Let’s start this morning’s worship service with a bit of a bang. Please listen to our Guest Soloist and follow along in your hymnals at No. ∞.
Following today’s service, we’ll provide you with some additional recordings of the Cosmic Microwave Background—otherwise known as the residual radiation from the Big Bang.
You see, Mr. Ham, there’s this paper.
In the meantime, I see a lot of folks still standing in the back. Come on down! There’s plenty of space in the padded purple pews up front. From Bowtied Atheists to Lesbian-Leftwing-Professors-Turned-Homeschool-Moms-and-Pastors’ Wives, all are welcome in the Church of the Holy Hovel. All. (Unlike my alma mater Wheaton College.) Because all are human.
I approach the pulpit this morning, my thoughts still turned to the Battle for Causality & Reality that took place this past Tuesday evening between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Creation Museum fundamentalist Ken Ham.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry with a keyboard has weighed in on the results. One such Dick even went so far as to say the debate never should have happened in the first place.
Yet I’m willing to bet that Richard Dawkins doesn’t know a single one of the 1.5 million home-schooled children in the United States, a good many of whom either tuned in to watch the Ham on Nye Debate or who will eventually watch it as part of their secluded indoctrination—I mean, education.
C’mon, Dr. Dawkins! Do you really think that one single evolutionist on our Little Blue Planet was swayed by the gobbledygook hermeneutics of that slick-speakin’ snake oil salesman Ken Ham? Yet hundreds of thousands of people mired in myopic conservatism have now seen a cosmological light.
Seeds were sown by the Science Guy. Many of those seeds will grow and bloom. Just as they did once upon a time in my mind.
Yes, I am a former Creationist fundamentalist. And because of men like Bill Nye, the scales have fallen from my eyes. There is never a reason not to spread the Gospel of Reason.
By the way, is anyone the least bit surprised that Camp Ham has remained completely silent to my open challenge to take on the Creation Museum Guru in a little one-on-one Public Theological Flannel-Graphing?
I see Reba McEntire with the Adam’s apple back there. Get your shaved self up here.
You see, Ken Ham is scared to play hermeneutical chess—even with a humble librarian-turned-blogger like me. (Then again, maybe my Wheaton credentials really are that scary. Just ask Wes Craven.)
Some criticized my calling out Ken Ham as an “antichrist.” I’ve given it some thought, and I stand behind my words. Ham’s “ministry” is antithetical to the Christian Way.
Ham wants you to think he’s just a mild-mannered Young Earther. But he’s not. He’s really one of the prime architects of global Christian fundamentalism.
He’s not just some guy who happens to be friends with the inventor of the MRI. His Creationist movement is a lynchpin of conservative policy and societal hatred.
As I’ve said before:
“Fundamentalists know the precise age of the universe, and they know precisely when the Earth will cease to spin. They know which Middle Eastern nation should be razed with missiles, whether or not they can locate it on a map. They know why your aunt has cancer (probably due to an unresolved sin), and they know the name of the demon responsible for sabotaging your car’s transmission. Insomuch as nature abhors a vacuum, fundamentalists abhor question marks.”
Biblical literalism is so seemingly innocuous when applied to Genesis. It’s just the past. In the end, who cares whether the Universe is 6,000 years old or 14 billion years old?
Really? Then what about the future? Just consider this: Hamean Eschatology believes in the Book of Revelation word for word too. It’s not just that the world is brand new, it’s that the world is about to end. And those who spout such bullshit predict for many of us a date with the Lake of Fire.
There were many people who reached out to me this week with messages along the following lines:
“I grew up believing men like him. I was almost doomed to BE one of those men. Thank you sir. For the first time, I don’t feel out of step.”
In reply, a sincere message:
You’re not alone. There is ANOTHER WAY, a healthy, humane, reasonable way to interpret the Bible and its story of salvation. The Bible is a human book inasmuch as a sacred book. To derive the answers it can provide to life’s deepest questions requires deep searching.
