While visiting the Campus Freethought Forum I noticed one young Christian debater who relied heavily upon quotations of America's Founding Fathers which he copied from books written by Dr. D. James Kennedy, a scholar whom he praised for having had "9" doctorates bestowed upon him (8 of which are probably mere token Ph.D.s given to him in exchange for delivering a speech at a Christian college graduation ceremony).
KENNEDY ERROR THAT WAS CITED AS TRUTH
(PRAYERS SAVED THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION?)
Kennedy's tale about the Constitutional Convention being in disarray until Benjamin Franklin suggested praying, afterwhich they all took to prayer like ducks to water -- and the work of writing the Constitution was finished forthwith -- is erroneous. No public prayers were offered in the Convention from the time it convened until it closed. So nearly unanimous were the members in their opposition to Franklin's proposition that not even a vote was taken on it. Franklin himself, referring to it, says: "The Convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary." Another matter they voted on was whether or not to include mention of "God" in the Constitution, and they voted that suggestion down too.
Do you know what country DID invoke the blessings of "God" in their Constitution? Answer: The Southern U.S., right after the South seceeded from the North, shortly before the Civil War.
ANOTHER KENNEDY ERROR
(RELYING ON DAVID BARTON FOR QUOTATIONS FROM THE FOUNDING FATHERS)
Like a lot of "Christian America" televangelists, Kennedy swallowed David Barton's "Christian Nation" quotations as the last word in truth. But afterwards, Barton was forced to admit that some of his most prized and highly publicized quotations were either false, highly questionable, or unsubstantiated.
Take this quotation that Barton attributed to James Madison, the architect of the Constitution: "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." Barton, has admitted it's bogus. His group, WallBuilders' issued a one-page document titled "Questionable Quotes," a list of 12 statements allegedly uttered by Founding Fathers and other prominent historical figures, that are now considered to be suspect or outright false. Madison's alleged comment about the Ten Commandments is number four on the list and is flatly admitted by Barton to be "false."
I have a long time Evangelical Christian friend, Everette Hatcher, who has researched David Barton's quotations himself, and found them wanting and contacted Barton to suggest he get his stuff together. Everette himself chose to abandon his earlierr attempts to prove that America was founded as a "Christian nation." Everette sent me some of the results of his own research and also sent letters to Church and State admitting the falsity of his previous "Christian nation" views, and Everette remains an Evangelical Christian.
Another Evangelical Christian, quite a well known one, is Chuck Colson, who also agrees that America was not founded as a "Christian nation." In fact he debated William Murray, the son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair. (William Murray is a former atheist and former alcoholic who converted to a strongly virulent form of fundamentalist Christianity and who now believes that America was founded as a "Christian nation.") Colson disagrees.
There have also been quite a few scholarly books by EVANGELICAL Christian historians over the past few years who have disputed the fundamentalist movement's attempts to prove that America was founded as a "Christian nation." I have seen one such book that contains essays by several premier EVANGELICAL Christian historians who dispute the "Christian nation" myth that James Dobson and Pat Robertson and Barton and Kennedy, and other fundie ignoramuses are trying to hoist upon their listeners.
Read for instance, THE SEARCH FOR CHRISTIAN AMERICA by Mark A. Noll, George M. Marsden, Nathan O. Hatch
I've read elsewhere that about one third of Americans during the American revolution were in favor of it, one third remained neutral, and one third were against it. The majority of those who remained neutral or against the American revolution were Christians who believed with the apostle Paul that rulers were put in authority by God and should not be disobeyed, i.e., they were for King George of England, and they either helped mother England or refused to get involved in the revolutionary war at all.
OVER A HUNDRED KENNEDY ERRORS
Back in the late 1980s Rev. Kennedy was featured as the main guest on a series of John Ankerberg programs on creation and evolution. Kennedy rattled off 200 quotations, but unfortunately for Kennedy, a biology Professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dr. Thomas J. Wheeler, taped the program and wrote Ankerberg and Kennedy, asking them to reference each quotation. Wheeler's exchanges with the producers who were closest to Kennedy and Ankerberg, demonstrated that Kennedy had misattributed, miscited, misunderstood and misued quotations, as well as apparently having invented quotations that nobody could substantiate, not even Kennedy. In the end, Kennedy was shown to have exhibited a level of "scholarship" that was at the level of hearsay or folk-science, and last I heard, Ankerberg was hesitatnt about ever rebroadcasting that series. I am trying to get Wheeler to post his manuscript on the web, since he wrote his original paper back in the days when everybody did NOT have their own website nor webspace. I have paper copies of his paper and correspondence.
