Billboard campaign vs. the Ark Park

| 50 Comments

The Sensuous Curmudgeon informs us today that the Tri-State Freethinkers of Newport, Kentucky, will launch a billboard campaign that, as they put it, intends to “counter” the grand opening of the Ark Park in July. They have launched an IndieGoGo campaign with an intended goal of $2000; when I checked a moment ago, it looked as though they had raised nearly $3100 in a single day.

The billboard will read

Genocide and Incest Park
Celebrating 2000 Years of Myths

Yes, I know, that may be a bit over the top and, except for the picture, does not obviously refer to the Ark Park. But, dammit, the Ark Park is well over the top, and I intend to contribute $18* right away.
______

* A bit of numerology; even strict materialists can have traditions.

50 Comments

Sounds more like a way of publicizing themselves, actually.

I don’t think it’s going to be very effective to point out what a horrible story it really is to the general public, because the rejoinder will be that they don’t think it happened anyway, so what’s their complaint? Well, obviously it can be a bad story without being true–and worse for those who think it is true–but it’ll still probably sound hypocritical to the “godly.”

They’d likely be more effective if they’d poke fun at it, unless, of course, it’s more about getting publicity for themselves.

Glen Davidson

Can’t say I’m a fan of their message choice. I’d prefer motorists going to the park see a sign provokes this response:

Jimmy: “look at that sign dad, I never thought of that before!”

Rather than this response:

Dad: “Look at that sign Jimmy, just as I told you, atheists are dicks.”

But, to each his own.

I think with kids of a certain age, even teenagers, it could have a real impact. If they’ve been brought up on the “funny boat with animals” story, they may never have really faced the ugly “facts” behind it. Just seeing words like genocide and incest might spark some frightening realizations… and some questions that parents don’t want to answer.

But my prediction: if it’s put up, Christian arson will soon follow.

I wonder how Kentucky law applies. I assume the landowner leases the billboard spot to an outdoor advertising company. Does the landowner retain any right to control what gets posted? Does the billboard company have the legal right to refuse advertising they don’t like?

eric said:

Can’t say I’m a fan of their message choice. I’d prefer motorists going to the park see a sign provokes this response:

Jimmy: “look at that sign dad, I never thought of that before!”

Rather than this response:

Dad: “Look at that sign Jimmy, just as I told you, atheists are dicks.”

But, to each his own.

Agreed. The Tri-State Freethinkers need a little help with messaging.

Is there a classical painting of the people drowning in the Flood, which one could show with a message like, “When you are taking your kids to enjoy the ark, don’t let them think about what it’s celebrating”?

TomS said:

Is there a classical painting of the people drowning in the Flood, which one could show with a message like, “When you are taking your kids to enjoy the ark, don’t let them think about what it’s celebrating”?

http://www.italian-renaissance-art.[…]Ceiling.html

Just Bob said: Agreed. The Tri-State Freethinkers need a little help with messaging.

And I sadly agree with your comment that arson (or vandalism) will follow. Hopefully the Tri-State Freethinker’s budget for this project includes enough for a GoPro camera or something similar.

Dan Phelps has just informed us that reporter Chris Kenning picked up the story with the headline, Atheists to troll Ky ark park with billboards. The article appears in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

I’m wondering from where the “2000 years of myths” comes. Atrahasis is from about 3700 years ago, and it wasn’t the first time the middle eastern flood myth was told. Even the current Biblical version has to be 2500 years old or so.

2000 is a weird number, other than the fact that it’s almost how old Christianity is. But is that relevant with respect to the age of the flood myth?

Glen Davidson

Michael Fugate said:

TomS said:

Is there a classical painting of the people drowning in the Flood, which one could show with a message like, “When you are taking your kids to enjoy the ark, don’t let them think about what it’s celebrating”?

http://www.italian-renaissance-art.[…]Ceiling.html

No wonder the deity is pissed at mankind. In the scene “The Creation of the Heavenly Bodies(s)” he’s getting one hell of a moon and takes it out on mankind forever and ever!

Oh, and the ark depicted doesn’t look one bit like Ken Ham’s ark.

