Monday, 31 August 2015

Creationists Lie About Jesus!

When Peer Review Lets You Down: A YEC Quote Problem – Naturalis Historia

After a few days wrestling with the book publishing process and discovering the joys of book promotion, it's time I got back to blogging. This time, we have a wonderful example of how professional creationists lie to their followers and to anyone else they can reach, and how they depend on their marks' ignorance to get away with it.

Normally, the ICR confines its misrepresentations and disinformation to science, especially the sciences which most threaten the Bible literalism they espouse and the literal interpretation of Genesis they try to sell to their followers; evolutionary biology, geology and archaeology, so it's unusual to see them quite blatantly misrepresenting not just the Bible but the Jesus they purport to follow.

Yet here we have them saying something that is not only untrue but verifiably untrue; verifiably so by reading the very Bible they present as the source of all truth. Jesus only quoted Genesis once in some 34 quotes attributed to him in the Bible (counting repeated accounts in different Gospels as a single quote). It takes real creativity with maths to make 1/34 even close to half.

In fact, it would be more accurate to say that, according to the Bible, Jesus hardly paid any heed to Genesis and barely referred to it. But the implications of that truth are too much for the ICR to contemplate.

In an interesting analysis of how this graphic came to be produced, and where the (unattributed) wording of the claim came from, 'Natural Historian' shows that it was taken from a creationist book, Creation Basics & Beyond: An In-Depth Look at Science, Origins, and Evolution, published by the ICR and written by ICR staffers, including Jason Lisle, PhD. (a physicist) and James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. (a theologian). In chapter 9 we learn:

If you have ever read any one of the gospels, you are undoubtedly familiar with the fact that Jesus often quoted the Old Testament Scriptures. He would often respond to His critics with “it is written” and “have you not read,” followed by a relevant scriptural quotation (e.g., Matthew 4:4; 12:3). But it sometimes surprises people to learn how much Jesus quoted from the book of Genesis.

In fact, Jesus quoted from Genesis about as much as all the other books of the Old Testament combined. Roughly half of Christ’s references to Scripture were quotation from Genesis. He obviously understood the importance of origins to Christian doctrines.

And this, despite the claim made in the introduction to the book:

Although this book is written primarily for non-experts, it was written and reviewed by experts. This helps ensure that the book is as accurate and up to date as is humanly possible. Every contributing author is a researcher/speaker/writer in full-time apologetics ministry at the Institute for Creation Research. The writers include five Ph.D. scientists (two in biology, one in physics, one in astrophysics, one in geology), a medical doctor/professional engineer, two science writers with master’s degrees in science, and two writers with doctorates in theology.

So what are we to make of this? Is the claim by ICR that the book was reviewed by experts false and part of the deception; is it true, but the 'experts' were incompetent, or is it true and the deception was deliberate?

Perhaps it's understandable for a physicist to not have bothered with the Bible and simple to have assumed that Jesus agreed with him... but a theologian? How on Earth does a theologian arrive at the conclusion that 'roughly half' of the 34 quotes by Jesus referenced Genesis when only one of them did? Either he's not much of a theologian or he's a liar (have I missed anything there?)

This attempt, deliberate or accidental, to mislead people about what Jesus said might seem a little strange at first, until we remember that the ICR is not primarily concerned with promoting Jesus but with discrediting science as part of the Discovery Institute's politically-motivated Wedge Strategy. The aim is not to convert people to a belief in Jesus but to harness the political power of those who already do so in support of an extreme right-wing political agenda.

Members of the ICR, anyone who writes for them, and all employees are required to take an annual oath that they will never publish anything that isn't in full accord with a literal interpretation of Genesis. Part of this oath deal with the 'Tenets of Biblical Creationism':

  1. The Creator of the universe is a triune God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is only one eternal and transcendent God, the source of all being and meaning, and He exists in three Persons, each of whom participated in the work of creation.
  2. The Bible, consisting of the thirty-nine canonical books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven canonical books of the New Testament, is the divinely-inspired revelation of the Creator to man. Its unique, plenary, verbal inspiration guarantees that these writings, as originally and miraculously given, are infallible and completely authoritative on all matters with which they deal, free from error of any sort, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological.
  3. All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of creation week described in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11. The creation record is factual, historical, and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development which involve evolution in any form are false. All things which now exist are sustained and ordered by God's providential care. However, a part of the spiritual creation, Satan and his angels, rebelled against God after the creation and are attempting to thwart His divine purposes in creation.
  4. The first human beings, Adam and Eve, were specially created by God, and all other men and women are their descendants. In Adam, mankind was instructed to exercise "dominion" over all other created organisms, and over the earth itself (an implicit commission for true science, technology, commerce, fine art, and education) but the temptation by Satan and the entrance of sin brought God's curse on that dominion and on mankind, culminating in death and separation from God as the natural and proper consequence.
  5. The Biblical record of primeval earth history in Genesis 1-11 is fully historical and perspicuous, including the creation and fall of man, the curse on the creation and its subjection to the bondage of decay, the promised Redeemer, the worldwide cataclysmic deluge in the days of Noah, the post-diluvian renewal of man's commission to subdue the earth (now augmented by the institution of human government) and the origin of nations and languages at the tower of Babel.
  6. The alienation of man from his Creator because of sin can only be remedied by the Creator Himself, who became man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, through miraculous conception and virgin birth. In Christ were indissolubly united perfect sinless humanity and full deity, so that His substitutionary death is the only necessary and sufficient price of man's redemption. That the redemption was completely efficacious is assured by His bodily resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven; the resurrection of Christ is thus the focal point of history, assuring the consummation of God's purpose in creation.
  7. The final restoration of creation's perfection is yet future, but individuals can immediately be restored to fellowship with their Creator, on the basis of His redemptive work on their behalf, receiving forgiveness and eternal life solely through personal trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, accepting Him not only as estranged Creator but also as reconciling Redeemer and coming King. Those who reject Him, however, or who neglect to believe on Him, thereby continue in their state of rebellion and must ultimately be consigned to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Source: HolySmoke

So, the important thing is to get people to believe in Genesis. Falsely claiming Jesus supports you is entirely consistent with the ICR Creationists' Oath and the aims and objectives of the Discovery Institute's and ICR's Wedge Strategy. This works on the majority of their target marks simply because few of them read the Bible, depending almost entirely on what others tell them the Bible says, or even just assuming that it agrees with them. And who is going to doubt the honesty and integrity of those devout Christians at the ICR?

Look! It says here that Jesus agrees with us! Wow! How right are we? What do those insane, pinko liberal scientists know!? They even vote Democrat!

The 'experts' who 'reviewed' the book from which that lie was taken were merely keeping their oath. For the ICR, peer-review means checking to ensure it conforms to their oath and supports their political objective. It has nothing to do with factual accuracy. And they know their target market well.

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  1. There is some weasel wording in that they refer to Jesus' references to scripture. Are those 34 quotes just his specific references to prior scripture or just general quotes? I wouldn't imagine it improves that much though.

  2. they depend on their marks' ignorance to get away with it

    The striking thing about this is that they feel assured, and in fact are right, that their (presumably mostly Christian) audience will not spot a misstatement which a basic knowledge of the New Testament would instantly reveal. That is, even the kind of fundies who embrace YEC thinking don't know much about the Bible, and YEC promoters know it.

    It's been said that the Bible is like those license agreements you get when you download software on the internet -- nobody actually reads it, they just scroll to the end and click "I agree". Apparently its true. Not even the people who believe it's the Word of God have actually read enough of the turgid thing to realize how few references to Genesis Jesus actually makes.


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