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Creation & Christianity

Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Dave!Yesterday I took a look at a sampling of various Christian archetypes. This was a preface to talking about how The Creation Museum is making a concentrated effort to reach all Christians with a literal interpretation of God's six days of Creation. It's an ambitious goal to be sure. Our modern understanding of the universe and "how things work" are more often than not in direct opposition to Scripture, so it's a hard sell. But, I'm here to tell you, the people behind this museum give it their best shot.

Before I go any further, I am compelled to admit that I am not a Christian and believe absolutely none of it. When it comes to life on earth, I put my faith in science and evolution. I fully believe in scientific methods like "carbon dating" to reveal the true age of the earth and when it was that various creatures lived upon it. I do not buy into The Flintstones world-view where dinosaurs and man existed at the same time. I do however, believe in God... though what constitutes "God" to me is radically different than what can be found in The Bible.

That being said, my studies of various world religions over the decades have me concluding that it's not my place to judge others for their beliefs, just as I would hope that they don't judge me for mine. For all I know, we're all plugged into The Matrix and none of this is real anyway. So who am I to say what is the absolute truth?

And so...

I have wanted to visit The Creation Museum ever since I saw this photo...

Dino Kid by Marva Chang
Photo by Mavra Chang on Flickr

I love dinosaurs. And my favorite thing about dinosaurs is that there were so many of them that were brutal killing machines. I've watched Jurassic Park dozens of times because seeing those nasty velociraptors hunt down people is pretty darn cool. So when I saw this image, I was freaking out. Why in the hell isn't that dinosaur ripping that little girl to shreds and eating her for brunch? "RUN LITTLE GIRL! RUN AWAY... EVEN THOUGH IT WON'T DO ANY GOOD! YOU'RE DEAD! D-E-A-D, DEAD!!! BWA HA HA HAAAA!" I'd say out loud to nobody in particular.

Curious to know how this insane photo could exist, I tracked down The Creation Museum and was mesmerized. Here was everything I didn't believe in... all in one building! I made a vow to visit. And this past Sunday, I finally did...

Creation Museum Building

Now, don't let this boring exterior fool you. This is hands-down one of the most beautiful museums I've ever seen. It is a thorough exploration and explanation of a literal interpretation of The Book of Genesis unlike anything you could imagine. And, even though I think it's all fiction, I fully admit it is really well done. Exceptionally well done, even. And you feel that the minute you walk inside...

Creation Museum Entrance Hall

The continuing theme of the museum is "Same Facts, Different Conclusions" and they often times meld science with Scripture to support their arguments. To that end, they create scenes like this to establish that they are not disputing facts in evidence...

Creation Museum Science Dig
Dinosaur says "Oh this crick in my neck!"

Creation Museum Dino!
"Anybody seen a little girl feeding carrots to a squirrel around here?"

And then ease you into a "debate" of Scripture vs. Science with nice displays that pits Man's word vs. God's Word...

Why are there different ideas about how old dinosaurs are?

Because there are two different starting points!

After that they explain how silly an idea it is that we have a common ancestor with monkeys, complete with holographic evidence over a model of Lucy, the famous Australopithecus...

Creation Museum Ape Evolution?

The single most important piece of Biblical Scripture used to explain how dinosaur bones got to be where they are and why scientists are mistaken as to how old they are is The Great Flood. The museum posits that the flood was practically instantaneous and provided such massive pressure that things like coal formation happened in weeks instead of millions of years...

Man's Word vs. God's Word!

This is not an easy pill to swallow given the geological evidence. But over and over again the museum claims that their Biblical truth is no less valid than other scientific theories. They just have a radically different starting point for the beginning of life on earth. Science = ~14 Billion Years... Scripture = ~6,000 Years...

Different Starting Points

You're hit with a lot of information before you even enter the exhibit space. God's plan for Creation has been fully laid out and supported as truth by their interpretation of scientific evidence. I may not agree with that interpretation, but I can respect their viewpoint. At least I did... until I got to this...

I never heard about THIS before in school!

