A battle of letters to the editor to an Ohio newspaper has been occurring over our Creation Museum.
The first salvo was actually a hit piece against us by an editor for the Mansfield News Journal (July 26) who was particularly nasty in his column. (This anti-museum commentary was, when last we checked, no longer on the paper’s website—we have a photocopy of the piece back in the office, but our administrative offices are closed for two days, for Sunday and Labor Day, and so we don’t have access to scan the editorial and post it here.)
Here is the first letter to the editor, which contains some inaccuracies (e.g., our museum is not in Cincinnati, Ohio, but northern Kentucky; we do not ignore Thomas Chalmers).
[Headline] Modern-day Christians too willing to embrace false and ignorant notionsWe could not let that kind of letter stand without some comment, so we submitted our own letter to this Mansfield newspaper. It was printed August 23:
August 13, 2009
I am writing in response to Mr. Goble's piece profiling the Cincinnati Creation Museum
While I agree with you regarding the absolute absurd notion of a young earth (specifically 6,000 years) when radiometric dating and other dating methods disprove such ideas, I don't see why there are only two camps regarding this issue. To clarify, if Christians read the Bible without preconceived, dogmatic and fundamentalist glasses, they would choose to embrace the fact that the Earth is extremely old but also know that they can believe in the biblical account of the re-creation of the earth's surface. In fact, they can also assume a literal six-day creation story and dismiss the theory of (macro) evolution. One does not need to purport that the origins of life as we know it were basic building blocks (amino acids) on Earth combined with atmospheric energy.
Needless to say, I am a Christian who understands that math, geology and chemistry prove the old age of our planet. Also, I believe that young earth creationist "scientists" such as Ken Ham are simply feeding on rehashed and archaic doctrine developed during the Dark Ages; they fail to recognize that in the 19th century a preacher and theologian named Thomas Chalmers put forth the "gap theory" in the Bible that embraced an old Earth (another related subject). In fact, Chalmers preceded by several years Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. To be perfectly honest, people like Ken Ham are an embarrassment to critically thinking and scientific Christians, for they make our entire community appear as blinded fools.
It is sad how ignorant modern-day people of faith so willingly embrace false and ignorant notions that are based on fear and insecurity. In fact, if they had a firmly rooted understanding of the Bible, they would recognize the harmony between science and scripture.
Kathleen Bikadi, Mansfield
If you think Ken Ham's ignorant, would you debate him? AUGUST 23, 2009To my knowledge (or Mark’s), we have heard nothing back from the original letter-writer. However, someone else wrote to us in defense of that writer, which included a remarkable statement: “I would much rather be Charles Darwin on Judgment Day than Ken Ham.” Here is the letter (in its entirety):
Would the letter writer (Aug. 13) who stated so confidently that our Creation Museum president, Ken Ham, is "ignorant," "an embarrassment to critically thinking and scientific Christians," and someone who makes Christians "appear as blinded fools" be willing to engage Ken in a public debate on the book of Genesis? She writes as if her knowledge of the Book of Genesis and radiometric dating methods are such that she could ably defend her positions. An impartial moderator is what we would seek, plus a respectful attitude on her part. I hope she will accept the challenge.
By the way, the writer also falsely claims that we "fail to recognize" Thomas Chalmers and his views of Genesis. Actually, Ken has written much about Chalmers over the past 25 years, including an article for our Web site (www.answersingenesis.org ), so we have not ignored him.
In the end, we trust that the debate audience will come to believe that both a plain reading of Scripture and adding up the chronologies in the Old Testament are God's testimony to the earth's true age, and that attendees will reject the opinions of fallible people.