Yet to travel such a path means a spiritual walk full of mystery. The benefit is the great peace that comes by letting go, in unknowing. In exchanging Judgment for Grace.
As my friend Catherine Carlson McNiel puts it so eloquently: Genesis contains a Pattern of Grace.
She writes: “What we find in the first chapter of Genesis is not a scientific description or an argument, but a poem.”
Indeed, Genesis was written in the same spirit as St. Francis’ “Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon”:
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures / especially Sir Brother Sun … Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars / In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Let us think on these things and bear in mind that it is men and women like Ken Ham who make the articles below possible.
Behold, the Christian Right Weekly Round-Up!
5. When Sean Connery Shits in Your Cream of Wheat, according to Institute for Christian Research: “Nye vs. Ham Debate: No True Scotsman”
No surprise that the rebuttal from the Institute for Creation Research on the Ham on Nye Debate escaped major media’s attention. But I think it’s worth honing in on Hamean tactics for a moment.
Did the Dallas-based creationist think tank offer any responses to Nye’s presentation of ice cores and fossil record facts? No, the best thing it could do was accuse Bill Nye of being a logical fallacy Scotsman who does not put sugar on his porridge.
But—and this is important—to the thousands of creationists who headed straight to the ICR website following the debate, a citation to logical fallacy was enough to justify their contented ignorance.
What really drives me crazy is when Ham and all these other creationists drag out scientists and engineers “who ascribe to the creation model”:
Nye was wrong to assume that no real scientist could ever hold the creation model, since scores of real scientists have and do. This is amply demonstrated in books like In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation and The Genesis Files, containing 22 interviews with Ph.D. scientists who ascribe to the creation model and tell their stories.
This of course is horseshit in a bowl of Quaker Oats. What is omitted is that these scientists conveniently turn a blind eye to the scientific method when it comes to historical and cosmological inquiry.
Science need not necessarily apply to history.
Let’s just assume that I’m a creationist “scientist.” Somebody has murdered my spouse. When the criminal forensics “historical scientist” experts shows up, do I turn them away?
4. Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Chapel, over at The Christian Post: “Wheaton College Hosts Former Lesbian, Leftwing Professor-Turned-Homeschool Mom and Pastor’s Wife”
I am an alumnus of Wheaton College.
I have always joked that the most dangerous job in the world other than being a mine sapper is being a geologist or anthropologist at Wheaton College.
That’s not quite true.
The most dangerous job in the world other than being a mine sapper is being a homosexual geologist or anthropologist at Wheaton College.
When I attended Wheaton College in the 1990s, admitting one was gay was tantamount to volunteering for an academic firing squad. Still is, more or less, as “homosexual behavior” is expressly verboten by Wheaton’s Community Covenant.
Then again, maybe things are changing. Then again, maybe not.
Wheaton College, which is considered one of the least LGBT-friendly campuses in the United States, recently asked Dr. Rosaria Butterfield to speak at chapel.
Dr. Butterfield is the author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. She is a former “leftwing, feminist” member “of the LGBT community.” Which has people like Wheaton’s chaplain rejoicing of her “Gospel transformation.”
Dr. Butterfield’s presence sparked a response “by roughly 100 students” who were none too pleased by what Wheaton College was suggesting in inviting Butterfield, whose current convictions are that “homosexuality is a sin.”
Holy crap, what a mess.
Yet, major kudos to the Wheaton College students who were brave enough to take a stand!
In agreement on this point is OneWheaton, a community of LGBTQs & Allies of Wheaton College:
“We are extremely proud of the LGBTQ students and students allies who took part in the demonstration before chapel. … Since our inception, OneWheaton has promoted the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ students on the Wheaton College campus. We are happy to be a resource for the Administration to help foster a safe environment for students at Wheaton College.”
To LGBTQ students in fundamentalist colleges all across the nation: please know that there are organizations out there ready to support you. Even when the institutions themselves, who purportedly serve Christ, will not.
