Flap over creationist cartoon shown in high-school class

| 99 Comments

This cartoon

christian-unity-cartoon_600.jpeg

Ken Ham, The Lie: Evolution, illustrations by Steve Cardno (Master Books, 1987). See also here.

was shown as part of an otherwise innocuous PowerPoint presentation to a freshman biology class at Grady High School in Atlanta and caused a bit of a flap, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The teacher and the district science coordinator apparently refused interviews, but the student newspaper reports, based on interviews with students, that the teacher did not teach evolution and seemed to favor creationism.

99 Comments

Maybe this is missing the point, but I don’t even get the metaphor. If the idea is that Evolution (Satan) is striking at the base of the Creation (Christ) fortress, possibly with success, then why aren’t the Creation castle defenders doing the same? Instead, one of them is very pleased at himself for popping a single enemy balloon (with another one being inflated), one is firing in the opposite direction, and I’m not sure if the other is attacking his fellow defender, or going for the opposing castle base.

Is this supposed to suggest the creationists are disorganized and will lose the battle if they don’t shape up. Obviously, it is a pro-creationist cartoon. Is it intended as a call to arms? I mean, maybe I’m dense, since this is the only clear message, so I guess that must be it.

It certainly seems far out of touch with reality even relative to the religious assumption that evolution is satanic and responsible for all the evils of the modern world. From my perspective, the creationists are quite well organized and are the ones that actually see this as some kind of battle. If it were determined by sheer strategy rather than overwhelming evidence, they’d be winning hands down. But… uh… I guess they think it is exactly reversed?

Could they at least take some pride in the success of their own tactics? If I made a similar picture as I imagine it, I would have the overwhelming majority of biologists simply doing research and not engaging in battle, but at least the ones who are fighting against, e.g. creationism in school, would not be depicted as a bunch of bumblers. Do creationists really see themselves as not only persecuted but as ineffectual? (A self-assessment that is unfortunately far too modest.)

I’m not even sure I get it. Why’s the guy on the top firing off to the right? Is the guy in the middle about to fire on the guy on the bottom? Or is he just unskilled at cannoneering?

Considering that the divorce rate is higher among Christians, that balloon should be on the other side (https://www.barna.org/family-kids-a[…]ics-released)

I believe that Utah still ranks highest for number of religious and porn usage, so that balloon should probably also go to the other side. A CNBC report suggests that several of the top states for porn usage are square in the Bible belt (Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Utah). The other way to look at it is that (according to various sources), there are about 75 million unique hits on porn websites per month. According to a gallop poll, 90% of all US citizens agreed with the statement “There is a God.” Do some math and that results in there being about 30 million irreligious people in the US. A quick tally shows that 45 million of those porn hits would be from people who are religious. Now, this is shaky because of reporting issues and the like, but it’s a reasonable assumption. If the vast majority of US citizens are religious, then at least a majority of the porn viewers are also religious.

I know of no atheist or scientist that talks about Euthanasia… except for allowance for the old and terminally ill as an option. That may be valid, but it’s certainly not a requirement.

Racism? In my experience there are few groups more racist than evangelical Christians and this is from someone who was once one of them. I remember a youth retreat in Colorado when I was about 15. Out of 10,000 kids, there was one black girl… and no one ever saw her after the first night.

Humanism: an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

vs.

Christianity: the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.

Of course, we won’t get into the whole, the Church of Jesus died out before the end of the Bible and what we call Christianity is really Paul’s religion.

But a practice that promotes humans and reason instead of supernaturalism and belief in someone who may or may not have actually existed?? I’ll take Humanism. Thanks

Those creationists remind me of “a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.….and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:26-27)

A similar cartoon https://cdn-assets.answersingenesis[…]tle-2010.gif confirms my interpretation and makes the point more clear, with the defender on top of the tower shown asleep (ZZZZZ). I find it surprising that creationists see themselves as “asleep at the wheel.” Their persecution complex seems to run deeper than I ever imagined.

I’m not sure what to make of that powerpoint–whether it is crypto-creationist or just hedging against creationist attacks on the curriculum.

I found this statement unusual: “You are entitled to challenge everything and encouraged to believe whatever you would like.” One side of me says, sure:

Welcome to Algebra I. You are entitled to believe whatever you would like, but if your answer doesn’t match the one I expect, it will be marked wrong and you will get a bad grade. You are entitled to believe that you received the wrong grade, but good luck getting it removed from your report card.