Really? Really? Playing the victim never really sells me on your position no matter what it is. If you're going to whine about separation of church and state, save it for your newsletter. It doesn't have a place here. This one section completely undermines the entire museum, in my humble opinion. Let your arguments stand on their own without this kind of bullshit.

Anyway... off we go to the exhibits, which is preceded by a series of videos showing just how awful human beings are today...

Horrors of Man Ignoring God!

I guess the films are supposed to set the stage for what we lost when you turn the corner and get dropped into a really nice recreation of the Garden of Eden...

Garden of Eden!

It starts out with the creation of Adam who is naming all the animals while a dinosaur eats a pineapple nearby. There was no death in The Beginning, so animals didn't eat each other...

Dinosaurs Love Pineapples!

Then Eve comes along, which results in some steamy scenarios worthy of high-budget porn...

Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden

All is not perfect in Paradise, however, as that nasty serpent is hanging around, ready to doom us all...

Serpent in the Garden of Eden

And here it is... Eve convincing Adam to eat from the Forbidden Tree. What a bitch!

Eve Tempts Adam!

Adam gives in to temptation, and then what happens? You turn a corner and... ZOMFG! IT'S HITLER!!!

Nazi Film Footage!
Now THAT'S Shark Extreme!

God is most displeased, so now Adam has to work for everything instead of having it handed to him. What was once Paradise, is now a horrible place filled poisons, diseases, and weeds... DAMN WEEDS! But just look at how ripped Adam gets from working in his garden...

Adam, Eve, and Family

And, of course, dinosaurs are prancing around Adam's house. Though, it's after The Fall now, so I'm guessing they're no longer going to be satisfied with eating pineapples. LOOK OUT, LITTLE CAIN AND ABLE!!!

Adam's Dinosaur

It's right about here that the museum explains how all of humanity is descendant from Adam and Eve. Their children married each other and had kids who married each other, which was not considered a bad thing back then. Apparently their DNA was so pure that inbreeding didn't cause The Hills Have Eyes-type genetic defects like you get when brothers and sisters reproduce today (even though science dictates the "purity" isn't the problem... it's the lack of genetic diversity).

But even God-approved inbreeding didn't work out that well for humans, who ended up becoming people so horrible that God decided to wipe the earth clean and start over again. Time for Noah's Ark!

Noah's Ark

Now, of all the stories in The Bible, Noah's is probably the hardest to believe. The guy really gathered up two of every animal, insect, bird, and creature from the entire earth? Seriously? And, now there's dinosaurs in the mix as well. How in the heck did he manage that? Well, the museum would argue that God was involved, so all things are possible... and the dinosaurs Noah found were probably just babies, so they could actually fit in the boat. A construction project which took poor Noah and his sons around 100 years to complete. Still, he ended up looking pretty good for someone of his advanced years...

It's Noah!

In addition to being beautiful and well-crafted, the museum also has a good sense of humor about things, which I got a kick out of...

Thou Shalt Not Touch! Please!

And... scene! End of the exhibits.

We now move on to theaters featuring films that further explain the museum's position on Creation. They play on continuous loop, which makes it easy to catch them all in your visit.

By far the most fascinating was a movie about dragons. The Creation Museum fully endorses the idea that dragons were actual creatures, and support this by saying how dragons are found in literature and stories around the globe by numerous disconnected civilizations. Coincidence? I think not! But why? Why would the museum drag magical creatures into their story? Well, it's because they claim dragons were actually dinosaurs (Pterodactyls, perhaps) which were embellished over the ages to breath fire and stuff. And if dragons were, in fact, dinosaurs then this means dinosaurs existed at the time of man. Ergo, everything in Genesis must be true, and God created everything at the same time on the sixth day...

Dragon are Dinos!

Yes, it's a stretch, but... hey, I wasn't there.

At the end of your tour, there's restaurants and a really nice gift shop. Sadly, as it was a Sunday in the off-season, I didn't get to eat at Palm Pizza, which was located in a really cool little plaza...

Creation Museum Palm Court

   
So...

It would be easy for me to write-off The Creation Museum as a wacky pseudo-science museum which shoe-horns Scripture into facts. And logic dictates that their wholly unbelievable and unscientific exploration into life on earth should be dismissed as outright fraud and a futile attempt to support a faith-based worldview. Many other people have said just that.

