On Ken Ham and Fundamentalism

I opened the mail the other day to discover a letter from Answers in Genesis (“A Note from Ken Ham”). This wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was what Ken wanted. A color brochure fell out of the envelope. A new “Statement of Faith” from AiG. What was this about?

Ken had a challenge for me. He asked me to review “our updated statement of faith.” Then, he asked me to compare it to “your church’s/college’s statement of faith.” Ken encouraged me to provoke a discussion with leaders about why the church’s Statement didn’t match AiG’s. To be fair, Ken warned me “this could result in some hostility.” But, he declared, such a sacrifice was necessary to “help uncover compromise.”

My first reaction was purely ecclesiastical. Why does a man who runs two amusement parks believe it’s proper to incite doctrinal strife within local churches? His parachurch organization is not an agent of the Gospel. His organization disciples nobody. It baptizes nobody. It marries nobody. It eulogizes nobody. Ken is not there when a marriage is on the rocks, or when a family has no money and needs a new washing machine. Yet, here his letter sits, inviting Christians to accuse their churches of “compromise.”

My second thought was that I hadn’t realized, until that moment, how fundamentalist AiG really was. The flashpoints are Genesis 1-11, abortion, evolution, and sexual mores. But, especially Genesis. The letter declared, “[t]here are only a few Christian colleges/universities that will stand with Answers in Genesis today.” If you don’t “stand” with Ken on Genesis, you’re a “compromiser.”

AiG’s isn’t “fundamentalist” because it believes what it does about Genesis. It’s fundamentalist because it has no room for generous orthodoxy. It engages in what Michael Bird calls “doctrinal mummification.”1 Its theology is frozen. Set in concrete, just like Reagan’s feet.2 No matter whether you have a different, well-articulated view―there can be no détente. Such would be weakness. These compromisers are “very liberal,” Ken warns. They must be crushed.

Fear sells. Nigh on 22 years ago, Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson wrote a sad book reflecting on their experiences with the Moral Majority. The issue of fund-raising letters came up. Thomas explained these letters always have the same four traits:

First, they identify an enemy: homosexuals, abortionists, Democrats, or ‘liberals’ in general. Second, the enemies are accused of being out to ‘get us’ or impose their morality on the rest of us or destroy the country. Third, the letter assures the read that something will be done: We will oppose these enemies and ensure they do not take over America. Fourth, to get this job done, please send money (and the letter often suggests a specific amount).3

This is precisely what dear Ken does. He suggests a $50 donation and promises a copy of his latest book in return. It’s regrettable to see AiG live up to fundamentalism’s worst impulses of “intellectual rigidity and obscurantism.”4 Scot McKnight laments that people often weaponize “inerrancy,” and “more often than not they are affirming some authority for a specific interpretation that is part of their tribe.”5 Thus, if you disagree with AiG, you’re surely not on God’s side.

Long ago, in 1980, journalist Frances Fitzgerald did a profile of Jerry Falwell and the then-new Liberty College. She observed:

For Thomas Road people, education—in the broad sense of the word—is not a moral and intellectual quest that involves struggle and uncertainty. It is simply the process of learning, or teaching, the right answers. The idea that an individual should collect evidence and decide for himself is anathema.6

That is the approach Ken displays in his letter. It’s also in the new Statement of Faith, which contains this declaration:

The concepts of “social justice,” “intersectionality,” and “critical race theory” are anti-biblical and destructive to human flourishing (Ezekiel 18:1–20; James 2:8–9).7

It provides no definitions for these terms. Ken just says they’re bad. This is troubling, because in his letter Ken assured me the new Statement was carefully worded to “stop people” from using it “to justify compromised positions.” He even declares AiG will “monitor” to see how folks “can get to justify not believing God’s Word.” To disagree with Ken is to disagree with God.

Again, the doctrinal mummification, the feet in concrete, the intellectual rigidity. Of course, one can be against all those things, but what does Ken think they mean?

Emil Brunner wrote about evil as a social phenomenon; an infection that spreads throughout society “and then breeds further evil … the evil which is incorporated in social institutions, and the evil which becomes a mass phenomenon, waxes great and assumes demonic forms.” He declared, “Evil which takes the shape of social wrong, or is incorporated within institutions … is worse than evil in any individual form, in isolation.”8

Surely Brunner has a point? Does not evil lurk in society at large as a force, an impetus, an orientation? Does it not shape-shift depending on context? If, as Carl Henry wrote, every society has its myth, and that myth is the framework in which the society chooses to invest its notions of meaning and value,9 can evil really be an individualized phenomenon?