But aside from the fairly vacuous disclaimer above, if the intent to is to suggest that there is anything controversial about evolution, it does not belong in the science curriculum.

Even in their imaginations they can’t fathom dealing with the evidence upon which evolution rests, apparently.

It’s knowledge that arises from evolution, anti-knowledge attitudes arising from creationism. Rather telling with the teacher not recognizing that.

But what would you expect? Byers’ level of “knowledge” is adequate to creationism/ID, while science would be appalled if he propagandized in favor of actual science.

Glen Davidson

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Byers’ level of “knowledge” is adequate to creationism/ID, while science would be appalled if he propagandized in favor of actual science.

Glen Davidson

Careful, don’t give him ideas.

I interpreted the cartoon exactly as did Mr. Callahan, in his first comment. Check the link inside the frame, directly under the cartoon itself – it seems that the cartoon has evolved before ending up as in Mr. Callahan’s second comment. In its first incarnation, the cartoon shows Christianity threatening secular humanism, with no apparent response from secular humanism, but by the second incarnation, the foundations of creationism are crumbling. As they say in Yiddish, from their mouth to God’s ears!

Seems clear enough to me. It is all about how creationists see themselves (as the good guys who play nice), and seeing the evolutionists as the bad guys (b/c they wind up supporting Satan and materialism). The Christians are playing ‘nice’ b/c they are merely ineffectually shooting at the undesirable balloons of materialism and humanism that pop up as a result of not strictly following Gods’ Law. The evolutionists are playing dirty b/c they shoot at the foundations of Christianity. For example, we do not allow teachers to Teach the Controversy, and we use paleontology and cosmology only to support of our view that the universe is blind and purposeless.

I recognized that cartoon right away because it has been up in various forms over at the AiG website and in Ken Ham’s talks. Matt’s link is to Ham’s “Maturing the Message” explanation of the evolution of the cartoon.

Ham is the ultimate HAM when it comes to persecution complexes. He has several books and “State of the Union” talks decrying the decay of the country and the loss of the young people from his brand of fundamentalism.

He also constantly attacks other preachers and Christian college presidents for “compromising” Genesis and the literal reading of their holy book. He is at war with just about every other variation of Christianity that he doesn’t like; which appears to be most of them.

Basically Ham is a whiner clawing for a larger share of the market for his sectarian teaching materials. His vendors display got kicked out of a home school conference because he was too critical of other Christians; and he has frequently complained about that. I don’t think he has been allowed back.

The siege mentality in that cartoon comes from Ham’s own mind, but the fact that a version of the cartoon showed up in a teaching materials data base in an Atlanta school shows that there are people out there who buy into the kind of persecution complex that Ham is selling.

Ham feels so poor and picked on; and it’s all because of those secular humanists and evilutionists.

Oh; and those millions of years also.

The castle on the right represents all Christians, not just activist creationists. The cartoon is showing Christians who support theistic evolution attacking their own foundation. Some Christians are ignoring the enemy altogether. Some are just attacking issues without attacking the foundation of the issues (that would represent a church that doesn’t teach against evolution but still teaches against homosexuality and such.)

I first thought it was an anti-Christian cartoon. The church is obviously losing by its own actions; the lesson is ‘what is to be done?’. I really don’t see how this could be indicative of a persecution conplex; it’s a rallying cry. Change the language to Latin and this cartoon would fit right into a 15C Biblia Vulgata. There’s a whole story here.

The author of this cartoon thinks Humanism is winning.

The central dramatic event of the drawing is the cannon shot from Humanism into Creation [Christ], the very foundation of Christianity. Note the effect: the foundation of Christianity is reduced to brickbats, the entire edifice is trembling, the left tower is cracked and will shortly collapse.

The only damage to Humanism is a broken balloon.

To my mind this is more of an attack on his (presumably Hambone’s) fellow, misguided, Christians, suggesting apathy, bickering and downright hostility towards each other are losing them the battle.

The suggestion that ‘Racism’ is one of the evils of humanism is highly amusing, coming from the ‘godly’ side.

I love the piratical attire of the evilutionists too!

callahanpb said:

Maybe this is missing the point, but I don’t even get the metaphor. If the idea is that Evolution (Satan) is striking at the base of the Creation (Christ) fortress, possibly with success, then why aren’t the Creation castle defenders doing the same? Instead, one of them is very pleased at himself for popping a single enemy balloon (with another one being inflated), one is firing in the opposite direction, and I’m not sure if the other is attacking his fellow defender, or going for the opposing castle base.

