Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Faith Test

...he's just passed!

A belief in Young Earth Creationism is one thing; to turn it into faith test material is quite another; but that is precisely what Ken Ham and his followers are doing. Ken’s new book (written with Greg Hall), “Already Compromised”, is very tellingly subtitled “Christian Colleges took a test on the state of their faith and the final exam is in”. Of course, we know what that means: If you don’t accept Ham’s view of creation, you’ve failed the test. But here’s the good news: Reading Ken’s blog posts it looks as though the majority of colleges tested didn’t pass his exam.

In a post blog post dated June 14 and entitled “Publish or Perish” Ken spills the beans: I’ve highlighted the important bits in bold.

With so many Christian academics in our Christian colleges compromising with evolution and millions of years, many people have asked me why it is so”.

I do believe the publish or perish syndrome, together with academic pride and peer pressure, really (sadly) explain much of this compromise so rife in Christian circles"

compromise is so rife through the leadership in so many churches

In a blog post dated June 28 Ken publishes a letter from a mother who read “Already Compromised”. Once again the picture she paints for YEC is down beat, to say the least:

Though I was already aware that there is a lot off compromise of Biblical truths I had no idea that it was to this extent. I saddens, shocks and angers me all at the same time

"Based on the research in your book, it appears to me that there is a severe case of intellectual schizophrenia on Christian college campuses today! Presidents, professors, and the other faculty claim to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, yet turn around and say that they disagree with key Biblical truths or that they embrace evolution, which is completely contrary to the Bible!"

"One of the most disturbing things I see from your book is that those who seem to be the most passionate and committed to this battle are the evolutionists! They are fully engaged, and honestly, I think our apathy emboldens them even more! I expected that they control the secular academic arena, but was shocked to see that even in “Christian” colleges, they are gaining more and more ground!"

The review of “Already Compromised” in the AiG book store is also encouraging: This review says of the book: “You find the answers to questions about each school’s purpose, and the stance on the inerrancy of scripture, origins and age of the Earth, and many more” ….and…. “The findings are shocking.

I won’t be reading the book because these quotes tell me all I need know – Ken’s YEC crusade has not had much effect and if anything Christians are moving away from YEC. It’s telling that Ken’s correspondent had no idea of the extent of the problem for YEC; that’s probably a sign of how fundamentalist communities tend to quarantine themselves from the surrounding culture – and for good reason; without that insulation they would easily become “subverted” by outside ideas.

However, there is, as they say, no room for complacency. In painting a very bleak picture Ken and Co are doing what they do best and that is appealing to some very basic instincts; anger, fear and above all fear of the unknown. It is these primeval emotions that fundamentalists instinctively know how to exploit; they threaten non-fundamentalists using some of the most deep seated fears known to man, and these fears revolve around one’s unknown standing before God and one’s eternal destiny. As we know from Jones Town and various other religious sects, these fears can prove to be stronger than even the fear of death itself.

For Ken and Co, YEC is a battleground for the very spiritual life of the church and therefore they have huge emotional stakes in the matter and a concomitant determination. This becomes clear when we read the blog posts I have quoted. In Ken’s view non-YEC Christians are, needless say, compromised, especially, it seems, “Christian academics”, who, I guess, are AiG’s main antagonist and competitor in their crusade. For Ken rejection of YEC is a spiritual failing that he puts down to such things as “academic pride and peer pressure” and “indoctrination from colleges”. Whilst Christian academics largely stand against Ken's YEC publicity machine he will do all he can to portray them as hopelessly compromised by their institutional  connections.

Ken knows how to rally his troops and raise the genie of jingoism and self righteous anger: This is evidenced by his correspondent saying:

“…the battle that is raging ….. young people whose faith is on the line and who have not been adequately equipped for the attack [against YEC I presume] that they will face, not only from the world but now even from those trusted to teach them Biblical truths….. I am angered by those who claim to trust God’s word and follow Jesus, who rely more on man’s fallible word and who are leading young people astray in the proves…. Thank you for reminding me of the craftiness of the deceiver”

Fundamentalists don’t address the intellect but they sure know how to manipulate the emotions; they make no bones about who they think is deceiving you if you reject their message.

Ken’s correspondent goes on to tell us about the “simple” solution: “…now even Christian colleges fail to produce disciples! There must be a return to the simple, yet profound task of making disciples!” The method of making disciples is likely to be authoritarians and patriarchal. As the AiG book review page says “A common theme is that those in Administration [in Christian colleges] do not really know what is being taught, and little is being done to weed out unorthodox and errant teaching.” And boy, do these people know how to “weed out unorthodox and errant teaching”! In that reference alone is a microcosm of spiritual spin, fear and subtle emotional bullying.

Make no mistake, Ham and those he stands for are determined spiritual empire builders. They will not agree to disagree with Christians who don’t follow YEC; they will not leave them alone to make up their own mind about an issue moderate Christians regard as a non-core faith question, but will treat them as targets for spiritual duress. With huge business, political and social kudos interests at stake these fundamentalists are determined to convert an “erring” church to their views.

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