Wolfhart Pannenberg rejected transmission of sin through a social nexus, but he acknowledged society was a vehicle that produced sin in the individual.10 Surely this is correct?

Donald Bloesch wrote that “sin has social as well as personal dimensions. It can appear in the form of racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, ageism, religious bigotry, ecological pollution and genocide … sin can poison the structures of a society as well as the heart of individuals.”11 Even Millard Erickson has a discussion on “the social dimensions of sin” in the latest edition of his systematic theology.12

Are these men all too woke?

Like many people today, conservative Christians often exist in an information echo-chamber. They’re socialized into it by their particular media, their peers, their schools, their families13 … their churches. Perhaps social justice, intersectionality, and critical trace theory are “anti-biblical” and “destructive.” What the thinking Christian mustn’t do is take Ken’s word for it.

Michael Bird warns about a “naïve biblicism” personified by Wayne Grudem, who doesn’t interact with non-evangelical theologians (like, say, Brunner, Bloesch or Pannenberg) and seemingly has no awareness of the sociocultural factors that have shaped him. The result is a theology that’s “open to being press-ganged to justify political agendas of the far left or far right.”14 The dangers need not be politics masquerading as theology―they can also be an unwitting intellectual and cultural isolation.

This echo-chamber can make a certain kind of Christian smirk when he reads President Obama reflect on the struggle to pass the Affordable Care Act: “I saw no way to sort out people’s motives, especially given that racial attitudes were woven into every aspect of our nation’s history.”15 The assumption is this cannot be true. But … what if it is true?

The legacy of racist and evil Jim Crow laws throughout the South is real. It’s an unfortunate fact that de facto “segregation academies” sprang up across the country, particularly in the South, after the Brown v. Board of Education decision declared “separate but equal” un-Constitutional.16 Bob Jones University didn’t ban interracial dating until 2000, and then only after suffering embarrassing media attention after George W. Bush made a campaign appearance at the school.17

On the very day Brown v. Board of Education was announced, a Senate sub-committee held hearings on yet another proposed “Christian Amendment” to the Constitution.18 The fact that some of the same Christians opposed Brown, whilst simultaneously advocating for a Christian Amendment, and then later supported and established private Christian schools (read “white schools”) to avoid the implications of forced de-segregation … is quite bizarre. It’s almost as if social structures, systems and cultural mores produce individual sin in people’s lives.

Be that as it may. I’m not arguing for the “evils” against which dear Ken is railing. I am arguing against the theological populism and obscurantism that are fundamentalism’s worst impulses. The fear of something new. Something different. Fear of a doctrinal introspection that bursts the bonds of a very narrow orthodoxy. Something that might shake those feet set in concrete or disturb the doctrinal mummy.

One historian has observed that early white fundamentalists spent their time fighting cultural battles, while their black counterparts often focused on racial advancement.19 This mania for the culture wars continues today in Ken Ham’s letter. Fear is the key. Christian historian John Fea observed “it is possible to write an entire history of American evangelicalism as the story of Christians who have failed to overcome fear. Evangelicals have worried about the decline of Christian civilization from the moment they arrived on American shores in the seventeenth century.”20 William Martin has noted the same phenomenon.21 At least one historian has made this “evangelical fear” the subject of an entire book.22 Remember Cal Thomas’ remarks about the prototypical fundraising letter? He recalls one operative admonishing him, “You can’t raise money on a positive!”23 Evangelicalism has always thirsted for the man on horseback to destroy enemies and save society. Therefore, AiG declares “social justice” (whatever that means!) is “destructive.”

People live by stories. “The cultural enterprise rests invariably on a secret or explicit faith.”24 These shared stories are what shape a people and bind a society together. Henry warns us that Christians are foolish to reject other people’s stories “as mere myth-spinning.” They are, all of them, a “quest for a comprehensive overview of reality”25―a reflection of the “I-Thou” relationship we were all made for and want.26

So perhaps, rather than not defining competing “stories” then dismissing them as “destructive, Christians should start telling our own story?27 Is that not what evangelism is about? Shall we be always on the defensive, sniping from the ramparts while calling for our brothers to bar the gates? If so, our message is simply “We hate you! Believe in Jesus or die a compromiser.” Mark Yarhouse rightly criticizes this approach in the context of evangelism to homosexuals.28 He calls for “alternative scripts” that tell a better story, the Christ story.

