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Thank God for the New Atheists and Creationists!
The New Atheists and Young-Earth Creationists are both playing vital, necessary roles in furthering the evolution of religious perspectives. The New Atheists are assisting the evolution of religion by ridiculing trivial, uninspiring notions of God; the Young-Earth Creationists are doing their part by ridiculing trivial, uninspiring notions of evolution.
Although a number of insightful and welcome blog posts have manifested on the Internet in response to the November 2007 publication of my book, Thank God for Evolution, one particular blog entry especially delighted Connie and me - for it was written by perhaps the best-known advocate of Young-Earth Creationism.
Ken Ham posted his December 4, 2007 blog with this title: "Evolution Evangelist Visits Creation Museum.". He wrote it in response to an article that appeared two days earlier in the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Will Science, Religion Kiss and Make Up?".
"AiG welcomed Rev. Dowd and his wife and a Courier-Journal reporter to the Creation Museum and granted interviews. All were extremely courteous, and even though Rev. Dowd and his wife totally disagreed with the message of the museum, they were very complimentary about the museum itself."
No, Ken Ham has not misquoted us. Nor did the Courier-Journal. My wife, Connie, aptly expressed our view of the Creation Museum as reported in the newspaper:
"It really ups the ante for the rest of us to present evolution in a way that's memorable, has a narrative story line in it and directly connects to our personal lives and personal challenges," said Barlow, 55. "You walk into any of these other great museums in the world . . . you're looking at some cool fossils and great interpretations," she said. But "there isn't a story."
Thus, to reiterate the first sentence: The New Atheists and Young-Earth Creationists are both playing vital, necessary roles in furthering the evolution of religious perspectives. The New Atheists are assisting the evolution of religion by ridiculing trivial, uninspiring notions of God; the Young-Earth Creationists are doing their part by ridiculing trivial, uninspiring notions of evolution.
"Our common creation story offers a refreshingly intimate, scientifically compelling, and theologically inspiring vision of God that can provide common ground for both skeptics and religious believers. For peoples alive today, any understanding of 'God' that does not at least mean 'Ultimate Reality' or 'the Wholeness of Reality' (measurable and non-measurable) is, I suggest, a trivialized, inadequate notion of the divine." (See chapters 5 and 7 in my book, which is available as a free download HERE.
The emergence of the Great Story - a sacred narrative that embraces yet transcends all scientific, religious, and cultural stories - will come to be cherished, I believe, first and foremost for enriching the depth and breadth of our experience of God.
NOTE: Pages 338-339 of my book report on our first visit to the Creation Museum, just after it opened. Ken Ham's rendering of a Young-Earth Creationist view of how death came into the world appears on page 86, contrasted to a sacred evolutionary view of death as mirroring a cosmological reading of the early Christian scriptures: Death as natural and generative at all levels of reality and thus no less sacred than life. Also see the last section of Appendix B: "REALizing Christ's Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven".