This post on Patheos by Rachel Ford, Ken Ham: Teaching Kids Science Amounts to “Intellectual Child Abuse,” stirred my emotions.
I’ll start by saying that back when I was a Christian, I believed I had a choice to make: Obey Christ’s command to lead others to the saving grace of Jesus or disobey and let people face the fires of hell. To some, that was a no-brainer. To me, the choice wasn’t an easy one. Going out to tell strangers about Jesus was riddled with risk. So much hung in the balance.
Mr. Ham has made his choice. If you read the comments on the post, many express anger or disgust with him. I’d wager that it hasn’t been easy for him to face the negative backlash of his “ministry”. Maybe he’d deny that. But I doubt it.
I feel the anger and disgust with his message, too. But there was a different emotion that weighs in heavier for me as an ExChristian.
I posted this comment on the article about Ham:
It must be a horrible way to live believing that god almighty wants you to take on science and win for him. Imagine the burden of believing that saving humanity and pointing people back to God is on you.
If Mr Ham truly believes god expects him to defeat the science of evolution, his god set up him up for failure from the get-go. I don’t know Mr Ham’s level of sincerity, but if he truly believes this is a call of god for his life, it’s sickening and sad and I can’t imagine there’s ever any real peace. Even if Mr Ham is just a scammer, there are still plenty of sincere Christians that believe people will die and go to hell if they don’t deliver the message of their gospel. For Christians, this treadmill never stops rolling.
What Ham teaches kids is dangerous. But as an Ex Christian, I also see the sadness and I feel compassion for those stuck in the cycle of lies that is Christianity.
I felt so weighed down as a Christian. Maybe somewhere down deep, Mr. Ham does too.
When I think back in my college days, actively evangelizing our campus with my Fellowship of Christian Athletes comrades, I can feel the rush of emotions and I remember carrying the weight of the unsaved students on my shoulders.
We routinely engaged in street evangelism, going door-to-door and even preaching on the quad on campus.
And I secretly HATED every minute of it.
I felt guilt when people didn’t respond with repentance … god must not be working through me. Maybe I’m not surrendered enough?
I felt fear when I approached a stranger … what if they reject me? What if they persecute me?
I felt anxiety when I knocked on a stranger’s door … what if they think I’m a nut job?
I felt sadness … what if they don’t accept my beautiful savior? What if they go to hell?
I felt worry … what will come of these students if we don’t preach Jesus?
I felt embarrassment … what if we look like fools? What if they make fun of me?
At the heart of it, I had to be willing to take the risk of looking foolish, feeling awkward, and failing for the possibility of saving a stranger from damnation.
I can’t speak for Mr. Ham. Perhaps he feels none of those things. If he’s sincere in his belief that he must preach the message of creationism in order to bring people back to god, even though it flies in the face of proven science, it’s gotta be an awful weight to carry.