December 12, 2017

Ark Prejudice or Valuation?

ark-stern

Ham’s folly: The ark, under construction in northern Kentucky

In a recent blog post, Ken Ham continues his ongoing project of trying to justify his new endeavor, the Ark Encounter theme park.

It seems like every time we post something on Facebook about the progress of the Ark Encounter in Northern Kentucky, someone will charge that we are wasting money—money that instead should go to the starving people around the world, they declare.

…So the question is: why is it that the Ark is being singled out for this criticism? (It was also made against the Creation Museum when we were building it.) It’s because of prejudice! The charge that money should go instead to the hungry comes from critics who don’t agree with our Christian message and don’t want us to build such a prominent facility to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel. Now while it is true that some Christians have made the same claim that our donors should be giving money to needy people and not the Ark, I find they are people who also don’t agree with our message—particularly our stand on a literal Genesis.

Yes, their prejudice against the Ark’s message really stands out. Actually it illustrates that these charges are a part of a larger spiritual battle. And in a sense it’s also about jealousy. I don’t usually hear the same accusations against churches that are building new auditoriums or other facilities, but, because the Ark is going to be so prominent in the world as it publicly proclaiming God’s Word and the gospel, it gets singled out by people who don’t like our message and are irritated by its prominence.

So when people make the statement that our supporters shouldn’t be spending money on the Ark project and that we should take those donations and give them to another non-profit, by and large they display their prejudice against AiG and our message! In our culture we are seeing more and more of this intolerance against biblical Christianity. But it also encourages me, because there wouldn’t such opposition if the Ark wasn’t going to be a force in the culture!

Ham should be running for president. His capacity for self-promotion and self-defense is impressive, and he just keeps staying on message. His ability to deflect criticism by changing the language of the debate is top notch. Never mind that his silly project is a sham and a blight on the name of the Christian faith he professes, he comes across as a true believer bravely defending God’s clear message against all attacks.

What a crock.

People are prejudiced against Answers in Genesis and its message? Is the issue really that we don’t like the message? Is this blatant “intolerance against Biblical Christianity”? Are people like me jealous of Ham?

Give me a break. He writes, “The charge that money should go instead to the hungry comes from critics who don’t agree with our Christian message and don’t want us to build such a prominent facility to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel.”

No, Ken. Critics like me don’t believe you actually have a legitimate message, and that this “prominent facility” will do nothing to advance the cause of the gospel but will more than likely bring ridicule upon it.

From the moment this project was announced, I have spoken against it and said what I think it represents: the “Disney-ization” of the faith. It turns our most beloved sacred stories into cartoonish spectacles. A project like this, in my view, accomplishes the exact opposite of what it is supposed to achieve. It doesn’t add any weight to the biblical story, it diminishes it.

1-disney-magic-kingdom-orlandoDisney does not fool me into thinking what they do is great art containing profound insights into life and the human experience. I accept and enjoy them for what they are, no more. Their artists and animators are first class and what they do, they do well. But whether you are talking about their films, their theme parks, or their pervasive merchandise, the bottom line is that Disney is an animation corporation. They take stories that are classic because of their universal themes and dumb them down so that the kids can enjoy them with mom and dad. They remove all the messiness, complexity, nuance, and grit from these tales and sanitize them for a G or PG-rated modern entertainment audience. They are enjoyable, but as subtle as a punch in the face; as deep as the puddle in my driveway after a light rain.

Unfortunately, many American Christian leaders seem to think the Disney way is the way forward for the church. I could write a long book about all the examples of this across our land, from the many ways we market Jesus in books, music, and media, to the kistchy excess of the televangelists and the corporate “excellence” of the megachurches, to iconic monuments like the Crystal Cathedral. So much of it represents the “Magic Kingdom” mentality.

In the cartoon world of contemporary American evangelicalism, it’s all about bigger, better, and simpler. Help folks think their dreams can come true. Create “moments” for people in the congregation that they will never forget, that will “bless” families in safe and sanitized settings. Remove the messiness and reality of day to day life. Instead, put a sentimental, heart-tugging version of life up on the screen and make people feel it. Embrace the possibilities.

Evangelicalism has become “Disney-ized.”