They are not free thinkers but thinkers with conclusions that define theor conclusions as uniquely free. Genocide and incest park?! Hmmmm. Are they by chance saying Christianity is found guilty of these charges? This because the Ark thing is from Christianity beliefs? Are there any reporters to press home their motives here? These people have something wrong with them!! What in the world do evil gross concepts like murder and rape of children have to deo with a christian theme park??? What?????? Are they inmsuinuatingh something here? Panda thumb folks should not be embracing this. It smacks of a hate accusation. The ark will float but not these billboards. Surely the state has rules about content. If they can’t get a few thousand dollars then its really showing how obscure they are. Real genocide/rape victims have a right to complain about this misuse of these concepts just to sink a Christian doctrine. The type of people that made the ark necessary eh. If I was not a nice Christian I would welcome this as a great embarrassment of these groups. Instead YUCK and please stop. This would never be legal in Canada.

Robert Byers said:

They are not free thinkers but thinkers with conclusions that define theor conclusions as uniquely free. Genocide and incest park?! Hmmmm. Are they by chance saying Christianity is found guilty of these charges? This because the Ark thing is from Christianity beliefs? Are there any reporters to press home their motives here? These people have something wrong with them!! What in the world do evil gross concepts like murder and rape of children have to deo with a christian theme park??? What?????? Are they inmsuinuatingh something here? Panda thumb folks should not be embracing this. It smacks of a hate accusation. The ark will float but not these billboards. Surely the state has rules about content. If they can’t get a few thousand dollars then its really showing how obscure they are. Real genocide/rape victims have a right to complain about this misuse of these concepts just to sink a Christian doctrine. The type of people that made the ark necessary eh. If I was not a nice Christian I would welcome this as a great embarrassment of these groups. Instead YUCK and please stop. This would never be legal in Canada.

“inmsuinuatingh”

Gods you’re dumb, Byers.

The genocide is the work of your monster god, Byers. Your god wiped out almost everyone on earth. The incest is the mating of the survivors of the flood, necessitated by your god’s mass murders of all other possible mates.

At least that’s how I read the charges.

Further incoherent comments by Mr. Byers will be sent to the Bathroom Wall.

No. Michelangelo painted the Ark from how the word is translated in the Latin Vulgate Bible which was the only one he’d read. “Arca”, as the Vulgate has it, means a chest or a box, or more generally a place for safekeeping. This is actually most likely closer to the original Hebrew in meaning than the specialist English word “ark” which has come to mean “the thing that Noah built, whatever it was.” The Hebrew probably means “a container, a box, a chest”. The same word is used to signify the basket that the mother of Moses put him in to float on the Nile and be found by Pharaoh’s daughter. So Michelangelo painted it as a sort of floating reliquary, the kind of thing he saw in churches all the time.

The obvious fact that such a thing could not possibly survive in any kind of sea probably didn’t occur to him nor to anyone who originally viewed the painting. Had it occurred, it would have been dismissed as irrelevant. It’s only modern fundamentalists who insist that the whole story was selectively literal. There really was a flood and a boat, but the boat was boat-shaped because otherwise it wouldn’t look like a boat, and the fact that a boat-shaped arc would need as many miracles as a box-shaped one is ignored.

Dave Luckett said:

No. Michelangelo painted the Ark from how the word is translated in the Latin Vulgate Bible which was the only one he’d read. “Arca”, as the Vulgate has it, means a chest or a box, or more generally a place for safekeeping. This is actually most likely closer to the original Hebrew in meaning than the specialist English word “ark” which has come to mean “the thing that Noah built, whatever it was.” The Hebrew probably means “a container, a box, a chest”. The same word is used to signify the basket that the mother of Moses put him in to float on the Nile and be found by Pharaoh’s daughter. So Michelangelo painted it as a sort of floating reliquary, the kind of thing he saw in churches all the time.

The obvious fact that such a thing could not possibly survive in any kind of sea probably didn’t occur to him nor to anyone who originally viewed the painting. Had it occurred, it would have been dismissed as irrelevant. It’s only modern fundamentalists who insist that the whole story was selectively literal. There really was a flood and a boat, but the boat was boat-shaped because otherwise it wouldn’t look like a boat, and the fact that a boat-shaped arc would need as many miracles as a box-shaped one is ignored.

Just one of the things that the literal inerrant Sola Scritura crowd add to (or subtract from) the Bible in order to make it conform to what they want.

