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Kowboy Visits The Creation Museum
I'm a member of Ohioans For Concealed Carry, a gun rights organization which was having an informal meeting in Middletown, Ohio, which I attended recently. On the four-hour drive down from Michigan, I heard the radio say that I wasn't far from the new Creationist Museum just over the border in Kentucky. Was this fate or coincidence, or does Somebody want me to check this place out? After spending the night at a friend's, I decide to visit in the morning.

I notice that the state of Kentucky has installed an official highway sign on I-275 directing you to the museum. While I found it helpful like the gas, food and lodging signs, I wondered if it didn't somehow violate the separation of church and state. As you make a left turn onto the street, you pass a funky concrete business and large open fields and realize the rural country you're in. The many Christian radio stations locally are a big hint too.

You can't miss the entrance. Two backlit stegosauruses stand sentry duty on top of the gate walls, looking like those plywood cutouts of the farmer with his pipe and the bent-over lady you see for sale on country roads, fashioned by retirees with too much time on their hands.

Halfway down the driveway, there's a sign in print so small that you'll have to get out of your car to read it that says, in so many words, "Be polite." In other words, they don't want any head-banging between a Satanic atheist and a bible-thumping born-aginner despoiling the experiences of other guests. This seems surprisingly reasonable. The genuine rent-a-cops directing traffic in the parking lot are, like myself, carrying real firearms. Unlike mine, theirs are not concealed. The we-ain't -foolin'-around tone they set seems consistent with this place.

The museum opens at ten o'clock, the parking lot is filling up quickly and I'm standing in line outside on a beautiful Friday morning, waiting to get in at 10:35 a.m. They're letting us enter in groups to keep the air conditioning inside. With a capacity of 690, and despite the $19.95 admission, we're going to be full up in no time. There are lots of families with kids, mostly white folks and lots of T-shirts declaring your church or faith or both.

The architecture is impressive. The three-story gunnite walls in the entrance look very much like real stone and the groutless square floor pavers contribute nicely to the prehistoric feel. Fred Flintstone meets Frank Lloyd Wright. The missing ceiling tiles with the wire hanging out don't add to the effect.

I sign up for the five-dollar admission discount by giving up my email address and use the savings to purchase a seat in the Stargazing room which is the planetarium. Nice cushy La-Z-Boy type seats are provided so you can recline and view the presentation on the rounded ceiling. The view and the statistics on the universe are spectacular. Even the most science-averse among us will find this entertaining and interesting. While the Bible has plenty of information in it, I'm sure the distance from the Earth to the Sun and from solar system to solar system isn't in there. The folks at Answers In Genesis, the founders of the Creation Museum, have no qualms about using science here. However, they do mention the problem of how, if the universe is only 4,300 years old, can starlight traveling billions of light years be reaching us now? They give a several-word explanation which I can't recall, but they don't elaborate.

After the planetarium, I'm standing in line for the museum proper behind two Amish or Mennonite twenty-something's. He's dressed in shirt and jeans; she's got the gingham dress, tennis shoes and hair covering. These two are all over each other, and just as I'm about to suggest they get a room, the line moves us along. The devil, in the form of teenage lust, has apparently snuck in the door.

"Different starting points, different assumptions." is how you're greeted in the museum. "Different views of the past, apes, rocks, fossils and God's word." Video screens with short loops are everywhere. The introductory dinosaur, Utahraptor, is so incredibly life-like, you can almost feel his scales and smell his breath. He may be too convincing for small children. Mr. Buddy Davis, the dinosaur sculptor, is a master. His work showing humans and dinosaurs living together is less convincing.

A short synopsis of the Scopes trial is on video as we head down the careening hallway which looks like a rough urban setting, apparently showing us how far we've collectively fallen. Abandoned electrical boxes, graffiti and torn magazine covers stuck to the wall featuring abortion and homosexuality add to the effect. We are bottlenecked here, waiting for the four-minute presentation in the Six Days of Creation Theater where we see Adam and Eve with dinosaurs and find out plants were created before sunlight. Hmmm. Well, it was only a day. I guess if plants can stand the ride home in my trunk from the greenhouse, they ought to be able to wait until God creates the sun.

Another video says what I've been thinking all along and I'm glad to see them admit it: "If you undermine Genesis 1-11, Christianity collapses." Now we're getting somewhere. This museum isn't about creation; it's about keeping the entire Christian faith from collapsing on itself. If you can't or don't believe the first few pages of the Bible, what else in it can you believe? This is why people can ignore overwhelming scientific evidence contrary to their religious beliefs. Want proof? "Reason is now the chief authority, not God, not his word." Yikes.