Clodovis Boff writes about a friend, a bishop, who cried as he recounted seeing a woman dying from hunger, unable to produce milk for her dying infant child.29 It’s experiences like these that gave rise to Latin American liberation theology―the quest to use the Gospel as impetus to change social conditions … social structures. Such a salvation is mediated by liberations “that dignify the children of God and render credible the coming utopia of the kingdom of freedom, justice, love, and peace, the kingdom of God in the midst of humankind.”30

Social structures, social justice―is this “destructive?” An unthinking Christian may reflexively dismiss this as babble from a “liberal.” He will turn to his trusted gatekeeper and receive assurance that, yes indeed, this is “liberalism” and therefore “bad.” He will look no further.

A thinking Christian will engage, push beyond the echo-chamber. Perhaps you’ll end up agreeing with AiG, but surely we must all raise an eyebrow or two when Ken Ham boldly tells us what truth is … without any evidence he himself understands what he maligns. We must do better.

Or I suppose you could just send Ken the $50 he’s asking for. After all, he’ll send you an autographed copy of his latest book.  

Notes

1 Michael Bird, Evangelical Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2020), p. 41.  

2 If you appreciate this reference, 50 bonus points for you …  

3 Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, Blinded by Might: Why the Religious Right Can’t Save America (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), p. 58.

4 William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway, 1996), p. 16.

5 Scot McKnight, “Inerrancy or Inerrancies?” 01 June 2021. Retrieved from https://scotmcknight.substack.com/p/inerrancy-or-inerrancies.

6 Frances Fitzgerald, “A Disciplined Charging Army.” The New Yorker. 18 May 1981. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1981/05/18/a-disciplined-charging-army.

7 Answers in Genesis, “Statement of Faith,” § “Man.” Retrieved from https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/.  

8 Emil Brunner, The Christian Doctrine of Creation and Redemption, in Dogmatics, vol. 2, trans. Olive Wyon (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1952), p. 96.  

9 Carl F. H. Henry, God Revelation and Authority, vol. 1 (Waco: Word, 1976), p. 156.  

10 Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, trans. Geoffrey Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), p. 255f.  

11 Donald Bloesch, Jesus Christ: Savior and Lord (Downers Grove: IVP, 1997), p. 45.  

12 Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), pp. 584-599.

13 Two sociologists label these as “agents of socialization” (Kerry Ferris and Jill Stein, The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology, 6th ed. (New York: Norton, 2018), pp. 109ff).

14 Bird, Evangelical Theology, pp. 88-89.  

15 Barack Obama, A Promised Land (New York: Crown, 2020), p. 405.

16 “After the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954, Southern public schools—sometimes entire school systems—shut down rather than desegregate. Private “segregation academies” sprung up to replace them. In some states, governments provided grants to subsidize tuition. The movement accelerated following passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited segregation in schools receiving federal assistance and authorized the government to file suit in federal court to enforce Brown,” (Rick Perlstein, Reaganland: America’s Right Turn: 1976-1980 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020), p. 346). See also Martin, With God on Our Side, pp. 168ff.

17 “Bob Jones University Drops Interracial Dating Ban.” Christianity Today. 01 March 2000. Retrieved from https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/marchweb-only/53.0.html.  

18 Kevin Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (New York: Basic Books, 2015), pp. 95ff.  

19 Daniel Bare, “The Unearthed Conscience of Black Fundamentalism,” in Christianity Today. May/June 2021, p. 64.  

20 John Fea, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018), p. 66.   

21 Martin, With God on Our Side, p. 2.  

22 Jason Bivins, Religion of Fear: The Politics of Horror in Conservative Evangelicalism (New York: OUP, 2008).

23 Thomas and Dobson, Blinded by Might, p. 58.  

24 Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 1, p. 156.  

25 Ibid, p. 155.  

26 Brunner, Creation and Redemption, pp. 55-56, and Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, 3.1 (reprint; London: T&T Clark, 2004), pp. 184-185.