I agree with those who say the wording of the billboard(s) lacks class. But then after seeing the effect on Byers.…I’m thinking the wording might be the first time a lot of YECs read something that mentions just how unloving that god of the ancients was. I mean, drowning a few million human babies and kids is one thing.…but drowning puppies, kittens and baby birds is another. Whacking some people upside the head is the only way you can get their attention. The wording certainly gave Byers a moment of thought…though he probably won’t dwell on it more than a few seconds. Too risky to his faith.

I think it is really the “incest” that is a bit much, and really unnecessary. While matings between first cousins are best avoided if possible, most people probably wouldn’t label them ‘incest’. Marriage to a first cousin is permitted in 21 states and thus is not legally incest there (although it is illegal in Kentucky). Now Adam’s kids are a whole other issue if A&E are the parents of all mankind (but Gen 4:16-17 seems to assume there were other folks around).

Just Bob said:

I think it is really the “incest” that is a bit much, and really unnecessary. While matings between first cousins are best avoided if possible, most people probably wouldn’t label them ‘incest’. Marriage to a first cousin is permitted in 21 states and thus is not legally incest there (although it is illegal in Kentucky). Now Adam’s kids are a whole other issue if A&E are the parents of all mankind (but Gen 4:16-17 seems to assume there were other folks around).

I’m pretty inexpert on religious myths; who among the flood survivors were neither parent, child, sibling, or grandchild to one another?

See Charles II of Spain, the last of that. branch of the Habsburgs, for an example of the kind of inbreeding that the Ark would suppose.

I’m pretty inexpert on religious myths; who among the flood survivors were neither parent, child, sibling, or grandchild to one another?

I do not think there is necessarily any incest in the Noah story itself. Noah’s sons would have begotten siblings and cousins. As long as you allow first cousins to marry, the relationships in that generation are not necessarily incestuous. I will let a biologist comment on whether the population is inbred.

That said, there is significant incest in the Bible. Abraham marries his half-sister Sarah, for example (though that may not have been considered incest at the time). Lot’s daughters get him drunk so that he can impregnate them. And Amram, the father of Moses, marries his own aunt, Yocheved (again, I do not know whether that was considered incest then). Those myths are a lot more than 2000 years old, but who’s counting?

If you are in a prurient mood, incidentally, you can see more incestuous relationships here, but I frankly do not think they are all proper incest.

I will let a biologist comment on whether the population is inbred.

Sorry, I had not noticed TomS’s remark when I posted that sentence.

Matt Young said:

I’m pretty inexpert on religious myths; who among the flood survivors were neither parent, child, sibling, or grandchild to one another?

I do not think there is necessarily any incest in the Noah story itself. Noah’s sons would have begotten siblings and cousins.

With whom? Or did the myth-tellers retcon some wives onto the ark?

phhht said:

With whom? Or did the myth-tellers retcon some wives onto the ark?

IIRC Noah’s three sons each brought a wife as part of their allowed cargo.

stevaroni said:

phhht said:

With whom? Or did the myth-tellers retcon some wives onto the ark?

IIRC Noah’s three sons each brought a wife as part of their allowed cargo.

Thanks.

stevaroni said:

phhht said:

With whom? Or did the myth-tellers retcon some wives onto the ark?

IIRC Noah’s three sons each brought a wife as part of their allowed cargo.

From the New Testament, 1 Peter 3:20 says explicitly that there were eight on the Ark. Otherwise, one could fudge the story to allow several wives per son.

I don’t know the details of this, and it may serve to provide yet more publicity for the Ham science denial enterprise, but Ham and his ‘researchers’ are on the case and appear to be claiming anti-Christian persecution: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/[…]-christians/

PS https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpres[…]rd-campaign/ (only skimmed as I only skimmed the Ham post - I’m in the UK)

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

They are not free thinkers but thinkers with conclusions that define theor conclusions as uniquely free. Genocide and incest park?! Hmmmm. Are they by chance saying Christianity is found guilty of these charges? This because the Ark thing is from Christianity beliefs? Are there any reporters to press home their motives here? These people have something wrong with them!! What in the world do evil gross concepts like murder and rape of children have to deo with a christian theme park??? What?????? Are they inmsuinuatingh something here? Panda thumb folks should not be embracing this. It smacks of a hate accusation. The ark will float but not these billboards. Surely the state has rules about content. If they can’t get a few thousand dollars then its really showing how obscure they are. Real genocide/rape victims have a right to complain about this misuse of these concepts just to sink a Christian doctrine. The type of people that made the ark necessary eh. If I was not a nice Christian I would welcome this as a great embarrassment of these groups. Instead YUCK and please stop. This would never be legal in Canada.

