While I was away, worshiping the Sun — after all, I'm a member of one of the world's oldest still-going-strong solar worship and enlightenment cults, the Freemasons — it looks like others were off on a little religious pilgrimage-slash-vacation of their own.
The $27 million Creation Museum opened May 28 in Petersburg, Kentucky, just minutes from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
One day I aspire to visit this 60,000 square-feet mockery of intelligence. It sounds like a delightfully entertaining way to waste a few hours and a few bucks ($19.95 per head, plus five dollars extra if you want to see the planetarium where they explain that no star in our sky is older than 6,000 years).
Since I haven't been yet, I'll have to virtually explore the Creation Museum via news articles, blogs, and the museum's own website.
The Masonic Fellowcraft degree teaches that we should view our world through the mechanisms and tools of science and the liberal arts. Nowhere are we admonished to blindly accept a book of faith, or a volume of sacred law, as fact. The Bible, or any Volume of Sacred Law, is "given as a rule and guide," and, as one of the Three Great Lights of Freemasonry, it is a symbol. The other two great lights, the square and the compasses, are understood as symbols; they're not used in Freemasonry to actually square up a building's frame, or to draw a physical circle.
Likewise, the Volume of Sacred Law is not to be taken literally. It is symbolic of the laws of God, or of Nature's God.
The Creation Museum misses this point, entirely. The museum's creators and financial investors take (or want to appear to take) the tales of the Bible's book of Genesis one hundred percent literally. This leads to some absolutely wacky things: Talking, upright-walking snakes, dinosaurs peacefully co-existing with humans, thousands of species of animals lining up two by two and settling down all cozy with each other for 40 days and 40 nights without anything for dinner. Humans without belly buttons. You know the fairy-tale story of creation in Genesis; I don't need to go on about it.
But the folks running the Creation Museum do need to go on about it, ad infinitum and ad nauseum.
The blogger at Blue Grass Roots, based in central Kentucky, recently visited the Creation Museum, already known by mainstream scientists as the Fred and Wilma Flintstone Museum. I hope you'll read his entire account. He's also posted excellent photos of the various exhibits. (Click on his small photos to enlarge them.)
He calls it "a museum full of shocking idiocy and unintentional humor."
Others are less kind in their criticism. Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D., says of the museum and its founders:
Let's be honest. Only someone with a neurological disorder or a pathological need to promote stupidity and ignorance in the name of a bible-based, fairy tale worldview would argue for "scientific" answers in Genesis or that "belief in evolution is the root of most of modern society's evils." When one considers the realities unveiled by quantum mechanics, Einstein's relativity and, more recently membrane theory, the pathology called "the biblical worldview" and the mental disorder — or more likely the ulterior motives — of those advocating it become clearer and even more sinister.One of the first things you come to when you enter the museum is a gigantic plexiglass poster designed to make you choose between God and Man, or more to the point, between "God's Word" and "Human Reason." [See photo.] Go ahead.... Choose a pile of books and Descartes' quote "I think, therefore I am," or choose a big papyrus scroll and a quote from Yahweh, "I am that I am."
Oops. We know what Eve and Adam chose, don't we?
You'll find several exhibits and even a film showing the "true story" of creation.
Ironically, Eric Linden, the man who played Adam in the museum's movie-clip, had a rather checkered past. It seems he also ran a "graphic" website called Bedroom Acrobat, and was shown photographed with a transvestite. The museum stopped showing the 40-second film of a naked Adam and Eve (their naughty bits suitably hidden by foliage) as soon as the news broke about Linden, who had formerly appeared as a model for "SirFuxaLot."
More about Eric Linden:
- EricLinden.com, his personal website
- Bedroom Acrobat.com, no longer owned by Linden, it claims
- Museum spokesman responds
- Photos of Linden with transvestite
As I've written many times before, if fundamentalist Christians want to believe this stuff and teach it among themselves, who am I to complain? Everyone has the right to practice their religion as they see fit.
But this claptrap isn't religion. They hold it up as "science." They want public schools to teach this nonsense as science. Museum founder Ken Ham has been pushing this Genesis pseudo-history in seminars for nearly 20 years in the U.S., and before that in Australia. Many of their backers are dominionists, Christian fundamentalist/evangelical zealots who truly aspire to replace America's republican form of government with a theocracy. Donald Wildmon, founder of the ultra-conservative American Family Association, and Zig Ziglar, noted motivational speaker, are quoted in the museum's "news" section, which isn't really news at all, but a list of breathless attaboys from museum vistors (an unnamed paleontologist says he's "drooling" over a fossil the museum possesses, and a rocket scientist's wife explains her husband played hookey from work to drive 1,100 miles to attend the pre-opening events at the musuem).
A rather neutral New York Times review from a few weeks ago has been blurbed just because the writer called some of the exhibits "stunning." (They should be "stunning"; they were designed by a former exhibit director of Universal Studios in Florida.)
The selling of this alternative, young-earth history has a purpose, and it's not to save souls for the glory of God. It is an attempt to prime children and cajole their parents who can't deal with science, rationality and reason into accepting a theocratic "we know what's best for you" form of government and leadership. Reason, they want you to believe, will steer you astray. Belief in a 6,000 year old planet and a 2,500 year old book that tells you about it, is all you need, they say.
Once, it was the Catholic church denying that the earth revolved around the Sun. Now, it's the fundamentalist, evangelical arm of Christianity denying pretty much the same things — intelligence, science, and Enlightenment. The museum people even get in a potshot at Voltaire, the prolific author, deist, critic of the Catholic church, and Freemason, [see photo] as well as at Dan Brown's book Da Vinci Code [see photo].
Then, as now, the lines are drawn. Will you choose Light, or Darkness? Odd, that both sides think their side is right, that their side represents Light. This is the age-old debate, the age-old dilemma, the age-old dichotomy. What is good, and what is evil? Blind faith, or reasoned enlightenment? The written word of others who claim to have been inspired by "God," or your own personal inspirations, reflections and revelations? God or man? God's word or man's reason? Light or dark?
As for me, I'll just keep on worshiping the Sun. Pass the cocoa butter....
Images: Above and linked to, by Blue Grass Roots, taken at the Creation Museum, June 2007
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