How can any thoughtful Christian support a project like this? I know some of you are going to write and complain that I’m being judgmental and why can’t God use this to bring others to Christ and teach people about the Bible? Please. I will respond as clearly and directly and forcefully as I can — this project has nothing to do with Biblical Christianity.

This is cartoon faith. It represents the “Disney-ization” of the Biblical story. I mean, seriously. Christian people are going to waste $125 million building this travesty, and then undiscerning American believers will spend countless millions more to be indoctrinated, wowed by spectacle and a thoroughly sanitized version of the Biblical story. Bus-loads of young people from entertainment-seeking youth groups will be “educated” in a “Biblical” interpretation of the Flood that had its “genesis” not in the Torah but in the visions of Ellen G. White, whose “inspired counsels from the Lord” guided the 19th century sectarian Adventist movement.

Those visions will come to life in true Disney-like fashion — with overwhelming kitsch, mawkish sentimentality, a thin veneer of credibility, and, most importantly, the absolute conviction of unwavering belief in spite of any contrary evidence or countering interpretations. This project is fundamentalism at its creative worst. It doesn’t lead us to the real Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible. It leads us to the cartoon Jesus, the Disney Jesus, the American sanitized version of Jesus, the Jesus who entertains us and keeps it all safe for the whole family to enjoy (at 50 bucks a pop). The Jesus they give us is Jesus the Hero who lived and died on the screen in all his glory, not the “Man of Sorrows” who suffered and died on the cross in shame. This Jesus has been drawn and brought to life for us by purveyors of spiritual technology, not shared with us as true apostles like Paul did — through a humble daily life of suffering and loving in Jesus’ name. There’s the Jesus way and there’s the Disney way, and the gap between them is vast.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the faith, I want the real thing, not a Disney caricature.

I’ll say it again. This project has nothing to do with Biblical, Jesus-shaped Christianity. It is promotion of an ideology, plain and simple. It is small-minded “wish upon a star” fundamentalism, exhibiting an approach to faith that allows for nothing subtle, nothing mysterious, nothing human. No doubts, only certainty. The kind of certainty that has enough chutzpah to ask people to pony up $125 million to build a pretentious propaganda park. At least Walt Disney had enough character to learn a trade, go to work, and build a business to fund his dreams.

The Disney-ization of Faith

Folks, that’s not prejudice, that’s an honest valuation. This project is a huge waste of money that will only bring more derision upon genuine Christianity, and all because one huckster and his gullible followers imagine they are doing something great for the cause of godliness. It’s time for this circus act to fold up and move on.

The Ark Encounter will be a farce in culture, not a force. And that’s why we oppose it. We’ve looked at it honestly, and can’t believe that anyone thinks this is a good idea.

Comments

  1. Well, I guess one could say that it is his, and his investors’, money and they can do with it as they want. But to put it all in such sanctimonious and high-minded language just makes Ham look like a huckster and a snake oil salesman. I’m sure that he is sincere, but that doesn’t mean that anyone should take him seriously. At least I’m not going to!

    • One thing to admire about Mr. Ham is that he is a visionary with ambition, but we’ve seen how these grandiose “if you build it, they will come” schemes play out before. Jim Bakker’s Heritage USA already made the blueprint for bankruptcy and ruination of many people’s lives. And from what I read of the enormous cost, unending pleas for donations, wishful predictions of attendance and the pricey “lifetime” memberships, I foresee the pattern being repeated. This pretend ark isn’t seaworthy – it will go down with all hands. It’s only a matter of time, and it will not be pretty. I’m looking at the dubious resale value of this monstrosity. Big, steel – no windows. But maybe could make a great prison for the “starving people”. This is but another example that convinces me that most of the controversies in the evangelical world may seem theological on their face. But follow the money.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > I’m looking at the dubious resale value of this monstrosity.

        I couldn’t help but think of the same thing. Fortunately the market for recycled building materials is quite strong; so it will almost certainly be scrapped out. Both the location [nowhere, essentially] and the lack of windows condemn this structure to functional obsolescence.

      • Exactly what I thought of, Stuart. I live in SC and travel frequently to Charlotte. From I-77 as you pass through Fort Mill you can glance over and see what remains of Heritage USA–a monument to the intersection of religious hucksterism, Christian gullibility, greed and financial overreach.

