Do the American Atheists really want to take over AiG’s Ark Encounter for their new offices?
Well, that’s the goal, according to a claim made by atheists on a podcast. They were interviewing one of the attorneys with the notorious Freedom From Religion Foundation.
It’s all quite a story. But be assured: despite the fact the atheists are obsessed with Answers in Genesis, including the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, we will continue to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel more fervently than ever!
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This past Memorial Day weekend, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Creation Museum. Even before it opened in 2007, many secularists mocked the museum and claimed it would fail. They predicted that nobody would come and that it would close.
Even at rezoning meetings over 10 years ago, I remember hearing people predict that the museum would fail and urge county officials not to allow its construction on our proposed site.
Since we opened, various news sources, bloggers, and others have predicted the demise of the Creation Museum. Lots of what is now called “fake news” has included false claims of supposed financial problems and declining attendance at the museum.
Many secularists seem so worried about this one major Creation Museum—concerned that the museum will do so much damage to the secularist cause that they have to counter it by disseminating all sorts of nonsense. I suppose their propaganda efforts are being done with the hope the Creation Museum might have to close its doors.
For instance, an atheist blogger, who is an associate biology professor at a secular university, stated in 2013, “I’d tell you to go now while you still can, but I don’t want to give it a blip of attendance. . . . It’s time to let it die a peaceful, natural death.”
Well, as soon as we announced we were going to build a Noah’s Ark according to the dimensions in the Bible—surprise, surprise—the atheists renewed their opposition of AiG. Of course, they mocked and claimed that no one would come to the Ark and it would fail. (Actually, I could have written their anti-Ark articles for them; we already knew what they would say because they’ve said it all before. Yes, “there’s nothing new under the sun” [Ecclesiastes 1:9].)
And, as expected, many secularists have tried to spread all sorts of false propaganda about the Ark. Some have used drone footage or photographs of the parking lot when the Ark was not yet open for the day, or have taken photos of a section of the parking lot that was empty during lower-attended months, claiming no one was coming.
They’ve also taken photos outside the Ark that show very few people and claim the attraction is unsuccessful. But they neglect to report that thousands of people were inside the Ark or walking through the zoo behind the ship! In fact, the Ark’s occupancy permit allows up to 10,000 people if needed.
Refuting Outright Lies
Recently, an attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) went to the Ark to get video footage. He wanted to use it as a tool for a membership drive to gain more support for FFRF’s blatant atheistic activities. Here is a photo of the staff on their website. As you can see, they are “Unabashed Atheists.”
They posted the video to their website with a headline “Help Us Sink This Ark.”
You may recall that the FFRF is the group that has been bullying schools and counties across the nation to remove any semblance of anything Christian.
I shouldn’t have been surprised by the several untruths in the FFRF video, but I have to admit that I was shocked that an attorney (who is supposed to have been trained to conduct research) could tell so many outright lies.
When Christians ask me why atheists spread false information, I remind them that their actions illustrate a spiritual battle. The Bible tells us that non-Christians are spiritually blind and are “willingly ignorant” of the truth (2 Peter 3:5). It’s a great reminder for us that those who reject God “suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” as we read in Romans 1.
Examples of just a couple of the many outright lies in this atheist video include the following:
Lie #1: The Ark was “built with millions in taxpayer subsidies.”
Truth: Not one dollar of state taxpayer money has been used—the Ark’s construction has been totally privately funded. A rebate of state sales tax collected at the Ark will kick in later as a reward by the state for building in Kentucky, as opposed to a state like Indiana where two counties courted the Ark project. No money has or will come out of the state treasury and away from state services and programs; over time, the revenue generated by the Ark through tourism will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which will be flowing into state and local treasuries to help fund services they provide for citizens. It’s a huge net gain for the state.
Lie #2: The Ark was built “on land the government basically gave to him [Ken Ham].”
Truth: We paid about $7 million for the land. Now, some land was given to us by the county, though we really didn’t need it since we had already purchased 700 acres. The Ark Encounter is using the property for additional buffering, and we are paying taxes on the land.
