I write a lot about my atheism and general disbelief in a loving god on these pages. I do it even more on social media where, I admit, sometimes I come off a bit more militant than I really intend to. Sometimes it gets me in hot water with people that I know. After posting a bit on Facebook and Instagram a few weeks ago about the snake handling pastor who died of snakebite after refusing medical attention (“God will save me… ugh…”), I was lambasted by a friend who is currently a Mormon, telling me I was wrong using an idiot like that guy to illustrate a claim that god doesn’t exist. This particular friend, by the way, is someone I met when she was a pagan high priestess. Having gone from Christianity to paganism, to skepticism myself, I know that isn’t much better, but I can’t help but feel she’s going the wrong direction and really ought to know better.
Still, it got me thinking again about how otherwise rational people can accept the crap presented to us by religion so willingly. It also led me to thinking about Christian “scientists.” I don’t mean Christian Science, the religion, I mean actual scientists who also adhere to a Christian faith. How do they reconcile this? How do they look at a universe which science knows is almost fourteen billion years old and insist that we live on a planet that is around six thousand years old? So I decided to peek into the dark side3 and see just what the “experts” on the other side are saying. For the first time ever, I jumped on the internets and looked up www.answersingenesis.org.
It is fucking scary.
The first thing I noticed when pulling up the page was a graphic with the legend “Prove to me the God exists” along with a button, “click here for answers.” Who would have thought it would be that easy? Modern technology is wonderful!
Clicking the button, I was greeted with the following paragraph, presumably written by Ken Ham himself:
The topic of proving God’s existence has been discussed and analyzed many times. In 1985 a popular debate on this subject was held between Reformed theologian Greg Bahnsen and atheist Gordon Stein. Stein was asked what would “constitute adequate evidence for God’s existence?” He answered, “If that podium suddenly rose into the air five feet, stayed there for a minute and then dropped right down again, I would say that is evidence of a supernatural because it would violate everything we knew about the laws of physics and chemistry.”1 What if an even greater miracle happened? Would you believe in God if He showed up at your door?
I pride myself in believing in the evidence of my eyes and ears and, yes, if God himself one day showed up at my door and announced himself, proving himself by blinking things into existence, I would indeed believe in him. Would I fall down and worship him though? I think not. For if the god of the bible does exist, he is not worthy of worship at all. Instead, I’d say he has a great fucking deal to answer for.
People like to use the bible as an example of moral values to live by and, sure, there is a lot of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and “turn the other cheek” talk in there which seem like fine lessons to pass on to our kids, but those eschewing these values tend to overlook all the “murder the men, women, and children” talk that appears especially in the old testament. I’ve had Christians tell me that these old testament episodes “don’t count” because Jesus came as a redeemer and it is his message that matters now. Yet, they still want to put the Ten Commandments up in public court houses.
And, while I’m thinking about it, let’s look at those Ten Commandments for a moment. Ten basic rules to live by. Follow these instructions and everything will be hunky-dory. The following is from the New International Version of Exodus chapter 20, so the familiar “thou shalt not’s” have been replaced by “you shall not.”
The Ten Commandments
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Really? “No other gods before me” is important enough to be number one? Also, doesn’t logic follow that the speaker of those words is confirming that there are, in fact, “other gods” in existence? This is followed by the “graven images” and “taking the lord’s name in vain,” and “remembering the sabbath.” All these come before the “honor your father and mother” part which sounds like a great idea, but what if your parents are assholes? My stepfather was mentally and sexually abusive. Am I really supposed to “honor” that piece of human garbage?
And still, all these things come before the very basic “don’t murder” and “don’t steal shit.” The rest are good basic points to follow, “don’t fuck around on your spouse,” “don’t lie,” and “don’t covet other people’s stuff” (and how does that really work in a capitalist economy? If no one coveted his neighbor’s SUV, GM would go belly up overnight). Only two of the commandments are actually laws in our country, but we need stone tablets listing all ten at the county courthouse?
Also why aren’t some other pretty basic things on that list? Shouldn’t rape rank somewhere on there? Pedophilia? Slavery? Doesn’t “Thou shalt not own another human being as property” just make sense? Nope. In fact, the bible actually endorses slavery and gives specific instructions on how slaves should be beaten and whether the wives and children of slaves are their masters’ property or not.
Hasa Diga Ebowai.
So, back to Answers in Genesis (there are none, I promise), the “Proving God Exists” article goes on to say:
Some people, especially atheists, tend to think that supernatural phenomenon like miracles are absolutely necessary for proving the existence of God. But some people will never be convinced, in spite of seeing miracles, as many incidents in biblical history show:
- In 1 Kings 18:39 after God miraculously consumed Elijah’s sacrifice with fire from heaven, the Israelites proclaimed,“The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”But the prophets of Baal apparently did not submit to the Lord God, and they were executed in verse 40.