    • ^ nice name

      That’s pretty much the only way I can look at it, Oscar. He’s just another person making a mockery of the name of Christ and the religion. From that guy who built an entire city in Illinois to God, to that woman who built a giant temple in LA, we’re just full of it. Maybe the next guy will build a giant tower in order to touch the face of God just like they supposedly did in ancient times.

      Nevermind, that’s been done at Oral Roberts U. That might have been Jesus himself hanging in shame.

      http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/viral-photo-of-noose-hanging-from-oru-prayer-tower-was/article_f26ca7cd-8db7-5941-bd8a-57e0c56b6086.html

    • Actually, he wants hundreds of millions in public tax breaks for this.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        How? Hundred of millions… based on what taxable value? This thing, where it is…. I just cannot imagine it being appraised at anything near a value that would result in that sizable a tax bill. He can spend $125M to build this thing – that doesn’t mean the valuation is anything more than a fraction of that. Unless property tax laws of Kentucky are very strange; I admit I know nothing specifically about Kentucky tax policy.

        • Because they argue that it will create local jobs. And they were granted millions in tax breaks after agreeing not to hire on the basis of their religion. Then they began hiring with an agreement that requires not just Christian faith, but agreement with young earth creationism and global flood theory, a la AIG. So now they are being sued by the state (last I heard).

    • I say there is nothing “christian” about this nonsense. Noah built the ark, and true Christians will believe this. If the truth in the Gospel isn’t being preached out, it will end like in Noah’s day. God’s Word says, “my people perish, because of lack of knowledge”. Noah was a preacher of “RIGHTEOUSNESS”! This is what (many) will not understand. The (“few”) who do take God at His word, believe and are given faith, freely. God promises that the end times men will wax colder. He promises the world will never be flooded with water. The elements will burn with fire, and all things therein. Where will this ark and all the money spent building it be? I agree, this money should go to help the needy, homeless, hungry and veterans.

  2. That Other Jean says:

    So, are there going to be dinosaurs in that thing?

  3. Ken Ham should put his money where his mouth is: do some real research to prove that dinosaurs walked the Earth with man just a few thousand years ago. But real research is probably too dangerous – it might not support his views. So he opts for Disney.
    I’ve posted a number of research proposals for creationists on my blog (in Dutch). But where creationists are happy to join the debate on my other posts, there’s an eerie slience under these research plans.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > there’s an eerie slience under these research plans.

      You probably went and got specific on them. …. then silence.

      Nothing silences ideology as effectively as specifics; and the more of them the better. The ideologue can never engage the specifics. It is embarrassing how long it took me to learn that trick.

      • That often fails to work –idelogues who are confronted with facts will deny the facts or run back to their favorite gurus and find out what the official spin is on those facts.

        Some people do change their minds, but it’s usually a long slow process.

    • turnsalso says:

      Are there many creationists in the Dutch-speaking world?

    • If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: the idea of Creation Science actually _having_ open questions of its own to pursue goes against the grain of its actual apologetic, rather than scientific, character.

      And when your organization is called “Answers in Genesis,” don’t expect much in the way of open questions anyway.

  4. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    “””…I don’t usually hear the same accusations against churches that are building new auditoriums or other facilities…””””

    Well – that raises some credibility/honesty issues. Because I hear that kind of “accusation” regularly; and I hear it from people who love their churches, teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, etc… I think it is very safe to assume that Mr. Ham is far more connected than I am; everything else aside I find it hard to accept this statement as credible.

    People do ask “do we need this?”, “can we really afford this?”, “can we afford to maintain this?”, “is this worth the cost?”, and do decide the answer is “no”. Congregants appear to decide the answer is “no” more often than church leadership does, based on my admittedly limited experience.

    • If you were in a church where the congregation could say “no” and actually make it stick, you (and they) should be grateful.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        If you are in a church where the congregation cannot say “no” and make it stick, that is your choice. I would never even consider joining a church where the congregation did not have this power. Another clue: who approves the budget? If it is the Senior Pastor, or his selected Star Chamber, then go somewhere else. The annual congregation meeting to discuss and approve the budget is a dreadful experience, but the alternative is far worse.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Just go to Wartburg Watch or Spiritual Sounding Board for horror stories of such Pastor-Dictators and their Yes-Men Elder Boards and their Gigachurches to Pastor’s Ego. Lots of abuse accounts (including sexual abuse — Rank Hath Its Privileges, especially when by Divine Right).