YET ANOTHER KENNEDY ERROR
(FABRICATING A JULIAN HUXLEY QUOTATION, AND MISINTERPRETING WHAT JULIAN'S BROTHER SAID AS WELL)
I personally performed research into the origin of a quotation that Kennedy loves to repeat and wrote an online paper on the subject.
From the ease with which Kennedy relies on other Christian's unscholarly collections of quotations and wild stories, it makes you realize how easy it must also be for Kennedy to rely on the Bible's alleged quotations and wild stories. He has also preached both of them with equal vigor.
Edward T. Babinski (author of LEAVING THE FOLD: TESTIMONIES OF FORMER FUNDAMENTALISTS, Prometheus Books, paperback 2003)
From: "ed babinski"
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2004 4:27 PM
Subject: Thank you for your reply, Sean, questions answered
It is a blessing to hear from you again. As you know, Dr. Kennedy and staff can give detailed responses to your positions, time permitting. Or else, they could point you in the direction of first rate scientists who agree with Dr. Kennedy and cannot agree with your position for valid professional reasons. However, what really puzzles us, Ed, is whatever is your real personal reason for expending so much emotional energy writing and restating your positions to us?
ED: Dear Sean, Thank you for your reply! Please see my answers to your questions below!
I just happened to run into Kennedy's Julian Huxley fabrication quite recently, and thought it worth investigating, I work in a library and like to do research. While just last night I ran into one of Kennedy's sycophants on the campus freethought forum site, posting a number of emails with Kennedy's erroneous statements in them about America's Founding Fathers, and I quickly stitched together information concerning Kennedy. I thought your organization might appreciate a copy as well, so I cc'd you. I find it puzzling how a man of God can boast about his intellect and degrees yet be so gullible, not even hiring a good team of
quote and fact checkers.
Might it be that, down deep, you are not as sure of your positions as your protestations would seem to make you? Are you really, on the emotional level, struggling because the views that you have been advancing with such determined insistence over the years, might not be absolutely and incontrovertibly certain after all?
ED: Sounds like you're looking in a mirror.
What if your evolutionary views were ultimately found to be totally scientifically unfounded, even to your satisfaction?
ED: Kennedy's Young-Earth "Flood geology" has been dead ever since leading Christians scholars in geology at Cambridge and Oxford rejected it, and that was before Darwn's Origins was ever published.
By the 1850s, Christian men of science agreed the earth was extremely old.
For some of their reasons, see, "Reasons Why 'Flood Geology' Was Abandoned in the Mid-1800s by Christian Men of Science"
Such men included:
Reverend William Buckland (head of geology at Oxford)
Reverend Adam Sedgwick (head of geology at Cambridge)
Reverend Edward Hitchcock (who taught natural theology and geology at Amherst College, Massachusetts)
John Pye Smith (head of Homerton Divinity College)
Hugh Miller (self taught geologist, and editor of the Free Church of Scotland's newspaper) and,
Sir John William Dawson (geologist and paleontologist, a Presbyterian brought up by conservative Christian parents, who also became the only person ever to serve as president of three of the most prestigious geological organizations of Britain and America).
All of these giants of the geological sciences rejected the "Genesis Flood" as an explanation of the geologic record -- except for possibly the topmost superficial sediments, though Adam Sedgewick and Buckland later abandoned even that hypothesis
Neither were their conclusions based on a subconscious desire to support "evolution," since none of the above evangelical Christians were evolutionists, none became evolutionists, and the earliest works of each of them were composed before Darwin's Origin of Species was published.
The "Flood geology" of Henry Morris (founder of the Institute for Creation Research), was a revival in the 1960s that even failed to convince the American Scientific Affiliation -- a longstanding group of Evangelical Christians and scientists whom Morris fled to form his own little group of strictly young-earth creationists, the Institute for Creation Research. And, Morris' book that sparked the "Flood geology" revival, The Genesis Flood, is filled with so many errors that it appears to be more a work of "Satan" than of God, since it lies about so many things, from the Paluxy manprints (that ICR and Answers in Genesis have since backed away from); to the "human skull found in coal" (the "Frieberg Skull" that two articles in the Creation Research Society Quarterly later debunked!); to the "Lewis Mountain Overthrust," the world's largest overthrust and reversed layer formation in geology that Morris said would turn the world of modern geology upside down (but later, two ICR geologists, Austin and Wise, concluded that the evidence that it was a genuine overthrust was reliable, so they have ceased using that formation as evidence against modern geology); in fact, Answers in Genesis has backed away from nearly all claims that evidence of "pre-Flood" man have been found, and even suggested that no such evidence may EVER be found. Answers in Genesis has even produced an article at their website concerning arguments for a Young-Earth that creationists should NOT use. Has Kennedy read that article? Does he realize how many Young-earth arguments over the years have added up to cases of embarrassment for YECs greater than"Piltdown man" and "Nebraska man" were embarrassing to evolutionists?
