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James McGrath: Why Anti-Evolutionism is Evil

May 4, 2010

Dr. McGrath had a good post yesterday with much food for thought that is worth re-posting in its entirety:

From a Christian perspective, the sort of false teaching propagated by the likes of Ken Ham, as seen for instance in the video below (HT Unreasonable Faith), deserves to be called evil.

Christians have a strong sense that they are supposed to be going against the flow, that they need to dare to be different, that they need to stand up for their faith even if it means ridicule or persecution. What Ken Ham and others like him have done is to give Christians a way that they can feel that they are in fact doing this, standing up for their faith, by standing up for pseudoscience, instead of taking a stand for the things that really ought to distinguish a Christian: love for enemies, concern for justice, bringing together those whom society divides along lines of race, gender, status, and much else.

That is really all that the pseudoscientific, anti-Christian movement known as young-earth creationism is: an attempt to distract from the fact that Christians aren’t treating the Bible as the Word of God, taking it literally, or doing any of the other things Ken Ham and others like him claim to stand for – not when it comes to the Bible’s teaching about economic and social justice, concern for the poor and oppressed, renunciation of wealth, and most other matters of practice. And so young earth creationism deserves to be labelled as what it is: not merely “bogus science” but also a false Gospel.


Amen. Ken Ham, YECists, and AiG, tend to take every issue and make it about a literal reading of Genesis. Strife in the home? Read Genesis more literally. Drugs in America? Read Genesis more literally. Kids acting up? Read Genesis more literally. Finances doing poor? Read Genesis more literally. Is it raining outside? Read Genesis more literally… and ad nauseum. Of course this is good for business. When your organization is called Answers in Genesis you need to point as many issues there as possible.

However, as far as I can tell, the Christian canon consists of more than one book. Might want to flip to the right a few pages…

Maybe I’ll start my own organizations Answers in Leviticus; or Answers in Lamentations. Perhaps, I might join the flat-earth society and start Answers in Ecclesiastes. I’m sure if any of us actually dedicated some time and gray matter to the issue we could come up with some good stuff!

Answers in Zechariah… hmmmmm.

One more from James: Picking and Choosing in the News

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2010 11:40 am

    Sweet, I’ll start “Answers in Song of Solomon”.

    You’re right about the way they see themselves as taking a stand against the world. The crazier the belief, the more people will disagree with you, and the more validation you get that you are on the right track. And that compromising, worldly Christians who accept evolution are clearly wrong because they are not being “persecuted for their faith” in the same way the AiG’ers are.

    What I found terrible in the video was the way the children are being taught to learn from authority rather than thinking for themselves. Highlighted by Ken Ham’s “question” to the kids, “So, in a big, loud voice, who should you always trust, God, or the scientist?”

    • May 4, 2010 11:43 am

      Answers in SoS… nice. I like it! 🙂

  2. Chris E permalink
    May 4, 2010 1:18 pm

    Googling on that AiG site, I found this ..

  3. WenatcheeTheHatchet permalink
    May 4, 2010 6:59 pm

    I think Mark Driscoll probably has the corner on the market of Answers in Song of Solomon already, via Peasant Princess.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy permalink
    May 5, 2010 8:51 am

    “Give me your children until they are seven and they will be mine. You will pass away, but they will remain mine.”
    — Adolf Hitler

  5. Chris E permalink
    May 5, 2010 11:06 am

    Answers in Job: (I do hope this is parody).

  6. May 5, 2010 2:40 pm

    …the Bible’s teaching about economic and social justice, concern for the poor and oppressed, renunciation of wealth, and most other matters of practice.

    Perhaps a matter of semantics, but I’d like to caution against bandying about some of the terms used in this clause. I’ve noticed in modern usage, concepts such as “economic and social justice” and “renunciation of wealth” are weilded in the same way by some as the concepts of morality and social order are by others: as a bludgeon for use by the state to bring about the weilders’ conception of religious conformance.

    While I understand that is not the main thrust of the commentary, I think it’s important to point out that in neither case — moralizing nor egalitarianism — is adherence adjudged to be obligatory, nor did Christ and his apostles appeal to the strength of Caesar to compel adherence. What I mean to say is, for example, while it is right to give to the needy, it is wrong to use the power of the state to force giving (via theft taxes and redistribution welfare); in the same way, while it is right to live a moral life, it is wrong to use the power of the state to codify morality into civil statute (e.g., outlawing extramarital affairs or, for that matter, gay marriage). Similarly, “renunciation of wealth,” or, as the cartoon has it, the idea that one must “sell everything you own to be able to inherit eternal life” misses the point: poor people have idols, too.

    Otherwise, I agree entirely with the message. I read somewhere — it may have even been here (though it seems a little too profound for Scotteriology 🙂 ) — words to the effect that, if I may misquote, “my God is more amazing, awesome, and powerful because he didn’t have to make everything in six literal days; he started the ball rolling, set up the laws of physics and thermodynamics, etc., and the universe eventually arrived at Jesus dying and rising again, all according to his plan.”

    • Chris E permalink
      May 5, 2010 5:02 pm

      What I mean to say is, for example, while it is right to give to the needy, it is wrong to use the power of the state to force giving (via theft taxes and redistribution welfare);

      I’d agree that Christianity doesn’t equate to redistribution by government fiat – though the picture is surely more complex in democracies – even if they are parlimentary/party based.

      Having said that, I do think you are reading through American tinted glasses. I’m not sure that scripture is sufficient for deciding issues of faith AND low taxes. The tax system at the time of Christ was arguably legalised-extortion backed by threat of the sword, and yet the only comment he actually makes on tax is an ambiguous one, and the rest of the New Testament is silent on the issue.

      ISTM that this is a matter of Christian liberty, and that precludes either pro-tax or anti-tax Christians acting like their point of view is Redemptive.

      • May 6, 2010 7:51 am

        I appreciate your thoughts, Chris.

        It was not my intent to use scripture to decide issues of taxation. (Natural law is sufficient for that 🙂 ) Incidently, would you have felt more comfortable if I had denounced using theft (taxes) to fund murder (war)? I did mention using force (the state) to compel morality — the American Right’s stock-in-trade. Either way, the argument cuts both ways.

        At any rate, my point was not about taxes, but exactly what you said. I think there is grave danger in attempting to use the blunt instrument of the state to acheive one’s sectarian ends, regardless of one’s politics. Even when it seems like “the right thing to do.”

        [BTW, my views are hardly uniquely American, or particularly American-tinted. Hayek and Mises (both Austrian), Bastiat and Camus (both French), Nietzsche (German), Acton (British) and Solzhenitsyn (Russian), to name a few, have contributed heavily, as well as several Americans, among others. I’d say my strongest influence, though, has been Taylor (Canadian).]

        [On second thought, Taylor hasn’t really done much for me.]
        😉 @ Jake

  7. Jake permalink
    May 10, 2010 1:15 am

    Taylor hasn’t done much for me either… @ my university degree.

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