The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.In addition to its emphasis on dinosaurs roaming the earth only a few thousand years ago and Noah riding the waves in his arc during a global flood, the Creation Museum "paves the way for greater understanding of the tenants of creation and redemption" by refuting the "traditional" understanding of science (it is worth noting here that a recent poll by the American Association for the Advancement of Science revealed that 99.85% of the material presented in the Creation Museum is refuted by the scientific community).
So what does this have to do with the theme of our blog? Well, as Jeff Pasley points out in his article mentioned above, none other than THOMAS JEFFERSON has been credited as being one of the museum's "intellectual progenitors." Pasley writes:
The Creation [Museum] is an expensive, high-tech send-up of modern scientific thought about natural history, devoted to presenting the text of the Bible as literal scientific fact and instilling visitors with a fear and loathing of the post-Enlightenment world. Yet guess who gets named by the article’s author (Joseph Clarke) as one of the museum’s intellectual progenitors? Poor Thomas Jefferson, whose liberal religious views and avid interest in Enlightenment science were constantly ridiculed and condemned during his life-time. He clipped all the miracles and supernatural references out of the Gospels for nothing, apparently.In this post, Pasley mentions an article by Joseph Clarke, who defends the Creation Museum's "scholarly" pursuit of scientific truth. In addition, Clarke pathetically attempts to include Thomas Jefferson as a supporter of the Creation Museum's mission. He writes:
But while the Creation Museum undoubtedly reflects these recent trends, moralistic distrust of city life has a rich history in America. When, in 1925, John Scopes was tried for teaching Darwinism to a high school science class in violation of Tennessee law, the case against him was argued by William Jennings Bryan, a luminary of the young fundamentalist movement and a staunch agrarian. In Bryan’s view, urban industrial capitalism was inextricable from the social Darwinist credo of survival of the fittest and the cultural ills to which it gave rise. Before Bryan, Thomas Jefferson argued against Alexander Hamilton that the cold rationality of economic development would lead to social waywardness unless held in check by a thriving agrarian culture: “Corruption of morals…is the mark set upon those, who, not looking up to heaven, to their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman, for their subsistence, depend for it on casualties and caprice of customers.” Jefferson’s proposed design for the Great Seal of the United States depicted the nation of Israel journeying through the wilderness in search of the Promised LandYes, even the religious skeptic, Thomas Jefferson, who not only doubted the legitimacy of Christianity but also removed a number of stories from his own Bible is now loosely linked with creationism! This is a bizarre attempt at linking modern creationism with America's founding history, especially when we consider Jefferson's own words on the "infallibility" of the Bible:
The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers...Happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Christianity, I must leave to younger athletes to encounter and lop off the false branches which have been engrafted into it by the mythologists of the middle and modern ages.