What would you have lost, really? Remember Thomas Edison's famous remark to the reporter, "Young man, I did not fail 10,000 times to discover a light bulb. I successfully found 10,000 ways to not discover a light bulb". You could always continue on as a real scientist in the light of new and systematically improved science.
ED: There is no science in either creationism or I.D., not if things *poof* into existence. Short science class indeed.
That would be no loss, ultimately. You do not seem to convincingly exude that kind of self-confidence or self-assurance.
ED: People who "convincingly exude self-confidence and self-assurance" include used car salesman. So, thank you for not comparing me to people like that.
Is what is really irking you, that you might have to find that your current position has placed you on the rear guard, rather than the vanguard, of developing systematic science? There are, after all, a number of highly qualified scientists, both believers in God and unbelievers, who finally came to conclude to reject evolution, based on their scientific investigation of the evidence.
ED: You are using the term "evolution" in different ways above. Also, Michael Denton does believe in a higher power, and he also has come to accept the theory of evolution, i.e., descent with modification from a common ancestor of all living things.
Furthermore, as you are probably aware, philosophers, both believers and unbelievers, have in general had serious problems with evolution since the beginnings of the theory.
ED: Again, you haven't distinguished between evolution as the theory of common descent, and evolution as the theory of whatever mechanism whereby it occurs.
There are first rate scientists and philosophers who are convinced that microbiology, physics, probability and cosmology support creation.
ED: Cosmology? Evolution of the stars and galaxies and even of the evolution of all the elements out of hydrogen (which is going on inside stars right now) has lots of supporters among EVANGELICAL Christians. Google the websites for the Christian astronomer Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, or the Christian astronomer Robert C. Newman of the Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute http://www.ibri.org/ or the books of the Christian astronomer, Howard Van Till of Calvin College.
Or consider the following admissions of YOUNG-EARTH creationist astronomers who admit that evolutionary astronomers are far ahead of them in figuring the cosmos out: CREATIONISTS ADMIT "DIFFICULTIES" WITH THEIR HYPOTHESES
And this is not to mention experts in formal logic, epistemology, scholastic metaphysics, rational psychology, and theodicy.
ED: The question is: Can you live with the knowledge that I can name more EVANGELICAL Christian professional scientists who agree that Kennedy and the YEC movement are wrong? The YEC movement on the internet, both ICR and AiG, boast of having 8 geologists. But the American Scientific Affiliation has an entire organization just FOR Christian geologists all of them OLD EARTHERS. http://www.wheaton.edu/ACG/ Heck, I can even name about 8 professional geologists who used to believe in a younger earth until they studied the earth and the history of YECism more carefully. (I might add that even at Loma Linda, the YECs are only found
in the apologetical organization on campus, not in the geology department proper.)
Or could it be, Ed, that you have had something of value in your background that does not dovetail with your current evolutionary position, yet the lack of which is something you really miss? If you are a former believer in Jesus, what have you gained by giving up belief in eternal life,
ED: Abandoning the "belief" that you can PROVE your particular "beliefs" about the afterlife to others, is not the same thing as giving up either "belief" or "hope."
and in giving up a personal relation with Him as your Lord and Savior and Redeemer?
ED: If an argument doesn't make sense scientifically, geologically, cosmologically, then bringing in the question of having a personal relationship with a spiritual being isn't going to help the argument at all. (Perhaps you are referring to the fact that Jesus in the Gospels is recorded as referring to Adam and Eve and Noah and the Flood as real people and events. But then, what Jew in Jesus' day didn't refer to them as real people and real events? Even Augustine's "accommodationist" theory of the incarnation, that Jesus spoke in a way he would be most easily understood by people in his day, can explain the way Jesus spoke about such matters, yet leave room for theistic evolutionary explanations.)
Actually, many EVANGELICAL Christians think that equating "Flood geology" and proofs of a "young-earth" with "Christianity" has inflicted harm to Christianity's reputation, just as harm has also been similarly inflicted on Christianity's reputation by those who equate their King-James-Only arguments with Christianity, or who equate their geocentric arguments ("Biblical astronomy") with Christianity (like Dr. Gerhardus Bouw).