        • Should we add that to the list of “Invalid Reasons You Should Leave a Church”? wah wah, you didn’t get your congregations way…

          Lots of churn out there between congregations. Recently I’ve seen a local mega get gutted when leadership decided to change things up. Maybe people don’t realize who they vote into power until it’s too late.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > Maybe people don’t realize who they vote into power until it’s too late.

            Intra-organizational elections… rare are the people who want those positions [although they are disproportionately powerful…] and I assure you **nobody** pays attention to those elections. Ugh. I’ve seen so many organization implode / face-plant out the urge to be ‘democratic’. And in Religion to small organizational behavior + popular-will rhetoric; that is like setting a timer on a bomb.

    • Well – that raises some credibility/honesty issues. Agree 100%. This was just shear dishonesty. I heard this all the time, in everything from fundamentalism to mega-churchism.

  5. Wow, Chaplain Mike, why don’t you tell us how you really feel! I’m not sure, but I think you dislike that fellow.

    Dr. Laura used to say “Is this the hill you want to die on?” If you write about, oh, say, radical Islam with the same sort of fierceness you might be on to something. Ken Ham is an easy target, but at least he doesn’t hope to behead you and me. All Christians, be they fundamentalists or internet monks, look alike to the real enemy of our souls.

    Did Jesus say “Love one another as I have loved you, except for Ken Ham.”?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > If you write about, oh, say, radical Islam

      Important distinction IMO: that would be writing about The Other. This is us writing about us.

      > All Christians … look alike to the real enemy of our souls.

      I assume you mean prime time TV? Or possibly marketing firms in general? CNN or FOX? Certainly both of the later cause injury to my soul when I am unfortunate enough to encounter them – it is like being under a focused beam of despair and illiteracy.

    • Apparently you’ve not read a lot of Paul (or perhaps Paul had not ‘read’ a lot of Jesus).

    • If you write about, oh, say, radical Islam with the same sort of fierceness you might be on to something. Ken Ham is an easy target, but at least he doesn’t hope to behead you and me.

      I would flip that. Radical Islam, with it’s barbarism and total disregard for human life, is the easy target. Coming to grips with our brothers and sisters who have their priorities so far out of whack… THAT is hard. And giving them rhetorical cover just because they espouse the same faith, and don’t threaten to kill people, doesn’t help.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        >Coming to grips with our brothers and sisters

        Pragmatically/politically – it is also *far* more likely some of them will actually hear us, creating the possibility they will consider what we say.

        For example, myself talking about Islam, or any of a host of other topics, would be me just moving air. None of the relevant parties are going to hear what I say.

        Also – I have never met an Islamic Radical; and by the numbers almost certainly never will. On the other hand I frequently encounter Christian Fundamentalists; there are CFs in both the local and state government whose decisions impact my life – and those of my neighbors – every single day. I get off the bus to walk to my favorite pub, and there is a CF holding a sign which says the women sharing the sidewalk with me at that moment are all whores.

        • On the subject of how to talk about radical Islam, here is a piece by a Muslim praising a saintly Syrian Christian monk who was kidnapped by ISIS–both the monk and the Muslim who praises him put most Americans to shame. I often wonder why our political discourse is so debased. It’s not just the politicians–most of our pundits, commentators and bloggers rarely if ever approach the level of honesty I see in this piece.

          http://www.friedenspreis-des-deutschen-buchhandels.de/1042759/

          (The piece is in English, despite the German website)

          • Our archdiocese has released a call to reject blanket discrimination against Muslims.

            In addition, my daughter, who occasionally attends a friend’s Assembly of God church, informed me that the pastor of that church recently (12-20) preached a strong sermon condemning Islamophobia. Her friend told us that the pastor had received a good deal of criticism for the sermon. It turns out that it is far braver for the AoG pastor to swim against the current than it is for the Antiochian Orthodox, who have experienced Islam face-to-face for 1300 years and have learned to coexist. The AoG pastor, on the other hand, has a church full of Tea Party Republicans and avid AM radio listeners. It is heartening to see the much-abused American yeomanry struggle to reflect the better angels of their natures.

