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An Open Letter and Challenge to Ken Ham, Creationist (Not So) Extraordinaire

unnamed-26Dear Mr. Ham:

You see, there’s this book.

Sound familiar?

Yes, and it is in fact called the Bible.

And whether one calls it the Inspired Word of God or an anthology of fairy tales, it is the most fascinating and complex book ever composed.

I love it dearly, despite how you abuse it.  In fact, I live by it.

Yet here’s one of the most interesting things about “this book”:  you can’t find an original copy of it anywhere.  It’s like one of those missing link fossils you and your Creationist chums are always going on about, laughing over a six-pack of near-beers.

Shh!  Don’t let the cat out of the bag!

As you and I both know (and as Bill Nye couldn’t quite articulate), the Bible is a compilation of thousands of codices and pieces, sometimes fragments, written in numerous ancient languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Syriac).  Oh sure, big chunks of the Bible can be found in the four great uncial codices:  Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus.  Then there’s the Dead Sea Scrolls.  But not a single one of them are the Bible, are they?

Then there are all of the textual variants, sections of various passages in different manuscripts that don’t quite align with one another.

Then there’s the complicated matter of the biblical canon.  Some books got in, some were rejected.  Some are in one Bible, not in another.

Wait, so maybe there are “these books.”

Gee, why did the Immortal Creator of the Universe make the Bible so darn difficult to piece together?  Heck, nearly as complex as all those geologic strata you and Mr. Nye were quibbling about.

Kind of sheds light on the foundation of your worldview, doesn’t it?

As rehearsed and polished a speaker as you are, anyone who knows the first thing about hermeneutics knows that your fundamentalist worldview is built on a sandy foundation (and, yes, I enjoy the irony of that remark).  Oh, I’m pretty sure that you know this, and I’m pretty certain that you know your scam goes right over the heads of most confirmed Creationists.

Unfortunately, they’re unable to differentiate a potassium argon radiometric reading from two rabid mating possums.  So by the time you’ve piled a bunch of terminal degree professors into a telephone booth—who deceptively forget to mention that they simply refuse to apply the scientific method to historical inquiry—your followers think you’re the bloody pope.

By the way, Bill Nye, despite his professed limitations as a theologian, was very astute to repeat over and again that you represent the Ken Ham Creationist Model.  It is, in fact, your model.  It is your interpretation.

The Creation Museum crowd cheered you each and every time you said, “You see, there’s this book.”

Each time they did, I realized more and more that Bill Nye missed the mark overall.  It’s not his fault, really.  He did what any scientist or engineer would do:  he presented evidence for a scientific theory.  He repeatedly made the case that his aim was to produce a predictable, functional model to explain the origins of the Universe and life on Earth.

What he failed to realize is that he could have felled you with one swift chop of the hermeneutical axe.

Creationism in fact fails because of “the book.”

The Bible is the one and only foundation of your personal cosmology.  Fair enough, everyone needs a foundation.

Guys like Bill Nye rely on observation, the senses, with a pinch of Gadamerean sensus communis, as the bedrock for their cosmological worldview.

But your brand of wanton fundamentalist cosmology fails because you cannot find ONE DAMNED PASSAGE in the entire Bible that compels the reader to interpret Genesis literally.

You interpret everything in Genesis literally—the Creation Account, Adam & Eve, Noah’s Flood, the Tower of Babel, Balaam’s Ass, etc.—simply because.

You see, there’s this book.  And I know a whole damned lot about it too.

I grew up believing men like you.  Being deceived by men like you.  Trapped by men like you.

But now I’m free.  An enlightened Believer.  That’s right:  a Christian.

And I’m going to keep calling out your bullshit every single week with this modest national voice.

And not just me.  There is a whole army of progressive Christian writers cropping up all across this country, many of whom, like myself, once upon a time were trapped in fundamentalist communities until folks like Bill Nye showed us the way out.

And we’re going to keep calling out the bullshit of you and your fundamentalist cronies.  Every.  Damned.  Day.

I challenge you to a debate.  Publicly.  Any day.  Anywhere.

In front of a lectern.  Written words—why not here on Forward Progressives?.  Hell, I’ll even take you on with a Flannelgraph.

But the subject will be biblical hermeneutics and biblical scholarship.  Because that is your true Achilles heel.

And you know it.

Oh, of course you won’t take up the challenge.

Because your followers have a modicum understanding of the Bible.  And the first time I say, “You see, there’s this book, it’s called the Jefferson Bible” they’ll sit up straight in their seats with a puzzled look on their faces.  And they’ll listen.

