A few months ago, I found myself in the crosshairs of Rob Boston and Americans United for pointing out the hot air and misinformation in “rev” Barry Lynn’s “Ark Park” video on youTube.
Barry Lynn, is of course the Executive Director of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. On the surface, Americans United sounds like a meritorious effort, but like the ACLU in practice they simply oppose traditional Christianity in America. They’ve tried to muddy the issue by placing a false reverend at the helm of their organization, but, as noted on this site several times, Barry Lynn doesn’t even meet the minimum qualifications of saving faith, so he couldn’t be a valid Christian clergyman must less even a Christian; that is, Lynn is on record as denying the literal, bodily resurrection of Christ which is necessary for salvation per Romans 10:9. It doesn’t matter what school he attended, nor does it matter what denomination “ordained” the man. [And let’s not forget that the United Church of Christ is hands down the most liberal (unbelieving) Christian denomination on the planet, an organization that gives lip service to the historic creeds but allows their members believe any fool thing they wish.] He may as well got his credentials from a voodoo website or out of a Cracker Jack box as far as God is concerned.
Rob Boston is [shock and surprise] the Senior Policy Analyst at Americans United and he’s pretty much been their lap dog since 1987.
I really hadn’t had the opportunity to address his drivel until now. Upon re-reading his lamentable article, I found it pretty ironic that Boston chose to end his article with John Adams’ oft-quoted observation, “Facts are stubborn things.” True enough, but what Boston offers is rhetoric aimed at credulous liberal supporters. His attempted defense of Lynn’s Ark Snark video (for what else should such a mocking piece of misinformation and propaganda be called) against the Ark Encounter venture is predictably misleading. Boston characterizes his boss’ mocking video as “light-hearted.”
Well, read for yourself:
“Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn’s light-hearted video about Kentucky’s proposed “Ark Park” has proven to be quite a hit. AU’s Facebook fans reacted positively, and the clip has nearly 5,000 views (and climbing) on You Tube. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a look.)
Alas, not everyone is a fan. The Rev. Tony Breeden was not amused. On his “DefendingGenesis.org” blog, the good reverend, who is quite the booster of creationism, patiently explains that Barry is all wet because our planet is only 6,000 years old and dinosaurs did indeed travel on Noah’s big boat. He is dismayed over the “false” Rev. Lynn and Barry’s alleged mockery of the Bible.”
This section is notable for being pretty much the only factual content of his article. That is, I do believe Barry Lynn is all wet. I do believe the Bible reveals that this entire universe [not just the planet] is approximately 6000 years old. I do believe that dinosaurs were aboard the historical Ark [which was about 45 feet high by 450 feet long by 75 feet wide – the size of a cargo freighter… hardly a “big boat”] of the Bible because God told Noah to bring two of every kind of creature aboard, including dinosaurs. I suppose it’s pretty obvious that am not a fan of either false reverend Barry Lynn or his anti-traditional Christian organization, and I certainly don’t approve of his shamefully misinformative Ark Snark video or his blatant [not alleged] mockery of the Bible.
Boston thinks I’m misled:
“Some people just don’t get it. The point of the video was to say that people can believe what they want about Noah’s Ark or any other story in the Bible – but that the government shouldn’t take sides on matters of theology. When state officials choose, even indirectly, to offer aid to a project like the “Ark Park” and enthusiastically welcome it to the state, that’s taking sides.
Specifically, it is taking sides in favor of Christian fundamentalism and against modern science.”
Of course, the point of the video was not that people can believe whatever they want about the Ark; the point Lynn wanted people to come away with was that no one should believe Genesis is the true and historical account of a perfect God who was there and never lies. Boston mischaracterizes the potential tax rebate incentive as “giving aid,” using language that he knows has loaded meaning for folks. The problem is that Americans United simply aren’t as interested in being accurate in what they report as much as they want to snuff out a project diametrically opposed to “rev” Lynn’s Bible-doubting worldview.
