Ken Ham of the Creation Museum has blasted an upcoming event at a Kentucky high school where atheists plan to hand out copies of The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.
"The reason for handing out this atheist book is to attack the Bible and the Christian faith-and the atheists really just want Bible distribution by volunteers to be stopped all together. And of course, atheists do not ultimately have any positive message to give. What can someone who says there is no God, and declares that when you die you cease to exist, really offer people except some subjective opinions for living in the here and now?" Ham wrote in a post for Answers in Genesis on Sunday.
The planned event for June 3 at Boone County High School, which is near the Creation Museum, is being organized by Tri-State Freethinkers, which is partnering with author Hemant Mehta and The Secular Student Alliance. The Freethinkers had asked for the same access to students that those passing out Gideon Bibles get.
Mehta, who is also a high school math teacher in Illinois and serves on the board of directors for Foundation Beyond Belief, maintained that his book, The Young Atheist's Survival Guide, is not anti-Christian. He wrote on his "Friendly Atheist" blog on Monday that Ham has not read his book.
"It's not anti-Christian at all and simply explains to all audiences how they can help young atheists," the author stated.
Mehta said that there is no hidden agenda behind the distribution of the books. The author argued that atheists are taking advantage of the same opportunity that The Gideons are given when they hand out Bibles at public schools.
Ham, whose organization has engaged atheist groups before with billboards in New York City's Time Square and other locations, argued in his post that atheists "don't care if no Bible or books can be distributed to students because students are already taught the atheist worldview anyway in their classrooms. Public schools textbooks define science as only being able to explain the universe by natural processes-that is, naturalism."
He added that The Young Atheist's Survival Guide attempts to "make atheists out to be 'friendly' people, who are just wanting what they consider to be the 'best' for the culture."
The Creation Museum CEO warned that students who read the book might go to atheist websites where they will read "blasphemous statements and ad hominem attacks that are rife through atheist writings."
Mehta, who has spoken at Christian churches such as Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, in 2013, responded by suggesting that Ham has a problem with the book because it makes atheists sound like "kind, decent human beings," and asked why the Creation Museum president puts "friendly" in quotation marks.
"Does Ham believe atheists aren't capable of being nice people?" he wrote.
Mehta argued that the secular message isn't negative, but that "it's a beautiful thing to cast aside your faith because you found beauty in reality."
"It's powerful to learn that we're alive today through the process of evolution over billions of years and that we have overcome incredible, mind-boggling odds to make it to this point. It's motivating that, since we won't be around forever, we have to make the most of the life we have."
While maintaining that the atheist message is "one of hopelessness and purposelessness," Ham highlighted the Christian message – namely John 3:16 which states, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."