“inmsuinuatingh”

Gods you’re dumb, Byers.

The genocide is the work of your monster god, Byers. Your god wiped out almost everyone on earth. The incest is the mating of the survivors of the flood, necessitated by your god’s mass murders of all other possible mates.

At least that’s how I read the charges.

OHHHH. I missed that. That would make more sense. the genocide being the flood on mankind and then the incest being the close family. Actuially Adam/eve kids would be incest by our standard. i thought it was a general attack on Christianity. Anyways genocide/incest is poor form and dumb and hurts the accusers. its laughable.

Robert Byers said:

Anyways genocide/incest is poor form and dumb and hurts the accusers. its laughable.

Gods, you’re dumb.

So it would be “poor form” to “accuse” Heinrich Himmler of genocide or Egyptian dynasties of incest? Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to be guilty of “poor form” by accusing them of anything like that!

Do you have a better term than genocide for killing everybody in the world–men, women, children, babies, fetuses… everybody–except for 8 adults? What term would you suggest that wouldn’t be “poor form”?

Robert Byers said:

OHHHH. I missed that. That would make more sense. the genocide being the flood on mankind and then the incest being the close family. Actuially Adam/eve kids would be incest by our standard.

Yes. Yes, Robert.

Destroying absolutely fucking everyone in a spasm of childish petulance would be “genocide”, by our standards.

Continually cross-breeding a family of 3 brothers and their 3 wives to produce generations of children would involve a whole lot of “incest”, by our standards.

And yes, shockingly, the same issues would apply to Adam and Eve, since, apparently Eve had the only vagina to go around for dozens of years and after that her daughters and sons would have to do the deed incessantly to populate the Earth. Definitely “incest”, by our standards.

You speak the truth, for a change, but you still have yet to make a point.

I’m disappointed that the freethinkers produced such a shoddy, tacky sign.

Freethinkers, in my experience, are far more nuanced and witty than that.

Doc Bill said:

I’m disappointed that the freethinkers produced such a shoddy, tacky sign.

Freethinkers, in my experience, are far more nuanced and witty than that.

I don’t believe they’ve actually produced it yet, just a tentative design. Maybe some members read PT and will consider a little REdesign.

Doc Bill said:

I’m disappointed that the freethinkers produced such a shoddy, tacky sign.

Freethinkers, in my experience, are far more nuanced and witty than that.

Yes, indeed. I was just going to bother to note this…

Rather than fairly criticizing the scientific inaccuracy and questionable tax status of Ark Encounter, they’ve chosen to go with ambivalent and deliberately non-persuasive language.

Everyone is perfectly aware that the Noah myth, in its Biblical form, says that all the humans in the world except Noah’s family were drowned.

That’s horrific and does imply that those who take it literally think that “Anything God does is by definition right”, which does imply that as authoritarian followers they will passively acquiesce to anything if they think it can be rationalized as a command of God or a human authority representing God. That’s terrifying to some degree, but it does not imply that they condone genocide as a general principle. Strained arguments about past massacres or genocides committed by people from a broadly Christian cultural background will just be more of the same (which won’t, I guarantee, stop someone from making them).

As for incest, in the Biblical version of the myth, Noah’s sons already have wives. The story obviously implies subsequent first cousin incest, of course, because everybody subsequently born had to be at least a first cousin with everyone else. But it doesn’t imply brother-sister or parent-child incest, nor even voluntary first cousin incest in the presence of other choices, so that’s overblown as well.

The usual reason for making shit up and ascribing it to your opponent, instead of arguing against what your opponent actually says and does - AKA “erecting a straw man” - is lack of ability to argue against your opponents’ true position.

In the case of Ken Ham that’s hard to believe. I mean, anybody with a few functioning neurons can strongly argue against all of Ken Ham’s actual stated positions.

This sign is in no way shape or form intended to do the good work of reducing scientific ignorance or eliminating tax subsidy for a blatantly religious project. Rather, the sole objective is to create shock and outrage, for the juvenile amusement of those who are putting it up. Rather than seeking to educate, it seeks to enrage. I’m not condoning the culturally biased, easily manipulated bigots who will be enraged by the sign. I am not denying the right of this group to put up signs that enrage them. I’m just saying I think the whole thing is silly. “I’ll say anything to piss off religious people” is an inevitable attitude among young teenager giddy with the first moments of independence, but is rather silly as an adult motivation.

