The Christian Post reports: “Answers in Genesis President/CEO Ken Ham has new research showing that Christian institutions of higher learning have gone too far gone down the pathway of secularism and they need to be either totally overhauled or scrapped in favor of new biblically-sound schools.”
Coming from Ham, we know what this means. Not enough people are teaching Young Earth Creationism. And sure enough, that’s what the article goes on to say: “Ham said the changes reflected in ARG’s 2010 data all started with a small crack in the colleges’ theology. That crack, he explained, is the way the institutions teach Genesis, the first book of the Bible.”
From this side of the fence, this is an encouraging article. Ham may not be a good scientist (HA! Understatement of the decade…) but he’s got a good grasp on the implications of rational thought applied to Biblical literalism. Without the strong teaching of Genesis, it won’t be long before Christian students and faculty will be changing the Bible to accommodate other beliefs such as homosexuality and abortion, Ham argued.
Damn straight. There’s a trap in biblical interpretation, and Ham is well aware of how it works. If the Genesis story of creation is a myth, or a metaphor, or some kind of moral lesson to be interpreted, then why shouldn’t we at least ask whether anything — or everything — in the Bible is also metaphorical? Why not ask if the entire Jesus story is a myth designed to teach us a lesson about sacrifice? Why not ask if heaven and hell are metaphors for temporal rewards?
Biblical authority is on extremely shaky ground. Either it’s a literal guidebook for science and moral living, or it’s not. If it’s not, then each believer is free to interpret any and every word of the Bible in any way that makes sense to them.
Ham has guts. We have to say that for him. He’s taken on the most irrefutable proof that the Bible is in fact errant. The world is not 6,000 years old. It is much, much older. And there was no “first human couple.”
Fortunately, most people aren’t quite as stubborn as Ken Ham. Especially if they have any training in science, especially biology. It’s kind of hard not to notice that 99.99% of all biologists in the world accept evolution. Having studied biology in any depth, it’s hard not to notice that the entirety of the world’s bio-industry rests on the foundation of evolutionary theory. And educators are noticing, even in Christian schools.
Biblical literalism is doomed. The day is coming — and soon — when evolution will be as obvious to the average person as the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, or that the earth is spherical. (Both facts with which a literal reading of the Bible disagrees…) Rational people will be forced to admit that the Bible is not a literal account of creation.
However, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels and assume that this will be the death of Christianity, or the end of persecution for gays, or the end of attacks on women’s rights. Many of the Bible’s claims are not as easy to refute as the creation myth. How does one go about proving that there isn’t some sort of spiritual damage when one man touches another man’s penis? Especially when we don’t have any way to even define a spirit, much less measure it. A non-literal reading of the Bible still gives Christians plenty of ways to be unscientific bigots.
In a way, I’m kind of rooting for Ken Ham. His version of reality is for imbeciles. There’s no way to sugar coat this truth. Fortunately, most people are not imbeciles, and the farther Answers in Genesis goes off the rails, the more it will become obvious to Joe Plumber. And that’s a good thing.