After Young Earth Creationist Ken Ham heard of the Secular 10 Commandments contest that recently wrapped up, he put out a devastating response on the Answers in Genesis website. And it’s sure to sway any wayward non-believers who chance upon it, because he’s unleashed the big guns: the Bible!
He begins by comparing the atheists involved to the Devil (not even joking here):
The authors of a new book on atheistic living held a contest in which they invited secularists to submit their suggestions for “10 Atheist Non-Commandments.” (By the way — isn’t it interesting that they are doing what the devil has been doing since Genesis 3: trying to counterfeit what God has done?)
Throughout the piece Ham seems to struggle with the fact that the “non-commandments” are a tongue-in-cheek way to put forth some good principles and not actual attempts at unifying “atheist law.” But it is impossible, he declares, for atheists to have morals without the “absolute standard” his Bible provides. How else could we derive our morals, after all, if not from the God who, through a literal reading of Ham’s favorite book, has sanctioned slavery, decided that rape victims must marry their abusers, and committed and sanctioned a host of genocides — not least of all, the Flood?
But before getting into his debunking of the 10 non-Commandments, he bemoans how “aggressive” atheists are these days (with a handy Bible verse, of course!). The real fun starts when he quotes and answers the commandments, though
1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
Romans 1:18–23 tells us that everyone — including atheists — knows that there is a God, but that many suppress this truth in unrighteousness. These atheists need to have their eyes opened to see the truth that is clearly evident in all that God has made — there is a Creator, the God of the Bible.
Put another way, the Bible says atheists believe the ultimate claim of the Bible; therefore, the Bible is true.
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
Second Peter 3:5–6 says that no one is an unbiased seeker of the truth but, rather, that those who reject the history of the Bible do so willingly: “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.”
It would be difficult to tell your followers that you shouldn’t believe what is true when you are selling them a package of divine truth. Ham’s approach, then, is to reassure his followers that it’s okay to seek to validate their beliefs… because you know you’re right, and atheists and their facts to the contrary are just willfully denying our truth.
And so his piece continues, with a Bible verse and/or some pious reflections for each point. “[T]he scientific method is not enough to understand the world around us because there is a spiritual reality,” people don’t have the right to control their own bodies (“Second Peter 2:19 says it all, ‘While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption…’”), and so on. Points that Ham doesn’t find objectionable are simply “borrow[ed] from a biblical worldview.”
He concludes that
These 10 Atheist Non-Commandments are meaningless in an atheistic worldview because they are not grounded in anything. … Only in a biblical worldview does morality make sense!
Ham’s view of morality is less morality and more “rules from a divine dictator that we dare not break, for fear of eternal torment”… there is simply no room in that worldview for a code of morality that actually, demonstrably benefits people, or morality that is influenced by reason and fact. Morality is to do what one is told, purportedly from on high; nothing more and nothing less.
Ham’s view of morality is better suited to a well-trained dog or a well programmed robot than a moral being: “goodness” to him comes in following the orders of an authority figure, regardless of the nature of those orders. For my part, I’ll take my groundless atheist morality, where I have to actually consider the real impact of my actions, any day of the week.
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