And for some, the scales will begin to fall from their eyes.

Unlike Bill Nye, I actually speak Fundamentalese.

Anyway, below follow some articles of mine you might like to consider reading.

You are an antichrist.  And I live to call out you and your ilk.

What the Hell is Christian Fundamentalism

What Every American Should Know about the Biblical Definition of Capitalism: Part I

What Every American Should Know about the Biblical “Definitions” of Marriage

The Bible, Rated X (Part I)

The Bible, Rated X: Mr. Jefferson, 666 and Biblical Bosoms (Part II)

The Bible, Rated X: Careful Where You Stick Your Colon (Part III)

The Bible, Rated X: Stop Pointing Your Rod at Me (Part IV)

The Bible, Rated X: From Adam’s Snake to the Horny Beast (Part V)

See you Sunday!  Pastor Pillow is waiting.

About Arik Bjorn

Arik Bjorn lives in Columbia, South Carolina. His education background includes archaeology, ancient languages and biblical studies. His foremost writing interests include religion, unraveling theodicy and trying to understand why voters commonly vote against their own self-interest. People give him hippos for some reason.
Visit Arik’s website, Viking Word. You can also follow him on Twitter @arikbjorn and on Facebook as well. And be sure to check out more from Arik in his archives!

  • jacoviza

    This is just sad Arik, you profess yourself to be a follower of Christ, but I just can imagine my Lord speaking with such a filthy language, that’s not the way to articulate your position, you can be bold and still not let any corrupt word come out of your fingertips, but actually words that may edify and impart grace to those who read. All I see is bitterness in your words, and that’s so strong that it just shadows the whole point of your “open letter”.

    • Arik Bjorn

      Jacoviza,

      Sorry to disagree. There are times when invective is appropriate, in my opinion.

      Out of curiosity, what passage did you find offensive?

      Also, thought this might interest you by way of the article “Invective and Discernment in Martin Luther, D. Erasmus and Thomas More” (Constance M. Furey, Harvard Theological Review, October 2005):

      “The scathing insults that fill texts by sixteenth-century Christian
      reformers can shock even a jaded modern reader. In the prefatory letter to the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), for example, Martin Luther begins by wishing for “grace and peace in Christ” before launching his attack on the “brainless and illiterate beast in papist form” and its “whole filthy pack of … asses,” and concludes by exhorting his reader to rise up against the Catholic hierarchy: “Continue courageously, noble sir; in this way the disgrace of the Bohemian name will be abolished, and the sludge of the harlot’s lies and whoring shall again be taken up in her breast.” Or consider the nasty invectives by the English Lord Chancellor and future Catholic martyr, Thomas More, against not only Luther but also Matthew Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English. More calls these men the “devil’s disciples”: Luther “a pimp, an apostate, a rustic, and a friar”; and Tyndale “a babbler, and a devil’s ape.” Even Desiderius Erasmus, the erudite Catholic humanist, filled his writings with insults both satirical and blunt and proclaimed that theologians “are more stupid than any pig” (sue
      stupidiores). Fierce words commonly appear in the midst of
      religious controversies, and one may choose to skim past this hyperbolic outrage in search of the real message. Insulting rhetoric, however, does provide a sensitive barometer of religious concerns in the sixteenth century and yields unexpectedly complex answers to a simple question. What does negative speech accomplish?”

  • https://plus.google.com/+WardChanley Ward Chanley

    Would it have made a difference to this…

    “It’s not his fault, really. He did what any scientist or engineer would do: he presented evidence for a scientific theory. He repeatedly made the case that his aim was to produce a predictable, functional model to explain the origins of the Universe and life on Earth.”

    …if Ham’s debate opponent was a theologian or biblical scholar who rejects biblical literalism and/or young-earth creationism?

    Because, I fully expect Ham (and similar fundamentalists) wouldn’t come anywhere NEAR this:

    “I challenge you to a debate. Publicly. Any day. Anywhere.”

    But who knows … I could be wrong (I’d like to be, on this).

  • DesertSun59

    ” it is the most fascinating and complex book ever composed.”

    No. That is simply not true.

    What IS true is that the book is composed of a vast collection of pre-Bronze Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age MYTHOLOGY. Pure mythology. There is very little in that collection that has historic fact behind it or is testable. That makes it a collection of TALES. It isn’t history. It isn’t fact. It is a book of short stories. FICTION. Any author can determine this by simply looking at how its constructed. One very good example of how it is clearly fiction is in the Torah. Imagine how Moses was able to describe his very own death in his very own words.