It is their legal right to take that approach, but I certainly don’t think “free thinking” had much to do with it, and I see no reason to contribute, to say the least.

True freethinkers should rise above this kind of rhetoric. I feel their anger at times, but this reads more like a knee-jerk reaction than a well thought-out message. It merely reinforces the stereotype of “those angry atheists”, and more than likely sways local politicians to favor the park’s cause should another legal challenge arise. Instead, a less hostile clever parody would be more likely to appeal to the drive-by audience.

QED said:

True freethinkers should rise above this kind of rhetoric. I feel their anger at times, but this reads more like a knee-jerk reaction than a well thought-out message. It merely reinforces the stereotype of “those angry atheists”, and more than likely sways local politicians to favor the park’s cause should another legal challenge arise. Instead, a less hostile clever parody would be more likely to appeal to the drive-by audience.

As a true Scotsman freethinker, I’m in favor of the sign.

I think it’s good to make the hideous cruelty of the Christian god explicit, if only to counter the sanctimonious claims of a “loving” and “just” god.

The god who drowned everybody on earth is certainly neither of those things.

I’d rather have them save their financial resources for the future lawsuit. You know, the lawsuit they could bring for religious discrimination when one of the freethinkers applies for and is denied employment.

I think the idea is worthwhile, but their proposed execution leaves much to be desired. I’m not an advertising guy, but I think something more along the lines of this would make the Hamites squirm:

Kids, when you go to the Ark, ask them why there were no little kids or babies on it, and what happened to them all.

A third grader could read that, but he wouldn’t likely know what either genocide or incest mean.

phhht said:

QED said:

True freethinkers should rise above this kind of rhetoric. I feel their anger at times, but this reads more like a knee-jerk reaction than a well thought-out message. It merely reinforces the stereotype of “those angry atheists”, and more than likely sways local politicians to favor the park’s cause should another legal challenge arise. Instead, a less hostile clever parody would be more likely to appeal to the drive-by audience.

As a true Scotsman freethinker, I’m in favor of the sign.

I think it’s good to make the hideous cruelty of the Christian god explicit, if only to counter the sanctimonious claims of a “loving” and “just” god.

The god who drowned everybody on earth is certainly neither of those things.

Internally, I get you. But lately, whether discussing religion or politics, I’ve found a gentler more reasoned approach has won more respect and consideration than my former hard-core rage. Then again, I may just be getting too damn old, or just haven’t had enough Zombie Dust tonight…

As the rabbi in the old joke says, “You are all right.” But it seems to me that the proposed wording is awkward, insulting, and (worst of all) unclear, partly because the Noah myth has nothing to do with incest. I think something along the lines of

The Ark Park

Did the flood really happen?

Did God commit genocide?

might be more to the point, but I have not burned a lot of psychic elbow grease worrying about the problem.

At the risk of being super-pedantic (the only superpower I’m ever likely to have), isn’t the ‘2000 years of Myths’ bit inaccurate? Isn’t the Flood more like a 3000-or-more-year-old myth? Back to lurking…

QED said:

phhht said:

QED said:

True freethinkers should rise above this kind of rhetoric. I feel their anger at times, but this reads more like a knee-jerk reaction than a well thought-out message. It merely reinforces the stereotype of “those angry atheists”, and more than likely sways local politicians to favor the park’s cause should another legal challenge arise. Instead, a less hostile clever parody would be more likely to appeal to the drive-by audience.

As a true Scotsman freethinker, I’m in favor of the sign.

I think it’s good to make the hideous cruelty of the Christian god explicit, if only to counter the sanctimonious claims of a “loving” and “just” god.

The god who drowned everybody on earth is certainly neither of those things.

Internally, I get you. But lately, whether discussing religion or politics, I’ve found a gentler more reasoned approach has won more respect and consideration than my former hard-core rage. Then again, I may just be getting too damn old, or just haven’t had enough Zombie Dust tonight…

I wish that that were the case.

Matt Young said:

As the rabbi in the old joke says, “You are all right.” But it seems to me that the proposed wording is awkward, insulting, and (worst of all) unclear, partly because the Noah myth has nothing to do with incest. I think something along the lines of

The Ark Park

Did the flood really happen?

