Monday, May 24, 2010

Nazarene Professor Calls Creationists Cult Members

Posted by Christine Pack

It's not the mortar blasts from the world that surprise me.  They are to be expected.  It's the "friendly fire," as with this USA Today op-ed piece by Karl Giberson, a professing Christian and a professor at Eastern Nazarene College, who says:
"Ken Ham and his Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY are becoming less relevant, as they speak for - and to - an increasingly smaller band of hyper-conservative biblical literalists.  Ham's followers, ironically, are what (we've been warned about): a cult, with their own separate science."
The longstanding method of attacking creationists - a term used to describe Christians who believe the earth was created in 6 literal 24-hour days, as the Bible says in Genesis 1:1-31 - has been to paint them as, well, the village idiot.  But then Ken Ham and his brilliant ministry, Answers in Genesis, came along, and while a person could certainly say a lot of things about those guys over at AIG, you couldn't call them stupid.  Case in point, this list of scientists from the AIG website who have rejected the evolutionary worldview.  These scientists are doctors and professors, many of them with multiple degrees, and the majority of them distinguished in areas of study that are purely science related (biology, astronomy, palaeontology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, zoology, botany, etc.).  In other words, they're not literature professors with PhD's who have decided to weigh in on topics outside their area of expertise.  These are, by and large, men and women who have rigorously examined the scientific evidence in their fields of study and have become convinced that the scientific data speaks more to a young earth than a millions/billions timeframe.

So now that creationists can't be painted as idiots - not with any intellectual honesty, anyway - the next rule in the playbook is to present them as cult members.  So let's just examine that idea and see if it has any validity.

Cults are characterized by several distinctives, but the most outstanding characteristic is a refusal to hear dissenting views or to accept any incoming data that would challenge the prevailing belief or beliefs held by that cult. So let's say you were brainwashed into the cult of Stars Are Made From Sparks Coming From Elvis Presley's Motorcade in the Sky.  Any evidence in this cult about stars being formed any other way would be suppressed. Cult members would not be allowed to examine the scientific evidence for themselves to see how, in fact, stars are made.  They would just have to take the leader's word for how stars are formed.

See how silly it is to try to paint creationists with this brush?  There is no "main creation guy" trying to keep information out.  As far as I'm concerned, anyone can - and should - examine any and all data pertaining to this topic.  As a former agnostic evolutionist, I was challenged by a friend to examine the evidence side by side for both young earth creationism and old earth evolution, which I did.  I'm not saying everyone would reach the same conclusion I did, but what I found was that there was a tremendous amount of scientific evidence in support of a young earth.  Here's just one little tidbit from Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries: if the earth were millions of years old, we would not have any oceans, but instead, we would have vast saltbeds where there once were oceans.  Why? Because the amount of salt in the oceans increases incrementally each year.  Not a big deal at all in a young earth scenario, but a huge big deal when you're talking millions/billions, in which cases, the oceans would have turned to pure salt, thick enough to walk upon. Hmmm, bet you never learned about that in Freshman Biology.  I know I didn't.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I had a Biology professor who saw it as his personal mission to separate all the self-identified Christian students from their Christian beliefs.  My own college experience had a profound impact on my worldview....and not in a good way.  I came out of college absolutely convinced of evolution, and it was due mainly to the prevailing view in liberal academia that Christianity was just a set of silly superstitious beliefs, an opiate for the masses, something to keep people warm at night if they couldn't stomach the thought of a world without a God.  The only intellectually honest view was secular humanism.  This was never formally taught (at least it wasn't 20 years ago, but times may have changed), but this view was always implicit, no matter what the course was.

What is so interesting to me today is that the area of creation apologetics has just exploded in just the last decade alone, with more and more discoveries being made that support the young earth view. My challenge would be for anyone curious about this to go and research this for themselves.  Don't take my word for it.  There are a number of groups devoted to teaching the young earth view, and with compelling, scientific evidence.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

 Additional Resources  

Answers in Genesis

Creation Museum

Creation Ministries International