But...

That's taking the easy way out. The truth is that I greatly enjoyed the museum, and was grateful to be given such an amazing look into how some of my fellow humans see the world. The reason I have spent such a great amount of time studying the earth's religions is to better understand humanity. And, much like the beautiful Holy Land Experience in Florida, this Creation Museum is just another piece of the puzzle for me.

And it's a piece that's really well-done.

The cost of a 2-Day admission ticket is $29.95 for adults and $15.95 for children with free parking. Even with the jaw-dropping quality of the museum, I think this is a bit high. $19.95 feels like it would be much closer to the mark. Admission to the museum's planetarium is an addition $7.95 per person (I skipped it, because I didn't have an extra $8 to spend, and I've been to planetariums before). Moms get free admission on Mother's Day, just as dads do on Father's Day (all the more reason to be fruitful and multiply!). US Veterans are admitted free on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. Everybody gets free admission on Christmas Eve.

In Summary...

Despite my being a non-Christian, I had a really good time at the museum... even if I can't get behind the content. The staff were very nice and helpful. The exhibits are top-notch and near-Disney-quality. The organization and "flow" of the layout is well-planned. There's plenty to see and do and a lot to think about. A lot of love went into crafting The Creation Museum, and it shows in even the smallest detail.

For fundamentalist Christians who believe that Creation took place over six 24-hour days, it's a no-brainer to come here.

As for other Christians who struggle with "the Creation myth," well... it's hard to say. You might very well be convinced after visiting. As somebody who believes in science, it's tough for me to recommend you come here and possibly lose your grip on what I consider to be reality, but... eh, I still do.

For everybody else, it's a toss-up. Maybe, like me, you want to understand the fundamentalist Christian world-view better... it's definitely worth visiting for that. Maybe you are a non-believer who just wants to mock people's faith... well, I could think of cheaper ways than spending $29.95 to do it, but there's a lot of material here for you to mock (but, honestly, making yourself feel better by belittling other people's beliefs is pretty pathetic). Maybe you just like really good museums... in which case this one certainly qualifies and is worth a trip. Or maybe you just want something to do on your way to Cincinnati Airport for a couple hours... then this might do the trick if you can get past what they're presenting.

And Lastly...

To the creators of The Creation Museum, this property isn't the end of the story. The museum has been wildly popular, so they are looking to build something even bigger. Enter... ARK ENCOUNTER! A new exhibit which will recreate a full-sized Noah's Ark...

Ark Encounter Drawing

Not ambitious enough for you? How about the ark being merely a small part of an entire theme park?

Ark Encounter Park

Pretty amazing. If it's anywhere near the quality of The Creation Museum, I'd visit that! They've purchased the land and hope to have "Phase One" (the ark itself and a petting zoo) completed in 2014.

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Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    DUDE. OMG, I will literally be driving within like 5 miles of this place tomorrow morning. If it was $20, I’d totally go. But for $30, as a non-Christian, yeah. I don’t know. It does sound pretty amazing, though.

  2. Matt Westergard says:

    Dave – I respect your nonjudgmental view – I wish I could be as self controlled. Having just finished “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, my initial reaction was to want to rip that museum to shreds – I know Dawkins would! But as you say, humankind is a complex puzzle, and we all bring our views – each of which are influenced by countless variables. Often the truth seems so, well, obvious – hey!, you’re an idiot for not agreeing with me! But in reality our universe is much more nuanced, and therefore I suppose, much more beautiful.

    As for the Ark Encounter! – Holy Crap! I can’t wait to pet a velociraptor!

  3. the muskrat says:

    Great review…I’d like to visit it.

  4. martymankins says:

    Your unbiased visit to this museum showed in your detailed and entertaining review. While I might question a visit to this place, I would visit mostly to see the quality that went into making this place.

    Now the Noah’s Ark theme park… looks like it would be a lot of fun, but I really wonder how well it will be visited. I mean, if the Hard Rock Park couldn’t make it… :-)

  5. Mavra Chang says:

    Looks like they added a few more things since I was there in 2007. (:

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