          • Mule, the best part about that is that the young people will see that and leave the church, thus increasing the Dones and Nones. They’ve sealed their fate and extinguished their candle. The AoG preacher is speaking truth to the real audience.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > …far braver for the AoG pastor to swim against the current…

            That is very encouraging to hear. I would not have expected that from the AoG camp; I am happily wrong!

          • I, too, am greatly encouraged by this.

        • >>there is a CF holding a sign which says the women sharing the sidewalk with me at that moment are all whores.

          Adam, I’m assuming that’s your rephrasing of the message, but I’m curious as to what the sign actually does say.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            I cannot recall exactly – something about immodesty being prostitution. The signs are trending longer and wordier – gone are the good old days of “God hates homosexuals” and “Sinners will burn forever”; those succinct easy to remember ones.

            I have considered starting a BLOG where I can post pictures of these guys signs… but then I don’t because it is pointless. As pointless as the array of [I presume are] college freshmen who attempt to engage these guys in street debates.

          • Adam, could just submit them to Christian Nightmares.

        • and there is a CF holding a sign which says the women sharing the sidewalk with me at that moment are all whores.

          Including the one holding the sign, more than likely. Leave $5 in their alms jar.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            There are no collections jars that I have noticed; that might re-categorize them into the territory of being pan-handlers or needing a permit. Just holding a sign within a public easement is protected free-speech provided you do not impede movement.

      • Actually many Christians support candidates such as Cruz and Trump, who advocate killing the families of terrorists or carpet bombing areas until the sand glows, so the difference between radical Islam and some versions of right wing Christianity are not that great. I am also old enough to remember the 80’s, when the Christian Right lionized groups like Renamo and men like Roberto D’Aubisson (sp) and Jonas Savimbi, all of whom had the blood of countless civilians on their hands.

        • Renamo and men like Roberto D’Aubisson (sp) and Jonas Savimbi

          I don’t know those names and feel like I should. I’m 30, what other historical things have I missed or had suppressed?

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Renamo: Freedom fighters/terrorists in Mozambique. Jonas Savimbi was the leader of UNITA, who fought against the Soviet sponsored MPLA government in Angola from its independence from Portugal till the early 2000’s.

            Both essentially Cold War proxy wars.

            Roberto D’Aubuisson was an El Salvadoran anti-communist death squad leader, and army officer. I know less about him and had to look him up.

          • Let’s not forget Pat Robertson’s and Jerry Falwell’s support of that killer Jose Montt, the former President of Guatemala. Because Montt was an evangelical/Pentecostal, he could do no wrong in the eyes of these leaders of the Moral Majority, though he had countless Guatemalans tortured and murdered.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I remember Christianese AM radio during Late Cold War Guatemala. All about praises for Montt because he was “Born Again Bible-Believing True CHRISTIAN”, bringing REAL Christianity to Guatemala and fighting Communism.

            (Wasn’t helped that Guatemala was next to Nicaragua, whose dictator Ortega the Russians WERE cultivating as a proxy.)

          • Montt has actually been convicted of genocide by a Guatemalan court; it’s the first time that a former head of state of has been convicted of genocide by a trial in his own nation.

          • It’s no sin not to know what Renamo or those other people or groups were, but it is a fascinating comment on our culture that our own support for terror groups goes down the memory hole so quickly,so that 25 years later people who weren’t adults then have no knowledge of it. Renamo was one of the rare anti- communist terror groups that the Reagan Administration did not support, but they were the darlings of the Christian Right– Bob Dole ran for President in 88 and supported Renamo because of the far right’s pressure.

            Imagine a US where there was pressure to support ISIS as noble freedom fighters. That’s not an exaggeration. It drives me a little nuts how people talk abou Islam being unique in providing reasons for supporting terrorism.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > the difference between radical Islam and some versions
          > of right wing Christianity are not that great

          Disagree! These two groups differ significantly on who it is okay to kill indiscriminately. 🙂 🙁

      • THIS. It’s essentially equivalent to removing the plank from our own eye.

        Ken Ham is a HUGE plank.

    • David Cornwell says:

      “If you write about, oh, say, radical Islam with the same sort of fierceness you might be on to something. ”

      What would be the point?

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      ‘Did Jesus say “Love one another as I have loved you, except for Ken Ham.”?’

      Ah, yes: the ultimate passive-aggressive defense of the indefensible (Christianese version).

    • Clay Crouch says:

      Wow, BTDT, check your blood sugar. Your comment is one big false dilemma.

