A book of the Bible forms the core of belief inspiring the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. It has plenty of attractions and lots of space to spread its belief the universe was created in seven days. But who goes there?
49 acres, 35 more than the London’s Natural History Museum, provides the answers from the Book of Genesis that tell attendees God created the world in six days by his own hand. The museum opened two years ago, and the BBC reported about it a few days ago, wondering who would be interested indeed in a creationism museum.
Ken Ham, an Australian-born Christian evangelist, has put together the Creation Museum as a response to his belief and theme “life doesn’t evolve around Darwin.” He says he aims to “expose the bankruptcy of evolutionary ideas” and “enable Christians to defend their faith.”
The museum is not the “intelligent design” but an affirmation instead of the Book of Genesis having the supreme answer. To Ham the Intelligent Design theory doesn’t sufficiently challenge evolution in the way “the bible teaches” so he set about to create something that would.
Britain has its creationist museum, but the one in Kentucky, in the United States, is far greater. The British museum has had 50,000 visitors in nine years. The Kentucky Museum is reported to have 700,000 in less than two. A survey done in Great Britain in 2006 showed 20% of the people believe in creationism and about 50% in evolution.
While there are those who may believe natural history museums seek to make fun of creationism and Christians, an investigation of that brought a different conclusion to Larry Vardiman, PhD, during a trip to the Natural History Museum of Great Britain. After examining the museum and its great exhibits showing the different plants and animal species, Professor Vardiman believes that rather than mocking Christians and creationism, instead he found “ the museum was actually built to honor God and His creation, not to ridicule it.” Vardiman looks at the museum and celebrates the cathedral-like setting. He goes on to say, “Although evolutionary thinking and anti-Christian sentiments continue to encroach upon our society and remove Christian influence from public activities, we should be encouraged by instances of Christian testimonies in public places from the past like the architecture at the Natural History Museum of Great Britain.” He extrapolates this to public buildings in the United States and lauds attempts to incorporate God into the architecture of great buildings. This is the kind of thinking that directed the Creationism Museum.
Petersburg, Kentucky’s creationism museum, currently being discussed at the BBC, was reviewed by Columbai College Chicago’s Stephen Asma for Scientific American. He said the motivation for having the museum is this: “they think that things like abortion and pornography and suicide are directly a link to the teaching of evolution in the schools because they believe that evolution teaches a kind of nihilism, that everything is ultimately meaningless because you no longer need God to sort of explain the origin of species or the development of life on the planet; and once you removed that, you are left with this kind of cold, dismal world where you're just on a hunk of earth spinning around the sun and God's not looking out for you.”
While the creationism museums have been around for a couple of years, critics and admirers enjoy debating the whys and wherefores of such a place, as one source wonders now, “who would visit a Creationism Museum?” But reporters don’t answer the question about who goes to this sort of museum, but from the visitor counts in Kentucky, a good many people surely visit it.