The Creation Museum issued a response this week refuting much of the critiques that were made in a recent LiveScience article, including the claim that non-Christians are unwelcome.
"This is nonsense. We have hosts of non-believers come through the museum that are perfectly respectful," Answers in Genesis, the ministry that operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., said in its response.
"There is no compulsory Christianity here. This is a contrary to the fact fallacy," said the biblical apologetics ministry.
A LiveScience article on Wednesday summarized a study by Bernadette Barton, a professor of sociology at Morehead State University. She visited the Creation Museum three times as part of a larger project to try to understand "the fundamentalist framework."
While AiG is used to being criticized by evolutionists, the ministry pushed back against the LiveScience article, accusing it of "grossly misrepresent[ing]" its museum.
In a public rebuttal, the ministry tried to set the facts straight.
AiG made clear that the Creation Museum welcomes "all people as long as they are willing to behave themselves." Among its more than a million visitors, the museum has welcomed atheists and secular geologists.
While the LiveScience article noted that people who don't ascribe to fundamentalism often report the need to hide their thoughts for fear of being judged or snubbed, AiG responded, "Actually, this happens the other way around far more often.
"Often in public universities and schools that claim they are not religious, Christian students (and professors) are ridiculed and chastised."
AiG added, "We recognize that some visitors will feel somewhat uncomfortable being in a place that disagrees with their closely held worldview, even if it's presented in a respectful way as it is here. We also acknowledge that as the gospel is presented in the museum ... it will challenge people to accept the claims of Christ – that He is Creator, Savior, and Lord (Colossians 1). That is a message that can be convicting, but it is presented out of love and concern, and not in an aggressive way."
The Creation Museum opened to the public in 2007 and presents a literal interpretation of the Bible. Exhibits include dinosaurs co-existing with humans, and a huge wooden ark.
Clarifying some of the beliefs of Young Earth creationists, AiG explained that it fully embraces natural selection as an observable principle of science. But the ministry noted that natural selection is not evolution.
"Creationists obviously believe animals change, but we do not believe one kind will change into another kind."
AiG also clarified that it is not "devoted" to a message of proclaiming a young earth, as the LiveScience article presented, but it is rather devoted to biblical authority. And as a corollary of this, it is convinced that the age of the universe and the earth are around 6,000 years old.
"In reality, the Creation Museum is all about the authority of the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – and that's what guests learn as they take their 'walk-through history' according to the Scriptures," AiG stated.
The ministry also pointed out that the LiveScience article wrongly stated that there were exhibits in the museum discussing the sinfulness of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
"I'm aware of no such exhibits," AiG stated. "There is no museum signage that discusses gay marriage or homosexuality.
"Perhaps this is a reference to our teaching about Adam and Eve being our common ancestors, which comes directly from the Bible and provides us with God's definition of marriage."
Ultimately, AiG believes the LiveScience commentary and the Barton study are attacks on Christianity as a whole. The ministry laments that the commentary used labels that trigger fear and that could cause non-Christian readers to think twice about visiting the museum.
"By not touring, they may never receive a full treatment anywhere else of the wonderful teaching that the Bible is true – including its gospel message."