Ken Ham and his followers may think they’re defending Christianity and ensuring that our faith will be passed along to future generations, but the reality is they’re putting our children and grandchildren at risk of rejecting the faith entirely.
I think what’s particularly tragic is that it doesn’t have to be this way; what Ken and those in the Young Earth Creationist movement have done is created a flimsy faith built on a house of cards. They have literally invested themselves into turning a faith that was built to weather the fiercest storms, into a faith that can collapse from the smallest breeze.
As a result, Ken Ham’s version of Christianity is setting our children up to reject the faith entirely. Here’s why.
First, the religion of Ken Ham is built upon the wrong foundation. As he articulated yesterday on Twitter, his religion is founded upon not just the book of Genesis, but a very specific (modern, not ancient) interpretation of Genesis:
Genesis is like the foundation of a house. One has to build from the foundation to ensure right Christian structure (worldview). The more Christians ignore/compromise Genesis, the more secularized the church will become–which is happening. Speaking this am @firstbossier
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) November 12, 2017
What is tragic about insisting that a particular interpretive approach to Genesis is the foundation of Christian faith and worldview, is the fact that it is ironically unbiblical.
Regardless of how Genesis may or may not be best interpreted, Jesus actually claimed that he is the foundation we must build our faith on (Matthew 7:24). In addition, Jesus rebuked religious leaders who built the foundation of their faith on the Hebrew Scriptures, and articulated that refusing to put him (Jesus) first, resulted in completely misunderstanding the point of those Scriptures (John 5:39).
Thus, even if Ken were right about a Young Earth and his hermeneutical approach to Genesis, he’s still wrong. The Christian faith and worldview is founded upon Jesus Christ– anything else is idolatry, even if it’s idolatry wrapped in a Bible case.
Secondly (and here’s where Ken’s faith structure sets our kids up to reject the faith entirely), instead of saying, “Here’s how we think Genesis should best be interpreted, but we could be wrong– so let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”, the religion of Ken Ham tells kids, “Here is the only way to understand Genesis– and if we’re wrong, nothing else in the Bible can be trusted.”
How they fail to see the unnecessarily precarious position they box themselves into is beyond me. It’s one thing to get the foundation wrong, but it’s another to step that up a notch and say, “If we turn out to be wrong, the Bible cannot be trusted.”
In this way, as a Christian and minister who disagrees with Young Earth Creationism, my most pressing concern isn’t that kids believe the earth is only 6,000 years old.
My most pressing concern is that kids might believe the entirety of our faith is untrustworthy if Genesis is understood in any other way.
For these children who grow up and begin to find modern science compelling and at odds with the Young-Earth worldview, they become high risk for abandoning the faith because they have been preprogrammed and convinced that without Young Earth Creationism, the entire Christian faith is now called into question.
Sadly, our faith doesn’t have to be this way– a faith rooted in Jesus is strong and secure.
A faith rooted in a specific hermeneutical approach to one section of Scripture? Well, not so much– and they know it.
Ken Ham has built a house of cards where there wasn’t one to begin with.
Our faith is not fickle. Our faith is not fragile. Our faith does not depend on a specific hermeneutical approach to Genesis.
And to teach children that it actually is, is far more dangerous than teaching them the earth is only 6,000 years old.
Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com.