Mark Looy, Creation Museum, Petersburg, Ky
In response to your letter, debates prove nothing. Debates can be, and usually are, won by the more powerful personality in the debate. Most people know Ham can win a debate with the sheer force of his personality, because the debate he is having about the Bible versus science or creation versus evolution or his truncated, myopic view of Genesis versus a careful, scholarly, and studied view of Genesis, cannot be won by his position with facts as there are absolutely none on his side. (I wish, knowing what I know, I could be as facile of tongue as he is—but read I Corinthians 13:1.)Do we need to say anything above pointing out the lack of grace, the letter’s condemnatory messages, its compromise views on Genesis, etc? The first letter-writer was bad enough, but this one takes the proverbial cake. I will just add that I am concerned that this person doesn't seem to understand the true gospel. God's acceptance of us has nothing to do with money or the lack of it, but everything to do with our salvation in Christ—there is only one way to Heaven, and that is through the redeeming work of the Son of God. Whether it is Darwin or Ken Ham, if we are not clothed in the righteousness of our Savior, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:10).
The debate that will count is the one between him and God or between the Morrises [of the Institute for Creation Research] and God. They are sure to lose that one because all the facts are on the other side and all the effort and money he and they have foolishly and damnably siphoned away from the churches disabling the churches from doing their God-ordained, Scripturally-mandated task of spreading the gospel, will be a monument to his and their folly. I wonder how many churches run short of funds each year because mis-led people are giving some of their money to you and them instead of giving all their money to the church as Scripture teaches for the spread of the gospel. I know our church always falls short and cannot do some of the things we know we should be doing in terms of blanketing Mansfield with the gospel and I know you are getting some of the money that should be given to our church.
Then the thousands of poor souls who refused to see Jesus Christ as Saviour or who never heard the gospel because the churches were short on funds owing to the lunacy of Scientific Creationism and the Christians who were mis-led will rise up and demand of Ham and his minions why he misdirected them. And it remains to be seen what will then be his and your and their fate. I hope he is enjoying himself now because I’m sure on That Day, it will be none too pleasant for him. In my view, he falls under the condemnation of Romans 1:18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of human beings who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” I would much rather be me on Judgment Day than Ken Ham; I would much rather be Charles Darwin on Judgment Day than Ken Ham—at least Charles Darwin didn’t fail to give his full tithe to his church til the day he died.
Genesis was not written to Ham or to the 21st century and it was not written in English. It was written in Hebrew by Moses to the people of Israel who were steeped in the culture of the Late Bronze Age and to their neighbors; it must be understood and parsed in terms of that Ancient Near Eastern Culture—and that doesn’t yield the message of Scientific Creationism. If Ham and his henchmen could expose their foolish understandings of Genesis and the rest of Scripture to Moses and Joshua, they would laugh in his face—right before they called down God’s judgment upon him and them for their willful and wanton and accursed misinterpretation of Scripture and their lavish misuse of godly resources.
God have mercy upon you. Please stay away from Mansfield. We have enough problems without you.
--T. , Vermillion, Ohio
We did see an AiG supporter—who grew up in Mansfield but now lives in northern Kentucky (and is a frequent museum visitor)—submit a letter to the paper in order to defend our museum against the editor’s rant. Here is her letter of August 9:
I find it curious that an editor at the News Journal can write so knowledgeably (July 26 editorial) about a Creation Museum that he hasn't bothered to visit (it's just south of Cincinnati) and at the same time mock what he hasn't seen.Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying.
After reading his column that uses the initials "BS" to describe the beliefs of many Christians (how's that for professional journalism?), declares that the scientists at the Creation Museum aren't really scientists (several of its staff members have doctorate degrees, including one with a Ph.D. in biology from an Ivy League school), and urges museum visitors to "heckle" its exhibits, I wonder what journalistic standards are in place at my hometown paper?
Furthermore, I wonder why the News Journal would tolerate the journalistic laziness of one of its editors who won't make the three-hour drive to visit a museum that he is reviewing? By the way, credentialed media representatives are typically given the courtesy of touring virtually any museum in the country at no charge by calling ahead, and that is the case with the Creation Museum (as I have been told). What happened to writing commentaries based on primary source research? That's Journalism 101.
As a former resident of Mansfield who has toured the Creation Museum several times now, I encourage readers of the News Journal to consider visiting this high-tech center and see for themselves what the museum is all about, and not rely on the opinions of a commentator who has never bothered to visit. See www.CreationMuseum.org for details. Cindy Moran Crittenden, Ky.