Somehow Boston manages to toss in another implied straw man into the fray, playing the old science versus religion card. He forgets that there are Bible-affirming scientists who reject microbes-to-man evolution and embrace the Biblical account of Creation. But I guess the facts just aren’t that important to Boston when he’s trying to convince the public…
He then takes that old chestnut further and makes a few comments that would have made Galileo roll over in his grave for suggesting that science is determined by a majority vote:
“Yes, Barry was having a little fun with this topic. How can you help it? How else can you respond to folks who believe that just about every biologist, geologist, paleontologist, anthropologist, archeologist, zoologist, etc., at every major university in the world is wrong and that fundamentalist ministers – most of whom have never seen the inside of a science lab let alone done field work – are right? Only an embrace of fundamentalism can guarantee such arrogance!”
So again he false paints this as science versus religion – and just the fundamentalist religion at that. I suppose Boston was unaware that I’ve gleeful exposed this fallacy every time atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman has used it to promote his pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project:
“The evolution/creation controversy isn’t a battle between religion and science. That’s right. DON’T. We see it as a battle between two worldviews through which we conduct science. If we count evolution as a religion, we see it as a battle between two religions who support their truth claims with a weight of philosophical arguments and scientific evidences. Alternately, we see the creation/evolution controversy as a battle between two competing theories of origin science, and we make a distinction between origins science that studies non-repeatable singularities [past events] and operational science that uses the scientific method. Dr. Zimmerman is purposely ignoring the whole notion of creation science as valid. He conflates evolution with science. He thatches together the old religion versus science straw man and gives it a makeover, but it’s still the same old straw man underneath.
“This is where your attempt to trivialize the creation/evolution debate fails. Both sides have their clergymen. Both sides have accredited scientists who feel strongly about the issue. You’ve erroneously painted the very real debate as a chess board where one side only has pawns and bishops, when both sides have their pawns, bishops, rooks, knights and royalty.”
“The entire premise of his argument, that the Clergy Letter somehow negates the very real evolution/creation controversy based on the theological compromise of clergymen from mainline liberal churches and from Christian cults, is a dog and pony show. Dr. Zimmerman seeks to marginalize traditional, orthodox Christianity by flashing the signatures of compromisers as a valid voice for Christendom. They are not. And they will answer for their compromise of Biblical authority when they stand before Christ the Creator.”
Lynn is, of course, erroneously listed as a clergy signator of Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter. Then again, so is “rev” John Shuck, a Tennessee Presbyterian who likewise cannot affirm the literal, bodily resurrection of Christ or even the existence of God!
The horrible truth is that the majority opinion of science once embraced both the spontaneous generation of life from non-life and the idea that the Earth was the center of our solar system. Consensus science can be wrong precisely because humans aren’t at all omniscient. Only God is all-knowing; thus, we ought to be judging the word of men who weren’t there, don’t know everything and conduct science by an arbitrary set of rules that precludes God’s agency from being considered by the revealed Word of an infallible, infinite God who knows everything, never lies and was there – not the other way ’round. You see, it’s a matter of authority: man’s current grasping consensus versus the revealed Word of the Creator.
“Breeden is offended that Barry mentioned the possibility of unicorns on the ark. He calls it a “cheap shot.” Um, hate to break it to you, reverend, but the talk about unicorns being real comes from Answers in Genesis (AIG) – a group that is one of the major sponsors of the Ark Park. The relevant passage comes from an article titled “Unicorns in the Bible?” on AIG’s website and reads, “Some people claim the Bible is a book of fairy tales because it mentions unicorns. However, the biblical unicorn was a real animal, not an imaginary creature.”
Perhaps Breeden should visit the AIG site more often. He’s obviously not up on the latest cutting-edge findings in creation science!”
Holy quote mine, Batman! But what does AiG’s website say concerning the identity of these unicorns? Are they the fantasy ponies that resemble the plush toy Lynn utilizes in his Ark Snark video? Um, no. The site states as possible identities of the real unicorn: the auroch or Bos primigenius, the Indian rhinoceros, a relict Elasmotherium or an antelope. Not once does Answers in Genesis affirm any likeness to that plush toy Barry’s promoting as being the Biblical unicorn. In fact the article in question ends by stating:
“The Bible is clearly describing a real animal. The unicorn mentioned in the Bible was a powerful animal possessing one or two strong horns—not the fantasy animal that has been popularized in movies and books. Whatever it was, it is now likely extinct like many other animals.”
