Ya gotta love the Creation Museum that recently opened in one of America’s true cultural and intellectual hotspots, Petersburg, Kentucky. As far as dumbing down religion, the beliefs espoused at this “museum” rank up there with the Catholic Church’s long-held assertion that the sun revolves around the Earth.
Believe it or not, there are intelligent and educated creationists who actually acknowledge that the Earth is more than 6,000 years old. Rather than deny the validity of proven scientific techniques such as carbon dating, they look for ways to reconcile their strong Christian beliefs with the large base of archaeological and anthropological evidence that shows our planet to be millions of years old.
Like televangelists and Christian Coalition rhetoric, the Creation Museum is geared towards the lowest common denominator amongst Christians, and is either insulting, humorous, or both to those with an ability to read the Bible and think at the same time. The problem with evangelicals is that most are too lazy or lack the education to pick up the Bible and develop their own understanding of what it says without having it spoon-fed by a charismatic preacher in an Armani suit, or the help of a Christian theme park.
As an example, most backwoods Christians think that a “day” from the perspective of Creation means 24 hours. Many educated creationists point out that a “day” of Creation time could actually translate to millions or billions of years, and that the Bible does not specify Creation as being a finite process. With these constraints removed, reconciliation of science and the Bible is possible if one considers that evolution is an ongoing process used to implement Creation. Unfortunately, most evangelicals are too brainwashed to accept that possibility even if they could understand it.
So what’s my point here? It’s that religion has become so dumbed down in this era of mass media and technology that we have lost our ability to develop our own understanding of, and relationship with, God. We rely on snake oil salesmen like Jerry Falwell to spoon-feed us their interpretation of the Holy Scripture and blindly accept whatever we are told. It is this type of blind acceptance that Islamic fundamentalists use to convince uneducated and naïve young people to carry out their evil bidding of suicide bombs and murder, and is why religious fundamentalism of any kind is so dangerous.
Once we give up our willingness to read and understand the Bible for ourselves we cede control of an important aspect of our life to another. If this isn’t a reason to fight hard for secularism then I don’t know what is.