Fighting the Good Fight?

What happens, say, when two devoutly religious football teams play a match, and the captain of each team prays to God that his team will win? Do the devoutly religious believe He balances the competing prayers, and that the winner is the more righteous before God?

The doctrine of free will would say that He doesn’t directly intervene in human affairs in that way, or at least, that He can’t be depended upon to do so. So whether one wins or not depends upon skill and effort.

But what if you believe that God will intervene in human affairs? This is the kind of question that I wonder about from time to time.

I couldn’t help thinking of this question when I read that Ken Ham and his US based Answers in Genesis ministry are being sued by the Brisbane-based Creation Ministries International for misleading and deceptive conduct with regard to his dealings with the Australian organisation. If you’re thinking that Ken Ham’s name sounds familiar, he’s an expatriot Australian and former science teacher who also happens to be the CEO of the Creation Museum in Kentucky (the one with the dinosaurs with saddles along with Adam and Eve).

Hence my thoughts at the start of this post. Will both sides be praying to win the legal case? It all sounds very un-Christian and unpleasant to me.

(Via A Roll of the Dice)


For a very detailed background to the legal proceedings, have a look at this blog post at Duae Quartunciae. Very interesting indeed.

Duae Quartunciae has backed up his analysis with copious copies of documentation. It sounds like Answers in Genesis will need to provide some answers to a secular judge before too long. As Duae Quartunciae says, when people who take the high moral ground behave in ways that seem distinctly immoral, it reeks of hypocrisy. Not much evidence of loving thy neighbour here. It’s all about power, not love.

Update 2

A commenter below has suggested that Matthew 5:40 provides guidance to Mr Ham and his ministry:

“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”

Somehow I don’t think Creation Ministries will be getting Ken Ham’s cloak.


Filed under christianity, history, law, religion

9 responses to “Fighting the Good Fight?

  1. I think there is a different between genuine prayer and selfish prayer. Selfish prayer would be praying to win, either in football or legal battle. Genuine prayer would be to pray that you act in accordance with God’s teachings, that you open your heart to his guidance, and that His will be done no matter the outcome. We shouldn’t pray to always win. We should pray that God always wins!


  2. April, that is a very sensible distinction.

    At my English high school, we were supposed to pray that we would all get A+ for our exams. I refused to pray for that. As far as I’m concerned, my marks were down to my efforts and skill, not to God’s will or prayer. I had no problem with, say, a prayer for God to give us the strength to study hard or to give us courage not to get too nervous before exams, but I found the idea of praying to God to give us A+s very selfish. I suppose that is an example of exactly what you are talking about.

  3. wen

    sort of like ye olde ‘trial by combat’, i guess 🙂

  4. marcellous

    I have a story about that.

    Years ago I was acting for a bank against a family of farmers. The germ of the dispute was that the bank promised to lend the family money, but then delayed doing so because, as far as they were concerned, the mother, who was a schoolteacher, was supposed to tip her superannuation into the business as well as a condition of the loan. Instead, she devoted it to other purposes, including giving parts to other members of the family for various purposes.

    Because the timing of provision of funds was important in the agricultural cycle, it was claimed by the farmers that this had led to a series of consequential losses which more than set-off the money they owed to the bank. (Irrigation was involved, and ducks getting into the crops.)

    This woman came to our offices to inspect some documents (that’s “discovery, ” for those familiar with this term). She was in Sydney because the pope was visiting. Perhaps rather impertinently (I was younger then), I asked her , “So, will you be praying for success in this litigation?” and she said straight away, “Oh no, I would never do that.”

    I really respected her for that.

  5. Nice story, marcellous! 🙂

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  7. Darius

    Jesus gave explicit instructions for what his followers were to do if they found themselves in Ken Ham’s situation – see Matthew 5:40.


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  9. Pingback: ham update 2: ham-related art, and more legal details at a roll of the dice

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