In Part I, I paid tribute to Ken Ham’s 4,000 space parking lot which has yet to fill to capacity.
As you can see from the photo below, when Joel and I went to the Ark Encounter, there was no line. In a recent post, Joel Duff addresses the question of the long-term financial viability of the Ark Encounter. Yet, Ham is obviously prepared for Disneyland length lines. For those who must wait or simply choose to stand around, Answers in Genesis has prepared a video presentation that ostensibly portrays the kinds of conversations Noah may have had with the pre-flood anti-Yahwist polytheists who fail to heed his warnings.
The production values of this brief looped video are of similar quality to most overtly Christian movies — poor. (i.e. Left Behind, God’s Not Dead, etc.) From the video, the impression that I got of AIG’s Noah is of a middle-aged man arguing with disrespectful tattooed teenagers.
The main theme of the video seems to be “if you listen to God (and build an Ark for example), then you will be mocked.” So, even before you get into the Ark itself, Ham has set up the us vs. them theme that dominates the rest of the exhibit, i.e. Answers in Genesis (aka self-proclaimed biblical Christians) vs secular atheists or AIG vs. “compromised Christians” (aka the vast majority of professing Christians).
The video is a fitting prelude to the exhibit in other ways. First, the conversation between Noah and the mocking heathens is a thinly veiled projection of Ham’s modern Christian fundmentalist agenda onto a prehistorical setting and giving it seemingly biblical authority by using the flood narrative. (See my post: Evangelical, Fundamentalist, and Dispensationalist: What’s the Difference?) Second, as is the case with the exhibits inside the Ham’s Ark, there is little to no attempt to imaginatively recreate the ancient world and ancient dialogue that could in anyway be described as historical. Like the side of Ham’s Ark, the biblical veneer of Ken Ham’s teaching is thin.
While I don’t recall any of the dialogue from the video, inside the Ark, the workers that Noah supposedly employed refer to Noah as a “religious fanatic.” Taking the flood narrative as historical for arguments sake, if Noah was the monotheist that Ham and Answers in Genesis make him out to be, then it is likely that polytheistic pagans would come to almost the exact opposite conclusion. The lack of devotion (religion) with respect to the gods would be seen as irreligious and atheist as it was in the early Christian Era. Now that would be a surprising and interesting way to begin the Ark Encounter. The heathens mock Noah and call him an atheist!