Blatantly Bad Banter
The FFRF attorney, Andrew Seidel, was also interviewed on a podcast hosted by two skeptics, Natalie Newell and Dan Broadbent. The podcast is called The Science Enthusiast Podcast. Now, you really don’t want to listen to the entire program, as it is filled with vile language and lots of mocking, including of me personally.
But here is a partial transcript of that interview, which includes the remarkable assertion that the American Atheists want to use the Ark as their offices. I’ll include a few comments.
Andrew (FFRF): “[The Ark] is a really awful place, uh, just in terms of how . . . its worldview, its outlook and to expose children to that is awful enough in itself.”
These atheists hate the fact that we are reaching children with God’s Word; instead they want to indoctrinate children in their atheist religion.
Andrew (FFRF): “It’s hugely problematic especially given . . . the federal funds or, excuse me, the state funds and the local funds that are tied up in the park. And they actually haven’t been paying off because the place is empty really when we were there . . . saw maybe 50 people . . . half the people that I saw there were, uh, they were workers, you know, contractors who were trying to expand the park to accommodate all these crowds that don’t exist, um, and that’s partly because Ham really misrepresented the attendance figures when he was proposing this park and looking for public money.”
All the funds for building the Ark came from our supporters who made donations (about 43,000 people/families) and other supporters who funded the bond offering. Also the numbers visiting the Ark are exceeding our expectations this spring.
Natalie: “Well, and so, you know that being said, he [Ken Ham] was proposing this thing, right, that was going to bring tourists and was going to bring like probably some kind of economic like boom to this area, and it’s not really working.”
I point out that in March, Answers in Genesis received the Star of Tourism, a top award from the secular business and tourism world. That’s because of the phenomenal economic impact the Ark and Creation Museum have had on tourism in the region. Kentucky is being positively impacted to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year because of these attractions. Around 90% of those who visit the Ark and Creation Museum come from outside our tristate area of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Natalie: “So what? You know, you’ve [Andrew] been there. You’ve seen it. You know, kind of vacant and all of that, it still exists. What’s your prediction for the future of this thing? I know, you know, Ken Ham talks a big game, but like, is this just going to become like this barren Ark wasteland at some point?”
Andrew (FFRF): “I think, I think it will. . . . What I saw and again, you know, I didn’t go on a busy day. I didn’t go on a weekend, but based on what I saw, I don’t think that this place is going to be around for very long, I can’t imagine. I think the real question is what are we going to turn it into when it’s done or how long can Ken Ham prop it up, you know, using his private money and private donations. With things like that, I mean, I’ve seen a casino floated, I’ve seen a hotel floated, those ideas.”
These atheists seem to believe their own lies. Their arrogance is on full display as they discuss what might be done with the Ark, believing the ship is going to close!
Dan: “We had David Silverman [president of the American Atheists group] on a while back, and I know he said he wouldn’t mind moving the American Atheists headquarters there, too. So I know that’s out there, and I think we could start a GoFundMe for that, if it, when it gets to that point.”
Atheists are obsessed by the Ark and Creation Museum because they hate that these attractions are shining the light of God’s truth so brightly on the culture!
And that is what we do at Answers in Genesis: shine the light of God’s truth through the Ark, Creation Museum, our apologetics resources (books, DVDs, curricula, magazine, and so on), highly trafficked websites, radio programs, and more!
For the 10th anniversary of the Creation Museum, we just unveiled a new exhibit. In a visually striking way, we have expanded the last three C’s of the Seven C’s of the museum’s walk through biblical history: Christ, Cross, Consummation.
This summer, museum guests will view 15 wonderful displays of original artwork plus signage. This artwork presents the gospel beginning with Genesis and through the prophecies in the Old Testament, and then the Resurrection and Christ’s future return. To me, this artwork represents what the museum and Ark are all about and why the atheists so oppose us: God’s Son stepped into history to die and be raised from the dead, and he offers a free gift of salvation.
This new exhibit and all of our other expansions underway at the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum will prepare for the increasing crowds.