Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
July 22nd, 2014 by Joel Watts

Ken Ham, not content on sending humans to hell, now looks to the stars for the godless

War of the Worlds

Do you know our lord and savior, Zenu-nu-nu the Bloody Conquerer? (Photo credit: jurvetson)

A few weeks ago, Ken Ham posted something decrying the United Methodist Church and our internal troubles. Several of the more conservative people on the forums ate it up as they do with most things non-Wesleyan. I suggested it would be easier to tolerate the basest of changes to “traditional marriage” than it is to swallow anything by Ken Ham.

Ham’s latest spewing is why. A few weeks ago, NASA (not a UK news site) suggested we may find proof of alien life within 2 decades. Ken Ham has, by far, the most expected response:

And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

via “We’ll find a new earth within 20 years” | Around the World with Ken Ham.

He goes on to say “Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”!  Only descendants of Adam can be saved.” Beyond this idiotic statement is the underlying misunderstanding anthropos. I can do nothing but laugh at how silly his reasoning is. But, I note it is in line with fundamentalist views of God. God is limited to our words and to our expectations. Further, our notion of atonement is limited to those with the correct knowledge. Ham’s philosophy is no more evolved than the small-pox soaked blankets given to Native Americans or the enslavement of Africans, both actions taken (in part) because those people were somehow less worthy of humanity (and salvation) than the rest of us.

So, beyond the inane stupidity this represents, let me offer you some correct approaches.

  • The end of the world as pictured in the New Testament seems to be more in line with Stoic conflagration. Regardless, it is not a physical destruction but a symbolic change of order. We find this idea in Genesis but especially in Isaiah with its talk of “new creation.” We need to learn biblical cosmology and how to apply it to soteriology and eschatology. We need to understand words like creation and universe before we make sweeping proclamations about the state of the universe beyond our blue jewel.
  • If Jesus repairs the sin of Adam, and if Jesus’s death is only for humanity, then only humanity under the curse. Then, by necessity, the xenozoic would not fall under the Fall and would not need the death of Christ. This does not mean they “go to hell.” This simply means our religious expectations as Christians do not apply to them. On the other hand, if all of “creation” is under the “curse,” then likewise all of creation is under the death of Christ.
  • If alien life is discovered, we are going to be a world of hurt theologically. I am not sure Christianity, or rather, Protestant Christianity, can survive. Judaism will. Islam may. Some of the eastern religions as well. Catholic Christianity may find it difficult, but we will see. Fundamentalism will retreat even further into intellectual darkness.

What happens if when we discover alien life? Our theology either gets really small, really big, or dies.

Also, I have a real issue in how Ken Ham describes the atonement.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

6 Responses to “Ken Ham, not content on sending humans to hell, now looks to the stars for the godless”
  1. Missing a verb between “I” and “a”. What is the missing verb?

    “Also, I a real issue in how Ken Ham describes the atonement.”

  2. Know More Than I Should says

    This is precisely the type of hubris that I was referring to earlier when I wrote about man being created in the image of God and the earth on which he walks being the center of the universe. The sophomoric logic of this vanity is egregiously pathetic.

  3. I can’t help but get tired of people like Ken Ham who “represent” Christianity, in relation to science, while we have far more intelligent and nuanced Christian believers out there who are actually engaging these many issues. Take Jesuit brother Guy Consolmagno: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/15/guy-consolmagno-carl-sagan-medal-astronomy_n_5588687.html

    • Know More Than I Should says

      Much like Billy Graham, the Ken Hams of this world become prominent spokesmen for the faith because they are bankrolled by someone with an agenda. Graham’s rise to fame was largely the product of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst.

      Recent research is beginning to confirm that those inclined to believe in Young Earth Creationism (YEC) are less likely to critically question propagandistic pronouncements. Since, depending on how the question is worded, somewhere between a third to about half the population of the United States is inclined to believe in some variation biblical creationism, this group can constitute a sizable voting bloc in elections.

      In turn, for example, those with a profound tendency to merely believe becomes useful pawns for those seeking to convert their dependence on fossil-burning fuel production or utilization into public policy. Thus, believers in YEC are often found to be the same individuals denying human activity is linked to climate change.

      Because these puppets are, as a cynical political expression phrases it, useful idiots, they often come off making as much sense as punch-drunk old boxers.

  4. Then there is beloved Pope Francis, who some what humorously said he would baptize a Martian if he asked to be: http://time.com/97695/pope-francis-would-baptize-martians/

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