Somewhere along the line in American culture, belief in the historicity of the early Genesis accounts became goofy, while funding for SETI settled in as a sound idea.
We haven’t heard anything resembling an E.T. ham radio from outer space, but “creation scientists” have refined their evidence for a biblical worldview and now have some legitimate credibility, even as their opponents hiss.
The irony in this sophistication on the part of Christians who embrace origins as set forth in the Bible is that it hasn’t kept them from being marginalized by media elites, although a growing segment of the population is interested in what they have to say. This at the same time creationism critic and atheist Richard Dawkins, for all his brainpower, can only center his philosophical arguments around calling his opponents “ignorant fools,” while still being considered an intellectual.
This has fostered a delicate problem for book publishers. How to take advantage of this intensely interesting cultural debate – Darwin vs. Moses – while maintaining a measure of intellectual respect? I should have stated it more clearly: how do I as a publisher make money off these rubes and still get invited to cocktail parties in Manhattan?
For some publishers, there is no dilemma. Tim Dudley, president of Master Books, the world’s largest publisher of (young-earth) creationist books, doesn’t lose sleep over his path:
“I bought into the message,” he says simply.
A long-time evangelical himself, Dudley took over the creation science entity early in 1996. On the verge of bankruptcy, Master Books was completely turned around within a year, due to Dudley’s deft business skills and a clear mandate from the reading public: Give us more of this stuff, we like it.
It didn’t hurt that Dudley’s new stable of authors included creationist icon Henry M. Morris (founder of the Institute for Creation Research), and future icon Ken Ham. The latter, founder of Answers in Genesis apologetics ministry, has, in 15 years, turned an itinerant travel schedule into arguably the most sophisticated apologetics organization around.
AiG’s Creation Museum, gaining considerable worldwide publicity since it opened two years ago, also houses a bookstore doing sales numbers that would rival any in the U.S.
The Creation Museum has received a staggering 740,000 visitors since May 28, 2007. Visitors exit the facility through the bookstore; you do the numbers.
Master Books works closely with AiG. Laura Welch, marketing director for MB, explains the company’s recipe for success:
“As our culture becomes increasingly hostile to Christian principles and values, we have seen a tremendous increase in interest for resources focused on apologetics,” she says.
“By providing relevant apologetics materials which resonate with our customer base, Master Books is continuing to find consistent sales success even in this difficult economic period,” she says. “We remain the dominant leader in our well-defined niche, and continue to take steps to insure we make sound financial decisions while maintaining the quality for which we are known.”
Other creationist/apologetics groups are breaking plenty of new ground, as well. Dr. G. Thomas Sharp of Creation Truth Foundation has seen a “flood” of growth for his ministry, so much so that CTF is expanding, with new speakers and new initiatives.
Sharp is especially pleased with a new DVD series, “War of the Worldviews,” which explores the philosophical divide that has arisen in this country over the past two centuries. The first in the series, “Darwin’s Life and Legacy,” was shot on location in Europe and the U.S. and features Sharp’s narrative about the life of Charles Darwin with reenactments of key scenes in the naturalist’s life.
“I’m almost astonished at the tremendous reception this DVD is getting,” Sharp says.
An educator and pastor before founding CTF in 1989, Sharp watched the decline of American culture in the 1960s, and realized that an increasing acceptance of naturalism was the cause. He now oversees a resource ministry that provides books and other materials that are reaching hungry new audiences.
Sharp’s upcoming release, “Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs,” is perhaps the market’s most lucid look at evolution’s socialist agenda published in years.
Cover of CTF’s “Truth in Science” curriculum
Another “Sharp product,” a project very close to his educator’s heart is the new “Truth in Science” curriculum for homeschool audiences. A comprehensive, science-driven curriculum, this spectacular, four-color project heavily emphasizes the importance of worldview, much more than similar curriculums on the market. The first installment, for sixth-grade, will be in print soon.
Although these ministries and publishing entities are working overtime to keep up with growth, they know how they are received in the industry.
Plenty of other publishers see the potential in this cultural war over apes, “cavemen” and dinosaurs. They just don’t buy into it, personally. So can I be candid? Other Christian publishers, even if they don’t agree with a conservative biblical approach, see a juicy prize: cash. Very few publishers embrace a conservative view of Genesis, but in a selling climate this cool, they won’t be shy either about throwing a book out there.
So long as young-earth creationism is seen as a funhouse for fundamentalists, most mainstream publishers will keep it at arm’s length while dabbling in the subject (think Intelligent Design, which, quite ironically, invites just as much derision from evolutionists).
Meanwhile, conservative publishing juggernaut Regnery has just released a fascinating, original look at the man sometimes called “the devil’s disciple” in “The Darwin Myth” by Benjamin Wiker. This examination of Darwin’s real motivations (he hated the Bible!) only serves to heat up this battleground in the culture wars.
All this talk about origins is just one of the many reasons that the American publishing scene is as fascinating as it is volatile. The hypochondriac Englishman, who famously studied finches in the Galapagos, would surely be amused.