It is entirely possible that Ken Ham genuinely believes that his life’s work is filling holes in the cracks in the dam that he thinks keeps the flood of atheism from sweeping over weak Christians. But as I’ve pointed out here before, the truth is quite different. The flood he fears actually includes much that is true. The web of lies he weaves is designed to bolster not Christianity per se, but his own dubious understanding of Christianity. And thus the work that he does actually eats away at the heart of what Christianity stands for, and does more damage to Christian faith than the floods he fears.
P. Z. Myers is one atheist who recognizes what Ken Ham is doing helps atheists more than anyone else, and in a recent post he expressed his appreciation of its frequent effect:
Followers of Ken Ham/Kent Hovind style creationism are setting themselves up to fail. They’ve created a starkly black and white universe in which either you are completely in agreement with their dogma, or you are completely wrong in all things, which means small cracks in their façade quickly tear wide open into vast chasms. It might mean they’re impenetrable in the short term, but over time, they crumble, and they crumble hard, since losing faith in certain pseudoscientific claims means you are inevitably going to have to question the whole of your faith.
So Ken Ham is doing good work for us atheists by building a very brittle Christian wall. It can resist a few punches, but when it goes, it goes in its entirety.
I’ve addressed this here before in posts like the following: Ken Ham continues winning souls for atheism. Ken Ham reads the Bible like an atheist (and he’s proud of it). Ken Ham agrees with Bill Maher. Ken Ham and atheists agree. Why is Ken Ham believed? How fundamentalists promote atheism. The cult-like nature of young-earth creationism.
Look at the meme image at the end of this post for another example, from a young-earth creationist supporter of Ken Ham. How can it be anything other than support for atheism when you treat a sunset as evidence for God, and thus turn a scientific explanation of sunsets into evidence against God?
The irony is that not only the wall young-earth creationists build, but the system of thought that they are protecting, is entirely a human construction – exactly the sort of thing that they tell people is at best shaky and at worst diabolical. If they could let the flood of truth and knowledge sweep away the garbage they have piled up, without being swept away with it, they could build a worldview that acknowledges God with what remains, and do more to glorify God, precisely because they are no longer surrounding an idol with a flimsy rampart made of pages from the Bible.
How wonderful it would be if they could recognize that their attempts to defend what they have misidentified as “the truth,” against the power of the Truth, is itself not only idolatry, but ridiculously foolish.
Of related interest, Tyler Francke shared some thoughts on Ken Ham’s wall-building.