Is this supposed to suggest the creationists are disorganized and will lose the battle if they don’t shape up. Obviously, it is a pro-creationist cartoon. Is it intended as a call to arms? I mean, maybe I’m dense, since this is the only clear message, so I guess that must be it.

It certainly seems far out of touch with reality even relative to the religious assumption that evolution is satanic and responsible for all the evils of the modern world. From my perspective, the creationists are quite well organized and are the ones that actually see this as some kind of battle. If it were determined by sheer strategy rather than overwhelming evidence, they’d be winning hands down. But… uh… I guess they think it is exactly reversed?

Could they at least take some pride in the success of their own tactics? If I made a similar picture as I imagine it, I would have the overwhelming majority of biologists simply doing research and not engaging in battle, but at least the ones who are fighting against, e.g. creationism in school, would not be depicted as a bunch of bumblers. Do creationists really see themselves as not only persecuted but as ineffectual? (A self-assessment that is unfortunately far too modest.)

I believe it’s meant to disparage theistic evolutionists for fighting the balloons yet accepting evolution.

I looked at the presentation and due to the visual impact that the right side of the cartoon is obviously losing, the variation in font, and the absurd statement about believing whatever you want, I now think it might be covered under Poe’s Law. I think even a high school freshman could see the absurdity of “believe whatever you would like” in a school class. Am I alone in thinking the quality of the presentation may be substandard?.

Hrothgar said:

I looked at the presentation and due to the visual impact that the right side of the cartoon is obviously losing, the variation in font, and the absurd statement about believing whatever you want, I now think it might be covered under Poe’s Law. I think even a high school freshman could see the absurdity of “believe whatever you would like” in a school class. Am I alone in thinking the quality of the presentation may be substandard?.

Not substandard so much as abysmal.

The literary meaning of the cartoon is clear - it argues that mainstream science is a product of Satan, that Christianity requires creationism, and that creationists are not vigorous enough in attacking mainstream science.

The LEGAL meaning is that a teacher showed material equating “evolution” with “Satan” in a public school biology class.

That violated the constitutional rights of every student, every student’s family, and every American (including Americans who privately believe that evolution has something to do with Satan but nevertheless wish to prevent the government from favoring some sects over others at taxpayer expense).

At a minimum, this teacher needs to be permanently removed from their profession. If their training did not teach them that this was wrong, they will never learn.

Because this cartoon makes an earlier point for me (look at the balloons), I am going to repeat something again, which I repeated twice on another thread.

The reason I am repeating this is because I know it is making people uncomfortable as Hell. Some minor editing from before.

As for the hopelessly committed creationists - creationism is a proxy for other ideas that they feel inhibited to express, at least to you. The direct connection is that they claim that the Bible, as they interpret it, rationalizes and justifies these ideas. If you take away the creationism, you take away that interpretation of the Bible, and you take away the rationalization that these ideas are moral, so this is a big deal.

Those ideas are (list not necessarily complete) -

1) Women should be subservient to men, and not have access to birth control. Or divorce from abusive husbands, see cartoon above.

2) Gay people should be punished and severely discriminated against.

3) Black people should shut up about past racial discrimination and deny that it could still have lingering effects in the present - even the non-racists believe this.

4) Not all creationists are racist, in fact, a good number are basically anti-racist misogynistic homophobes, and very positive toward their black fellow misogynists and homophobes. But another good number are racist, as well, and believe that overt discrimination against black people is desirable.

To get them to give up creationism, you’d have to get them to give up these ideas, because the creationism provides the rationale that allows them to hold these ideas without shame.

Look at that damn cartoon and look at their minds. According to them, if YOU accept mainstream science, then YOU are in a league with SATAN, YOU are accused of attacking them, YOUR existence is likened to a cannon attack on them, and they believe that YOU must be destroyed.

The foundation of YOUR castle isn’t being blasted to bits by their cannon fast enough, so they have to start shooting more aggressively. That’s their mindset.

To me the literal meaning of the cartoon is that evolution is destroying the foundation of Christianity, but that many Christian leaders are not opposing this. The castle on the right is manned by “Christians” but they are not creationists, so they are wasting their time on lesser issues and not opposing evolution.

