FRIDAY, FEB. 17: In the February 10 edition of the Bermuda Sun, we ran a letter by Stephen Notman on Ken Ham, Creationist exponent and president of Answers in Genesis USA, who visited the island to speak at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship’s ‘Answers in Genesis’ conference earlier this month. Mr Notman’s letter prompted this response by Andrew Westhead.
I cannot adequately express my disappointment upon reading Stephen Notman’s letter to the editor, dated Friday, February 10.
My disappointment with Mr Notman lies not in the fact that he finds the thought of God’s creation irrational, or that he finds Ken Ham deplorable — after all, such people are plentiful and easy to find, but my disappointment arises because Mr Notman, a professing Christian, uses a language and tone full of vitriol, poison, and anger against other Christians in a public forum.
I could just as easily have been reading Richard Dawkins, or indeed, Christopher Hitchens, whom, it would seem, is so admired by Mr Notman.
If you are a Christian and believe the Genesis account of Creation you are, according to Mr Notman, deceived, credulous, irrational, and mired in Biblical fundamentalism.
Just as ‘Christopher’ (Hitchens) would have said.
Anyone remotely familiar with Hitchens will realize that he hated Christianity with a passion.
As Mr Notman says, he was the “New Atheist, slaughterer of sacred cows and bane of the Christian world”.
In his letter, Mr Notman states, “We can accept the reality of objective moral values and the natural law; of sin and salvation; of miracles and resurrection, all without surrendering our rational minds”.
I have to wonder what kind of Bible Mr Notman believes in. It would certainly appear to be the ‘Pick and Choose’ version.
Presumably, according to Mr Notman’s stance, Jesus himself was irrational when he spoke of creation, of Adam and Eve, and on the subject of marriage (Matt. 19 v 4 ).
Maybe John was deceived as well, when he described Jesus as, “The creator of all things”, (John 1 v 1), or Paul, when he wrote, “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5 v 12).
The theme of God’s creation is not limited to Genesis chapter 1, but it permeates the whole of Scripture, from beginning to end.
If this is taken away we are left with a thin, unreliable, spurious text which will collapse in a heap.
How can sin and salvation have any meaning without creation?
In fact, Richard Dawkins sums it up nicely when he said, “The more... what shall we say… sophisticated theologians, who are quite happy to live with evolution are deluded... ”
He goes on to say, “I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there really is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity”.
Throughout his letter, Mr Notman quotes or mentions Christopher Hitchens several times, even claiming him to be “a deeply spiritual man, in a titanic struggle with God” — contrary to all evidence and what we know about Hitchens.
He quotes the source of his own Christianity, the Bible, zero times.
From this, it would be easy for the casual reader to assume that Mr Notman is in a titanic struggle of his own.
So, is Ken Ham a Pied Piper, or is Mr Notman a Pied Piper, just playing a different tune?
After all, the intent of his letters, his lectures, and his apologetics is to persuade people to his line of reasoning.
Finally in June of last year, Mr Notman held a lecture at St John’s Church, (I was not in attendance). The opening line of the topic was, ‘Speaking the Truth in Love... ’.
I hope on that occasion, there was a demonstration of Christian love and sensitivity, as there was not the slightest hint of such in his latest rhetoric.