On Saturday (04 May 2013) I went with a small group of our members on a trip to go visit the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum itself was interesting, if only for how vacuous its content was, not to mention their dishonest portrayal of scientific theories and observations. I will go into that in later posts with some help from others that attended with me; there are plenty of details that warrant mention, and we need to collaborate a bit to describe everything to you.
What I would like to briefly tell about, however, are three statements made during a "question and answer" session (in quotes because he asked questions, and he gave answers; and I never got to ask how freshwater and saltwater creatures could both survive the Flood, so drat) that we attended at the end of our visit that made me actually afraid of Answers in Genesis and their employees.
The first statement was regarding Genesis 2:16-17, in which God promises Adam that he will kill him in the day that he eats from the Tree of Knowledge. Our presenter stated that God would have been completely right to kill Adam (for, again, eating fruit), but that he chose not to, because not only is God completely Holy and Righteous and thus cannot do evil, he is forgiving and gracious.
The second statement that our presenter said was regarding his contraction of leukemia, and how he had faced the question (like most people do when they are very sick like that) of "Why me?" And as most Christians phrase it: "Why me, God?" And indeed why me: he was a devout Christian, why did he get cancer? Well according to our speaker (and at least he prefaced this by saying it would probably smudge our opinion of him, as impossible as that may seem in my case but as completely correct as he was all the same), he got cancer because he deserved it. In fact, everyone who gets cancer deserves it. Everything bad that happens comes about because we are sinners and because we deserve it.
The third statement that he made followed very closely to the second; if there was so much suffering in the world, why doesn't God stop that? Why is there evil if God is all-powerful and all-good? His response to this problem of evil was to simply ask to atheists: "What is evil?" And when none of us spoke up to challenge him (and risk outing ourselves in that group, to you sir?), he gloated and said "See? They can't even answer that question."
I thought afterward about what would have happened if I had spoken up and suggested that human suffering could constitute a basis for defining evil. It didn't take me long to reflect on how useless that would have been, though. There I would have been, telling someone who had just said that God is justified in causing suffering – that humans deserved suffering – that suffering was evil. Of course he wouldn't buy it, he would just regress to his earlier point, and I would have to sit there embarrassed that I tried to converse with him.
Several people have told me since (with good reason) that we either wasted our money in attending the museum, both from the viewpoint that we are now $38 less well-off each (we paid also for a planetarium show that was, in my opinion, very neat, aside from the ridiculous lies about "secular" models of the universe), and also the viewpoint that these people just made $38 for each of us. I would say that while it's maybe not worth the cost, it's an interesting and humorous experience. It was quite a sight to behold, a "monument to scientific illiteracy," as professor of geology, paleontology, and evolution at UC Berkeley, Jerry Lipps, once put it. That had some value to it.
This is something though that I've had a couple of days to mull over, and I would like to provide a word of caution to people who are considering going on this trip. And it is the same word of caution that I would say to people that try to argue against God by using the existence of evil, thinking that you will be able to shame everyone into keeping silent about that implication: some have no shame.
I do not think that I need to explain why a single arbiter of moral values uproots the concept of morality in the first place, why whim cannot be allowed in moral law. I do not think I need to explain why we should fervently reject the concept of deserved suffering, of sin, especially when it is administered under the fairy tale shadow of past genocidal reciprocation. I do not think I need to explain why the carnal termination and degradation of human experience is immoral, perhaps the best definition of immoral.
What is evil? If it comes up again in our group to attend the Creation Museum as a field trip, I will remember my experience during that talk, and that even before consideration of the lies in that place, even before consideration of how they shame scientists, even before consideration of their racist and sexist undertones, even before consideration of their statements that rejection of scripture leads to moral relativism, even before consideration of the organization's blatant goal to uneducate the masses, I have an answer (albeit non-exhaustive) to that question: Answers in Genesis. And that's where my $38 is going.