Having this cartoon in a classroom presentation in a public school is a gross violation of the First Amendment, particularly since it is not just rejecting evolutionary biology, but it is actually an argument in factional infighting within Christianity.

I did not look at the presentation very carefully, but Gary Hurd dissects many of the slides in the comments to the AJC article.

I doubt that simply showing this cartoon is obviously a violation of the first amendment – does it not depend on the context in which it was shown? Suppose that the teacher had used the cartoon as a starting point for a discussion but expressed no sympathy for the creationist position? Legal opinion, please?

Matt Young said:

I did not look at the presentation very carefully, but Gary Hurd dissects many of the slides in the comments to the AJC article.

I doubt that simply showing this cartoon is obviously a violation of the first amendment – does it not depend on the context in which it was shown? Suppose that the teacher had used the cartoon as a starting point for a discussion but expressed no sympathy for the creationist position? Legal opinion, please?

You specifically asked for a legal opinion, but I’m in the mood for giving my opinion, since the use of that cartoon in a public school science class annoys me, so here it is.

It’s probably illegal and certainly unethical to specifically denigrate creationism in public schools.

The best way to favor no particular sect is to favor no particular sect.

Singling out anyone’s private religious beliefs for ridicule is a very dangerous precedent. You don’t need basic astronomy and then say, “By the way, little Billy here is a Mormon, so he believes in an imaginary planet that we haven’t been able to locate, let’s all laugh at him”.

Just teach the science, based on logical interpretation of objectively observed evidence.

If it unintentionally and unavoidably challenges a student’s religious dogma, that’s tough. The student can deal with, choose to attend a sectarian school, or simply choose to drop out and not hold a high school diploma. I personally believe that the last one is an option that creationists who won’t send their children to private schools or provide home schooling tend to forget about. As I’ve noted many times, school attendance, up to a certain age, is mandatory, but school success isn’t. Just have your children flunk every science class until they’re old enough to drop out, and then enter the work force as high school dropouts. If science if from Satan, and you won’t provide them with other alternatives like private school or home schooling, that seems to be the only safe course. Or teach them to be mature enough to learn the science and then work out whatever spiritual issues this raises for themselves, if you dare.

So in my opinion, if the cartoon were used to ridicule creationists, that, too, would be at best poor policy and at worst a violation of the first amendment, by favoring religions that don’t deny evolution.

Just teach science.

My friend Alert Reader tells us that the cartoon “appears on page 92 of Ken Ham’s The Lie (1987 edition). The book states on the copyright page that illustrations are by Steve Cardno.” The sample provided by Amazon does not include that cartoon, but the text suggests that Mr. Ham has not changed his mind about anything since 1987, if not before. I suppose he would consider that a virtue.

Matt Young said:

I did not look at the presentation very carefully, but Gary Hurd dissects many of the slides in the comments to the AJC article.

I doubt that simply showing this cartoon is obviously a violation of the first amendment – does it not depend on the context in which it was shown? Suppose that the teacher had used the cartoon as a starting point for a discussion but expressed no sympathy for the creationist position? Legal opinion, please?

I would think that if the cartoon were simply used to show how many people view the issue it would be a pretty good example. So subtle, “Evolution (Satan),” “Creation (Christ),” mere givens to your average True Believer, but how could True Believer cartoonist leave any doubt? Teacher/presentation then goes on to show that evolution is just science, not inherently about religion at all.

So it would seem that context was the issue that led to students complaining, although, considering how all-over-the-map interpretations have been in this thread, possibly not. We don’t know, and apparently the presentation has since been changed.

Glen Davidson

A commenter to the AJC article notes that The Lie is available free as a pdf. The cartoon occupies page 101 of the pdf version.

Andrew J. Petto, a former editor of Reports of the National Center for Science Education, explains in another comment how the cartoon could be usefully employed in the classroom: to illustrate that opposition to evolution is not about the science.

The Lie (aptly titled):

“There is no indisputable in-between, transitional form any- where in the world, living or fossil. What we observe are distinct groups of animals and plants, as we would expect on the basis of what the Bible teaches. Those who believe in evolution have to make up additional theories as to why these in-between organ- isms are missing (e.g., “we haven’t found them yet,” or “evolution happened so fast that it left no in-between forms”).”

Now that is one big fat whopping lie. But then again, what can you expect from someone who claims that fish came from fruit trees?

