Tag Archives: answers in genesis

Evolution: The root of all evils?

I’m writing an essay today. It’s about Genesis 1 and what Genesis 1 is about (who and why v what and when: how helpful is this distinction).

I think this cartoon from Answers In Genesis will form the backbone of my argument because it is very scholarly.

I love how they equate evolution with our sinful nature. You can kind of, sort of, if you squint a bit, see where their thinking is coming from.

It’s a bit anachronistic to suggest all the stuff in the balloons on the left is due to evolution isn’t it? As though they all came into being post Darwin.

It’s sad that a necessary Christian corrective of empirical naturalism looks like this.

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Church Marketing on the Gruen Transfer

The Gruen Transfer last night (or tonight if you caught it on ABC 2) had a segment on how religion uses advertising.

They looked at the Jesus: All About Life TV ad from last year.

Todd Samson reckons the Jesus is cool, the church is bad thing was based on sound research – but that the church is let down by the “retail experience” which is church. He reckons Hillsong has done this well.

Russel Howcroft said the ads worked, and numbers increased.

One of the other panelists made a point that preaching to the converted is a valid and necessary function of advertising.

The next ad was a Scientology spot. “Know yourself, know life” – it was, in the words of one of the panelists “pure motivational speech,” and it didn’t feature any ugly people.

Todd says religions have traditionally been about community. And the scientology ad tries to capture that.

The next spot was a Scientology ad featuring Tom Cruise – for people within the cult. Russel calls Tom Cruise a total “brain smashing” advantage for the converted Scientology people. He says “aspiration is so important in branding” and celebrity endorsements are a key part of that. Todd says it’s “influencing the influencers.”

The Mormons had a really weird ad that tapped into familial guilt. A little girl asks her mum to go rollerskating with her, she says no, the precocious kid reminds her that she’ll grow up to be a disconnected teenager. One of the Gruen panellists said the whole thing looked plastic, was horribly out of touch, and that it was pretty awful.

Then my favourite. Answers in Genesis. With the kid in a singlet with a pistol. Wil Anderson quips “Are you feeling Godly Punk?” – “will scaring people into religion help?” Todd quips “I thought that’s what Hell was for.”

Todd says religious advertising is run most often in tough times. Todd has an impressive grasp of the argument Answers in Genesis is making about evolution and morality. He calls it an awful piece of communication. They are preaching to the converted. Fear is good at keeping people in, but not attracting people in.

If you missed the episode check out this advert for Australian Christian television:

Islamic creation science

It may fascinate you to learn this… it certainly fascinated me… but holding as they do to essentially the same creation account and belief about the origins of human society (up until Isaac v Ishmael) as the Judeo Christian world – Islam has its own “Answers in Genesis” type organisation.

Slate writes a profile piece on the most prominent Islamic young earther here.

Here’s a quote (complete with links).

It may be tempting to dismiss Yahya as a crackpot, but he runs a sophisticated media operation, with perhaps several hundred members, that distributes books, articles, videos, and Web sites around the Muslim world. Two years ago he mailed, unsolicited, a visually stunning 13-pound, 800-page Atlas of Creation to at least 10,000 scientists, doctors, museums, and research centers in Europe and the United States. The cost of this publicity stunt, if that’s what it was, had to be staggering.

This must present an interesting dilemma. I mentioned a few weeks back my reservations about siding with fellow “theists” in debates about God – simply because Jesus is the key to my belief in God.

Do those who wish to fight passionately for the scientific veracity of Genesis side with the Muslims? Or do we keep our distance.

How far does ecumenical spirit extend on other issues where we share common ground – like issues of sanctity of life, and certain areas of morality?

It’s a tricky minefield to navigate where we emphasise similarities without those becoming defining issues and allowing us all to be lumped in the same category.

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Defining issues

I think the way we, as people, choose to define ourselves is telling. So I often look at people’s profiles online with interest.

I, for example, put “A Christian” as first on the list. I am many more things, but I primarily self identify as a Christian, not a husband, son, brother, or blogger.

Atheists, upon occasion, have expressed their displeasure that Christians want them to define themselves by their non belief – and yet in the blogosphere they proudly identify that way with a big red A.

Some gay people I’ve spoken to prefer not to be identified by their sexual preferences, while others join together to form lobby groups.

I think Christians should, when defining their beliefs and identities, start off talking about Jesus. And this, more than anything else, is the problem I have with “Answers in Genesis”. They should be called “Answers in Jesus”, or “Answers from Jesus”… and they’re not.

After trying to explain why I think it’s a problem that AIG evangelise using pseudo science I conducted a little experiment. I went to the AIG homepage and searched it for “Jesus”… the little search box on Firefox came back “Phrase not found”… Here is a screenshot…

UPDATE: In case you, like a commenter below, think my little search trick is misleading – I give you one other piece of evidence that Answers in Genesis overplay the significance of their understanding of Genesis when it comes to the gospel…

On sticks and logs

Here’s a little story, picked up by the Friendly Atheist, that highlights why getting people who think they’re Christians to rightly understand how Biblical law works, how it should (or mostly shouldn’t) be applied today.

At the very least we should be able to point out that the law was written for the Jews, who were God’s people. So that they could be different to the people around them. It wasn’t written for the Jews to impose on everyone else.

An American redneck decided to use a little bit of Old Testament sanctioned force to bash a homosexual man.

He even has a tattoo that proclaims the need to understand homosexuality as an abomination.

Now, it’s all well and good emblazoning that sort of verse on your arm. But, as even atheists know, this is problematic given a verse that appears just a chapter later…

"You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:28″

We need to fix this kind of thing if we want to (rightly) argue that God’s intention for relationships between humans is for sex to occur in a marriage between a man and a woman. And that Christians should not be practising homosexuals (because the New Testament reaffirms God’s intentions and understandings of sexual expression).

Even Answers in Genesis can understand that this definition of marriage applies to Christians – they commented on a recent story where a judge in the US ruled that an interracial couple could not marry because the Bible forbids it… Which is strange.

What the Bible does say in the Old Testament is that Jews (the people of God) should not intermarry, and in the New Testament that Christians should ideally marry Christians – but that if two non-Christians marry and one becomes a Christian they should stay married.

Here’s what Ken Ham said (again mentioned in an article on the Friendly Atheist) when he was asked about interracial marriage in the Bible. It’s somewhat convoluted, but at the end of the day it is useful. From the Answers in Genesis website…

At AiG we have always taught that biologically there is only one race (Adam’s race), however, spiritually, there are two races (the saved and unsaved). It is the two spiritual “races” that God clearly instructs in His Word not to mix in marriage. In other words, when someone asks me “does the Bible deal with interracial marriage?” I answer, “it sure does, it makes it clear the saved ‘race’ should never knowingly marry the unsaved ‘race’—and that’s all the Bible teaches about ‘interracial’ marriage.’” Biologically, there is no such thing as “interracial” marriage as there is only one “race”—we are all descendants of one man, Adam.

I’m not sure that Ham’s stance would extend to the unsaved being able to enter into any marriage they want…

But at the end of the day we (Christians) need to make sure our house is in order before throwing stones, literally or otherwise.

They even provide this helpful infographic.