Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
Why the Creation Museum Made This Evangelical Uncomfortable | Righting America

by Lee Dixon

Today’s post features our colleague, Dr. Lee Dixon, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Dayton.  Lee reports on his recent visit to the Creation Museum, raising questions about the museum’s messages from his own perspective as a born-again Christian.

My family, along with another family, recently visited the Creation Museum. We would consider ourselves “born-again” Christians, and we attend evangelical churches. In all, we had 5 kids between the ages of three and six in tow.

Although there were many parts of the museum that were a lot of fun for the kids, it seems that it was designed more for adults. In fact, there were some displays that we were uncomfortable allowing our children to experience. For example, the Cave of Sorrows, which outlines man’s fall, was frightening for some of our youngsters and presents information that we did not want to expose our young children to, such as the consumption of pornography and premarital sex. There was a quality to the museum that scared me as well, but I had a hard time putting my finger on it.

I knew that I was bothered by the overall dark tone of the museum, and the general lack of hope and “good news.” However, it was not until later when reading the Science chapter of Righting America at the Creation Museum that I was able to get a better sense of what I was truly bothered by, and I will try to explain it here.

The Creation Museum, and the information it presents, seems to have one goal: prove, through science, that the Earth was created around six thousand years ago and that all science that points to the contrary is faulty. The impression I get is that this belief in a young earth is seen by the creators of the museum to be a foundation upon which their faith (and all Christianity) is built.

I cannot fault someone for what they believe, but others’ beliefs can and do make me sad. The reason this particular belief makes me sad is that it is so tenuous, and it appears to take so much energy to hold on to. It seems to me that there are so many other more worthwhile endeavors into which one could invest energy: helping the poor, spreading the Good News of Christ, loving one another well, etc.

Personally, I am not comfortable with the argument that is at the heart of the Creation Museum—namely, that the Earth was created by God in six twenty-four-hour days less than 10,000 years ago—because I feel that it places the onus of proving the truth of the Word of God, His existence, and the Gospel as a whole on us humans.

This stance requires first that we decide to believe that every word in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. I am not sure that this makes sense since I cannot recall any portion of the Bible that says that it is all meant to be taken literally. Second, it requires us to look to science for the support of that literal interpretation. Science is a man-made enterprise that is prone to man-made mistakes. I do not want such an error-prone enterprise to serve as the foundation of my faith. I believe that my faith in God comes from Him.

After having visited the Creation Museum, I am more confident in this than ever.