’ve been a Buddhist for maybe 6 or 7 years now, more or less. And I can promise you that Ken Ham has spent more time worshiping a god behind a curtain in that time than I have.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    “The Creation Museum’s founder Ken Ham has been visiting China this past week.” That should read Japan not China.

    Yes it should. It’s fixed. Thanks!

  • Valdyr

    including the God of Atheism

    So, “Jon” is either a troll aware of his ridiculousness or someone sincere who is genuinely unaware of his ridiculousness. Maybe we should ask him which he would prefer to be known as.

  • Jim

    Imagine this, he steps towards the small statue of Buddha, quietly, he reaches his hand out to touch the statue and gets a static shock. Zzzt!

    I wonder what would go through his mind at that very moment?

  • http://saganist.blogspot.com/ Saganist

    Good one, Jon! That was a perfect parody; you sound just like Ken Ham.

    By the way, Buddhists pray to their statues just as Catholics pray to their crucifixes.

  • Siamang

    Just because the God of Buddhism is a little rock statue doesn’t mean make the God’s of any other religion… any less real.

    Because NOBODY ever made a little rock statue of Jesus!

    You tell ‘em Jon! You’re so smart!

  • http://cannonballjones.wordpress.com Cannonball Jones

    For the record, there is no concept of god(s) at all in the original teachings of Buddha, the superstitious nonsense has been added to it over the years as it merged with and replaced local, mostly animist, religions. Buddha was pretty clear on there being no existence between the one we see, he was an arch-materialist. In it’s original form it was nothing more than a rational system for living your life, more or less a moral philosophy. And a damn fine one at that.

  • thilina

    Well i’m glad to see Ken up to his usual moronic (and completely hypocritical) rantings. I don’t think anyone’s personified the phrase “bat-shit insane” so well.

    And how Buddhism views and prays to gods depends on the sect. To my knowledge the Japanese Buddhists pray to the gods, more so that the Tibetan Buddhists (or actually view the gods as someone to pray to that may help them).

    He assumes a priori that his beliefs are self-evidently true, and that all others are just mockeries.

    We should ask ken to prove his gods more powerful by challenging a warrior monk to a fight, surely the one who believes in the true god will be victorious (and its not like Ken’s god is against violence).

  • medussa

    @ Jon: Troll, troll, go away, go bug someone else today!

  • Nightshadequeen

    The phrase “God of Atheism” makes about as much sense as “communist facist” or “rectangular circle”

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Also, I was under the impression Buddhism doesn’t have any gods? Isn’t that the case?

    While I agree that all the statements in Miko’s post are factual, I would characterize Buddhism as significantly more god-heavy than she does. The earliest texts we have on Buddha’s teachings are indeed agnostic towards deities (although heavy on the supernatural—Cannonball Jones’s claim that early Buddhism was simply a rational moral philosophy is inaccurate). Most cultures, upon receiving Buddhist teachings, kept their pre-existing beliefs in their local gods; to the best of my knowledge, very few, if any, would properly be termed “atheistic.” However, standard Buddhist doctrine states that those gods are still subject to the cycle of birth and rebirth, so in theory, they should be neither all-powerful, nor eternal, which means that they don’t map well to our Western conceptions of capital-G God (think, rather of Greek deities).

    However, about 500 years after the death of Buddha, new branches of Buddhism developed that we today call the Mahayana, and the Mahayana branches numerically domainte Buddhism. Most in the Mahayana believe in bodhisattva, which most often means someone who has acheived enlightment, and then remained in this world to help out the rest of us. The bodhisattva typically have immense powers, exist for trillions of eons (or eternity), and if you pray to them they can help you in this world, or help you to a better afterlife. Buddhist concepts don’t map well into Western religious terminology, but you can see that the bodhisattva fill many of the same roles that capital-G God does in Western religion.

    Incidentally, Japanese Buddhism is almost entirely Mahayana, and odd are good that Ken Ham saw a statue of a Bodhisattva, probably Kannon.

  • AxeGrrl

    “wilful ignorance”

    is this issue covered in most university-level religion programs?

    if not, it should be.