I remember seeing this cartoon (or one VERY similar to it) in a Sunday School presentation at my conservative evangelical church in the early-to-mid ‘90’s. I was probably 10 years old at time, so I don’t feel to bad admitting that it had a big impression on me. This high school biology teacher, on the other hand, should really know better than to present something so silly to her students.

someotherguy86 said:

I remember seeing this cartoon (or one VERY similar to it) in a Sunday School presentation at my conservative evangelical church in the early-to-mid ‘90’s. I was probably 10 years old at time, so I don’t feel to bad admitting that it had a big impression on me. This high school biology teacher, on the other hand, should really know better than to present something so silly to her students.

My first reaction to the story was that it was a biology teacher who was making fun of creationism, and the furor about it was (1) students who didn’t catch that it was mockery or (2) creationist students who didn’t like their religious belief being the object of mockery.

The presentation seems pretty good. A little short on content maybe. The only possible objectionable part, aside from the cartoon, is the part that says:

“in this class you are encouraged to challenge everything and believe whatever you want.”

Of course every good science teacher should encourage every student to challenge everything. Of course students are free to believe whatever they want. You only get to grade them on the answers they give to the test questions anyway. Speaking of which, it would sure be nice to see the questions that were used for the multiple choice parts. It would also be nice to see what answers were considered to be correct. For that matter, it would be nice to know what was said about the cartoon. That might make the difference between very poor taste and constitutionally illegal.

Matt Young said:

I did not look at the presentation very carefully, but Gary Hurd dissects many of the slides in the comments to the AJC article.

The comments start on comments page 3, by my count #46 then in earnest at #54. There’s an AAAS gravatar by them.

DS said:

The presentation seems pretty good. A little short on content maybe. The only possible objectionable part, aside from the cartoon, is the part that says:

“in this class you are encouraged to challenge everything and believe whatever you want.”

Of course every good science teacher should encourage every student to challenge everything. Of course students are free to believe whatever they want. You only get to grade them on the answers they give to the test questions anyway. Speaking of which, it would sure be nice to see the questions that were used for the multiple choice parts. It would also be nice to see what answers were considered to be correct. For that matter, it would be nice to know what was said about the cartoon. That might make the difference between very poor taste and constitutionally illegal.

“Encouraged to challenge everything”, if taken literally, would mean, the student, so encouraged, ‘challenging’ EVERYTHING. Even what the student accepts as true and valid. It would mean ‘challenging’ things just for the sake of argument, like in a debate. At the least it’s a poor choice of words. Better might be “free to challenge anything”. But even that, in a high school science class, is asking for trouble and seems inappropriate to the goal of the class. The students are there to learn the science presented in the approved curriculum, not to waste the class’s time ‘challenging’ anything their ‘youth pastor’ doesn’t like.

Actually, “encouraged to challenge everything” sounds suspiciously like a coded invitation to the creationist kids: “I have to teach this so-called ‘science’ and the government won’t let me talk about the Truth of God’s Holy Word, but I’m encouraging YOU to challenge everything. I’ll give you all the time you want. Feel free.”

Just Bob said:

Oh, but that Bible verse is not a commandment. It’s just a statement. And since the speaker lost the ‘simple, beautiful faith of a child’, he is now in hell. That’s where Paul is, right? And it didn’t even take evilution to do it.

Right. Paul was gay. That was all it took.

Oh, this was always one of my most favoritest cartoons.

Next to the other one, of course – the one in which the Christians regain their confidence by accepting the primacy of creationism and concertedly attack evolution, thus causing the evils of humanism to crumble and collapse.

Although this is an early version; the cooler updated version can be found here. In this one, it’s more obvious: the majority of “left side” warriors (who all wear piratey durags, apparently) are concentrated on attacking Christianity’s foundation, while Christians are completely disorganized and are either focusing on surface issues, attacking each other, firing into nowhere, attacking their own foundation, or simply napping.

The message is clear. There is a culture war pervasive through all of society in which evangelical fundamentalist Christianity is battling secular humanism. Everyone is on one side or the other. All of societies ills stem from an encroachment of secular humanism, which is based on godless modernism and depends on the buttressing of evolution and millions of years. Evolution is more vulnerable to attack than creation, but creation is under a concerted assault. Though creationism is, of course, 100% true, the constant attacks weaken the faith of Christians, causing the Christian message to fall apart at the seams. Christians squabbled amongst themselves or even attack their own foundation outright. We need to use Creation Science to patch the holes in the Christian foundation while simultaneously attacking the vulnerabilities of evolution in order to break apart the fortress of secular humanism; this depends on all Christians adopting the exact same fundamentalist YEC position.