    There.

    • Doug

      I remember a lot of people like you said the Bible was all made up until archeology started digging up relics from the Hebrews.

      Ever think the obvious? – someone finished it for Moses, like the person who wrote Joshua.

      Actually it is a complex book. Especially interesting to me is the hidden typologies between the old and new testaments. Whether you believe them to be literary devices or divine watermarks they are definitely there. What’s odd is how the backward typologies are so obvious and have been in the most read about book in the world for almost 2,000 years and no one has seen them until now, near the end times when people are going to and fro and knowledge is increased.

      “THE BACKWARD WALK
      In the Genesis man was judged by the tree “of knowledge of good and evil”. Cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way kept mankind from going back to eat of the tree of life.

      Then we were judged by the flood. It rained 40 days. After a 40 day period a dove and raven were sent up from the ark. The rainbow shows that we will not be judged by water again.

      Then Israel was given the law. “Christ is the end of the law” (Romans 10:4).

      THE BACKWARD WALK OF CHRIST JESUS

      The story of Jesus’ life as told in the NT mirrors (or corresponds to, or follows) the above summarized OT events, only in the NT these events are chronologically reversed.

      In the NT Jesus and his parents kept Torah law. Before he was 2 they fled to Egypt to avoid death of their 1st born.

      In the OT Israel fled from Egypt after the death of Egypt’s first born. Within 2 years they were given the law on Sinai.

      The Flood

      In the OT It rained 40 days. A dove and raven were sent up from Noah’s Ark.

      In the NT Jesus was baptized by John. The holy spirit descended on him like a dove. He went into the wilderness 40 days.

      The dove is the holy spirit.

      The raven is the spirit of Elijah.

      Elijah was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:6). Elijah was to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers (Malachi 4:6). The eye that mocks at his father and despises to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out (Proverbs 30:17). Jesus said that If you care to believe it John is the Elijah to come (Matthew 11:14). Hence John’s baptism has something to do with a raven.

      [Further evidence from the temptation after the flood -Matthew 4:4... Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God....man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD ...Deuteronomy 8:3Matthew 4:7... You shall not tempt the LORD thy God.You shall not tempt the LORD thy God,Deuteronomy 6:16Matthew 4:10... Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.Deuteronomy 6:13

      Note: The backward walk goes from the giving the law of Moses in Exodus to the beginning of Genesis. The further evidence is outside the thread of the entire Gospel in reverse from Exodus to Genesis. It's in Deuteronomy.]

      The Garden of Eden

      [Jesus went backward before the flood to the garden of Eden. It says in Deuteronomy 30:6 The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed to love the LORD your God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that you may live.]

      We can be alive without a circumcised heart. In order to “live” one must eat of the tree of life which is in the garden of Eden.

      The Last Supper

      The last supper of Jesus was the Passover supper where the angel of death passed over all those in the households of Israel when it saw the blood of the lamb on the doorpost.

      On Passover Jesus and his disciples revisit the original scene in Eden and reverse it. Jesus is the 2nd/last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45, 47). The disciples – the bride of the last Adam. Judas “One of you is a devil” (Jesus said of Judas)

      In the OT Eve gave to Adam to eat to forget our creator.

      In the NT Jesus gave to his disciples eat in remembrance of him.

      Temptation

      OT – Where were Adam and Eve before they ate? In a garden (Eden) being tempted.
      NT – Christ and the disciples after they ate were in a garden (Gethsemane) during his and the disciples time of temptation.

      note – Gethsemane was on or near the Mount of Olives and the olive tree seems to me symbolic of the tree of life, “I’ll live” being a carryover to the English language.

      The Bride

      OT Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed before they ate of the tree.

      NT Messiah was crucified naked and despised the shame of being hung on a tree.

      Jesus went back before Eve was formed.
      OT Adam was put into a deep sleep. His side was opened. A helps meet was made for him from his side.

      NT Christ was put into a deep sleep, death. His side was opened. Water and blood came out. The bride of Christ is the witness on earth with the spirit, water and blood.

      The Alpha and Omega

      One must be born again. In Christ our creator takes us to heavenly places but there was a battle in heaven. He takes us back to the beginning and where are we? At the end of the scripture. “Revelations” is the description of that battle. In the beginning of Genesis and at the end of Revelations we have a new creation. This is where the beginning meets the end.”

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