Ken Ham wants to return to whatever we once were

Written by: Bjørn Østman

Primary Source: Pleiotropy


Ken Ham delivers an awesome summary of the decline of religion’s influence in his Answers Magazine. It reads really well, mostly, if you forget for a moment that it’s written by Ham. Otherwise, you can almost hear him gnashing teeth.

He laments that the Western world is becoming more and more secular, and that you have to go to the Third World to get the kind of religious adherence he longs for. He is talking about gay-marriage and abortion and evolution, of course. He then asks

What Led to This Change?
In essence this change reflects a shift between the world’s two opposing religions. Ultimately there are only two religions—one starts with God’s Word and the other starts with man’s word. America—and the whole Western world—once built its worldview predominantly on the Bible. Now a shift has occurred, as the West’s worldview is being built on man’s word. This change is reflected in a shift from Christianity’s absolutes to the relative morality of human opinions.

I guess that it favors his rhetoric to phrase these different world views as being religions (Ham will say ‘atheism’ here, but he should say humanism -which is not a religion as much as a word view). Devious, though, how he basically dismisses all other religions by this false dichotomy.

He’s right that the change is from a focus on absolutes to a relative morality, but not really on human opinion. At least not as arbitrary as he makes it sound. Our morality is at least in part evolved, as people like Frans de Waal argue. On top of that, the morality taught in the Bible (if you include the Old Testament, as many Americans do), is deplorable [list of actions punishable by death].

Ham (an Australian, btw) continues

Whatever we once were we are no longer! These words really mean that America as a nation no longer builds its thinking on God’s Word, but man can determine truth for himself. America has changed religion—from Christianity to a man-centered religion. This spiritual disaster is now reflected in this nation’s economic and moral disaster.

Of course, man has long been able to determine “truth” (i.e., moral values, in this case) by selecting reading the Bible, as Ham does himself. Does he call for God to smite the shellfish eaters, per chance? It really seems much more easy to explain the various Biblical laws as arbitrary human inventions (e.g., forbidden to eat leavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Exodus 12:15 – what is the point?).

So What is the Solution?
Whatever we once were we need to return to. The only solution for this nation (and every other nation) is to return to the authority of God’s Word as the foundation for our individual and cultural worldviews.
As Psalm 11:3 states, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Really?! Whatever we once were? You mean, like slave-owning racists? Gullible peons? Disease-ridden and ignorant of the world? Perhaps that is what he means, as long as the word of God is taken literally. Sounds like Hell-on-Earth to me, ironically.

But what is the solution? How is it that Ham here supposes it is possible to return to authority of God’s word? What can the righteous do, indeed? Build a creationist theme-park in Kentucky? – See more at: http://pleiotropy.fieldofscience.com/2014/11/ken-ham-wants-to-return-to-whatever-we.html#sthash.SZ1RuhTh.dpuf

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Bjørn Østman
Bjørn Østman is an evolutionary biologist postdoc working in the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.
I am interested in many aspects of evolution. I work in computational biology, using various approaches to learn about fundamental processes of evolution. Bioinformatics is good for learning about real genes (data generously supplied by other researchers), and simulations are good for testing the mechanisms of evolution. I am particularly interested in how populations and organisms adapt to changing environments, both at the genetic and phenotypic level. Lately my research has focused on the evolutionary dynamics of populations evolving in rugged fitness landscapes.
Bjørn Østman

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