27 Joshua Chatraw, Telling a Better Story (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2020).  

28 “What the church can help people with—regardless of whether orientation changes—is identity. We can recognize that a gay script is compelling to those who struggle with same-sex attraction, especially when they see few options emerging from their community of faith. Therefore we can help develop alternative scripts that are anchored in biblical truth and centered in the person and work of Christ,” (Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality and the Christian (Minneapolis: Bethany, 2010), pp. 54-56).

29 Leonardo and Clodovis Boff, Introducing Liberation Theology, trans. Paul Burns (reprint; Maryknoll: Orbis, 2006), pp. 1-2.  

30 Ibid, pp. 8-9.  

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There are 21 Comments

T Howard's picture

Oh, Tyler, where to begin...

 

Quote:
AiG’s isn’t “fundamentalist” because it believes what it does about Genesis. It’s fundamentalist because it has no room for generous orthodoxy. It engages in what Michael Bird calls “doctrinal mummification.”1 Its theology is frozen. Set in concrete, just like Reagan’s feet.2 No matter whether you have a different, well-articulated view―there can be no détente. Such would be weakness. These compromisers are “very liberal,” Ken warns. They must be crushed.

"Generous orthodoxy" has been a term used in the past to castigate doctrinally sound pastors and churches (i.e. remember the emergent church?) as "fundamentalists." If fundamentalism now means that churches hold strongly to their doctrinal statements about primary and even secondary doctrines, then may the fundamentalist tribe increase.

Quote:
First, they identify an enemy: homosexuals, abortionists, Democrats, or ‘liberals’ in general. Second, the enemies are accused of being out to ‘get us’ or impose their morality on the rest of us or destroy the country. Third, the letter assures the read that something will be done: We will oppose these enemies and ensure they do not take over America. Fourth, to get this job done, please send money (and the letter often suggests a specific amount).

Fast forward 22 years, were these letters wrong in what they predicted?

Quote:
That is the approach Ken displays in his letter. It’s also in the new Statement of Faith, which contains this declaration:

The concepts of “social justice,” “intersectionality,” and “critical race theory” are anti-biblical and destructive to human flourishing (Ezekiel 18:1–20; James 2:8–9).7

It provides no definitions for these terms. Ken just says they’re bad.

With this, I agree with you. These concepts mentioned need to be defined and explained before they can be described as "anti-biblical and destructive to human flourishing."

Quote:
Michael Bird warns about a “naïve biblicism” personified by Wayne Grudem, who doesn’t interact with non-evangelical theologians (like, say, Brunner, Bloesch or Pannenberg) and seemingly has no awareness of the sociocultural factors that have shaped him. The result is a theology that’s “open to being press-ganged to justify political agendas of the far left or far right.”14 The dangers need not be politics masquerading as theology―they can also be an unwitting intellectual and cultural isolation.

Your inclusion of Wayne Grudem as a personification of “naïve biblicism” and your statement that he doesn't interact with non-evangelical theologians makes me believe you haven't actually read Grudem beyond his systematic theology.

Quote:
So perhaps, rather than not defining competing “stories” then dismissing them as “destructive, Christians should start telling our own story?27 Is that not what evangelism is about? Shall we be always on the defensive, sniping from the ramparts while calling for our brothers to bar the gates? If so, our message is simply “We hate you! Believe in Jesus or die a compromiser.”

This is a false dichotomy. There is a need for both/and in these situations.

Quote:

Social structures, social justice―is this “destructive?” An unthinking Christian may reflexively dismiss this as babble from a “liberal.” He will turn to his trusted gatekeeper and receive assurance that, yes indeed, this is “liberalism” and therefore “bad.” He will look no further.

A thinking Christian will engage, push beyond the echo-chamber. Perhaps you’ll end up agreeing with AiG, but surely we must all raise an eyebrow or two when Ken Ham boldly tells us what truth is … without any evidence he himself understands what he maligns. We must do better.

In principle, I agree with your sentiment. However, no one has unlimited time and resources to personally research the intricacies and nuances of the postmodern social justice movement. To some degree, we have to trust others who have proven themselves trustworthy on other social / philosophical issues.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I pretty much agree your assessment, Tyler, but also want to pull back at the same time... because, as I've recently written, I've come to see myself as too often doing what I despise in response to what I despise. That is, being hypercritical of leaders/groups for their hypercriticalness, judgmental toward their judgmentalism, outraged at their constant outrage, hostile toward their hostility, etc.

So I don't want to be ungracious.