  • Christophe Thill

    What’s the God of Atheism? And, Hemant, what’s a vegetarian’s favorite meat dish?

  • turkey

    I’m currently living in Japan and I’ve been here for about two and a half years.

    First, let me say that that I usually just laugh at dumb people on the internet, but that blog post made me see red.

    In Japan, the two major religions are Buddhism and Shinto. Most Japanese people “believe” in both of them. There is a saying: “Shinto wedding, Buddhist funeral.”

    However, for most Japanese people, it’s a matter of culture and tradition rather than fight-to-the-death belief. (The most prevalent “belief” is the belief that their ancestors are watching over them, which is related to Buddhism.)

    My friends say that they do go to temples (for Buddhism) or shrines (for Shinto) on certain occasions, when they are in trouble, etc. They throw a coin in the box, press their hands together, think something like, “Help me” or “Thank you,” and go on with their lives. Two semesters of Japanese religion classes taught me more about Buddhism and Shinto than most Japanese people know. When I go to a famous temple or festival and take pictures and act like a tourist, I notice that the Japanese people around me are basically doing the same thing.

    When I tell them about the Christians in America who shoot doctors who perform abortions, they don’t fully understand or believe me.

    I do feel much safer here than I did in Bible-Belt America.

  • rath

    Reginald Selkirk Says:

    “praying to the “god” behind the curtain”

    Pay no attention to the god behind the curtain.

    You better do pay attention to him, or he might actually succeed in hijacking your space ship.

  • ProgressFromPermanence

    For the record, there is no concept of god(s) at all in the original teachings of Buddha, the superstitious nonsense has been added to it over the years as it merged with and replaced local, mostly animist, religions. Buddha was pretty clear on there being no existence between the one we see, he was an arch-materialist. In it’s original form it was nothing more than a rational system for living your life, more or less a moral philosophy. And a damn fine one at that.

    +1. And I’ll add that Western Buddhist traditions (i.e. primarily converts from Europe and North America) are overwhelmingly atheist, and many do NOT believe in reincarnation in any sense. Autumal Harvest’s suggestion that Buddhism is more “god-heavy” makes the mistake of assuming any of these historical deities are divine in any sense comparable to Abrahamic [divine and everlasting] God.

    Buddhism, more than most other traditions, seems to be the most forward looking (in the west, at least). It is impossible to be a part of a Judeo-Christian religion without belief in a god. Buddhism has no such requirement (and while it doesn’t explicitly state anything against it, there is a sort of cognitive dissonance in someone who truly contemplates the question of god and assumes his existence, as a Buddhist, in my mind, because it is inherently dualistic and antithetical to the notion of no “self” and impermanence).

  • Tulips

    whom did gospels free?

    all gospels are false books.

  • Hoffy88

    Mmmmmmm, what is Kenny smoking, Buddhism doesn’t have a God of any description, that’s one of the main precepts of the Dharma, There is NO God there is only the discerning mind, the statues etc are all just mind tools {mantra’s] reflections, there is no praying in Buddhism….sheeeees, if Kenny had a brain he’d be dangerous.

  • The Cash Man

    I’ve been stationed here in Japan for over a year now, and I have to say that Turkey is pretty much spot on when it comes to the Japanese and their shrines.

    I went to a “fertility festival” a few months ago, and the majority of the people there were just as touristy as the Americans. I do have to put put that the Japanese know how to throw one hell of a party, though.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    So why is it always fine for them to trash the religious beliefs of others, yet if we say anything about their beliefs we’re horrible monsters who are “persecuting” them?

  • Rachel

    Ken Ham is someone who believes in a Creator God and has personally experienced him. He truly feels genuine sorrow for anyone else who hasn’t also experienced Him, as do I. Not beliving in a Creator God is like missing out something you never knew or would admit existed. Why deny yourself that?

  • Dave

    I notice they were not very powerful, as they couldn’t even get out past the netting wire that “protected” them!

    Yeah, and jesus couldn’t get off the cross…

  • Tisiphone

    Either he was actually at a Shinto shrine, or he totally missed the point of Buddhism. But that’s been covered already.


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