Four years ago, our writer Jim was tickled with the absurdity of the new Creation Museum, a project of Christian broadcaster Ken Ham. The museum features the mythical scene of original temptation, where “the snake coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”… so that modern Christians can repeat what their religion describes as history’s biggest mistake.
Ken Ham has moved on to bigger things, though. His latest project is to build a new version of Noah’s Ark, not really big enough to carry two of every animal, but big enough to impress those Biblical literalists who don’t understand the extent of diversity of life on Earth.
Ham pitches his project to believers with bucks by writing, “When Noah built the Ark, it stood as a symbol of salvation. No doubt Noah preached that only those who went through the Ark’s door would be saved from coming judgment. What if we built the Ark (out of wood) today? Imagine the impact it could have on the world. What a powerful outreach to teach the world about God’s Word and the message of salvation!”
Mr. Ham seems to have forgotten something crucial about the myth of Noah’s Ark. In the ancient allegory, the ark was not a successful symbol of salvation. The ark failed to communicate the promise of salvation. Nobody took it seriously.
Noah’s Ark is Christianity’s great legend of a divinely inept public relations campaign.
Ken Ham’s proposed recreation of Noah’s Ark, called Ark Encounter, is faithfully recreating the failure of the original ark to persuade. Fundraising for Ark theme park has stalled, and it now seems that the project may never begin at all.
Part of the problem for Ken Ham’s ark project may be that everyone expects him just to build the boat like Noah did. In the old myth, Noah and a few family members simply built a big boat using local trees and some elbow grease. Ken Ham has a different idea: He’ll just ask people to pay him lots and lots of money to build it… $24,500,000.00
Did Noah have a fundraising campaign? I missed that verse.
Ham’s particular gimmick for getting people’s money to build the new ark may be particularly discouraging. Ham is asking people to give in repeated monthly payments, which will enable the purchase of particular supplies.
For example, a gift of ten dollars a month, month after month after month, will buy one peg, says Ham. Does one peg cost that much?
At the current rate of fundraising, there wouldn’t be enough money to build the boat and its theme park until almost a generation from now, but Ken Ham says that the park could be open three years from now. Still, that would put the price of a peg in that boat at 360 dollars. A plank would be priced, at that schedule, at 3,600 dollars.
Would you buy a piece of that boat?