Posts filed under ‘Faith’
April 15, 2012
PETERSBURG, KY, April 14 – John Michaels and I took a detour to the Creation Museum. I’d read about this place, over the last five years, and was intrigued by their hyper-literalist take on the Book of Genesis. Now that I’m an adult and no longer pretend I’m smarter than anyone else, it’s nice being able to go to places like this with an open mind. Who am I to say the Creation museum is wrong? I’m no geologist. Maybe the world was made 6,000 years ago. Perhaps we’re all wispy Thetans trapped in meat bodies. Maybe the Moonies got it right. That’s the beauty of agnosticism. We parked among SUVs and monster pickups and set out for the infamous T-Rex wearing a rodeo saddle.
Despite the prominently armed security guards, the exhibitions seemed fairly benign. A few videos showed teens struggling with pot and on-demand abortion, but there was no blatant, Jack-Chick level venom or darkly coded anti-Semitism. Instead, the museum presented itself as a haven for the besieged faithful. Other videos present creationism as a reasonable alternative to evolution, outlining the fundamentals for both sides. One display prominently featured the doubts of lapsed evangelical Charles Templeton. I’ll probably check out his writings based on their inadvertent recommendation.
My strong hunch is that most Kentuckians are bummed about the museum. Go to any roadside stop in the state, and you’ll find a wide selection of hillbilly magnets and collectable mini-moonshine jugs. A museum showing velociraptors in Eden probably doesn’t help Kentucky’s already battered self-image.
On the subject of dinosaurs, the museum showed a strange timidity. Huge lizard beasts, both inanimate and animatronic, lurked everywhere. Several dioramas showed docile dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. Apparently, a “behemoth” in the Book of Job “could have been a sauropod.” Signs pointed to dragon sightings in the Middle Ages as evidence of dinosaurs’ coexistence with humanity until “relatively recently”. Of their sudden disappearance, the museum cited predators, climate change, and human hunters—all the (non-asteroid) reasons any species has ever gone extinct.
And yet the museum lacked the balls to show dinos side by side with any Biblical figures besides Adam and Eve. If behemoths made it well into New Testament days, why not show them in the New Testament? Where was the friendly brontosaurus peeking his lumpy head into the Nativity scene? Where was the pterodactyl swooping over Paul on the road to Damascus? Where was the Jurassic Park mayhem at Golgotha?
At a certain point, we reached saturation. Passing group after group of murmuring evangelicals, sated on Chili Cheese Creation Burgers and happy in their safe space, I felt that sort of overload one gets from doing too much Christmas shopping. On our way to the exit, I passed a tiny triceratops and finally saw the saddle. It was a prop on which one could photograph their child. As with everything else in the place, it was hard to see what all the fuss had been about.