Did God commit genocide?

might be more to the point, but I have not burned a lot of psychic elbow grease worrying about the problem.

Actually, a positive sign about the benefits of science would be even better. Let people form their own conclusion. Let’s do a thought experiment and pretend to ask Ken Ham. Which do you think he would be more bothered by? A positive sign advertising competition from a strong natural history museum? Or a stupid sign making it look as if he’s “persecuted by atheists”.

DanHolme said:

At the risk of being super-pedantic (the only superpower I’m ever likely to have), isn’t the ‘2000 years of Myths’ bit inaccurate? Isn’t the Flood more like a 3000-or-more-year-old myth? Back to lurking…

People are criticizing the sign because it’s deliberately harsh and confrontational, but the fact that it’s harsh, confrontation and factually inaccurate is the real problem. The stories are much more than 2000 years old, and the Noah myth, even taken “literally”, does not condone genocide by humans against other humans, nor incest in the sense implied by the word in American culture, nor even voluntary first cousin marriage when other choices are available. Nor does Ken Ham. The fact that the sign isn’t true is the major problem.

“Tone” is a problem as well, and a significant one, because implying that you want to change peoples’ minds but then behaving in a way that can be scientifically predicted to make them double down on their current beliefs is either naive, hypocritical, or both (usually naive).

When you shoot yourself in the foot, it’s as beneficial for your adversary as if he had shot you in the foot himself. In fact he achieves the result without wasting money on a bullet.

I think it’s good to make the hideous cruelty of the Christian god explicit, if only to counter the sanctimonious claims of a “loving” and “just” god.

That’s a valid point but then why confuse the issue by protesting the Ark Park, where science denial and misuse of tax dollars are also in play?

Go to the most liberal, diverse, gay-marriage-performing church in KY and protest them. Because they also believe in a “loving” and “just” god. That way, your message will be clear. “I am protesting against the very concept of a loving and just god”. I don’t believe in one, either, although I don’t care if others do. But if that’s what you want to protest, make your message clear.

Obviously, you might want to protest both ID/creationism and its unique abuses, and the very concept of a loving and just god. I offer the suggestion that when criticizing Ken Ham, pointing out his unique obnoxious features makes sense.

ID/creationists are not unique in claiming that there is a loving and just god, they’re unique in denying biological evolution and demanding taxpayer funding of science denying for that form of science denying dogma.

Having said all that, the sign is 100% legal free expression, and unlike Ken Ham, it won’t be inappropriately tax-subsidized. I strongly support the right of this group to put it up. I’m merely opining on what I think would be an even better way to spend the same energy and resources.

TomS said:

QED said:

phhht said:

QED said:

True freethinkers should rise above this kind of rhetoric. I feel their anger at times, but this reads more like a knee-jerk reaction than a well thought-out message. It merely reinforces the stereotype of “those angry atheists”, and more than likely sways local politicians to favor the park’s cause should another legal challenge arise. Instead, a less hostile clever parody would be more likely to appeal to the drive-by audience.

As a true Scotsman freethinker, I’m in favor of the sign.

I think it’s good to make the hideous cruelty of the Christian god explicit, if only to counter the sanctimonious claims of a “loving” and “just” god.

The god who drowned everybody on earth is certainly neither of those things.

Internally, I get you. But lately, whether discussing religion or politics, I’ve found a gentler more reasoned approach has won more respect and consideration than my former hard-core rage. Then again, I may just be getting too damn old, or just haven’t had enough Zombie Dust tonight…

I wish that that were the case.

It is the case.

Hard core rage and purity testing are good for raising yourself up within a group of people with already made up minds, but you have to stick to the message. Ken Ham and Donald Trump can’t stray from what their followers want to hear, or they’ll be discarded. They can’t try to shift opinions. That’s a much harder job, and one their techniques don’t work for.

Raging will also attract a limited number of new followers who are merely filled with incoherent rage for some personal reason. They’re just the same people who make internet death threats against someone who puts up an awkward Youtube video, fly into a rage every time someone changes into their lane on the highway, and so on. Of course, if two sides are both raging, they’ll randomly sort.

Stepping back for a moment, let’s recall the original scope of the Ark Park. It was to have the Ark and petting zoo, Tower of Babble, 1st Century town with actors or docents, the Seven Plagues of Egypt ride and a gift shop/restaurant. I think that’s it.

