In Defence of Ken Ham

Yes, you read that right.

I’ve not yet watched the whole of the debate video on YouTube, but I have read a fair bit of commentary in the last day. Predictably, creationist sources say their man did good and science still starts with the rejection of god, while science sources are pulling apart the creationist claims as they have done for years.

One part that seems to me to have gained the greatest notoriety is the responses to the question “What would make you change your mind?”

Many have jumped on Ham’s response that he’s a Christian and so basically nothing could persuade him that is wrong. While it is fully understandable that a science mind would see that as closed minded, mocking it for what it seems misses the big picture behind that statement.

In my Christian days, I would have answered similar. To the Christian, the salvation that God provides is the whole point of life and it shapes everything. Christianity is not just a belief, it’s a lifestyle. The whole point of the Christian faith is that the effects permeate the whole of your being and shape your whole life and, through the Holy Spirit, one becomes a different person. With that level of immersion, it is simply not possible to answer a the question posed with a glib, “If someone showed me the evidence.” This is especially so if you believe that the devil is involved in misdirection and that he will tempt you with doubts and lies.

So Ken Ham’s response to that question is exactly what one should expect from someone who takes their faith seriously and wants to guard themselves from what is perceived as bad and spiritually unhealthy. Scoffing at the answer reveals a lack of willing to understand the subject.

Of course that doesn’t mean his arguments are right, they’re not. He is however being genuine and honest in his response and it shows how deeply seriously he takes his Christianity and how much it means to him.

To Ken Ham, his creationism is part of the package of his Christianity and the two can not be separated. Show him that creationism is wrong and you challenge the very core of his Christianity. That is not an easy ask and it will never happen in a single conversation or even a single piece of evidence. For me it took years, lots of evidence and it was a major head fuck.

 

But what about the Christians who don’t accept literal creation?

There are many more liberal Christians who don’t accept literal creation than there are creationists. That’s a good thing. However, ask them the question of what would cause them to change their mind about their faith and you’ll get similar answers. Accepting evolution does not change the value of their faith to them and some will simply choose not to consider that they might be wrong.

 

What question should be asked?

I think the question was too simple and was not the right one to ask. Instead I would seek to separate Christianity from a literal creation and ask a question such as, “How would it affect your Christianity if you were shown that evolution was true.”

If I had asked that question I am not sure how I would have answered but I think I would answer that it would cause be to question my faith. In the end, that’s exactly what happened.

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9 thoughts on “In Defence of Ken Ham

    • Hi Michael. I’ve read the link but not watched the video. I didn’t find the link very helpful to me. It examines the early verses in English with no reference to the original language. I think that is a very risky thing to do because how do you know the English translation is accurate or that the original language reflects the interpretation?

  1. A ‘young earth’ view of the world is not an essential part of Christianity, i.e. you can be a Christian and not have a ‘young earth’ view.

    Ken Ham would agree with this. I’ve heard him say it.

    So if evolution actually was evidenced as solidly as proponents claim it is, it really would not necessarily need to cause someone to question their faith. It definitely would cause they to re-evaluate the way they interpret the scriptures, which parts are literal and which are not.

    In fact, most evolutionists are theistic evolutionists. The minority are the atheist evolutionists.

    The majority have no problem seeing God as using the tool of evolution. I dont agree with that view, but that doesnt cause me to regard those people as ‘not Christian’. Even a large percentage (not a majority but still a large percentage , about 40%) of scientists are essentially theistic evolutionists. http://ncse.com/rncse/17/6/many-scientists-see-gods-hand-evolution

    • Hi Tim. That item is almost 20 years old and probably reflects the USA only. I bet the number is lower now and in other countries.

      I agree one does not have to believe creationism to be a real Christian. However Ken Ham does imply that in a lot of his rhetoric.

      Christians who accept the science behind evolution should engage creationists and challenge them more. It should not just be secularists who present the challenge because that is partly why it’s seen as a threat to religion.

  2. Ken Ham and the young-earth creationists would do better, it seems to me, just being science skeptics than pretending they are doing any real science in the defense of their creationism.

  3. I certainly agree that Ham was being honest in his answer, but it was terrible for his argument that he had to say it aloud. I don’t get how anyone could trust his evaluation after an outright admission that he has no method for filtering out things that are false.

  4. Timely words from Augustine: Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learned from experience and the light of reason?

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