    • If you write about, oh, say, radical Islam with the same sort of fierceness you might be on to something.

      And how many would DARE to have the COURAGE to say the same THINGS about ISLAM, the true religion of “””PEACE””””!!! Christians DON””T BEHEAD, they are LOVING!!1! And as for me and my country, we will serve the LORD!!!

      ^ every Youtube comment thread or political post.

      I am so sick of this meme and response, and will call it out for the passive aggressive unchristian bs it is.

    • “…but at least he doesn’t hope to behead you and me…”

      And there we have it, folks: The standard of outstanding righteousness, circa 2016 is, “He won’t cut your head off.”

      And you’re right: By that standard, he’s basically Gandhi crossed with MLK times Mother Teresa.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Nice! Fallacy of the disambiguated middle writ large; I wonder if fonts can even scale up to that size?

    • I’m trying to figure out which movie quote to use. The one from Billy Madison, or the one from the Matrix?

  6. I’d never go to this park. I’d be embarrassed to be seen at this park. Enough said.

  7. This statement struck me: “The charge that money should go instead to the hungry comes from critics who don’t agree with our Christian message.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t feeding the hungry at least part of the Christian message?

    • “It doesn’t matter if we feed their bodies, if we don’t teach them The Truth that will save their souls.”

      You know the pat answer they would give to this question, as well as I. :-/

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “So what if I rack him ’til he die? For I shall have Saved his Soul.”
        — ‘The Inquisitor’, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

      • …I hate that answer. It was what I was taught every week in fundamentalism. Along with Mother Theresa burning in hell if she didn’t repent.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > isn’t feeding the hungry at least part of the Christian message

      No! That is works righteousness, Progressivism, liberal mainstream thinking, and/or – WORST OF ALL ….drumroll… *The Social Gospel*. Boo… Hiss! [Clearly we should all be ‘saved’ asocially].

      Do I need to explain Law vs Grace again? 🙂

    • Indeed, Damaris, but the standard riposte of those who don’t like us is to accuse us of something that they, themselves, do not do either.

    • Ham may be imitating Jesus, answering Judas’ charge that the the money for the perfume on Jesus’ feet could have gone to the poor.

  8. A future indoor football stadium. Seating would be kind of steep though.

    • turnsalso says:

      Make them all VIP suites, one right on top of the next, like a green field between the bases of two skyscrapers!

  9. That’s the first picture I’ve seen of the Ark. It’s actually pretty impressive as a project, aside from its baggage. Would that thing float? Something that had never occurred to me before, in the ark of the story, it must have been dark inside during the whole prolonged ordeal aside from any lamps they may have kept going. For realism, how about no lights inside this department store sized boat but every ticket comes with a candle. Wait, I can already see problems with that. Okay, an LED lantern you turn in at the end of the tour. It could be shaped like a Biblical lamp for authenticity.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      What gets me is why Ham’s design incudes a ram bow and the lines of an ancient Mediterranean merchant ship.

      The Ark didn’t need to maneuver, only float. And “Ark” means “box”. A more likely design would be one I saw in an old photo of a maritime museum exhibit: a simple squared-off raft hull extended up to form a box with little or no change in size between hull and superstructure. Even the one from the recent “Noah” movie fit the original description much better than Ham’s scaled-up ram-bowed merchant hull.

      And I was unaware that “Gopher Wood” meant “steel frame and reinforced concrete block”.

  10. Could some explain the connection between E.G. White’s writings/visions and K.Ham’s theory of the flood? I wasn’t aware that she had introduced anything new on the subject, or if she did, that it was adopted by mainstream YECreationists.

  11. It hardly seems worthwhile to create something in celebration of an event in which so many people were mercilessly killed (by God, nonetheless). It’s almost like building a theme park to commemorate Auschwitz.

    • I know, that was my first thought too. I shared that with a friend at seminary, and his response was, “Well, maybe people are celebrating that God actually saved one family, and showed grace to the human race.” At that point I just didn’t respond, because it was so very much the language and construct of an abuser, I just didn’t want to get into it.

  12. Chaplain –

    For someone who is a veteran of the Holy Land Experience in Orlando Florida, and who is planning his first visit to a monastery this year, what can you suggest to counter the inevitable Disney-fication of the Monastic Experience ™?

