I have been putting off these posts for too long. I still haven’t got my pictures, but I will just have to add those later.
The trip was hilarious and sad and fun and upsetting and insulting and uplifting all at once.
That sentence didn’t make sense on the face of it, so let me explain:
The exhibits were hilarious in a horrifying, “they can’t really believe this, right- but if they didn’t, they wouldn’t build it, so they must believe it- but it is insane” sort of way. My favorite examples? 1)Believing that the earth contained enough water to flood the entirety of its surface to a height topping the tallest mountains and 2) Their epic fail with dinosaurs. Apparently Ham thinks that Noah saved all of the dinosaurs from drowning on the Ark, but the flood killed off every single plant the dinosaurs ate while leaving alive all of the plants eaten by humans and every other type of animal. The death of all of the carnivorous dinosaurs? I must have missed that part. Thankfully and helpfully, the other SSA members had apparently brought extra reserves of wit and humor and plain snark with them, which intensified the humor while mitigating the horror.
The trip was sad because I looked around this joke of a “museum” while small children became further insulated against science under the eyes of their already insulated parents. Really and truly, if anybody wants to bemoan the lack of scientific understanding in this country, I challenge them to tour the Creation “Museum” and come to the conclusion that religion is harmless in this regard. I’m looking at you, Mooney and Kirshenbaum.
It was fun because I met many great people who I was able to hang around with during the tour. If only we had more time, I’m sure just the handful of people I roamed with could have punched holes in every claim made in that Temple to Unreason.
The exhibits were upsetting in the sheer lack of regard for fact and reality. If any of the individuals making those exhibits had the smallest concern with truth, the results would have been far different. Of course, if they limited themselves to the truth, it would either not exist, or it would be a real museum.
The theme running through the tour was insulting to the entire species, pitting “Human Reason” against “God’s Word” and implying strongly that Human Reason was nothing to trust or be proud to possess. In addition, I felt resentful of the scare tactics they used about the big bad atheist. I was wearing my name tag which said Secular Student Alliance and my name, and I did my usual when interacting with people in customer service: said thank you to all of the staff who scanned my ticket or opened a door or helped me in any way- and although some of the staff said “You’re welcome” sincerely, two shied back from me. Did they think that talking with me would endanger their souls? Did they think I was going to lunge at them and rip out their throats? Maybe is my best answer to both questions. I frequently get mistaken as a Christian by Christians, (“Oh, you’re such a nice Christian boy.” “Well, you are partly right…”) and even with my experience with that, I was bothered by how much my group membership shaped perception of me.
Finally, the members of the SSA were uplifting in their humor, their curiosity, their respect for rational thought, and the way in which everyone treated everyone else with respect and civility, even when debating economics or politics while shuttling between Columbus, Ohio and Kentucky. It was great talking with you all. After this trip I am convinced that if everyone met an out atheist, we would be one of the most highly regarded groups in America, rather than second to worst, right above Scientology.
My next post will be about the Secular Student Alliance Conference and after that I will post about Timothy Keller’s humorously titled book “The Reason For God”.