There are several branches of creationist belief, but their core, common belief is that the world was created by a divine God.
Young Earth Creationists believe that the world was created by God over six days, as described in the Bible. This leaves little room for belief in evolution, or science generally.
Old Earth Creationists believe that God created the universe, but the universe is very old (similar to theistic evolution, which allows for belief in both God and evolution).
The Young Earth Creationists have their own museum in Kentucky devoted to sharing their beliefs. Despite its Deep South location in America, the CEO is the Australian Ken Ham.
And what sort of people go to the Creationist Museum on their honeymoon? Creationists! you say.
And us – The Atheist (North Nomad) and the Pantheist (South Nomad).
(NB: I’m not exactly a pantheist to its literal meaning, but this was the closest definition I could find for someone who believes in the validity of all religions, and all belief systems. North Nomad is a staunch atheist in his own beliefs, yet accepting of other’s. We’re as opposite with our food preferences as we are with our spiritual beliefs.)
And so we find ourselves at the Creation Museum on our honeymoon. North Nomad had been dying to go – for a giggle, I suspect – and all he had to do was tell me the Museum had dinosaurs and animals, and I was in. And I do love a theme park, even if that theme is creationism!
And the Creation Museum does not disappoint. As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by immense dragons towering above you at the inside foyer. These dragons are as realistic looking as dragon statues can be.
I’d assumed this was related to the Christian traditions around St George and the slaying of the dragon, but we did skip the “Dragon Legends” exhibit which asks “Were dinosaurs dragons?” I feel there was a tale there we missed out on!
The Creation Museum’s centerpiece is the “Museum Walkthrough”. The Walkthrough is a self-guided tour through history from a creationist viewpoint, focusing on the Bible.
The first section is dinosaurs and fossils. We’re shown “Man’s word” (i.e. – science) versus “God’s word” (i.e. – the Bible). God’s Word is that dinosaurs died in Noah’s Flood, and therefore fossils were created around 4,350 years ago. Scientific, and common views are that fossil layers were created over millions of years from natural processes.
God’s point of view, we’re told, is that fossils and dinosaurs are not millions of years old, as science would have us believe. Mainly because the Earth is only thousands of years old, so how could dinosaurs and fossils be millions of years old? I can see North Nomad smirking, then openly chuckling when he reads the below sign. As happy as I am for everyone to believe what they want, my head does hurt a little at the leaps in logic.
Next, we’re taken on a virtual Garden of Eden tour. It’s lush, leafy, and filled with animals. It practically bursts with fecundity (which is what led us to this evilness we’re currently living in, I’m lead to understand from the Museum). And who can’t like an exhibit where dinosaurs frolic with deer?
It’s in the Garden of Eden where we’re told that “God’s Word Is Questioned”. I’m a little hazey on the details after the Great Apple Sin, but I think the next few hundreds years were full of sin and this is when the “Great Flood” happened – which, in the opinion of the creationists – is what killed all of the dinosaurs.
Sadly, construction on the “life-sized” Noah’s Ark is not yet complete. We make do with the walkthrough’s tribute to construction of the ark. We’re told that most dinosaurs were actually the size of sheep, so there was plenty of room for each type on the ark.
“The Ark was created by amateurs, and the Titanic was created by professionals!” cackles a plaid-clad old guy in a trucker cap.
I crack up laughing – a creationist joke!
The old guy gives me a gapped-tooth grin, and laughs some more. Clearly he likes a receptive audience.
Poor North Nomad just looks terrified. It’s probably his very first dose of religious humour.
Next up – the evils of the modern world, where God is abandoned.
So far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the dinosaurs, the Garden of Eden, and Noah’s Ark exhibits (ignoring the Creationist facts I completely disagreed with).
The modern world, however, is a little hard to stomach. The “evils” of the modern world are either completely trite (people gossiping about each other) and so stereotypical (cancer! famine! Third worlds!) that it shows a complete lack of understanding about some of the atrocities that do happen in our world and what the causes are.
The information showcased in the Creation Museum was a bit of a shock to North Nomad, who grew up in an atheist household, and went to public schools. Me, on the other hand, who had 13 years of Catholic schooling, was not shocked in the slightest. Most modern Catholics are not creationists by any stretch, but I came across a nun or two in my time who were firm believers in God creating the world in six days.
While us Nomads only partook in the Museum Walkthrough and did a quick skim of the Dragon Hall Bookstore, the museum also boasts:
- The stargazer’s planetarium;
- A special effects theater “hold onto your halo”, it says;
- A petting zoo (I really wanted to do this part, but North Nomad was feeling a little unwell, so we headed back to our RV);
- Botanic al gardens, including bridges and waterfalls; and
- a variety of workshops and speaker series, amongst other featured items and venues.
Would we go back?
If we make it back to Kentucky again – YES!
There’s a life-size ark coming, after all!
Location: 2,800 Bullittsburg Church Road, Petersburg, Kentucky, United States of America
Getting There: The Museum has a handy directions link
Cost: Kids up to 12 are free during 2014. Adults are $29.95 each, and seniors pay $23.95.
You can connect with South Nomad, Jessica over at Google+.