Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Creation Science Museum Photos

A group of conservative Christians opened the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky (a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio) earlier this year. The museum educates visitors in "young earth creationism," a belief that the earth is about 6,0000 years old and that the earth and all life came into existence in six calendar days. Proponents of this belief hold that the Bible teaches young earth creationism is fact and therefore the theory of evolution is false.

A skeptical (and quite sarcastic) blogger recently paid a visit to the Creation Museum and posted photos from the museum (and snarky comments) on FlickR. While I find the blogger's attitude rather repugnant and not very helpful in the "culture wars," the photos he has posted are fascinating. I have selected three of the most interesting to point out.

" 'Millions of Years' Undermines Every Major Doctrine of the Bible." This display from the Creation Museum highlights the "young earth" belief that evolution is contrary to Christian faith. My first response to this is curiosity; I grew up an evangelical Christian, but I never believed the earth was 6,000 years old nor that the physical world came into existence in 6 calendar days. In fact, the age of the earth didn't matter to my faith or my respect for the Bible. And this brings me to my second response to this photo: offense. This display communicates a passive-aggressive message discrediting the faith of many Christians who respect every word of the Bible while not interpreting every word literally.

"Scripture Abandoned in the Culture." In a room eerily illuminated in red light, the museum displays newspaper headlines and magazine clippings that supposedly indicate the depravity of American culture which, the museum contends, has "abandoned" the true teaching of the Bible. See how many occurances of "gay" and "homosexual" you can find on this wall--mixed among headlines on school shootings, Terry Schiavo, stem cell research, and a bumper sticker that says "no heaven. no hell. just science." What a bizarre mixed message! My first response to this photo is exhaustion and sadness. I long for a day of respectful dialog between Christians and gay people; this photo reminds me that day is a long way off. My second response to this photo is surprise; where are the abortion headlines? the headlines about no prayer in school?

"God's Word is True." I found this placard particularly interesting, because it contains many of the reasons I no longer consider myself an evangelical Christian. The first reason is the phrase "God's Word," which is equated (without justification in this photo, although I'm sure any of the museum's founders would readily supply his or her personal explanation) with the Bible. While I grew up believing this equation to be true, I no longer believe it is accurate, and therein lies my primary break with evangelicals. The second is the top bulleted item on the placard, "40 authors, writing over 2,000 years, spoke the SAME MESSAGE." I heartily disagree with this statement. What I can agree with on this placard is the footer message: "ABOVE ALL, the GOD of TRUTH, the CREATOR of heaven and earth, inspired the men who penned the words." I find it interesting that I agree with the "ABOVE ALL" statement, but not with any of the above statements...

Hat tip: Dispatches from the Culture Wars

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