One of the blogs I follow, The Sensuous Curmudgeon does a great job in covering outbreaks of creationism as they pop up all over the place. So, of course, they spend a fair amount of time discussing Ken Ham, The Ayatollah of the Appalachians, as they accurately refer to him.
If you have been sleeping in a cave, you might not know that Ham is the creator (pun city!) of Answers in Genesis, the creationist website and the hysterical Creation Museum in Kentucky.
I had the great pleasure of hearing Ken on the radio yesterday and I left with a new hero.
First, Ken went on and on about how his being denied a tax break for next religious project, the ark project is a threat to religious liberty everywhere. No, the state is not asking him to stop building it, or even to shut up. No, they just decided that they could not give a tax break designed to increase tourism to what amounts to a church. Oh the horrors, Ole Hambo won’t get part of the sales tax he doesn’t even pay (the suckers coming in do!) rebated back to him. Wow, good thing they didn’t break him on the wheel! So, of course, he is suing. Maybe this verse will help, Ken:
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
I know, it is in Matthew, not Genesis, so you probably have not come across this one before.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it is not Ole Hambo who is my new hero. After talking a few minutes about the Ark project, the old goat spent much more time talking about something that really got his goat.
The project started in 2004 right here in Wisconsin when a school board was taking up a creationism type issue. Zimmerman decided to round up support for the teaching of evolution in schools not from his fellow scientists (which, of course, would have been simple enough, but perhaps ignored) but rather from clergy. He was about to get 200 clergy members from around the state to sign a letter of support for the teaching of real science.
Since then the project has grown and now stands with almost 13,000 clergy having signed on to the project. It says a lot for Dr. Zimmerman and even more it says a lot for the reasonableness of a vast majority of Christian churches in the United States. If nothing else they realize that they need to be on the right side of history and not end up with Galileo egg on their faces.
But the bigger issue is one of faith. As I previously wrote, Ham is one of those of little faith. It is his considered opinion that every single word of the bible has to be true or none of them are. Which, is almost the exact same argument that I heard a Catholic priest use again atheists. He said that atheists don’t understand allegory and that because there is no such thing as a talking snake the bible is so much baloney, that the rest of it must be as well. Most atheists are much more sophisticated than that, willing to happily agree that Adam and Eve, Noah, and even Joshua are legends or stories, not history. But whether history or legend they do not prove or disprove the existence of god by themselves.
Ironically, it is Ham and his ilk that the priest should have been talking. His worldview is much less sophisticated than pretty much any atheist. If every word of a 2000 year old book that doesn’t even claim to be history is wrong in any detail, not only does it disprove the bible, but god himself. No literal talking snake — no god.
No ark — no god — no purpose for human life — nihilism and anarchy for human kind. If Adam didn’t live to be 930 years old, life has no meaning and we might as well go around raping and killing each other. This really is the insane knife’s edge that Ham and his followers live on.
It is all or none, just like the Islamists. The most dangerous kind of thinking mankind has come up with. Which is why so many clergy have lined up on the opposite side. For them god can still live even in an allegorical or even flawed bible.
But not for Ole Hambo. His god will die a death of a thousand cuts. One cut and it’s over. Just like Ken’s faith.