MAURER: Creation Museum pleasant, but …

June 6, 2015

Mickey Maurer Commentary“I wanted to see a ministry that would combat the lie of evolution and call the church and culture back to the authority of the Word of God.”

Ken Ham, co-founder of the Creation Museum, in “Journey Through the Creation Museum”

Last month, my friend Marcia Goldstone and I accepted an invitation from Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, for a road trip to the Creation Museum, where we ventured back to the beginning of time. According to the creationists, that was not so long ago.

Stories of the Bible filled my childhood with delightful wonder—Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Noah and his ark full of animals—two by two—and Joseph so proud of his coat of many colors. The Bible tells an incredible story—“The greatest story ever told.”

For most of us, a literal interpretation of those biblical accounts has given way to a scientific understanding of our world. We continue to tell these biblical accounts to our children because they impart wholesome lessons in an imaginative format—important lessons on how to treat our fellow man—“as they would do unto you.”

In religions, including my own, there is a small minority who insist that the Bible must be interpreted literally—who believe in creationism and assert that man shared the Earth with dinosaurs as part of God’s work just 5,000 years ago.

The Creation Museum near Cincinnati presents that story in entertaining fashion. Visual aids include a planetarium show, an ark and animated dinosaurs. The park features zip lines, botanical gardens and a petting zoo. In the midst of all this fun, a case is offered supporting creationism as a more viable theory than evolution.

But there is a difference. A scientific theory starts with a hypothesis around which evidence is collected—verifiable and repeatable observations. Although many would say it has not been confirmed in all respects, evidence overwhelmingly supports the theory of evolution. Creationism is also a theory, but not one grounded in science. There is no evidence to support this theory. Creationism seeks a supernatural explanation and must be taken on blind faith.

For example, according to “Creation Science,” the Grand Canyon was created in 40 days and 40 nights by God’s wrathful flood not in a millennium of years by natural erosion—a lot of water over a short time, not a little water over a long time.

Another exhibit explains that dinosaurs were rendered extinct by that flood, which occurred a few thousand years ago. I failed to ask why dinosaurs were persona-non-grata on Noah’s ark—probably God did not spec enough cubits to hold those monsters. During my visit, I also did not have time to dialogue with staff on carbon dating and other modern dating technologies.

Our hosts, Mike Delph and Mark Looy, the museum’s vice president of outreach and co-founder, were congenial and cordial. ­­­­­Mike Delph probably had better things to do than walk through that museum for the seventh time. Thanks Mike, it was a pleasant excursion.

It was an afternoon diversion, and we could leave it at that, but there is a dark side to those who interpret the Bible rigidly that manifests itself in many issues of the day. For example, it is impossible to debate gay marriage with a creationist because homosexuality is rooted in their interpretation of the Bible as an abomination. There can be no dialogue. Try it. Raise the topic and watch their eyes glaze over like something from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” This group voted 100 percent for RFRA in our state Legislature. Its agenda also includes banning embryonic stem cell research and engaging in sectarian prayer in the halls of government.

Freedom of religion is an essential element of our democracy. Certainly, our Legislature should welcome elected members of all faiths and sects, but as voters should we cast ballots for zealots who spurn debate on issues of importance to us while citing God’s word alone as the final authority?•


Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send email to mmaurer@ibj.com.

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