Let me start by saying that I usually avoid dialogue with young-earth creationists, for a few reasons, but mostly because I’m not a scientist. I accept evolution the same way that I accept gravity, or the laws of physics, or how I can operate a car even if I don’t know the intricate workings like a mechanic does. That said, it is simply not my role to educate people on scientific theories.
Today though, someone retweeted Ken Ham’s blog into my time-line, and I just could not pass up the opportunity to get my feet wet with a response post.
Titled “It’s Really the Message They Object To”, our favorite non-celebrity attempts to ward off naysayers regarding his infamous Ark Encounter project.
Nearly every time I post an update on the exciting Ark Encounter project, there seem to be those habitual complainers who claim the money should be spent on the poor instead and not be “wasted” this way.
Yeah. We are talking millions of dollars for a for-profit theme park celebrating genocide. A quick Google will give you an estimated cost of $150 million for this project. That could help a LOT of poor people, Ken.
His response? First, he tries to accuse his opponents of hypocrisy for not criticizing the money that Disney World, Louisiana State University or Hillary Clinton’s campaign spend on their own projects.
Oh, Ken. Not off to a good start, are we? Your logical fallacy is… (drumroll, please!)
Besides just trying to shift the focus here, there is a huge difference between non-religious businesses or programs and a religious institution that claims to follow Jesus but actually just wants to make a shit-ton of money.
He goes on to list some of the charity that Answers in Genesis has contributed to. That’s great, Ken. Glad to hear it. It doesn’t excuse the ridiculousness of the Ark Encounter. If God wanted you to build this display so badly, why doesn’t he send his rock monster angels or whatever to help you? How come there’s no magic forest popping up out of nowhere? Oh, that was just the movie version of Noah? “Not scriptural”, you say. Huh. Sorry, I guess I got “rock monster angel thingies” mixed up with “demons that had sex with humans to produce giants”. You’re right; that’s much more realistic. Damn Hollywood, always getting it wrong.
Ken then tries to disparage his opponents some more, by comparing them to Judas in one of my favorite Bible stories:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1–8) (Emphasis mine.)
This statement, to me, is one that highlights a Jesus we don’t often see – one who is callous and unfeeling toward the poor he supposedly loves so much. One of my first doubts regarding my Catholic faith had to do with the huge churches, statues and gold chalices. Because Catholics believe the Eucharist actually turns into the body and blood of Jesus, the cardboard-like “host” and bottom-shelf wine can only be held in containers made of precious metals.
Dude was born in a stable, I would think to myself, there’s no way he would demand such a thing. According to the verse Ken Ham cites, though, I’d be wrong. I wonder why he doesn’t quote the story of the rich man, though? The one whom Jesus told to sell all his possessions and give his money to the poor? Hm. I guess that doesn’t apply to projects that amount to preaching like the Ark Encounter.
Another way he tries to justify his silly project is by stating it’s more important to feed people’s spiritual needs:
At Answers in Genesis, our mission is to “proclaim the absolute truth and authority of the Bible with boldness, relate the relevance of a literal Genesis to the church and world today, and obey God’s call to deliver the message of the gospel.” So while it is important to help the poor and needy meet their physical needs (which we do), it is even more important to help meet their spiritual need—the need to come to know Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world—because lives—and eternity—hang in the balance. The Ark Encounter will help us do that in a powerful, non-threatening way by simply sharing the truth of God’s Word with visitors at the Ark concerning the historicity of Noah’s Ark, the Genesis Flood, and other authentic accounts of history revealed in the Scriptures, including the account of redemption weaved throughout the Bible. Our motivation for the Ark project is to reach as many people as we can worldwide with the saving gospel message…
Yet whenever you ask “What about cultures that have never heard about God or Jesus?” or, “What about people before Jesus came?” we almost always get some form of the same answer: Everyone gets a chance to know God through revelation. There will be no excuse. Excuse me, but um, doesn’t that render Ken Ham and his little project rather… extraneous? Redundant, even?
Finally, Mr. Ham throws out the deus ex machina of Christian apologetics:
The point is that there are those who, no matter what we do at AiG, will complain about it—and ultimately I do believe it’s because we stand on the authority of the Word of God. I’m reminded of the Scripture,
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
Sigh. Of course. Whenever Christians face criticism, no matter how small, they can toss their opponents this little gem and ignore the cognitive dissonance bouncing around in their brains.
Ken, you are not being persecuted. Lie to yourself and your followers all you want, but “the message” is not really what is being opposed. The message is laughable. It’s the blatant hypocrisy we have a problem with.