Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ark Encounter Set to Open July 7

The Ark Encounter, the offshoot of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, will be opening its doors on July 7, with much fanfare and hoopla.  Laurie Goodstein writes:
In the beginning, Ken Ham made the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. And he saw that it was good at spreading his belief that the Bible is a book of history, the universe is 6,000 years old, and evolution is wrong and is leading to our moral downfall.

And Ham said, let us build a gargantuan Noah’s ark 45 minutes away to draw millions more visitors. And let it be constructed by Amish woodworkers, and financed with donations, junk bonds and tax rebates from the state of Kentucky. And let it hold an animatronic Noah and lifelike models of some of the creatures that came on board two-by-two, such as bears, short-necked giraffes — and juvenile Tyrannosaurus rexes.

And it was so.

Ham’s “Ark Encounter,” built at a cost of more than $102 million, is scheduled to open July 7 in Williamstown. Ham and his crew have succeeded in erecting a colossal landmark and an ambitious promotional vehicle for their particular brand of Christian fundamentalism, known as “young earth” or “young universe” creationism.

It was not smooth sailing. The state tried to revoke the tax rebates after learning that Ham would require employees to sign a “statement of faith” that would exclude people who were gay or did not accept his particular Christian creed. Ham went to court and in January, he won.
Ham comments that he does not want his park to be thought of as “entertainment” (then why the zip lines?) but should, instead, serve a religious purpose as a reminder to the present world that God, once upon a time, flooded the world.  On the other hand, God also said that he would never do it again, so this is, perhaps, a cautionary park.  Interestingly, as a testament to how far the country has shifted to the left, we have this:
A group of local atheist activists, the Tri-State Freethinkers, recently tried to put up billboards on the highway approaching the ark, calling it the “Genocide and Incest Park,” but no billboard company would agree, said the Freethinkers’ founder and president, Jim Helton, so the group plans to protest at the ark’s grand opening. “The moral of the flood story is horrible,” Helton said. “We’re not saying he can’t build his park. But we don’t think it’s appropriate for a family fun day.”
While I don't for a minute support the premise of the Ark Encounter that there was a world-wide flood, it is difficult to believe that the message that the ark puts forth is a horrible lesson.  In what way?  Is it not inclusive and diverse enough?  The moral of the flood story is that humans have evil intentions and desires that are contrary to God's word and that God, in the past, has cut off humanity for such behavior.  That is pretty much straight-forward Christianity.  Perhaps that is problem: the ark is religious in nature, something the Tri-State Free Thinkers group adamantly opposes.  It likely would not matter what the moral was. 

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