From: Gary Collins (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Mar 17 2003 - 09:47:54 EST
On Thu, 13 Mar 2003 05:20:01 -0500, asa-digest wrote:
>Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 19:17:01 -0000
>From: "Michael Roberts" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: test questions-old topic
>Pray for us Brits Ken Ham is on tour this month and I dont know whether
>anyone will turn him into a pork pie.
We need it. He came to Brighton at the Weekend and gave 5 sessions
co-hosted by two churches, one of which was mine.
Oh dear. The word 'insidious' tends to spring to mind. Perhaps that's too strong,
he's probably sincere, but (IMO) mistaken, and will refuse to look objectively at
anything because of his worldview and _a priori_ assumptions.
The presentation was powerful, superb in its style but a mine of misinformation,
or at least of incomplete information which would lead people to erroneous
conclusions. Not that I would completely dismiss out of hand absolutely everything
he said - smoe things I feel I will need to look into. But I'm sufficiently aware of the
Creation/evolution debate to know that the young earth position is really not
tenable (much as I might like it to be otherwise - it would make things a lot simpler
if it were!)
Perhaps the thing I objected to most was his forceful insistence that unless
you accept literally the words of the Bible - and of Genesis 1 to 11 in particular -
you are undermining, or not accepting the authority of the scripture. I see this
as a slight not only on myself, but on respected conservative theologians such
as J.I. Packer and F.F. Bruce and I'm sure there are many more who could be
I feel I really need to write something to my pastor, but I'm not sure yet what
approach I should use. A scientific approach would be of no use, because
Ken said - and quite correctly - that interpretation of data is theory-laden, and if
I approach from this angle I expect it would merely be dismissed as "not looking
through Bible glasses" (any of you who have seen this presentation will know
all about this, and the emphasis put upon it).
The only approach I can think of that might be successful is to try to undermine
Ken's assumption that the literal interpretation is the only valid - or the most valid -
way to approach Genesis 1 to 11. I am thinking of drawing fairly heavily on Henri
Blocher's book "In the Beginning" to achieve this. Also, Alan Hayward (sp?) has
a useful section in his book "Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies."
I would value the advice of others, though; and especially if any of you have been
in this situation, I would love to hear from you and find out the approaches you
have used, and how effective - or otherwise - they proved to be.
I am not a scientist, theologian or philosopher myself - I have a basic science
education and have learned something about the other two subjects by
reading but no formal training. And as a Christian of quite a few years' standing,
I have a fairly good knowledge of the Scriptures themselves (though not in the
Sorry about the long post, but I had to do it now, while it's fresh in my mind, and
to get it off my chest a bit, and also to make sure that I really do take some kind
of action, however limited, rather than just sit back passively and do nothing at all.
PS: a couple of thoughts have occurred to me; this may be useful to anyone else
who finds themself in my position as a result of this tour.
Ken emphasized that whatever subject the Bible touches on - geology, astronomy,
anthropology, etc - it is completely reliable in every way. I think I will point out in
my letter that this is not so, and mention a couple of instances where this is clearly
not the case - the 'famous' verse in Kings from which pi=3, and the passage in
Hebrews which explains why Levi can collect the tithe: because when Melchizedek
met Abraham, Levi was "still in the body of his ancestor." (And even if this were in fact
true, the logic employed seems to be a complete _non sequitur_, since if Levi were
still in the body of his ancestor, it would follow that all his brothers must have been
as well, and so they also would already have paid the tenth through Abraham). I
must make sure to remember to include this in my letter!
Hoping for some feedback
Give them an inch and they'll take a foot and, soon enough, you won't have
a leg to stand on.
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