Saturday, May 31, 2008

Planned creationist park

No, not in the American Bible Belt. In Germany. And it is even of the "world is only 6,000 years old" sort.

But the evangelical church in Baden-Württemberg have made some clear statements against the planned creationist park, which conservative Christians want to build in the Rhein-Neckar region. Hansjörg Hemminger says that "such a project simply stands in the way of passing on our faith". I tend to agree, though I think the truth is more complex. For many, the fundamentalism that such a park embodies is appealing, even if sometimes it may only be a part of the McDonaldising spread of a version of American faith in Europe. So for some, especially younger folk, or others who are happier with more simplistic categories, such a park will strengthen faith and reach out to those of a like mind. However, it does stand in the way of communicating our faith in so many other ways, and will likely be a large stumbling block for more people than it serves. Besides, in my view it is based upon bad science, a seriously deficient hermeneutic and a selective handling of scripture. If it were presented as an interactive portrayal of the begining of the Genesis narrative, and not scientific fact ...

Click here for more info.


At 6/01/2008 1:53 AM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

Where did you get that awesome picture! I love the shovel and gun.

At 6/01/2008 4:12 AM, Anonymous steph said...

That's why pork is not kosher - cannibalism. :-)

At 6/01/2008 4:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish Christians would quit wasting money on things like much more important things to do like helping those who believe in Darwin's evolution and trust science for answers.

Really, why waste time on debating if there were a literal creation or if God used an evolutionary process? God created the world and all there is and it's been around 6,000 years or... humans or animals or whatever became what they became through a big bang and presto...evolution begins.
Both of these beliefs take faith. Science doesn't prove anything beyond a shadow of doubt and believing in the creation story doesn't either. But only drives another wedge between those who believe in God. Yet, another church is born! Like we need another one.

At 6/01/2008 7:44 AM, Anonymous dan said...

I like the picture. I've got two takes on it.

It could read as a good twist on Animal Farm -- instead of pigs becoming human, we have humans turning into pigs.

Or, perhaps it is a twist on the story of Jesus sending the demons into the herd of swine. An humanity that destroys the earth (the shovel) and destorys itself (the gun), truly lives up to the name "Legion" (surely a significant socio-political title!) and is fit to be sent into a herd of pigs and stampeded into a lake.

At 6/01/2008 10:22 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

You shouldn't take Genesis literally.

'In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth'.

Already it is off to a bad start, if you think that is literal truth.

You wouldn't find Jesus teaching that there had been a flood and that Noah had existed

(Note to self. Must check if Jesus mentioned a flood or not)

At 6/01/2008 1:57 PM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...


But since creation only took six days and the evolution of the cosmos took over 10 billion years, students as well as the general public ought to be exposed to 6 straight years of evolutionary science for every 6 pico seconds of creation science.

At 6/01/2008 2:15 PM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...

I just want to see one Creation Theme Park FINALLY get that verse in Job right, and make a display showing it.

The verse I'm talking about is in Job and talks about Behemoth's "tail" which is "thick as a cedar" followed by mentioning that his "stones" are bound together tightly. Rabbis have always known that the "tail" in this context is a euphemism for "male organ," for virility and sheer testosterone-driven power. But "creation scientists" continue to stick by the word "tail" claiming it's a literal thick tail and must refer to Behemoth being a creature like the "Brontosaurus" which of course were plentiful during the Bronze Age (or early Iron Age) in Palestine, or at least everyone had heard plenty of stories about dinosaurs back in Job's day. Yeah right.

So creationists even in this case of a verse in Job once again get the literal mixed up with the euphemistic or metaphorical.

Though you have to hand it to the Evangelical Christian translators of the NIV, who suggest that the word in this case might not refer to the tail but to the "trunk" of Behemoth, assuming its not a dinosaur but instead an elephant. I guess evangelicals can't take a metaphorical beast like Behemoth and not want to literalize it somehow, either as a dinosaur or an elephant. They can't leave Job and his friends musing over a mythical creature.

So the NIV can't tell which end of the animal is which (tail or trunk)? And of course they don't even mention the Bible's use of euphemism in this context, because I guess their Evangelical translation of the Bible must remain PG -- just like their theme parks where Adam and Eve's nakedness is never really shown, not even when they build a pre-Fall diorama.

At 6/01/2008 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven wrote:

(Note to self. Must check if Jesus mentioned a flood or not)

See Matt 24: 37,38.

Maybe it's time to trot out St. Augustine's oft cited quote again.

"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."


"With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short ... it was not the intention of the Spirit of God ... to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation." -- The Literal Meaning of Genesis.


At 6/02/2008 8:10 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

'Besides, in my view it is based upon bad science, a seriously deficient hermeneutic and a selective handling of scripture.'

Are you going to tell Jesus there was no Flood, or shall I?

At 6/02/2008 10:35 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Mr Carr,
It is comments like your two above that are at the root of your misconception of Christian faith and hermeneutics - and thus you often end up critiquing a straw man. Why do you think Genesis must be all or nothing on the literal front? Why do you think this presupposition os compelling? What do you expect from the text? That it is a modern scientific description, even though it was written thousands of years ago? How could they have written in a language that was then understood and theologically meaningful and true to them, yet still meet your criteria today? Is it a surprise that your expectations are not met? What would it look like to meet your expectations? Why should that be expected - of the author(s) of Genesis, Jesus or anyone else in a premodern world?

On the literal front: Did the scene, in the film Chariots of Fire, where Harold Abrahams raced Eric Liddell around the (I think) Cambridge Quad, actually happen? No, at least not like that. But does it say something true about their competetive relationship, the public nature of this competetive relationship? Yes. Truth, and yes biblical truth, won't be pressed into the false either or you have pushed it.

At 6/02/2008 10:37 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Steph, that is exactly why! You only need to see my tummy to see the missing link.

At 6/03/2008 7:40 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

When people wrote that God created the Heavens and the earth, how could they have known what the truth really was?

They couldn't.

They had no god to tell them.

When Jesus said there had been a flood, how could he have known better? He was just ignorant.

Why read the writings of ignorant people, who did not know what they were talking about?

At 6/03/2008 7:43 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

I think Chariots of Fire would have been a lot more true if it had claimed that Liddel was told by a talking snake not to race on the Sabbath, because God had created the world in 6 days, and rested on the 7th.

At 6/03/2008 8:15 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

Chris continues to stereotype atheists as peole who object to stories of talking animals because they are thick-headed literalists.

Has Chris ever noticed why atheists despise Genesis yet never attack Aesop's Fables?

Beacuse Aesop's Fables contain truth, while Genesis contains lies.

But the sterotype of atheists who always laugh at stories of talking animals is much more comforting than dealing with objections to stories of this alleged god destroying towers because he thought humans were getting too uppity.

At 6/03/2008 10:36 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

In the spirit of the "Chris continues ..."

Steven responds in a way that shows he has not grasped the point, and totally misrepresents the intention of my response to him (not all atheists at all) - and so further discussing on this thread with him seems rather pointless.



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