On Saturday night two of us attended a “meeting” at the Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church in which Australian young-Earth creationist, author, speaker, and founder of Answers in Genesis (who are behind the Creationist Museum in Kentucky), Ken Ham, spoke to the packed congregation who hung on to his every word, often murmuring in agreement and finishing his sentences when prompted (often lines from biblical scripture).
We arrived five minutes before the “meeting” (a word used often) was to begin and took our seat in the second row. Walking into the church was daunting in itself. On noticing how packed it was as we walked up the aisle we were left with no choice but to take a row which wouldn’t require crawling over people, or being close to anybody where we may be discovered as fraudsters infiltrating the group. The idea was to appear as inconspicuous as possible, though the minute the hymns began and we fumbled to find the page correct page (to look like we were taking part), followed by me getting my notebook out and jotting down every ridiculous thing Mr Ham said, I couldn’t help but think we stood out a little and that the crowd behind us at any moment would turn on us.
Obviously that would never happen as this is a civil society and the event was open to all, and naturally we would never stand up and yell abuse or argue the absurd claims made by the speaker, because we were, after all, in their place of worship — and not militant. So we sat quietly and politely and listened to what was being said. Though I couldn’t help but be overcome with frustration at the words being preached, and how they were taking it all in.
Ken Ham appears to be very friendly, often with a joke — like the one about how he could go on for millions of years on the topic — but mostly he is authoritative. He knows what he is talking about. And he has all the “facts” to back it up! The information is given in quick bursts, mixed with scriptural passages from the Old Testament; 2 Corinthians 11:3, Genesis 3:1, 1 Chronicles 12:32, Judges 21:25, Romans 10:9 etc. It’s all there in black and white.
He begins his talk by explaining about the Creationist Museum and how it walks people through the bible. He explains how they work on “the authority of the word of God and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He then goes on to blame the Church for not teaching coming generations how to answer the “Sceptical questions”, this leads to doubt and ultimately disbelief. He is fixated on the idea that there is “an attack on the word of God”.
“The teaching of evolution; big bang, millions of years, that permeates the world… access to television, the internet and education systems that are organised in nations around the world in secular museums where anyone who has access to any of those has heard of evolution, millions of years… and you know what most of the churches have said? Here’s what’s happened, even pastors have told me, “I’ve told my young people ‘you can believe in evolution as long as God did it, you can believe in millions of years as long as God did it, you can believe in the big bang as long as God did it.'” They say to me, “What’s wrong with that?” You know what my answer is: it’s not what God said.”
“What happens when [a young kid] says, ‘Hey pastor/Mum and Dad, you told me to believe in evolution as long as God did it but evolution has Man from an ape-man and woman from an ape-woman and the bible has man from dust and woman from his side. Are you telling me God got it wrong?'”
“You know where the idea of millions of years came from? It came out of atheism. People trying to justify and explain the fossils without God.” Apparently secularists are “ballistic, because they have to have millions of years, “Millions of years is the anti-God religion. Millions is not in scripture,” he says. “If you reinterpret Genesis, if you try and fit millions of years in a gap [between Gen 1 and Gen 2], or millions of years in a day, when you try and add anything outside the bible you do two things: 1. you undermine the history that’s foundation of all doctrine and secondly, you undermine the very word of God.”
Naturally, Ken included a bit on the Giant’s Causeway, including images from his own visit to the new visitors centre about how evolution is “misrepresented” as fact. Apparently there is a battle between God’s word and Man’s word. In order to get his points across he uses numbers and a lot of detail, such as the fact that only 6.3% of British people are church-goers, that by college age in America ⅔ of people don’t believe in God: “People, we’re losing these kids at a young age. We need to be training these kids at a young age. Right from when they’re born. You know I think the bible even says something about that. Would you say questioning was the beginning of your doubt in the bible? Questioning. Did God really make the world in six days… But what about evolution? Little Johnny thinks, ‘If this is not true, and you’re telling me I can take the views of the world and reinterpret the bible here, maybe I can take the views of the secular scientists and reinterpret marriage too.”
“If there really was a global flood you’d expect to find billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. And what do we find: billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth.” Science!
The basis of his talk is that we are being taken in by “Man’s word” over “God’s word” with “science” and secularists/atheists. He is frustrated with the enlightenment of the world today; television, the internet, secular education (though no mention of books and the printing press). As more and more people fall away from religion, we are listening to the word of God less and less. Sadly, the people who hear Ken Ham talk are likely to believe what he has said verbatim: though there is no Christian/Atheist battle, Atheists do not need to believe in millions of years to hold onto their “anti-God religion”. To call Atheism a religion is like calling “not collecting stamps” a hobby or “baldness” a hair colour. There is no hatred of a God that we don’t have a belief in. Personally, I have yet to meet a militant atheist, and neither Ken nor the audience in the room with us can say that there was any militant behaviour from the two atheists in the room.
Ken, and others like him, are gathering their armies. They can see that society is falling further and further away from religion and it scares them, and so he goes around churches to tell people that they need to change society as if it will happen and as if what they are saying is the truth. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to ask Ken about the mixed fabrics he was wearing.
Finally, he spent 15 minutes plugging his books, DVDs, magazine — if you buy 5 today you can get them for this special price!
Listen to the audio from Ken Ham’s talk we attended here.