Creation Museum Hosts Atheists
August 12, 2009
PETERSBURG, KY, (christiansunite.com) -- While no one was sure what to expect when ideologies clashed on Friday, staff at the Creation Museum were pleased overall (despite some minor incidents) with how well the visit from the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) went. In fact, the Creation Museum, an outreach of Answers in Genesis, is open to future visits by the SSA or other similar humanist groups, seeking to be informed about arguments that support the Bible's account of world history, starting with Creation.
In a statement released on the day of the visit, Creation Museum co-founder and chief communications officer Mark Looy said "The Creation Museum welcomes anyone to tour our family attraction. We especially encourage visits by those who are skeptical about the Christian faith, as we offer a different perspective of world history (including origins) than what is presented in almost all natural history museums and public school science classes.
"We frequently come across blog comments from atheists and agnostics who visit the museum with their minds already made up and prepared to mock. But we note that they scoff at anyone who believes in a god, whether that person accepts the historicity of the Bible or not.
"We trust that such skeptics will be open to reassessing their dogmatically held views as they tour the Creation Museum, and will use their critical thinking ability to study the evidence on the other side of the evolution debate. Our museum has many exhibits of fossils and minerals, plus a state-of-the-art planetarium, along with several full-time staff with earned doctoral degrees (astronomy, biology, geology, history/philosophy of science, molecular genetics and medicine) -- all here to offer a view that is excluded in almost all public schools and natural history museums and thus generally withheld from the public."
Looy confirmed that most of the 285 SSA visitors -- which made up a small percentage of the museum's 2,240 guests on Friday -- were polite and respectful. Only one member associated with the group was asked to leave -- a videographer who disobeyed the museum director's request to stop filming a private conversation with a family (with a young son and daughter) visiting the museum from out of state.
Some members of the secular student group, however, did openly mock and make fun of several of the museum displays and astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle's lecture at the museum on Friday, showing a disrespect for guests and their beliefs. Looy commended museum staff this morning for their handling of these visitors, and for being gracious and helping to keep the experience as positive as possible for everyone else.
He also mentioned that at the end of the atheists' visit, the organizer of the SSA trip complimented the museum staff for its professionalism and hospitality, and apologized for the disruptive actions of some in her group. By contrast, mocking critiques (including profanities) of the museum staff -- as well as the biblical and scientific content of the museum's exhibits -- appeared on blogs written by some of the atheist visitors.
Despite these minor disruptions, the team at the Creation Museum welcomes the SSA or similar groups back any time if they can give firm assurances that their group will not be disruptive. "These are people who would probably not even think about attending church, and here, they got the Gospel message!" Looy said. "We are grateful for the opportunity to share with them."
Answers in Genesis is a biblical apologetics ministry and a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to confirming the validity of the Bible from the very first verse. In addition to the acclaimed Creation Museum, which has had more than 820,000 visitors since its grand opening in May 2007, Answers in Genesis outreaches include about 300 teaching meetings each year, an award-winning Web site and magazine, and the "Answers" radio program airing on 800 stations.