Sunday, May 01, 2011

Answers in Genesis Responds to Criticisms of the Ark Encounter

Answers in Genesis received a blistering email from a reader who complained that the Ark Encounter was a waste of money. Since AiG doesn't allow comments to their posts, this must have been written directly to the organization. It reads in part:
In an over inflated egotistical effort to try and prove themselves right and waste money this has to be the tops! Two $10,000,000 projects to build housing with education, community services and ministry support and call them Ark (ACTS of Real Kindness is a much better idea!

The battle for mankinds mind isn't lost but without the heart there is no hope and without God and Jesus there is no love, faith or hope and you have put the 7 day creation as your God.

He is absolutely correct about that last part as we have seen from numerous posts from both the ICR and AiG. They have responded to this email on their site thus:
Perhaps we haven’t communicated well enough the nature of the Ark Encounter project and why we think it will be even more impactful [Ed: Is that a word?] for Christ in our culture than our evangelistic Creation Museum. People mock our museum, but God has blessed it beyond our expectations.

Frankly, we believe the Ark will be an extremely powerful evangelistic tool. It provides a picture of salvation, and thus allows us a great opportunity to proclaim salvation through the ultimate Ark of salvation: Jesus Christ. While the Flood was a judgment by God upon the rebellious people of the day, a gracious God provided a means of salvation for Noah and his family. What could possibly be more important in this world than evangelism? I’d like to hear your opinion.
Correct me if I am wrong but isn't an evangelistic tool the same thing as a ministry? In the interview with Anderson Cooper, Ken Ham, when asked if the Ark Encounter was a “ministry” specifically stated that the Ark Encounter was a “profit organization set up to give a particular view of biblical history centered around Noah's Ark.” This makes it sound like just another historical museum, no different than the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., which is set up to give a view of natural history centered around mainstream science. In fact, Ham uses the phrase “profit organization” three times in the space of two minutes and never focuses on the religious aspects of the park. Why, if the purpose of the park is evangelism, would Ken Ham want to hide that? Here's why.

As Jeff Toobin points out “The Government can't sponsor something if the primary purpose is to advance religion.” Therefore, Ken Ham cannot be open about the park because if he is, then he draws unwarranted attention to the true nature of the park (evangelism), which might lead to it losing the subsidies. How's that for subterfuge?

The other thing that strikes me about this is something that I mentioned in the last post: that Ken Ham makes a point of stating that AiG is only a small part of the whole endeavor, just one partner of many, in an effort to de-emphasize the religious aspects of it and to appear to distance themselves from the project. Yet, Mark Looey, the writer of the email response states:
Some people have wondered why we have mentioned the possible numbers of people who might be coming to the Ark (1.6 million in the first year). First, it’s because we are excited to have the opportunity to share the gospel. As we design the Ark Encounter, we are keeping in mind that perhaps half the visitors will not be regular churchgoers.
Not “As the Ark Encounter is designed,” or “As they design the Ark Encounter,” as you would expect if AiG is only one small partner, but “As we design...” It is clear that Answers in Genesis is taking not just a subsidiary role but a major role in the whole untertaking, something that Ken Ham isn't willing to admit on television. Yet more subterfuge.

Is Answers in Genesis going to be above board about any of this?

Hat tip to Chemostrat1646

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  1. If I wanted to make a lot of money at the expense of uneducated Christians, I would write a book, using shoddy and unethical journalistic techniques, in which I ask questions that lead solely to the answers I want to hear, so that I could write a response that makes it look like the world is going to hell in "free-thinking" handbasket.

  2. Anonymous12:32 PM

    As a Christian who has carefully studied both sides of the creation/evolution issue (and I totally reject evolution), I could respond about many items in this post and others about creationists. But I’ll just note a few things about how your commentaries can come across at times. You attack fellow Christians who are creationists with words like “subterfuge” (i.e. deception). You have also attacked Answers in Genesis with snide comments like: “Usually, what emanates from Answers in Genesis barely passes for logically-constructed arguments.” In the post above, you made a snippy editorial comment about a person’s use of the word “impactful” when it really is a word – see ); also, your accuracy is in question when you misspelled that Christian’s name – it is Looy, not Looey.
    You should also do a little fact checking before posting your blogs: The Arkencounter is not getting state sponsored subsidies. It is simply getting a refund of some of the taxes it will pay once it is up and running, subsidies that are available regardless of religious affilitation, in accordance with state law.
    If a Christian uses a public forum like this and recognizes that non-Christians will also come here, please watch the attitude if you are going to criticize another believer, and accuse them of "subterfuge". (Galations 5) Thank you.

  3. Dear Anonymous.. Why have you not posted your name? You have made some rather scathing attacks here. No matter. You say that you have rejected evolution but do not say why. If you have truly done careful study of the issue, what evidence do you have that evolution has not occurred?

    I used the word subterfuge intentionally. In the interview, Ken Ham makes several attempts to clearly distance himself and AiG from the construction of the Ark Encounter and its financing but that rings hollow when you read the web site and realize that AiG is up to its eyeballs in the project. That is subterfuge. I have no problems with the tax issues that the Ark Encounter raises. It is Barry Lynn that has the problems.

    You make a statement about me making a snide comment about the construction of arguments from the writer at AiG. Did you read the post about those arguments? They were not coherent or logically constructed.

    I will plead guilty on the word "impactful," although I have a problem with verbizing nouns in general.

    I use this public forum to educate my fellow Christians of the science of the world in which they live. I do so with the understanding that a number of them will not accept those arguments. That is fine with me. I understand the fact that YEC, OEC and EC can coexist in the same grace and love of Jesus Christ.

    What I don't care for is being told that to take the EC position means I am going to hell. If you think I am snotty, you obviously didn't read the response to BioLogos by Nathan Ham, who takes that very position. It is one taken by a number of YEC leaders and is not, to my knowledge, taken by any other group, including BioLogos or the Discovery Institute.

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