If you grew up in the Slavic community, the name “Doctor Dino” or “Kent Hovind” most likely is very familiar to you.
When I was a teenager, my parents acquired a VHS set of “Dr.” Kent Hovind’s seminars, perhaps in hopes that his lectures would provide a solid foundation of knowledge against the evolutionist teachings of the public school system.
Everyone and their mother knew of “Dr.” Kent Hovind. The VHS lectures were entertaining and fun to watch. Doctor Dino had a knack for humor. He had the ability to make us feel like Christians were the more intelligent species of the humankind. Anyone remember his $250,000 offer – a challenge to evolutionists to offer proof for evolution?
Hearing “Dr.” Kent Hovind repeatedly claim that no one ever took his challenge, made me feel good about my faith and belief in the literal Genesis creation story. It made me feel superior to all those godless scientists who really did not know what they were talking about.
My motto became, “I believe in the Big Bang – God said, BANG, and it happened.”
Armed with all the knowledge of Hovind’s seminars, I marched into the world of a secular college, followed by a secular university.
I cannot even call my first battle with evolutionists a battle. It was a battle already lost without any engagement on my part. I felt like a small David facing a towering giant. Only I didn’t even have any stones in my leather pouch… (I previously wrote about this story in the blog post “Radical Love: I Am Unto Death A Christian.”)
All the knowledge I gained from Hovind could not stand up to the difficult questions that seriously challenged my faith.
My faith crumbled despite being home-schooled through high school and despite my diligent learning all of “Dr. Dino’s” arguments against evolution.
But my Heavenly Father, kept pursuing me. Even after I denied His very existence…
Jesus was and is my Savior! Not “Dr.” Kent Hovind!
Ok, I get it, you may say…
That’s great you finally understood who your savior is.
Why rock the boat? Why now?
Well… Last year, according to Pensacola News Journal, Hovind was released from prison after serving 9 years out of his 10-year prison after being convicted for “failing to withhold employee income taxes and ‘structuring’ bank withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements.”
Throughout the court proceedings, sentencing, and the 9-year time in prison, Hovind continued to maintain his innocence claims. My purpose is not to argue whether his prison sentence was just or not. Peter J. Riley, a contributor to the Forbes Magazine does a good job of “Looking At Kent Hovind’s Innocence Claims.”
However, Hovind is considered to be a martyr in many Christian circles. He capitalizes on this notion to continue making money off of gullible believers, who buy his “Creation Seminar” 18-hour long teachings on DVDs, hoping that his lectures and presentations will strengthen the young people’s faith.
A few weeks ago, some of my Facebook friends began promoting Hovind’s seminar that is actually taking place in Sacramento, CA as I am writing this post.
After finding out that one of my brothers is going to one of the seminar events this Sunday (tomorrow), I asked him if he knows anything about Doctor Dino’s background and if he trusts his credibility.
I only wanted to hear his opinion, as I was looking for an insight to why people continue to hold him in such high regard. After I sent him this link, asking his thoughts on it, his response was the following:
I respect your opinion, but no one is perfect. I’m sure if I did some digging, I could find some skeletons in the closets of some people you follow.
I do not follow people.
I follow Jesus.
May I share the truth with you? Doctor Dino’s teachings did not strengthen my faith.
In fact, once I began to exercise my critical thinking, I quickly realized that he uses a lot of humor, condescending and/or demeaning language towards evolutionists, and a river of visual aides to conceal his poor arguments.
I am not the only one who presently considers his arguments weak at best and humorous at their worst.
Here is one example of what one young woman wrote anonymously, asking for any advice or help in her journey to finding answers to life’s tough questions.
“I watched all of Kent Hovind’s videos, but I can’t trust him because most of his information is fake. I believed him for so long and used his videos to prove my point for very long, but it was Kent Hovind who first made me doubt my faith and creation, because when i actually researched the pictures he used to prove point, they were just photoshopped pictures of the internet. The arguments he used weren’t honest, and even the creationists who are for the Bible and the most respected christian organizations are embarased of him and said that they want nothing to do with his arguments because they aren’t true. So when this man who I trusted so much was proved to be a liar and making stuff up, I became really depressed and started doubting everything. I’ve been reading everything by the Answers In Genesis who rebuked Kent Hovind’s arguments, but when studying evolution it’s still not making sense. Do you know anyone besides Kent Hovind, because I can’t trust that man. Kent Hovind sounds good until you fact check him, and then I cried and was depressed for months, because I was so devastated about him.”
