Well, friends, I just read a site that walks one through the new $27 million Creation Museum. It looks incredibly fancy. But, really, come on. Are there many museums out there based so much on ignorance and blindness?
This museum has every right to exist, of course. We all have the right to say what we want. But here’s a good question posed by The New York Times :
Given the museum’s unwavering insistence on belief in the literal truth of biblical accounts, it is strange that so much energy is put into demonstrating their scientific coherence with discussions of erosion or interstellar space. Are such justifications required to convince the skeptical or reassure the believer?
I just got done reading Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, and the details the poor guy has to slog through to disprove—er, sorry, counter—religion are tiring and incredibly painful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good read, but the fact that it had to be written at all is what’s so unfortunate. To have to argue against something so silly seems a waste of time.
Making things even sillier, here now are the creationists, once again altering their interpretations of the Bible and science to, among other amusing concoctions, include the dinosaurs in a 6,000-year Christian time line. The Creation Museum literally puts the dinosaurs with Adam and Eve. “Adam and apes share the same birthday. The first man walked with dinosaurs and named them all! God’s Word is true, or evolution is true. No millions of years. There’s no room for compromise.”
Belligerent religion has become something of a nuisance in America lately, especially since the election of Bushy baby and that thing on 9/11. I think what’s happening now is a last, desperate grasp to hold on to something that, in today’s light, is so ridiculous and still unproven. Moderate religious people can hold onto science and still make room for their belief in God, but the flailing, glassy-eyed, bad-haired Christian extremists who do what they can to hold onto their moldy Bible and its antiquated teachings are running out of room to wiggle.
Let’s walk down a quick path through the past. Just for a moment.
We are back in the mists of ancient time, and humans are fairly ignorant about a great many things in this universe. There is no direct evidence of how the Earth and humans came about, so why not come up with something? Human invention fills in the gaps where our knowledge is lacking.
Christianity and the other one-god beliefs become an inevitable later chapter in the evolution (yes, evolution) of religions. So you have your one god, and he created the entire universe and, while you are making up the story, he created mankind in his image. Fine. Evidence of your god’s divine skills in creation are everywhere. How else to explain the caterpillar who so magically and inexplicably turns itself into a butterfly!
As you marvel at the creation all around you, this little mammal of a thing called science emerges. It’s timid and unsure at first, but within a certain amount of time, it can show how the caterpillar turns into a butterfly. No problem for you, however! It simply underscores the wonder of your god’s skill and imagination.
The world is filled with tiny mysteries that, as science grows, become less mysterious. Still glorious, perhaps, but not mysterious. Yet, still, it is very easy to keep an unwavering faith in your god because, you see, each little step shows his brilliance.
Science, however, grows exponentially, making incredible strides. It builds upon itself, each discovery being made upon the foundation of others. It is self-healing, evolving (yes!), and changing as observable states become more entrenched in its volumes of fact. With the smaller mysteries solved, the larger ones come next, and then the larger ones, and the larger ones…
And suddenly, boom. You find yourself in an age where many of those gigantic, unsolvable questions of the universe that your religion was created to answer begin to unravel under the gaze of science. It is proven (not suggested, but proven) that the Earth is much, much older than that clever book of yours suggests. The evolution of creatures on Earth has been discovered, and fossils demonstrate that it’s been going on a long time. More and more of your book is shown to be lacking in support of what others have observed.
At this point, the moderate religious person begins to simply accept most of the truths of science, writing your book off as allegory or symbolism. But because the existence of god himself is, by intelligent human design, impossible to prove or disprove, they can still take comfort in knowing that he still had a hand in all this.
Oh, but this will not do for you! Oh, my, no! You hug close the wisdom of your book, and believe in it with all your heart and head. As the “facts” in your book slough off into the trough of fiction, you can no longer simply do what the weak-faithed moderates do. No. The only thing left for you is denial. Deception. Acceptance of the fanciful and preposterous. The caterpillar is now the entire universe itself, and as science drills deeper into the truths of this universe, further expanding the borders of concepts the human mind can grasp, you have only one choice. Lie to yourself. Oh, and lie to others. Die a revered modern missionary.
That’s where we are now, back in the present.
There will forever be humans who believe in a god of some kind, and the concept is malleable, changeable, and adaptableâ€”traits that will assure that the evolution of religion continues without dying. Unlike the evolution of science, which expands and improves as it builds upon itself, Christianity (and other religions, too, I suppose) stays the same as it folds in on itself, changing only as much as its narrow rules allow. It becomes inbred.
The fundamentalists, being deniers of evolution and, as time marches on, actual observable fact, have to fight. Their brand of belief is dying, and they are doing what all dying things do: struggle.
During this struggle, the rules of common sense are going wayside. Any tactic will be acceptable: lying, misquoting, ignoring pieces of arguments, and enthusiastically supporting only those tidbits of the world of science that fit into the biblical world view.
The Creation Museum is bold. Daring. That it can put the unsupported and unprovable “facts” from the Bible next to scientific “lies” that have been unquestionably proven and re-proven again and again is ballsy. It fits right in with the Intelligent Design crusade to get creationism taught in public schools. It’s all bullshit, but boy, is it marketed well.
Thousands of years of Christianity can not so easily be wiped away. The branches of Christianity that will not stray from the old ways are going to die and fade. But like an exploding star, the fundamentalists will make a big noise, engulfing new minds and capturing needy hearts, before ultimately fading away into the fringe.