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    As has been said on previous Internet Monk comment threads:

    “We have the Vatican Observatory and Pontifical Academy of Sciences. They have the Kentucky Creation Museum.”

    • Welcome to Kentucky, Home of Michael Spencer and the Creation Museum.

      I did just now go to the official web site for the Creation Museum. I could get in free on Father’s Day. The site is well done. I took a virtual tour to the Garden of Eden to check out Eve, but she was mostly hidden behind a big rock and the zoom didn’t work. From the little I could see of her, she did appear to be European, possibly even American.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And her hair strategically hides her breasts.

        Funny how Eve is not only white, but conforms to Christianese modesty/purity standards.

        (Incidentally, genetic drift analysis points to the Khoi-San of the Kalahari desert in Africa (AKA “Kalahari Bushmen”) as the closest to the original ancestral human stock.)

  14. Here Ken, have a Snickers.

  15. Ham definitely has some fine tuned political and rhetorical instincts. Almost sounds credible if you don’t stop to think over the facts. As for those who support him and these crazy schemes, I always hope that Christians will be a little more discerning, but that so rarely happens.

    I keep thinking this kind of thing wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for the cowboy-like independence of American evangelicalism. i can’t envision any mainline denomination sanctioning such a venture, never mind the Catholic or Orthodox. There’s something to be said for oversight and accountability.

    I also wish someone would do a story that follows the money for this project. I read somewhere that Ham has gotten significant tax breaks and public funds in addition to voluntary donations, and that he’s split the thing into separate for-profit and nonprofit entities to optimize various advantages. I’d bet there’s a story there if any investigative journalist wanted to go after it.

    • It has been a big story in Kentucky newspapers for some time, though I haven’t heard much lately. I would check the Louisville and Lexington papers for some of those accounts.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > There’s something to be said for oversight and accountability.

      +1,000

  16. turnsalso says:

    I’m going to place my wager now that this is going to be the most-discussed post of the month.

  17. You know, David Bowie’s death got me to thinking, who do I hope is in heaven with me (assuming I get there)? I certainly hope David Bowie is. Heck, I’d pay to see him in concert up in heaven.

    How about Ken Ham? Meh…not so much.

    So…who do you think GOD would like to have in heaven with him, David Bowie or Ken Ham…?

    • turnsalso says:

      Both, of course (just maybe not in concert together). As well as everyone else.

    • I think God might want Ham as a member of Ziggy Stardust’s reconstituted band, The Spiders from Mars, with the make-up and the outrageous costumes and the whole enchilada. Because I think God has a sense of humor, and I think that in heaven Ken Ham will have a sense of humor, too.

  18. Christiane says:

    I’m looking at the picture of the ‘steel’ Ark construction, and it occurs to me that perhaps its creator is unbalanced, or possibly entirely off of his trolley

    every knows the Ark was made of wood and had cute little windows on the sides so that the giraffes and elephants could look out . . . I’ve seen pictures . . . I had a small ‘replica’ of said Ark when I was very little . . . Yep, little round windows like port holes with cute giraffes’ heads poking out . . . I remember it all now

    a ‘steel’ Ark indeed . . . baloney!

  19. I’ve been to the Creation Museum. A fundamentalist friend of mine gave us both tickets for my birthday. (!) She meant well. We went on a bus with her church from Springfield, OH. Adam and Eve are indeed European, and a sort of velociraptor frolics near them, eating a melon. There is a hall displaying the skull of a sheep and some other skulls, like a wolf. I guess Mr. Ham thinks bones = archaeology = science.

    There is a good deal of attention given to the Flood and the Ark. A video shows some women working at a table, and then the flood coming and drowning them; this appears to be OK since they weren’t Noah’s family. My friend remarked that she’d like to really study the dimensions of the Ark, so she could see how the animals were housed. My friend is quite bright — we are in the book-selling business together — and I felt and feel sad that fundamentalists’ brainpower is being channeled into junk like this.

    There was a video which showed two men at an archaeological site, one of them a fundamentalist. He explained that both of them could be archaeologists, and both would be equally scientific, but the difference was that they started from different (and equally respectable) premises: his premise was that everything dug up fit into the Bible narrative, while the other guy’s premise was something else.

