In my Year of Living Biblically, one of the more fascinating and surprising pilgrimages was to the new Creation Museum in Kentucky. This is the $25 million museum for those who believe that the earth is 6,000 years old. It's the Louvre of the young earth movement.
And whatever I may think of creationism, I have to admit that the museum is spectacularly well done. There is a scale model of the ark. There are animatronic cave people and dinosaurs. There is a movie theater with sprinklers in the ceiling that go off during the flood scenes.
Here are five things I learned from my visit:
Dinosaurs on the ark, Biblical Astronomers, and why Inherit the Wind is unfair to Creationists, all after the jump...
Moderation is a relative term:
I thought that creationism was about as far to the literal fringe as I could go. Not so. Consider this: When I was at the Creation Museum, I met their resident astrophysicist.
He told me about a group of people called Biblical Astronomers whom he considers an embarrassment to the creationist movement.
The Biblical Astronomers believe the earth is the center of the universe and remains stationary because it says in Psalm 93:1 that the earth "shall never be moved." The mainstream creationists believe the earth is young "“ but it does revolve around the sun.
For instance, here's the dialogue from the movie: Darrow: Do you believe every word of the Bible is true? Bryan: Yes. Every word is literally true.And here's the corresponding real exchange: Darrow: Do you claim that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted? Bryan: I believe everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there. Some of the Bible is given illustratively; for instance, "Ye are the salt of the earth." I would not insist that man was actually salt, or that he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God's people.
Like creationists today, he admits there is some figurative language in the Bible, even if most of it should be taken as literally true. Yes, I know there's artistic license and all that. But it does seem odd to me that this movie "“ which is supposed to be a champion for the truth "“ distorted the truth so much. Why do that? Especially when you have reality on your side.
Like this column? Check out AJ's terrific posts on Biblical Trivia and on hanging out with the Amish. Or just buy his new book here.