But there is at least one difference between me--at my worst moments--and AiG or the pundits on Fox News: I'm not making any money off of my ungraciousness. I'm in no way a "DOA pusher"-- one who hands out lots of Disgust, Outrage, and Anxiety to get people hooked, so I can then continually build on my market of DOA junkies.

Now, I'm not saying that's what AiG is doing. To me, it's not that bad, but there is some unfortunate overlap. And it really is a milder (so far) form of a disease that has so severely afflicted conservative evangelical Christianity and what remains of biblical fundamentalism.

Conservatism--whether theological, social, cultural, or 'political'--has a drug problem. It's become hooked on the feelings of militance rather than the core of the Christian struggle. And it's surrounded by social and other media sources that feed those DOA feelings and leverage them to increase their power and funding... and so the cycle continues.

Believers are indeed in a war, but Eph. 6:12, 1 Cor. 9:27, and 2 Tim. 1:7 have never been more vital to understanding what the war really is.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Tyler, Who are you attempting to persuade in this article?

When you start out by characterizing Ken Ham as "a man who runs two amusement parks," you can't seriously think that you're going to influence many supporters of AiG. (Perhaps a greater degree of humility and appreciation for the heritage of the modern creationist movement would be in order here, even if one ultimately disagrees.)

I'm also not sure I follow the trails that swerve among the various themes here ... especially the first one, which leaps from Ham to Thomas and Dobson.

God Bless, PJS

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

LGCarpenter's picture

I didn't read the article seriously much past this point:

Why does a man who runs two amusement parks believe...

To describe Ken Ham like this is at the least, dishonest if you are implying this is his only credentials, and no further credentials were provided before beginning the lambasting.  I do not entirely agree with the methodology of the letter as presented, but I wholeheartedly support an effort to remove comprise from our churches and other institutions, which it appears is the intent of the letter.

Mr. LaVern G. Carpenter

Proverbs 3:1-12

Don Johnson's picture

Is that he is very absolutist and dogmatic about others he criticizes for being absolutist and dogmatic.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

dgszweda's picture

Many of the things in his statement of faith should not be absolutist or dogmatic.  For example, 4,000 years between Creation and the Time of Christ is no where identified in the Bible.  You can infer aspects of it, but the inferring is fraught with challenges.  A statement of faith for a parachurch organization should not be a model for a statement of faith for a Christian Congregation.  First, because it overemphasizes aspects that are not critical to a church.  It devotes whole sections to creation, flood and other areas that are important to AiG, but not critical to a church.  Yet leaves out whole sections that should be present in a church's statement of faith.  Second, because a statement of faith for a parachurch organization is meant to define in very specific terms where an organization stands, whereas a church may be broader.  Whether it is 4,000 years or 100,000 years doesn't impact a church in the same way that it impacts a local body of believers.

Jim's picture

dgszweda wrote:
\A statement of faith for a parachurch organization should not be a model for a statement of faith for a Christian Congregation.  First, because it overemphasizes aspects that are not critical to a church.  It devotes whole sections to creation, flood and other areas that are important to AiG, but not critical to a church.  Yet leaves out whole sections that should be present in a church's statement of faith.  ....  Whether it is 4,000 years or 100,000 years doesn't impact a church in the same way that it impacts a local body of believers.

Agreed!!!

This is not the 1st time Ham has conveyed "his way or the highway"

JSwaim's picture

Send Ken Ham $50?

I took my family to both the Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter last week.  I got into the Creation Museum for free through my wife's college friend who works for AIG.  However, lunch (a sandwich, chips, and a bottle of water) for two adults, two teens, and two children cost $105.  The Ark Encounter?  $82.00 to get in, 85.00 to ride the 10 minute 4D Ark Experience, $88 to buy everybody a souvenir t-shirt (I passed on that "deal"), and $65 for lunch (a hot dog and a drink for everyone--I had to cut back).  It was unreasonable to leave the park for lunch because I had to ride a bus back to the parking lot, leave for a restaurant (and there is not one close by), drive back, and take a return trip on the bus--killing two hours during which I would see nothing of the ark.  Oh, and it was $10 to park both places. 

OK, I'm an American, I sell cars for a living and I have nothing against turning a healthy profit.  But an organization like this is NOT non-profit and should not be sending out letters for donations. 