    There was a planetarium-like presentation at the end, in which they admitted, briefly, that the age of the universe, measured by the speed of light, did indeed *seem* to be very old, but God could, would, and did overrule that type of measurement at His own pleasure, so that was nothing for the audience to worry about.

    We had to go back on the bus, so I had to keep my mouth shut the whole way, though I felt my head was about to explode. I’m not very good at concealing my emotions, so my friend probably guessed them, and we’ve never again referred to the trip.

    I was a bit disappointed in myself, since I found I was by no means as “open-minded” as I’d thought. Maybe I’ll take another trip, to the Ark, to see if that aspect has improved. Maybe not.

    • flatrocker says:

      > I was a bit disappointed in myself, since I found I was by no means as “open-minded” as I’d thought.

      Bumper sticker time…Believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

    • There is a good deal of attention given to the Flood and the Ark.

      H. Lee, it keeps coming back to the Flood for Ken Ham and his followers. When they talk about a creation in six literal 24-hour days, 6000 years ago, they keep using the Flood as evidence, that the Flood buried fossils and it only seems that they are millions of years old. When anyone points out the possibility of life being millions of years old based on other evidence, Ken Ham’s answer is, “Were you there?”

      they admitted, briefly, that the age of the universe, measured by the speed of light, did indeed *seem* to be very old, but God could, would, and did overrule that type of measurement at His own pleasure

      And yes, God could certainly have created the universe any way that he chose, and made it “seem” to be very old (even hiding fossils in layers to trick us), but the “would” and “did” are another matter if we are to take God seriously. What would a God of order and truth do? Would he lead us into temptation like that?

      Ken Ham and others are calling the Bible god, insisting that science fit the narrative in Genesis, no matter what kind of a capricious, Ancient Near-Eastern-pagan god they end up with.

      • Or, as Chaplain Mike put it,

        This is cartoon faith. It represents the “Disney-ization” of the Biblical story.

      • “Miracles cannot be interpreted in terms of a supranatural interference in natural processes. If such an interpretation were true, the manifestation of the ground of being would destroy the structure of being; God would be split within himself, as religious dualism has asserted. It would be more adequate to call such a miracle “demonic,” not because it is produced by “demons,” but because it discloses a “structure of destruction”. It corresponds with the state of “being possessed” in the mind and could be called “sorcery.” The supranaturalistic theory of miracles makes God a sorcerer and a cause of “possession”; it confuses God with demonic structures in the mind and reality. – Paul Tillich, “Systematic Theology Vol. 1”, p.116.

  20. There is a page on the Internet that shows the scale of the visible Universe, and the place of the Sun therein.

    The page I linked shows the stars within 5000 years of the Sun. I was especially intrigued by the first blue circle on the chart, representing the stars within 2000 light years, or, according to my protozoan understanding of General relativity, the sphere in which the fruits of our Lord’s work on the Cross could conceivably be effective. If I click the next “zoom out” button, that whole patch of Galactic real estate on the Orion Arm between Delta Canis Majoris and Deneb disappears into a speck when the whole galaxy is exposed.

    Now, it appears that humanity will never get to the stars. If we had used the hydrocarbon bonanza wisely instead of creating landfill and exhaust fumes, maybe we’d have a probe on the way to Alpha Centauri by now. Our career as a species created in the image of God, it appears, will play out on this one little ball. That’s OK with me from a anthropological point of view. After all, we have to live somewhere, and any other place would have been just as insignificant.

    But I couldn’t crawl into Ken Ham’s universe.

    • How big is the universe, if the known is 14B LY across? How can the size (and therefore, age) of the universe be estimated if we don’t know where we are in terms of its center?

  21. Steel construction; no windows. Hmmm. Is the NSA funding this project?

  22. flatrocker says:

    All I can think when I look at the construction photo is the theme song from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

    Dah-dee-dum-dah-dah……bwahhhhh

    Laugh at Ken Hamm now will ya.
    You just wait, I’m tellin’ ya, you just wait.

  23. I have to say, the thread of comments for this post is one of the most fun, enjoyable reads I’ve had in a while. Folks really brought their wit today! Good job, all!

  24. Looks like a giant shoebox. Did “genesis man” conquer space? Maybe if you turn it vertical & place a rocket under it, it could replace the space shuttle. Ham could then become an astronaut & see if he could find fossils on the moon.