How very Christian of youJanuary 15, 2011
When it comes to the topic of suffering, like what we’ve endured this past week in Tucson, believers are always at the ready to offer words of condolence. Ken Ham, famous for the Kentucky eyesore and national embarrassment of the Creation Museum, offers his, as I read about on the Rational Skepticism forum.
Yes, we mourn with people over these sad deaths in Australia (and also in Tucson, Arizona because of the horrible shooting a few days ago). But we need to be reminded that death is the ultimate end for all, and the question we need to ask ourselves is” “Where will we stand in regard to what happens to us after death?”
Most of his article at AiG is about the flooding in Queensland, Australia, since he’s from there; the bulk of Queenslanders are likely glad to be rid of him. The cavalier name-dropping of Tucson here was enough to earn my ire, though, as if the rhetoric was not. It is no matter that a tragedy has occurred; it’s time to atheist-bash.
I was pleased to see the Australian prime minister on television who, even though she is an avowed atheist, showed sincere care and concern for the people of Queensland. But as an atheist, why would she do this? As an atheist, she may claim that her worldview prompts her to care for people, but in an ultimate sense, what purpose would this have in a purposeless universe? And in reality, whether she likes it or not, she is borrowing from Christian presuppositions to incorporate such care into her worldview. In fact, even though she says she is an atheist, the prime minister is not! God’s Word in Romans 1 makes it clear that the knowledge of God is written on our hearts.
Ham provides a few different arguments here as if they were the same thing. Presuppositionalism is one thing; and it would be easily crushed by reference to societies that had no xian influence in building their sense of morality. Ham naturally has to include circular reasoning from the bible to trump that. Whether we know it or not, or like it or not, according to this xian, our morality is founded in his religion. Not that he can show anyone that this is so. For him, it just is. This leads into the slave morality sales pitch — and when I read it, that’s what it reminded me of.
The things of this world, including material goods, are temporary. They will not last. Eternal matters are most important and should always be our priority.
So, sure, taking care of the sick and injured, fine. But get out that gospel! High priority! Besides, the best way to forget that the world sucks is to devalue it. Saves the priesthood from any responsibility for improving anyone else’s lot.
There are many other matters we could consider in this topic of God, suffering, and death, but the bottom line is this: We live in a sin-cursed universe. The floods in Australia and the devastation they caused are ultimately our fault—all of us—every human being. It is not God’s fault. Certainly there are those who will get angry at God over what has happened. But instead we should be angry at sin—our sin.
However wacky AiG’s creationist beliefs may be, this preaching about suffering, and whose fault it is, seems fundamental to the religion — something most all of them would believe in, even if they might be reluctant to admit it. This is the enslavement.
And even though we ask why, and we do have to suffer in this world, ultimately we have to come to the point that Job did where he fell before the Lord in dust and ashes and recognized that God is God (Job 42:6). Who are we to question His ways? We need to acknowledge who we are (i.e., sinful creatures) and throw ourselves at His feet, knowing He is an all-merciful, all-loving God—a Heavenly Father who wants us to live with Him in eternity.
Mind you, why should anyone be prostrate in the dust and ashes before some supposedly ‘all-loving’ god…but there it is, the might-makes-right mentality that typifies xian morality. Follow these rules or god will kick sand in your face, ruin your life, throw you in hell forever. Because he loves you.
If the church is the ‘bride of Christ,’ to me it is a battered wife and suffering the syndrome. It was rejection of this preaching, that it’s all your fault, that truly broke me of this faith. Why should it be my fault that Queensland is being flooded? Why should it be my fault that some ignorant couple from myth and legend ate an apple they shouldn’t? And what was the lesson they inevitably failed to live up to? Mindless obedience.
Is that all-loving?
It’s thinking like this that brings up the line ‘how very christian of you,’ which is decidedly not meant as a compliment. Ken Ham is being very christian indeed in blaming everyone for the world’s problems, the same way other xian preachers blame calamity on whatever sin du jour they like to attack — and it’s not even exclusive to xianity.
So that’s how the presuppositionalist, happily enslaved xian treats with tragedy. They can presume that there is some good reason for it all, that it’s on a ‘need to know’ basis, that it shouldn’t bother them to not comprehend it at all. They always have the fallback position of the paradise afterlife to make up for any perceived injustice. And if any odd question pops into your head — like why would a god set up this game in the first place? — he’ll be there, to kick sand in your face.