googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: The Ark Encounter

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Ark Encounter

I happened to visit Answers in Genesis' website a couple of days ago and noticed a banner saying there was going to be a big announcement today. Frankly, I had forgotten about it because a lot of times people will tease a big announcement for something that turns out to be not so big after all. Today, while my wife and I were pulling into the parking lot of a local, Chinese buffet, the noon news report on the radio announced that AiG was planning to build a “theme park.” The alleged park was reported to include a full-scale ark the size of Noah's and cost a projected $150 million! Wow!

During lunch, I had mixed feelings about the report. Was this truly going to be a “theme park”? Visions of something like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World were running through my mind. One criticism often leveled against the Creation Museum is that it's more like a “theme park” and not a serious museum. To bolster the point, I've seen critics post the photo of PZ Myers sitting astride the saddled dinosaur the museum has set up for a photo op. The critics refer to the saddled dino as an “exhibit.” It's certainly not an accurate criticism. However, if AiG truly built some kind of Noah's Ark theme park, it would likely validate the critics and seriously undermine their own credibility.

After lunch, I had to go into work and didn't get home until late. When I got home, I immediately went to AiG's website to learn more about the announcement. Much to my relief, it isn't really a “theme park” in the sense the radio report had implied. It is described as a “tourist attraction” and while the attraction will be themed, it isn't rides and games. The Ark Encounter website describes it as, “a one-of-a-kind facility that presents the full-size Ark and its historical background and times.” Besides a full-sized replica of the Ark (what it might have looked like), the attraction will also include a 100-foot “Tower of Babel” (what it might have looked like) with a 500 seat theater, a petting zoo billed as “Noah's Animals”, and several other themed attractions. Like the Creation Museum, it seems the Ark Project seeks to educate visitors in the historical reality of the Bible. It's purpose is to both educate and evangelize. Unlike the Museum, however, the new attraction will be “for profit.”

The radio spot also included a sound bite from Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. This man purports to be a Christian but since the Bible says we can know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16), I have my suspicions about him. One thing that helped seal the deal for the project is that Kentucky has special tax incentives in place to lure outside, tourist interests to KY. Barry Lynn feels that since the Ark attraction is overtly religious, it should not receive any kind of tax subsidy. I guess Mr. Lynn feels it's OK to subsidize a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race (which also received the subsidy) but not a group like AiG for an attraction like the Ark Encounter. Is he serious? I'm sure he is. Liberals think they're being “fair” when they exclude Christians from enjoying the same benefits available to everyone else.

There are still a lot of hurdles to jump before ribbon is cut at the new attraction's opening. All in all, I'm excited about it. When the Creation Museum opened, I was able to attend it the first week. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to visit the Ark Encounter in the Spring of 2014. Good luck to AiG.

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