3. BJ U Sex Scandal Investigation Swept Under the Sheets, so reports Christianity Today: “Bob Jones University Fires GRACE as Sex Abuse Investigation Nears Completion”
Man, it’s hard to imagine that a Radical Right institution of higher education that doesn’t allow students the freedom to choose their own ringtones and that forbids students to take a public bus without a same-sex buddy could ever have a sex abuse problem. Actually, given all this cloistering, it’s hard to imagine that anyone on the BJ U campus actually knows what genitals are for.
(There goes any chance of me being invited to speak at a BJ U chapel.)
As many as nine cases of sexual assault were reported at Bob Jones in 2011. As these were clear violations of the two-foot rule, BJ U hired Billy Graham’s grandson to conduct an investigation into the matter.
Then BJ U fired said grandson one month before the investigation was schedule to be published.
Says BJ U: “Both [we] and GRACE desire to raise sexual abuse awareness and minister to victims whose lives have been ravaged by abuse.”
Hmm. I think they’ve been “ministered” to enough.
All to say, this is not the end of “this” story. Stop delaying, BJ U! Be forthright!
2. “Beware of Recreational Kissing,” via the Christian Broadcasting News : “You Are a Prize! CBN’s Wendy Griffith on Not Settling”
“Women are a prize to be won,” says Christian Broadcasting News Anchor Wendy Griffith.
Seriously, I’m not making that up. Griffith even says so in the title of her book.
Griffith also warns prospective readers of “the dangers of recreational kissing.” And she exhorts ladies not to let down their purity guard.
Anyway, this reminds me, I should probably provide an update about my ChristianMingle account. So far I’ve received a number of “smiles,” tons of “views,” and 47 daily Bible verses.
Yet no one yet has offered me any COMPASS requests. Which is good; otherwise, I assume that would be an indication of a purity guard drop somewhere out there in Christendom.
Anyway, Griffith’s book has me seriously considering changing my profile name to Christian_Hunger_Games_Prize_Fighter.
1. I Don’t Care if You’re a Creationist or an Evolutionist, from Sojourners: “When Christians Love Theology More Than People”
We like to end every week on a positive note. This week, Stephen Mattson of Northwestern University pins the tail right on the Balaam’s Ass.
“Theorizing only becomes important once it becomes relevant and practical and applicable to our lives …
“When you help my grandmother carry a heavy load of groceries, I don’t care what you believe about evolution …
“When you protect my kids from getting hit by a car when they’re running across the street, I don’t care who your favorite theologian is.”
A christological Canticle to the Sun. Well worth your time. And praxis.
That’s a wrap!
Again, if you want to hear even more lovely solos by the Big Bang, please turn in your hymnals to the University of Washington Special Appendix.
And just why do we present the Christian Right Weekly Round-Up each week?
According to Forbes, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) alone brings in nearly $300 million per year in revenue. CBN isn’t alone in the 9-figure Radical Right Revenue Game. According to the website Ministry Watch, CBN is dwarfed in comparison to the nearly $900 million raked in annually by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).
But TBN and CBN are mere bright stars in a galactic empire of hundreds of Christian news and media organizations. If you have a few minutes to spare, review the membership lists of the National Religious Broadcasters and the Evangelical Press Association.
Each and every one of these Christian media organizations have one thing in common: they report news to members of the Christian Right across the Fruited Plain. And the Christian Right account for nearly one-third of America’s voters.
Not only that, but here’s a list of what’s on the line in November 2014:
—All 435 seats of the U.S. House of Representatives
—33 seats in the U.S. Senate
—46 State Legislatures
—And 38 State and Territorial Governorships.
Sorry to preach politics from the pulpit, but if that doesn’t scare the shit out of you enough to submit an early 2014 ballot, I don’t know what will.
See you next week.
And a final message for people everywhere, don’t forget: the November 2014 election is this many days away.
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