But never let the facts stand in the way of misleading propaganda, right Americans United?
“Breeden should also read Barry’s Piety & Politics. In that book, Barry speaks powerfully as to why he rejects biblical literalism. The literalist, Barry observes, sees the scriptures in a simplistic either/or fashion.”
This ought to be good…
Boston (now quoting Lynn):
“Noah’s flood is not about history; it’s about God’s covenant with his creation and his promise that even a sinful people can be redeemed,” Barry writes.
Wow. Stop right there. Allow a Bible-affirming [i.e., a real and authentic] minister to correct Barry’s awful eisegesis. The Flood is about God’s covenant with His creation? Which covenant? Would that be the covenant wherein God promises never again to destroy the world by water and makes the rainbow a sign of his promise? Because if that’s the covenant Barry’s referring to, he needs to think out the implications of God’s covenant to Noah. God promised never to destroy the world by water and, well, local floods abound; either God has broken His promise to Noah or God was referring to a real and actual worldwide Flood, not a local event. And is it about God’s promise that even a sinful people can be redeemed? Barry, only eight people survived the Biblical Flood. All of the sinful people [I repeat, ALL of the sinful people] perished in the Flood. Only Noah, a preacher of righteousness who took God literally at His Word that a worldwide Flood was coming, and his family survived aboard the Ark out of all mankind. While the Ark is a picture of salvation, the Flood is a picture of God’s righteous wrath and judgment against sin and disbelief. Did you know that Peter prophesied that scoffers like Barry Lynn would arise who would scoff at the future return of Christ and would be willingly ignorant that the heavens and the earth were created by the Word of God and by this same Word the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished? In other words, they would doubt the Genesis account of Creation and the Flood [note: 2 Peter 3:3-7].
Face it: The Noachian Flood is written as an historical account; in fact, the portions detailing the Flood read like a ship’s log. It was intended as an historical account no matter how much that embarrasses unbelievers like Barry Lynn.
“Ironically, by insisting that the story be literally true, fundamentalists drain it of all its power. The tale becomes an all or nothing proposition. Either you swallow the whole story, including the improbable bits, or you can get nothing from it.”
Again, allow a real minister of the Gospel to educate “rev” Lynn on this particular issue: The Bible IS all all-or-nothing proposition. The Psalmist declared that God’s Word is true from the beginning. Peter declared that the Word of God never came by the will of men but that they spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; this is the opposite of what folks like Lynn claim: that the Bible contains things that definitely and erroneously came by the will of men. Speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus warned “If I have told you of earthly things and you believe not; how shall you believe if I tell you of spiritual things?” The principle He was relating was that if we can’t trust the Bible when it speaks of things like history and geography, how can we trust it for theology and morality? Speaking of Jesus, He affirmed the historicity of Adam and Eve, Abel, Jonah and the great fish, Noah and the Flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah [including Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt]. If Jesus is God [and no true Christian can deny this according to the Bible] then His affirmation of these things speaks highly of their historical veracity!
Back to Boston:
“He [Lynn] goes on to say, “I refuse to accept this false choice whenever fundamentalists thrust it at me. So it is with the creation of the world. The idea of a young earth, a mere 6,000 years old and dinosaurs strolling around alongside cavemen, is absurd in the face of modern science. The Bible, I believe, does not even claim such nonsense occurred. Those who read it and say it does have the right to that belief, but it is neither science nor history and cannot plausibly be passed off as such.”
What an odd picture Barry paints here: Do Biblical Creationists think that the earth is a mere 6000 years old? Sure. Do Biblical Creationists believe that dinosaurs strolled around with cavemen? Um, no. We believe that dinosaurs and men co-existed before the Flood and for some time thereafter until dinosaurs went extinct. The Fred Flintstone image he’s trying to plant in his readers’ minds is a straw man argument. This is the type of misinformation Barry must rely upon in order to fight against the historical reliability of Scripture. He can’t have folks knowing what Biblical Creationist actually believe, because then folks might get the idea that there’s some credibility to the Creation and Catastrophism model.
