Answers in Genesis responds to enthologist’s claims that creation museum discriminates against, isolates non-Christians
Kentucky’s Creation Museum responded recently to an article featured in an online publication that was based on research conducted by a sociology professor in preparation for a book.
The article, published by Live Science, suggested that the Creation Museum can be a painful reminder of discrimination and isolation by religious fundamentalists.
Answers in Genesis, the body behind the Creation Museum, said the article posed a number of outright inaccuracies and contextual errors, giving an extremely false impression of the museum. The article was based on a study by Bernadette Barton, a sociology professor at Morehead State University in Kentucky.
Barton’s research methodology is the ethnography, which is essentially a narrative. It does not aim to be impartial but instead focuses on the researcher’s personal reactions and reflections to observation, according to Live Science.
Barton based her study on three visits to the Creation Museum where she attended lectures, observed guests at the museum and brought a group of her students there, then noted down their feelings and observations about the visit.
Of her motive in doing the study Barton said, “I went there seeking to understand how people adhere to [a] set of beliefs that can, in my opinion, have sometimes destructive consequences,” Live Science reported.
Points of argument
Answers in Genesis responded to the following points that were presented in the Live Science article:
1. The museum’s description as fundamentalist.
The Creation Museum felt they are not “fundamentalist” which today has come to carry derisive connotations of extremism. The Creation Museum’s depiction of how God created humans is believed by almost half of all Americans, rendering this one of many mainstream areas of agreement.
2. The museum can be uncomfortable for non-fundamentalist visitors.
The Creation Museum presents its worldview in a respectful way. They noted that there are many institutions with different beliefs and forms of thought including secular museums and media outlets that deride Christians or present a humanist viewpoint, which can make creationist students feel uncomfortable. They also acknowledge the Last Adam theater challenges people to accept the claims of Christ, but this is done lovingly and not aggressively.
3. The museum’s primary message is to proclaim the truth of a young earth.
The Creation Museum upholds the authority of the entire Bible, rather than isolates the belief in a young earth. This is shown through their “walk through history” as depicted in the Bible. Dr. Jason Lisle, director of the museum’s planetarium, clearly said the museum was made to show visitors that the Bible is true, beginning with Genesis.
4. “Graffiti Alley” shows that when men abandon Young Earth creationism the consequences include abortion, divorce, gay marriage and murder.
A visual on answersingenesis.org clearly states, “Scripture abandoned in Culture: Leads to relative morality, hopelessness and meaninglessness.”
5. Warning signs in the museum were nerve-wracking including those that said guests could be asked to leave any time, and museum staff can send the group off if they are not honest about their “purpose of [the] visit.”
The signs, answersingenesis.org said were posted in 2009 in response to continuous threats from atheist bloggers. Also, museums often show such signs and some even inspect the bags of guests.
6. People non-adherent to fundamentalism felt pressured to hide their beliefs for fear of being snubbed or judged.
Answers in Genesis said they sincerely wish for skeptics to visit and have hosted many agnostic and atheist groups. The museum is evangelistic at heart and so welcomes nonbelievers. They see themselves as a way to attract nonbelievers who might otherwise not want to go to a Christian church, so they can be exposed to the gospel.
7. The article’s subhead “Compulsory Christianity.”
Answersingenesis.org noted that guests come to the museum out of choice, and are not forced to read all exhibits nor watch all videos. Even detractors of the museum have described it as “family-friendly” and “cordial.”
The LiveScience article also mentioned that a guard and his guard dog circled around one student twice who wore leggings and a long shirt. The Examiner said without independent corroboration there is no need to respond except to say that K-9 dogs only attack at the urging of their handler.