Open Letter to Protesters at the Ark Encounter

FreeThinkers ArkFree Thinkers:

To begin, let us pause for a moment to bask in the superiority of our own understanding.

<—–>

Wasn’t that fun?

Now, can we put aside the ridicule?  Young Earth Creationists have been enduring such mockery since the Scopes Monkey Trial almost a century ago.  If you have paid attention, you might have noticed that it accomplishes nothing.  It just makes them feel persecuted, and they love that.

And this noise about genocide and incest in the Noah story is also pointless.  Yes there are plenty of horrible things in the Bible.  Try taking a look at the book of Judges for example. But I don’t believe you care about that.

Another question: what is the harm?  People have the right to believe whatever they want.  Here, however, you have a point. In a democracy, people have power, and if a large number of us are misguided, it effects the whole society.  In a world as dependent on technology as ours, where our collective actions impact the environment of the entire planet, we absolutely need for the public to have a certain basic scientific literacy.  Instead, we put in power congressmen who think large chunks of the current scientific consensus are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”  Because of the success of groups like Answers In Genesis in this country, both our politics and our science education are a mess.

Their dogma also poisons religion.   They take this beautiful gift, the Bible, full of the wisdom of the ancients, especially the teachings of Jesus, and bury it in a mountain of idolatry and ignorance.  They hide the insights and beauty in the  scriptures with this elaborate pseudo science.  They  present God as deceitful: using our God given gifts of observation, we can see the world appears to be billions of year old, but the Young Earth crowd  insists that this is illusion.  They make it appear that Christ is opposed to Truth.  Just what kind of God are they serving?

There is in this an  emotional whirlpool that Answers in Genesis and its predecessors have long relied on, and one that the free thinkers are easily caught up in.   Creationists see their literal reading of the Bible as essential to true Christianity, and everything else falls into a tarpit of secular humanism or, worse, outright atheism.  Many have felt what they consider to be God’s presence in their lives.  They have witnessed people transform from selfishness to service, from disorder to discipline, and from despair to hope.  They are not about to give that up.  They will grasp at any straw to maintain a hold, no matter how tenuous, on the beliefs of their forefathers. What you might see as a choice between logic and faith, they see as choice between heaven and hell.  Answers in Genesis wants this to be the choice that its followers face, so they are happy to have free thinkers protesting their new theme park.

It is this mindset among Creationists that needs to change.  I believe that this can be accomplished by acknowledging the authenticity of their experience, perhaps even approaching them with enough humility that we admit the possibility of learning something from that experience.  However, validating their experience does not require adhering to obviously false doctrine.  Getting them to this point is the key to helping them separate from what is false and make peace with modern science.

I believe (there’s that word again) that no matter how far science progresses, we will still be faced with the reality of living in society as semi-rational beings.  In this, the teachings of Jesus and the message of redemption at the heart of Christianity and are a good place to start.

So, there is great harm in Young Earth Creationism, and this theme park means that the harm will continue for some time.  It is important that we register our opposition to it.  Eventually, we need to put Answers In Genesis where it belongs, along side the Flat Earth Society, a small, and mostly harmless anachronism.

I plan to join you in protest.  I will bring a Bible, a few local Ordovician fossils, and my sign:

Don’t Bury

the Bible in

Ignorance

See you there.

in peace,

jp lund

P.S.

https://jplund.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/to-young-earth/

https://jplund.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/willful-denial/

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Open Letter to Protesters at the Ark Encounter

  1. Follow up article on the answer to your question above: “Just what kind of God are they serving?” The mere idea that the God they are serving was so dissatisfied with his OWN creation that he wanted to destroy all of it except Noah and his family and a few animals seems like a good place to start this discussion. And just what sort of guy was Noah to be singled out for the honor of being the only family selected to live? Genesis 9:20-25 The “just and righteous” Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk, and lies around naked in his tent. His son, Ham, happens to see his father in this condition. When Noah sobers up and hears “what his young son had done unto him” (what did he do besides look at him?), he curses not Ham, who “saw the nakedness of his father,” but Ham’s son, Canaan. “A servant of servants shall he [Canaan] be unto his brethren.” This is what Noah does after the flood — does this make sense? He just witnessed the drowning of about a billion people by his God and this is his immediate follow – up action.
    This is a typical case of biblical justice, and is one of many Bible passages that have been used to justify slavery.

    Like

    • I don’t base my assessment of their God on these myths from early times, but on the effect of their actions in the present. The anger and hatred in the quote from then Congressman Paul Broun (“lies straight from the pit of hell”) captures the spirit of what I was referring to. This has nothing to do with the Christianity that I profess.

      However, I do occasionally feel called to remind people about that angry Old Testament God. Today, we have been given prophesies about what will happen to the climate if we don’t mend our ways. Modern prophets do not usually claim inspiration from God, but the effects of not changing our behavior to be more respectful of our environment are pretty dire, not too far from what an Old Testament prophet might call the Wrath of God.

      Answers in Genesis says that they have an open mind about climate change, as the Bible does not say much about it. They leave it up to the individual to decide, but only after undermining the credibility of every scientist who warns us.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

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