If Barry reads his Bible [and there’s still no indication that he does more than skim the Cliff notes], he will note that the most straightforward reading of Genesis and other relevant origins passages [like the 4th Commandment in Exodus 20:11, which I would presume Lynn is familiar with since he regularly fights to have the Ten Commandments removed from government buildings] indicate a literal Creation Week and a Worldwide Noachian Flood, and that by adding up the genealogies [which have no gaps] one comes to an age of about 6000 years for the Earth.
By declaring that it’s neither science nor history, Barry does nothing more than beg the question. He would have his readers forget that uniformitarian geology and microbes-to-man evolution are elements of an all-natural Creation that seeks to explain the world without supernatural agency – which is a big problem if God actually did anything as He reveals in His Word! As a consequence of ignoring special revelation, they have made up all-natural just-so stories to account for things they should’ve given credit to their Creator for! And “rev” Barry Lynn is right there backing them up…
“Breeden believes the earth is 6,000 years old. He has the right to believe that, but no state should endorse such an un-historical, un-scientific view. (Just in case you’re wondering, here are some things that were going on in 4,000 B.C.: The Sumerians settled a city state, Egyptians were pulling together as a unified kingdom and settlers moved to the island of Thera in the Aegean Sea, marking the first step toward the creation of what became Greece.)
Of course, I don’t expect Breeden to be persuaded by anything as prosaic as facts.”
Of course, I don’t expect Boston to admit that these dates are based on Egyptian chronology that includes inflated dates for their alleged god-kings. [Oh, those pesky facts!] As such, Egyptian chronology needs to be calibrated by Biblical chronology – not the other way ’round.
Not to miss his pot shot: the state is NOT endorsing the Biblical Creation and Catastrophism model by offering possible tax rebates as an incentive to foster business in Kentucky any more than the state endorses religion when it doesn’t tax non-profit ministries.
Then Boston has a personal word me:
One more thing about this, and I’d like to address it directly to Rev. Breeden: Your use of terms like “false” in front of reverend and your insistence on putting “Rev.” in quotation marks before Barry’s name demonstrate a complete and utter lack of class. For your information, Barry received a master’s degree in theology from Boston University School of Theology, one of the best schools of its type, in 1973. He graduated summa cum laude and was ordained by the United Church of Christ that same year.
Of course, the reason I address Barry in this manner is because he doesn’t affirm the physical, bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a requirement of true saving faith [per Romans 10:9]; therefore he isn’t a Christian, except in name only. In fact, in an April 5, 2010 Culture Shocks interview with Robin Meyers, author of the heretical Saving Jesus from the Church, Barry Lynn states:
“Certainly the earliest writer of anything about Jesus’ life never even mentioned the Resurrection which you wouldn’t think would be kind of a hard thing to admit if it happened: to say he lived, he died and by the way he rose again. Those are later additions to the Gospel.”
As a result of his unsaved condition, he may as well have gotten his ordination out of a Cracker Jack box because it isn’t legitimate in the least. “Rev” Barry Lynn demonstrates a total lack of class by hypocritically promoting himself as a member of Christian clergy when he doesn’t even meet the minimum requirements; he’s using credentials he never had a right to attempt to add some credibility to a cause that actually undermines the influence of Christianity in America. I guess the Bible was right: you really do know these guys by their fruit, and a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. Guess what, Barry? When you find yourself constantly fighting against and undermining Christianity, you’re not really on our side.
Boston ends with the following quote, which he obviously hopes will finish his article with a bit of weight:
“John Adams once famously observed, “Facts are stubborn things.” It is best, sir, to learn to deal with them anyway.”
Actually, the full quote is “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” It’s a quote that Rob Boston and Barry Lynn should take to heart, because (as I demonstrated) they are the ones who refuse to deal with the facts because the facts simply aren’t on their side – which is why they have to misrepresent the facts to make their case.
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