The dichotomy presented in the museum between man's knowledge and God's knowledge made me angry with its complete wrong view of human knowledge. John Calvin wrote that God gives common grace to those who don't believe. He gives them the grace to understand and investigate the world. Yes, man's knowledge without God is wrong, but then, you might rightly ask, is it real knowledge in the first place?
Oddly enough, the museum contained very little about the theory of evolution. It actually contains very little science, other than the fossil display, which is very cool. In fact, the Creation Museum saved its most obvious attacks not on atheist evolutionists, but fellow Christians who believe in some form of evolution.
There are quite a few of them: Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, Denis Lamourex. Early conservative Christian theologians during the time of Darwin like Asa Gray and B.B. Warfield. All of these guys and girls would say the Bible is God's word. They were, and still are, lights for Christ in their respective fields. All believe or believed in evolution in some form or another.
Forget theistic evolutionists, the Creation Museum can't even tolerate those who don't like evolution but believe the world is much older than 10,000 years. The thing that probably blew me away the most was the bookstore. As you go in, you notice that Ken Ham himself wrote about 50 percent of the books. There are some other authors and scientists, but I was struck by how much Ham's books seemed to dominate the shelf. There were no other books by Christians who might disagree with the Young Earth Creationist (YEC) perspective or even have a different view of YEC than Ham. The only mention I saw of it in the bookstore was a book critiquing old earth creationism. That's it.
After the bookstore, I couldn't take anymore. I left my group and went outside. I watched the atheists mill around the grounds outside. I watched the Christian families eat their picnic lunches by the beautiful lake. Both groups seemed like a race of aliens, neither of which I could join.
I didn't know what to think about the whole experience. I felt confused. I felt isolated from the atheists because of my firm belief in God. There are times when atheists have described me as "almost one of them" because of my love for science and reason. It amazes me that they might think my faith would cave so easily, especially in light of most of their objections to Christianity that I find so highly unconvincing. I mean, I realize it's their way of saying they like me, so I try not to be rude about it. I just tell them I won't be joining their ranks any time soon.
Yet, I also felt isolated form my fellow Christians walking the grounds at the museum because I thought their view of Genesis entirely mistaken. Even worse, I felt that, if they knew what I thought, they would question my belief in God and how faithful I'm really am.
It's happened to me a lot since I started working with atheists. Christians ask me all the time about my faith. They take the time to warn me about the apparent danger atheists are to my faith. They give me worried and concerned looks as if they're afraid I'll drop my faith the second the right atheist argument comes along. These are people who are friends of mine and should know better.
I appreciate the concern. I know it's supposed to make me feel better because people are worried about me. It makes me feel isolated when I'm around other Christians. It makes me feel as though they think I'm some sort of faith bomb that will go off at any moment spraying them with shattered faith debris.
That wasn't my real problem.
C.S. Lewis, in his book The Screwtape Letters, talks about spiritual pride. Screwtape is talking about Wormwood's patient hanging out with witty, urban nonbelievers on Saturday and then going to church with his fellow Christians the next day. Screwtape writes,
"Your patient can be made to take a positive pleasure in the perception that the two sides of his life are inconsistent. This is done by exploiting his vanity. He can be taught to enjoy kneeling beside the grocer on Sunday just because he remembers that the grocer could not possibly understand the urbane and mocking world which he inhabits on Saturday evening; and contrariwise enjoy the bawdy and blasphemy over the coffee with these admirable friends all the more because he is aware of a deeper, spiritual world within him which they cannot touch. You see the idea the worldly friends touch him on one side and the grocer on the other, and he is the complex man who sees around them all. Thus, while being permanently treacherous to at least two sets of people, he will feel, instead of shame, a continual undercurrent of self-satisfaction."
I realized at that moment I was in serious danger of doing exactly what Screwtape described. My danger wasn't that I would lose my faith. My problem wasn't that I had become overly critical of other Christians. My issue had become that my pride had taken over against both Christians and atheists. I had become perfectly treacherous to two groups of people and had grown to love the feeling. This had been the real part of my reluctance to attend the Creation Museum. I had been afraid that I would have to pick a side and lose my superior status.
In the midst of all that, I prayed. I prayed that God would forgive me of my arrogant heart toward my fellow believers. I asked God to forgive my silent scorn of atheists. I prayed that God would make me more open, more honest and more loving. I prayed that God would help me not to be so in love with my own cleverness.
With that, I walked back to the car with my atheists friends for our long drive back to Columbus.
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