I have to put the quote for this blog a little later in the text. Otherwise it might appear to be one that I accept into my philosophy. In fact it is one I reject and oppose.
We went to the Creation Museum yesterday. It was opened in Petersburg Kentucky in 2007, is 70,000 square feet and cost 27 Million to construct. People from all around have visited there-over a million-and it has been written about in New York Times, Vogue and a variety of other publications. While I am no longer in the church, we thought it was a phenomenon and maybe we should see it. Some of the reviews discussed how well done the displays were and how beautiful the gardens were. So we went with a couple of friends.
The gardens are beautiful and certainly the displays have been well done. However, I did not feel like it was a museum necessarily, but an argument giving voice to convince people to believe in the literal 6 day creation and subsequent bible stories as literal and scientifically founded. Furthermore, about 1/3 to 1/2 way through the museum the displays took on an urgency to illustrate the evils that will occur if a church, or a people, do not believe in that particular narrow conviction. The displays stated that a break from this creation definition would lead to war, the 9-11 attacks, illness, homosexualty, abortion, drugs, pornography and any sort of independent thinking.
This was troublesome to me as the narrow creation view of a literal 6 day creation is held only by a minority (only 46% of Americans polled in Gallop Poll in 2012 believed in 6 day creation, and 47% believed in either Theistic Evolution -God involved somehow in the evolution process-or pure Evolution). The 2009 Pew Research Center found that 97% of the scientists say humans and other living things evolved over time. The theme of the Creation Museum is in contradiction of the majority acceptance of evolution.
I generally allow for people to believe how they wish. I object when they claim that if I believe differently, that I am depraved, have no moral fiber, and will be on the loose to create havoc and community unrest.
My ire was slowly building at that insult, but I came head to head when I encountered the poster entitled “Who’s Your Brother?”. On the left of that large wall poster is “Human Reason” and on the right is “God’s Word”. The intent of the poster is to contrast those two apparent opposing views and to disparage the human reason side. Under Human Reason is-among other things-Racism (with a picture of a bond slave with scars on his back) and Genocide (with picture of Holocaust prisoners). Under God’s Word are various pictures of people of all races smiling as though they were all accepted under this view.
I felt a visual reaction to this exhibit. I had heard of people who strongly opposed the exploitation of animals as used for fur coats and consequently threw paint on them when they saw someone wearing one. I didn’t understand that action. Today I did. I wanted a marker of any sort to cross out the lies of this exhibit and expose the truth.
The dominate religious group who adheres and supports the 6 day literal creation is the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). They believe the whole Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God. They would be the believers eager to take their children to this museum to substantiate their home and church teaching of the young earth. However, the SBC was violently supportive to slavery. The humanists were the ones supporting freedom and abolition. Here are my quotes:
“…for the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example..” Slavery was Biblical and therefore abolition was sinful. Richard Furman-President of South Carolina State Convention of Baptists in 1823. The baptists in the south felt so strongly about their biblical right to have slaves that it lead to their secession from the Baptist Convention in 1845. The Southern Baptist Convention was established in 1845 with that secession. Their endorsement and support to their practice of slavery was preached from the pulpit. In fact, it was urged that the churches be more vocal in that support.
“…our passiveness has been our sin. We have not come to the vindication of God and of truth as duty demands…it is necessary to teach slavery from the pulpit, as it was taught by Holy men of old…both Christianity and slavery are from Heaven, both are a blessing to humanity…because slavery is right…their Maker has decreed their bondage…” Ebenezer W Warren, Pastor of First Baptist Church Macon, Georgia, 1861.
The Southern Baptist Convention did not recognize, nor apologize, for this stand until their convention in June 1995. That is correct, I said 1995. At that point they stated, “lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery..we apologize to all African Americans for condoning and /or perpetuating individual and systematic racism.”
You can imagine my shock and outrage that the Creation Museum is revising history in this unacceptable fashion. I felt revulsion at it’s claim that human thought was responsible for slavery, when I knew the history of the convention that I was a part of. I attended that June 1995 convention with my then minister husband. While I was grateful for their apology, I was mortified that the convention that my church was a part of took such a role in the evil domination of slavery.
My current husband and I now life in an historic home built in mid 1840’s. It is believed to have been a station along the Underground Railroad passing from the Ohio river, to Cincinnati, though our town, and onto Canada. There is a small doorway in the attic knee wall, which appears to have had no purpose other than to hide something, or someone. We are restoring this home and I am pleased and very proud of the person and his family who put their life on the line for the protection of the oppressed people who came to his door. He was a founding member of the Presbyterian church down the street. They are not of the literal mindset of the Southern Baptists, so therefore, that congregation would be described by this museum as part of the support to slavery.
The ludicrous representation at the museum blew my mind, angered my emotions, and grieved my heart. The museum is a place that uses falsehood to promote hatred and animosity. I knew that the scientific community had opposed this museum. I understood why. The museum twists facts of science. I am not a scientist, but a humanist who loves people and all living entities. The museum lies of who is really the person who cares for others angered me. They propose the narrow believing church to be the only group of people with moral fiber and concerns for others; when in fact that is the group who owned people, struck them, sold children from families, split asunder spouses….and rationalized it with their narrow belief-claiming the rest of us heathens.
How does one reason with people who are unreasonable? How can you discuss history when they alter it? How can scientific merit be considered when they twist science? How can the children who are being raised by the families that promote this altered version of reality be able to enter an adult world so different from what they were told that it would be?
I believe, and hope, that education will be the means for people achieving greater knowledge. Education, and being exposed to new ideas, was the light that lit my new path, away from the southern baptist church and into a new freedom of thought. As we learn new, we should put away old.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela