Friday, September 5, 2008

My Take on the Creation Museum

G'day Mates. We spent the afternoon at the Creation Museum, thanks to the generosity of friends who loaned us guest passes. This saved us $154 since we took in the planetarium show as well, which was an extra cost.

Bad news, dawgs. I didn't like the place.

We started in the planetarium. That was awesome and sufficiently stunning and marvelous and reinforced my belief at how amazingly wonderful nature is.

Unfortunately, our next stop was the "Special Effect Theater" for the "Men in White" show. This was where things started to go seriously downhill. I couldn't figure out if the volume and sheer intensity was designed to impact a people who are used to lots of noise and sound, if they were trying to mimic being in a regular movie theater where the movies are very loud, if they were trying to evoke some particular emotions by making everything so loud and big, or if perhaps they just thought it would be cool to have a really loud, really jarring show. I didn't stay for the whole thing. I left when the auditorium ceiling started dropping raindrops on me and the screens started raging with the flood being reenacted. Kepler was sitting on my lap, and I knew Eli also prefers not to be in such overwhelming sensory stimulation. But, honestly, I left the room for myself (taking Kepler with me), because I did not want to sit through the program. Apparently, it got better, but it was more than I wanted to experience.

We walked through the rest of the museum and looked at all the exhibits, wondering which ones were real and which were memorex. You would see an exhibit of real tree frogs next to an exhibit of fake birds and slugs next to an exhibit of real birds. That was at the beginning of the whole walk-through thing, so I think I got the big "which parts of this are real and which are staged" question rolling around right off the bat. Of course the displays where, for example, Moses was standing there with his Stone Tablets, weren't supposed to be seen as real, but of course the intent at the museum was to convince you that the creation account in Genesis is true and that EVERYTHING else in the world and history hinges on that.

What I expected was information -- basically I figured we'd be seeing pictures with evolutions's explanation on one side and creation's explanation on the other. I did not expect all this trauma being shown in the "catastrophe" and "corruption" sections.

We enjoyed the botanical gardens outside, and the petting zoo. We all agreed we liked the outside better than the inside, and we all loved the planetarium show.

Because of the juxtaposition of the real and fake, I was left feeling like the place was a skillfully and excellently done science fair project called "Creation vs. Evolution -- why they are wrong and we are right."

Very well laid out from a commercial standpoint, from the beginning where you are encouraged to get a photo made to give you a "lifetime souvenir" with the tour ending in the gift shop, to the snack bars and restaurants placed strategically throughout. The exhibits are also very well done -- the wax figures were remarkably lifelike. The animatron dinosaurs were very cool.

Overall, a good experience because I had the opportunity to process the experience as something that happened rather than something that was good or bad, and certainly not an experience that had anything to do with whether or not I am a worthy, valuable person. Years ago, not liking this museum would have left me with the conclusion that I was first of all a very bad Christian, and second of all, a bad person for disliking it. But, I've come to believe that we're all different and we have different perspectives and takes on things. This post was my take on an experience I had. Your mileage may vary.

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