Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Illogical Basis of AIG

A good deal of great material in the news lately, plenty of grist for an apologetics blogger (I just wish I knew one that had more time to respond to it all). A SETI anniversary experiment, pastors admitting that, despite their having become atheists, they stay in the ministry because they don't have any other way of making a living, and, of course, an aging Stephen Hawking lapsing into some of the silliest logic imaginable for arguably the most brilliant mind of our lifetimes. But let me start with Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, who this week sunk to a new low as he articulated with unusual clarity the illogical basis of his entire ministry, career and life. Here's an excerpt:
When Christian leaders deliberately reinterpret God’s Word on the basis of man’s fallible ideas (taken from outside the Bible), not only are they undermining the Word of God, they are actually though unwittingly) conducting an attack on the Son of God! This is very serious. Yes, when you compromise the Word of God, it is also an attack on the Son of God, whose Word it is.
If you care to read more, the full article can be found here, but this quote gives us plenty to discuss.

Here's the first very basic fact that Ham seems completely unable to see... Everyone who interacts with God's Word is interpreting it, Ken Ham as well as William Lane Craig (the Christian leader against whom Ham's remarks are addressed). Thus, if Craig interprets God's Word differently than does Ham, it is Ham's interpretation that is being questioned, not the Word of God. It's just as simple as that. And the inability to grasp that, his blindness to the fact that his interpretation is not the "Word of God" but an interpretation of it, is foundational to the entire scheme of Ham's whole ministry.

Elsewhere, Ham (as well as others of his ilk, including the more well-respected Bible commentator, John MacArthur) insists that those who doubt [his interpretation of] the creation account, will invariably doubt the resurrection of Jesus.

Now, that Jesus rose from the dead in a glorified body is explicitly taught over and over again, in all four Gospels and in nearly all of the other New Testament books. But nowhere in Scripture is it explicitly taught that the Earth and universe are only 6,000 years old (as Ham believes) or that the 'days' of the creation in Genesis 1 are 24-hour days. Indeed, the more explicit Scripture passsages that deal with the age of creation state that the mountains are far, far older than human understanding. No, Ham's view about the age of creation is a complex theory that makes a number of interpretive decisions, each one of which is at best dubious and at worst demonstrably false. What's more, Ham's interpretation of Genesis is very recent in church history, as he could rightly be said to be following the interpretation that arose with Lightfoot and Ussher in the 17th century.

In his insightful book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Christian historian/philosopher Mark Noll refers to Ham's position this way:
...a fatally flawed interpretive scheme of the sort that no responsible Christian teacher in the history of the church ever endorsed before this century [that has come] to dominate the minds of American evangelicals on scientific questions
Perhaps an even bigger problem in the thinking of AIG's leader is that whenever he examines the interpretations of others, he finds them fallible, and clearly implies that by contrast his own thinking, ideas, and conclusions are infallible. Now, he doesn't say this right out, of course, because it sounds so silly. He again hides behind "the Word of God." when what is really being compared is the fallible interpretations of those with whom he disagrees over against the fallible interpretations of Ken Ham. Until he confronts this glaring aspect of personal pride and bad reasoning, I'm afraid Ham will continue to be an embarrassment to the name of Christ and a barrier to belief for those more willing to make the most of the minds that God has given them as they seek to understand His precious written Word.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I am amazed that so many get on the bandwagon with Ham. They must quit listening after he says that he is against evolution. There is way more to being for creation than being against evolution.It's no wonder why intelligent people that see or hear about the museum in Kentucky and it's illogical take on the whole dinosaur/people interaction,are turned off to church and Christianity.

It's a shame that many who could be persuaded to pursue the truth that is Christ turn away from the nonsense that is AIG thinking that all Christians are anti-intellectuals that deny the sciences.Their interest with all things Christian fades away quick.

The deceptions in the world that are taking place in the name of Christianity are an ever growing problem. It seriously affects the abilities of the lost/those seeking truth to make good decisions.It further muddies the road that might otherwise be only slightly damp.