Do you miss sharing with family and other significant persons in your life, what things of precious value you had with them previously?
ED: My family was mostly Catholic when I became a Protestant fundamentalist. Of my former funda-gelical-costal friends from high school and college, my fellow musician pal, Artie Silver, has remained my friend for over the past three decades. We still like Phil Keaggy and other musicians, and we still both write music, and I may be working with him in future on some instrumentals and new songs. As my own parents have grown older, one of them has grown more devout, and listens to Catholic apologetics on the radio, perhaps to counter the Southern Baptist apologetics she gets from her neighbors here in the South. She's especially fond of Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister who converted to Catholicism along with another Presbyterian minister friend of his. Today Hahn is an apologist for Catholicism. He also has a stirring testimony of how he was led by God to become a Catholic.
Or, on the other hand, what do you risk losing by giving up Jesus and your Christian heritage--or, conversely, by giving up to Jesus and letting Him return to you?
ED: I pray sometimes, or sometimes just listen quietly and pray internally. I am not against prayers. I figure there's a bit of theist inside even atheists, and a bit of atheist inside even theists. As I said, I have my own private beliefs and hopes in God and an afterlife, just as Deists and philosophical theists and people of many different religions have since time immemorial.
You furthermore have to be aware of the historical legacy of the proponents of evolution and the enormous damage they have given rise to over the last murderous century.
ED: Actually, historians agree that the 13th century was worse in terms of the death and damage it caused, what with the Black Death and Genghis Khan. Yet God was worshiped in Europe moreso then than now, still God allowed the Black Death. Likewise, during the Thirty Years War in Europe, most everyone in Europe believed in creationism, and in Jesus' divinity and the Trinity. It was an age of faith, of similar basic shared orthodox doctrines, including creationism, and yet it was also a time of much bloodshed and war, Christian killing Christian. If the folks back then had the 20th century weapons Hitler and Stalin did, and if the cities of Europe were as filled with people as they were in our 20th Century, only THEN might we perhaps be able to compare the resultant misery of that age with our own. Yet even without modern weapons, with mere single-shot pistols and canons, and swords and pikes, and lacking poison gas or airplanes or bombs, or barbed wire or machines guns, the Thirty Years War may have STILL been the most brutal and damaging conflict (per capita) that Europe has EVER seen.
THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR
"THE WORST THUS FAR IN EUROPEAN HISTORY?"
By the division of Christianity at the Reformation, religious authority itself became the cause of conflict. The Protestant states thereafter rejected the right of the Universal Church to judge their actions, while the Catholic states took that rejection as grounds to make war against them in clear conscience. The outcome was the Thirty Years' War, the worst thus far in European history, which may have killed a third of the German-speaking peoples and left Central Europe devastated for much of the seventeenth century.
- John Keegan, War and Our World (the Reith Lectures, 1998, broadcast on the BBC, recorded at the Royal Institution, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, King's College, London)
The last great spasm of the Reformation was its worst. The Thirty Years' War, from 1618 to 1648, killed millions in Central Europe and left Germany a wasteland of misery. It began because Catholic Habsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire tried to suppress growing Calvinism in regions already smoldering with Catholic-Lutheran tensions. Evangelical princes formed a defensive alliance, the Protestant Union. The other side formed the Catholic League. They faced each other like ticking bombs -- which finally exploded over a trifle: Protestant nobles entered the imperial palace in Prague and threw two Catholic ministers out a window onto a dung heap, touching off war.
Catholic armies quickly slaughtered the Protestant forces. The conflict might have ended then, but Catholic Emperor Ferdinant II decided to eradicate Protestantism entirely. The faith was outlawed and cruel persecution was inflicted.
Protestants appealed for foreign help, and Protestant King Christian IV of Denmark, sent an army to their rescue. Lutheran and Calvinist German princes joined him. Once again the Protestants were defeated, once again Ferdinand resumed religious oppression, and once again the victims sought outside aid.
Next, Protestant King Gustav Adolph of Sweden marched into Germany to rescue his fellow believers. His soldiers sang Martin Luther's hymn "Ein Feste Burg" in battle. Terrible slaughter occurred. A Catholic army captured Magdeburg and massacred its Protestant residents. King Gustav was killed, and his troops wreaked vengeance on Catholic peasants.