I love how FL insists that Christians who accept evolution must be victims of cognitive dissonance. No offense to old Floyd, but the picture of him accusing me of cognitive dissonance is just hilarious.

mattdance18 said:

It wasn’t until my mid-20’s, in graduate school, that I finally concluded that there was no reasonable solution to the Problem of Evil – except, perhaps, its dissolution, by discarding the fundamental premise of the problem in the first place. If there is no traditionally monotheistic god in the first place, then the existence of evil does not pose any deep metaphysical problems (though of course it still poses the practical and moral problems of what to do about it).

This is the one place where I simply have to say “I have guesses, but I just don’t know.”

Just Bob said:

Oh, but that Bible verse is not a commandment. It’s just a statement. And since the speaker lost the ‘simple, beautiful faith of a child’, he is now in hell. That’s where Paul is, right? And it didn’t even take evilution to do it.

Ah.

Well then, unless my recollections are totally wrong, I seem to remember that most of Genesis is “statement”, not commandment, aside from 1) not touching apples, and 2) crawling on your belly and eating dirt. But only applies to snakes, whcih are already pretty good at the belly-crawling thing. Don’t know about the dirt.

So since all that “in the beginning” stuff is just statement, and there’s not a single “thou shalt” to be found, we can ignore it, right?

But only applies to snakes, which are already pretty good at the belly-crawling thing.

Yeah, in that area they don’t need a leg up.

OTOH, as for talking - no vocal chords. And no ears - so they can’t hear the reply, if any! ;)

stevaroni said:

Just Bob said:

Oh, but that Bible verse is not a commandment. It’s just a statement. And since the speaker lost the ‘simple, beautiful faith of a child’, he is now in hell. That’s where Paul is, right? And it didn’t even take evilution to do it.

Ah.

Well then, unless my recollections are totally wrong, I seem to remember that most of Genesis is “statement”, not commandment, aside from 1) not touching apples, and 2) crawling on your belly and eating dirt. But only applies to snakes, whcih are already pretty good at the belly-crawling thing. Don’t know about the dirt.

So since all that “in the beginning” stuff is just statement, and there’s not a single “thou shalt” to be found, we can ignore it, right?

That’s one thing that I never understand about those Christians who insist that they can ignore the ugly parts of the bible because they occur in the OT and, as christians, they only need to worry about the NT: Surely, that means that the ten commandments can be ignored too.

Surely, that means that the ten commandments can be ignored too.

Especially that pesky one about bearing false witness…

Henry J said:

Surely, that means that the ten commandments can be ignored too.

Especially that pesky one about bearing false witness…

Well, how do we really know that that’s not the correct, inspired, instruction, and the other version was just an ancient typo that’s been propagating forever?

Maybe God got tired of the error and somewhere about the time of Chaucer tried to set the record straight, and chose as his tool this one printer in Europe.

Maybe God is pissed that people chose to ignore his editing and insisted on going back to the wrong copy.

After all, how can any of us know, as none of us was there?

stevaroni said:

After all, how can any of us know, as none of us was there?

Well, duhh, you KNOW by asking Ham or FL.

Whatever they say is the Truth, and you ain’t properly Christian if you don’t believe it.

Malcolm said:

That’s one thing that I never understand about those Christians who insist that they can ignore the ugly parts of the bible because they occur in the OT and, as christians, they only need to worry about the NT: Surely, that means that the ten commandments can be ignored too.

Well, there are different levels of “ignore the ugly parts”. There are the theonomists, who insist everything should ideally be accepted and we should be a theocracy. There’s the rank-and-file fundamentalist approach, which says that the requirements of the old testament are legally nullified but that the moral implications are still in full effect (and of course the proper moral implications are immediately evident to fundamentalist authorities and you should just trust them). Pretty much all variations in mainstream evangelicalism come from varying interpretations of the “proper moral implications” cherry-picked by various fundie groups.

And then you have the reasonable approach, that the Old Testament and the New Testament are both documents of antiquity recorded by people who believed they had encountered God, and discretion must be taken in evaluating context to learn from their experiences.

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