- Rahab was saved by faith (Hebrews 11:31) and the rest of Jericho was destroyed because of their unbelief. Why did they remain in unbelief even though they were still terrified of Israel 40 years after the miraculous plagues in Egypt (Joshua 2:9–11)?
- After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many Jews believed on Jesus (John 11:45), but the chief priests and Pharisees tried to kill Lazarus to cover up the evidence (John 12:10–11).
- It is amazing that after seeing the dumb speak, the blind see, the lame walk, the sick healed, devils cast out, and the dead raised, that the Pharisees attributed Christ’s miracles to the devil (Matthew 12:24) and plotted to have Him killed (Matthew 26:4). In light of those miracles and Pilate finding no fault in Him, it doesn’t make sense that so many people cried out for him to be crucified (Matthew 27:23).
- In Acts 4:16 after Peter healed the lame man, the religious leaders admitted a notable miracle had been done—they could not deny it—but they responded in continued unbelief and threatened the disciples not to preach Jesus anymore.
Well, yeah. Supernatural miracles are necessary to prove god’s existence, because he’s done a pretty shitty job of it otherwise. Case in point? If I could stop a child from being raped, I would. However, kids get raped and tortured all over the world every day.Where is god while that’s going on? He must be more concerned with which team wins the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Cup, World Series, Stanley Cup, etc. God can’t stop little Timmy’s abuse and make sure Matthew McConaughey wins his Oscar, now can he? Clearly the one is far more important than the other.
So, needless to say, I remain unconvinced.But this one article is not enough for me to proclaim that Answers in Genesis and Ken Ham are full of shit. I had to read on, despite my clear case of confirmatory bias. I went back to the home page and clicked a link which said “Debunking Bill Nye’s Arguments.” Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, you know that Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Ham famously debated one another on the topic “Is Creation a Viable Model for Origins?” Of course not, but I digress.
The “Debunking” link led to several more links on various topics, but the following statement was at the head of the page:
During the debate Bill Nye presented many statements and asked many questions. Because of the nature of the event, Ken Ham was often not able to respond directly to many of these statements.
However, the majority of Nye’s statements and questions have been addressed on our website or by other organizations who teach a young-earth creation. Here is a sampling of articles, videos, audios, books, and other resources.
Naturally, I had to keep looking.The first link was “How Did Animals Spread All Over the World from Where the Ark Landed?” This I gotta know. Because they are alive today, presumably Noah’s Ark carried Koalas, right? We know them to be indigenous only to the continent of Australia. If the Ark landed in what is now Turkey, how did they get there with no eucalyptus leaves to eat? I was sure the answer lay ahead.
Nope. It might be bad form to play a game of “let’s laugh at the creationist nonsense,” but its just so fucking funny. Answers in Genesis states that the reason we do not find, say, kangaroo fossils anywhere but Australia is the scientific presupposition (I swaer they use that word – ironic, eh?) that kangaroos living elsewhere before reaching Australia would be fossilized. It6 also says:
There is little secret, therefore, how non flying animals may have travelled to the outer parts of the world after the Flood. Many of them could have floated on vast floating logs, left-overs from the massive pre-Flood forests that were ripped up during the Flood and likely remained afloat for many decades on the world’s oceans, transported by world currents. Others could later have been taken by people. Savolainen et al., have suggested, for example, that all Australian dingoes are descended from a single female domesticated dog from Southeast Asia.2 A third explanation of possible later migration is that animals could have crossed land bridges. This is, after all, how it is supposed by evolutionists that many animals and people migrated from Asia to the Americas—over a land bridge at the Bering Straits. For such land bridges to have existed, we may need to assume that sea levels were lower in the post-Flood period—an assumption based on a biblical model of the Ice Age.
Kangaroos, koalas, and kiwis rafted to Australia. How about that? What did they eat along the way? Who knows? Not Ken Ham, apparently, as the subject is not even addressed. The last paragraph on this page, however, is the best of all:
We must not be downhearted by critics and their frequent accusations against the Bible. We must not be surprised that so many people will believe all sorts of strange things, whatever the logic.
Starting from our presupposition that the Bible’s account is true, we have seen that scientific models can be developed to explain the post-Flood migration of animals. These models correspond to observed data and are consistent with the Bible’s account. It is notable that opponents of biblical creationism use similar models in their evolutionary explanations of animal migrations. While a model may eventually be superseded, it is important to note that such biblically consistent models exist. In any event, we have confidence in the scriptural account, finding it to be accurate and authoritative.10 The fact of animal migration around the world is illustrative of the goodness and graciousness of God, who provided above and beyond our needs.
Oh, I can’t go on. I’m laughing too goddamned hard.