Eventually the war turned more political than religious. Catholic France entered on the side of the Protestants, in an attempt to cripples the rival Habsburgs. The killing dragged on decade after decade until both sides were too exhausted to continue.
The Thirty Years' War was a human catastrophe. It settled nothing, and it killed uncountable multitudes. One estimate says Germany's population dropped from 18 million to 4 million. Hunger and deprivation followed. Too few people remained to plant fields, rebuild cities, or conduct education or commerce. This disaster helped break the historic entwinement of Christianity and politics. The concluding Peace of Westphalia prescribed an end to the pope's control over civil governments.
- James A. Haught, Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1990)
The terrible Thirty Years' War had evolved out of religious as well as political differences. It ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. The provisions of the Treaty having an effect upon the idea of tolerance were few. In the first place, all stipulations regarding tolerance that the Peace produced pertained only to the Christian denominations; these were the religious parties that were granted equality in the eyes of the law. Only the Reformed (Zwinglians and Calvinists), the Catholics, and those who associated themselves with the Augsburg Confession (the Lutherans) were to enjoy equality and religious liberty according to the provisions of the Peace. As for all other faiths, Article VII, 2, expressly declared, "Besides the above-mentioned religions no other ones may be introduced into or tolerated within the Holy Roman Empire." It was on this account that Pope Innocent X, in the Bull Zelo domus dei of Nov. 20, 1648, protested that dissidents were being allowed to express their heresies freely. The idea that religious liberty is an inalienable right of man, first officially pronounced by a state in North America, was doubtless an effect of the Enlightenment. It influenced the French Nation Assembly's famous Declaration on Human Rights of Aug. 26, 1789. The Assembly also demanded freedom of religion and worship as human rights."
- Gustav Mensching [one of Europe's most respected comparative religionists], Tolerance and Truth in Religion, trans., Hans-J. Klimkeit(Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1971), p. 98, 99.
Herbert Langer in The Thirty Years' War, says that more than one quarter of Europe's population died as a result of those thirty years of slaughter, famine and disease. Ironically, the majority of Europeans who killed each other shared such orthodox Christian beliefs as Jesus' deity, the Trinity, and even "creationism." So you cannot blame the horrific spectacle of the Thirty Years' War on modern day scapegoats like atheism, humanism or the theory of evolution. Such a war demonstrates that getting nations to agree on major articles of faith does not ensure peace, far from it. Some of the most intense rivalries exist between groups whose beliefs broadly resemble one another but differ in subtle respects.
Although Catholic and Protestants were mortal enemies during most of the Reformation, they united to kill certain Christians [named derogatorily, "Anabaptists"] for the crime of double baptism. "A larger proportion of Anabaptists were martyred for their faith than any other Christian group in history -- including even the early Christians on whom they modeled themselves," British scholar Bamber Gascoigne wrote. [p. 109]
- James A. Haught, Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1990)
It is a fact recognized by many recent historians that the persecution of the Anabaptists surpassed in severity the persecution of the early Christians by pagan Rome. Persecution began in [Protestant] Zurich soon after the [Anabaptist] Brethren had organized a congregation. Imprisonment of varying severity, sometimes in dark dungeons, was followed by executions. Felix Manz was the first martyr to die in Zurich, but at least two Brethren had been martyred earlier in other cantons of Switzerland by Roman Catholic governments. Within a short period the leaders of the Brethren lost their lives in the persecution.
Anabaptism was made a capital crime. Prices were set on the heads of Anabaptists. To give them food and shelter was a made a crime. In Roman Catholic states even those who recanted were often executed. Generally, however, those who abjured their faith were pardoned except in Bavaria and, for a time, in Austria and also in the Netherlands. The duke of Bavaria, in 1527, gave orders that the imprisoned Anabaptists should be burned at the stake, unless they recanted, in which case they should be beheaded. King Ferdinand I of Austria issued a number of severe decrees against them, the first general mandate being dated August 28, 1527. In Catholic countries the Anabaptists, as a rule, were executed by burning at the stake, in Lutheran and Zwinglian states generally by beheading or
drowning. [p. 299-302]
- "Persecution," a chapter in Mennonites in Europe (Rod & Staff Publishers)
We are praying, Ed, that you admit to, and get past, your inner conflict and come to the complete and absolute Truth that never fails.
ED: I have my own prayers as well.
If we may be of any other assistance to you, please let us know.
ED: Yes, you may be of assistance. Thanks for reading this email. Please bring it to Kennedy's attention as well if possible.
May God richly bless you in this endeavor. We are praying for you.