May I also note what Yuriy Stasyuk, a well-known atheist-from-Christianity-blogger, wrote about his journey to rejecting “young earth creationism?”
Yuriy begins a post by letting his readers know that at 13 years of age, his fascination with the creationism debate began after Kent Hovind came to his church. “… I loved his presentation, I even went and shook his hand afterwards, ever so proudly,” he writes. His journey continued to debating evolutionists online to… well, you can read his blog post to find out.
Please, keep searching for the truth, Yuriy…
Again, you may ask: Why are you rocking this boat?
Honestly, I didn’t have any intention to write this post. That is until I decided to watch last night’s live feed of Hovind’s seminar.
I wanted to see a changed man. Perhaps, changed for the better by his “unjustly” served time in prison?
He did have a lot of time to reflect on things and pray, I thought. Just give him a chance.
I was greatly disappointed.
Not even 10 minutes went by before he threw a sales pitch for his $50 DVD set.
Several times throughout the lecture, Hovind referred to his DVDs. “I talk about this in DVD #4” and “I talk about this further in DVD #8,” and so on.
Well, I thought, the man needs to live and make money. That’s fine.
What was more disturbing to me was the way he flaunted his “scientific credibility” several times, making points such as “I taught for 15 years science and mathematics” and “I love science!”
You may have noticed my usage of quotation marks before and after his title of “Dr.” Of interest to you may be his 102 page Ph.D dissertation paper he wrote with an introduction of “Hello, My name is Kent Hovind.” Or you may also choose to read THIS critical analysis of Kent Hovind’s “Doctoral Dissertation” to get a better idea of why so many do not consider him to be the credible science authority figure he so vehemently tries to portray.
(It is of worth noting that while watching Hovind’s seminar today, “Doctor” took out his latest book “What On Earth Is About To Happen…For Heaven’s Sake?” and said, “this is my doctoral dissertation that I wrote while I was in prison.” I appreciate your attempt at improving your dissertation, but there is no option for a do-over… And to mislead people this way is appalling.)
However, even this did not bother me as much as the following. As I watched Hovind talk for just a little over an hour last night, I couldn’t help but notice his all-too familiar condescending tone towards “those scientists” and his constant elevation of self.
This is what I heard him say,
I debated in over 100 debates in different universities and I always win the debates in the first 5 minutes… Buy my DVDs, where I have a debate with two professors much smarter than I… I beat the professors much smarter than I.”
The message is clear: buy Hovind’s DVDs. He even gave a final reminder to the audience at the very end, making sure everyone saw “the guy with the cowboy hat from Texas” who would be behind the table selling DVDs… I couldn’t help but notice a clearly distinctive contrast between a loving and respectful attitude of Dr. Ravi Zacharias as he takes part in debates and lectures in the most respectable universities around the world…
What further disturbed and burdened me even more, was when one of the pastors came out to do an altar call.
A very long but beautiful song (“Just As I Am”) was sung, and the pastor started to make appeals to people to repent – the usual play on emotions.
And this was done after a lecture on creationism. Although Hovind did talk about how “people always wanted to be like God,” there was no mention about Jesus or His precious sacrifice…
Hovind simply shared about how he was led to say a sinner’s prayer by his friend very many years ago, and he used the same (or similar) prayer to lead those who wanted to avoid going to hell.
If this is the man who is expected to train and teach our young people to stand in faith, then we are in deep, deep trouble… Because his answer to how we can reconcile some of the contradictions in the Bible is that God must have put those contradictions in there to “weed out” the atheists:
At the very end, another pastor walked on the stage and what he said was even more disturbing to me. The pastor said that this seminar was planned by many pastors in the region coming together to invite Kent Hovind “because of a big problem in our area.”
I can only assume that the problem they mention is the big number of young people leaving churches and the Christian faith after they no longer cannot reconcile the Bible with what they are being taught at schools.
And the savior is Kent Hovind?
If you are desperately trying to find a man who would teach the young people to reason and defend their faith, at least guide them to credible apologists like Ravi Zacharias and his team and many others…
Yet again we failed to realize where the root of the problem is.
It is us.
And we need Jesus…
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