Off to the Garden of Eden where Buddy's serpent model is extraordinary as is the length of Eve's hair, which conveniently falls, negating her need for clothes while not offending even the most modest Christian sensibilities.

A real puzzler is where Cain, one of the sons of Adam and Eve, got his wife. According to the Creation Museum, Cain married his sister. He had to, there was no one else. Besides, incest is O.K. back then because there were so few people, there were no mutations in the gene pool. And they throw this in: "People who do not accept the bible as the absolute authority have no basis for condemning Cain from marrying his sister." I guess that settles that.

Here are some odds 'n ends: Methuselah lived 969 years and knew Noah. A cubit is equal to the length of your elbow to your fingertip. Noah built the ark; God brought the animals, including dinosaurs. The Tower of Babel is how and where God made all the different languages people speak.

I'm waiting for the Last Adam Theater show. There are several video screens with "Is there a God?" and later "Who is Jesus?" asked of interviewees. They choose the most inarticulate, quasi-educated young bumblers to answer the questions and combined with the black and white/color pictures superimposed on each other, it is nearly unwatchable for an extended period. The Last Adam show is a synopsis of the Christian faith and counselors are available in private after the show, should you need same.

The theater empties you into the Bookstore and on your way you'll see some very high quality genuine fossils. The bookstore has DVD's, Apparel, Layman, Bible Reference, Kids and Multimedia among other departments. The surprise of the book of ABC's according to Adam and Eve and the Children's Book of Dinosaurs was in direct inverted proportion to your grasp and belief in science.

My last show, "Men in White", is the creationist argument as presented by two geeky guy angels. The animatronics female protagonist is sitting permanently on stage around an imitation campfire waxing philosophically. This campfire scene is popular and is used in other presentations. Like a Schwarzenegger movie, you've got to suspend belief a bit to get it. When they get to Noah's part of the story, the 180 degree screen is sloshing and the Ark's a-floatin', I swear I'm not making this up, they sprits you with water from the ceiling! And just in case you're not wearing glasses and thought you imagined it, they do it again! Once more for good measure and you're done. Cool. Does this count as a baptism?

This theater isn't far from the cafeteria, must be an intelligent designer architect. It's 3:30 p.m. and I've been here since 10:30 a.m. so I need some late lunch. The pre-made salmon salad on a croissant is delicious and the tomato pasta soup isn't bad either. I spill some on my new shirt.

I eat outside and note that the manicured grounds are very pretty. There is still some construction going on, forty million bucks just doesn't go as far as it used to, I guess. God took six days, they're taking seven years plus. With the exception of the missing stair tread nosing in the theater, a hole in the wall at the concession stand and the wire through the ceiling tiles, they've done a very impressive Disneyesque job of attention to detail and overall experience.

I go back in to surreptitiously interview two kids working the concession stand. There is no line. "Do you have to be a Christian to work here?" I ask. "Yes.", the lovely twenty-three-year-old girl tells me. I think the Devil left the Amish kids and has taken hold of me, she is adorable. "You have to give testimony to work here. I admitted that I didn't go to church every Sunday and the woman who interviewed me said she would pray for my soul. I didn't think I would get the job, but here I am." She says.

The Pope scares her. She doesn't think religion should have that much government power.

Amen.


1
Skeeve on 09/21/2008 14:44

I'm torn. You've given me a very clear mental tour of this place, yet now I'm feeling the urge to see it for myself. Very well written.

36
Sinny on 09/21/2008 18:29

That certainly was a good description of what they have and what you pay for. I think the Stargazing room in the planetarium should have been part of the admittance fee to the museum and that should have been $10.00 to $15.00 max.

Good business marketing advertising on the radio. That way they get visitors who come without thinking of visiting the museum. They'll be multi-billionaires in no time if not already.

It sounds like christian disneyland.

61
Kowboy on 09/21/2008 22:54

Skeeve:

Thanks.

Go to the Creation Museum and see it for yourself. If you don't agree that it was well worth it, I'll give you your money back.

Sinny:

"Christian Disneyland" is an excellent way of putting it.

Kowboy

59
Cynic on 09/21/2008 23:55

Hey Kowboy, glad you stopped in.

43
General-Pryce on 09/22/2008 20:52

I've read about these places before. I'm quite keen on visiting a Hell House (basically the same thing but with actors and the emphasis on all the evil we do- abortion, homosexuality etc).

Although I disagree with the whole right to bare arms (especially in a country with so much gun crime) I have to admit that I would feel a lot safer with a gun in my pocket when anywhere near these places!

45
Doubting Thomas on 09/23/2008 15:03

Interesting story. I wonder how legal it is for them to only hire Christians?

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