 

Joeb's picture

Don I have to admit I got a real good laugh from your response.  Very Whittey.  I actually agree with Ken Ham's Genesis Position, but I also agree with some of the issues Tyler is raising.  

Ron Bean's picture

Maybe Tyler should have said "Christian" Amusement Parks?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

W. T. O'Harver's picture

Having visited the Creation Museum before the Ark Encounter was opened (circa 2014, I believe), the impression of the facility struck me as a hybrid of a children's museum, petting zoo, and botanical garden. Now it may have changed in the past seven years, and I do not mean to question Mister Tyler's assessment of Ken Ham's institutions. I will say, however, that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and considered the whole enterprise to be professional, entertaining, and meaningful.

"Amusement parks" tend to convey the mental image of carnivals, state fairs, and theme parks---screaming, excitement, barking carneys, thrills galore, and an overabundance of deep-fried foods. Whatever your position may be on Ken Ham's statement of faith, Answers in Genesis' call to scan churches for "compromise," or his intense young-earth creationism, it must be acknowledged that the Creation Museum is designed to portray the viability of the Creation narrative to nominal Christians and an unbelieving world. It exists to cause people to meditate and contemplate upon their own worldview and the alternative being presented before them. The Creation Museum stimulates (or at least, it used to) the minds of those who enter it to genuinely learn and consider Creationist philosophy. 

Ken Ham seems to have accomplished the purpose of a museum. I would never visit a museum if I felt that I could learn nothing from it, and I learned much from visiting the facility, even as a lifelong young-earth Creationist.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Ron Bean wrote:

 

Maybe Tyler should have said "Christian" Amusement Parks?

 

 

Is it fair to call the Creation Museum an amusement park? Haven't been there.

No, it is not. Nor is that a fair charge to make of the Ark Encounter.

If I could pick anywhere in the world to be for a day (entirely apart from even viewing any of the exhibits), I would take either of them, along with the Wartburg Castle.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

T Howard's picture

Jim wrote:

My take on the "Ark Encounter"

  • If one goes ...
  • It's a one-time visit
  • If so, will run it's course and have financial difficulties

My wife and I went to the Ark Encounter once two years ago because we received free passes. It's not worth $49.95 / adult to see it. When we went, it must have been senior citizens day because the ark was full of seniors on mobility scooters. You couldn't even get into some exhibits because of the scooter traffic jam.

Anyway, to the one-time visit comment above... I know several families and individuals who make the Ark Encounter an annual pilgrimage. It's their way of supporting AiG and the Creationist message.

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding whether something is a nonprofit, there are a lot of nonprofits (e.g. the Mayo Clinic) that take in huge amounts of money, and Mayo actually has revenue exceeding expenses by quite a bit--I think about half a billion bucks annually.   I had about the same experience as Jswaim when I visited back in 2007.

Regarding the question of whether they're museums or amusement parks, my visit to the Creation Museum in 2007 showed it to be presenting a particular point of view and some evidence.  The major point where I might almost accuse the Ark Experience of being almost an amusement park is that, unlike the real Ark, AIG's Ark is a building built on solid concrete foundations, whereas the point of building an Ark is to show....that a 450 or 500 foot long wooden ship is possible.  The real test (which I'm not encouraging because I don't want fatalities) is to float it down the Ohio and Mississippi and see how it does during hurricane season in the Gulf.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

Not to get too far afield of Tyler’s original article but we have been to both the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. Personally I thought both were well-worth the money. I’m a YEC that is not very interested in studying creation science and I still found it pretty engaging.
It may have something to do with the area one lives in too. In the PNW there is almost no even “cultural Christianity” things to see. It was a welcome change for me. I was amazed that they could pull off something on that scale with such unabashed biblical fidelity.

Ken S's picture

I suppose we could quibble about whether or not Tyler was too salty in his article, but the point remains: Why is Ken Ham promoting his statement of faith over and against local churches' SoF?

Perhaps he fancies the role of David Cloud/Way of Life and would like to become the new policeman of fundamentalism? He should be careful not to stir up too much trouble in churches as it is the people in those churches who are feeding money into his business ventures.

dgszweda's picture

I would call the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter as a Christian Theme Park, on par with the Holy Land Experience in Orlando (https://holylandexperience.com/).  The Ark Encounter is officially registered in the same category as an amusement park and is registered as a for profit company.  The Creation museum is classified as a museum and is probably closer to a museum in how it operates.

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