Have you been to a petting zoo? Have you been BACK to a petting zoo? I didn’t think so. It’s not what anyone over the age of 4 would consider a “good time had by all.”

Tower of Babble, anybody? Sound like fun? I didn’t think so. They don’t even have a zip line down to Gomorrah. That might have had possibilities.

Seven Plagues of Egypt ride. Right, sit in a bucket car and get pelted with fake frogs. River of blood sounds positively delightful. Lunch anyone?

Even fully operational the Ark Park sounds like the kind of place you’d take your mother-in-law, promising to pick her up in October. What could possibly induce a person to make a RETURN VISIT? Oh, yeah, the zip line to Gomorrah.

However, the Ark Park won’t have all that stuff when it opens in July. Nope, it might not even have the petting zoo. Just the big old Ark and some dioramas.

The Freethinkers should put up a billboard featuring a sad child and a scrawny goat, “My secular friends went to Disney World. Thanks, Obama.”

I recall reading a children’s Christian story book with pictures many times when I was a kid. Of course one of the stories was the flood story. One of the pictures showed people banging on the door of the ark as the flood waters rose. Not once did I ever think about the horror of the act because the people who were about to drown were evil and had it coming to them. After all, that was the point of the flood. I doubt if a billboard talking about genocide will have any affect on the true believers.

Anyone who is not already convinced of the flood story is going to be convinced by a visit to the faux-Ark. Likewise, no one who is already convinced of the flood story is going to abandon those beliefs because of a billboard regardless of the content. While I understand what they are trying to do with the billboard, I agree with the opinion that it will reinforce the faith of the so-called persecuted Christians. The billboard is going to put money into Ken Ham’s pocket.

Alicejohn tells us that the billboard is going to put money into Ken Ham’s pocket, and I’m afraid that’s right. The response of that particular subculture to a perceived attack is not even to hunker down - it’s to counterattack. They’ll pony up to enable Ken Ham to stick it to the atheists.

What’s always got me about the Flood legend is that it’s horrible. It’s not just that everyone dies - let’s face it, everyone does die. It’s the way of it. God could have struck them all dead in an instant - he’s omnipotent, right? But no. That was too good for them. Instead, he has to bring the flood. People watched with increasing concern, then dread, as the waters rose. They removed to higher ground, but no good. Some would be swept away trying to rescue others. People would hold their children up as they wailed in fear, drowning as they tried to save their babies, but all in vain. The water would cover their heads, rush into their mouths. They would know minutes, hours, days of horror and terror, struggling in the water, then agony as exhaustion took them, and they were no longer able to hold their heads up, and they breathed tortured breaths as the water filled their lungs and they drowned. All of them. Men, women, children, toddlers, infants, all the same horrifying, slow, agonised deaths, tortured with hope and despair. Because that’s the way God wanted to do it.

The only release from the horror and the disgust is the certainty that it never happened. There was no world-wide flood. There was never a moment when there were eight human beings alive. It’s a story. God, if He exists at all, was never that malevolent.

But Ken Ham is building an Ark. Ken Ham believes it all. The Flood was a fact. The Ark was a fact. The whole story is true. Why? Why does Ken Ham believe that? Why can’t the story just be a story, a piece of fiction? He doesn’t believe that Prometheus brought the gift of fire down to man. He doesn’t believe that the earth was made by Old Man Turtle and his wife the moon, so that their children would have a place to hatch. Why this story, this myth, this legend, catastrophically horrifying as it is?

I think it’s this: what is for a rational mind a disabling bug is for the mind of Ken Ham a feature. Ken Ham believes this story precisely because Ken Ham wants, needs, to believe in a God who behaved like that. One who killed everyone slowly, horribly, because that establishes God’s authority, His complete independence from any restraint whatsoever. It shows His untrammeled unbridled power, complete and utter disconnect from any limitation. He can be as cruel and vindictive as He wills, and Ken Ham prostrates himself and calls it justice. He calls the perpetrator God because Ken Ham worships absolute authority personified. That’s Ken Ham’s God.

Fortunately, even most theists can be persuaded that they should reflect on what they are prepared to worship, and only an extreme minority would worship Ken Ham’s God, once they do reflect on the implications of a real Noah’s Flood. So something like the picture of that drowned toddler could be shown, with the legend, “Ken Ham thinks this happened to everyone - and that it was only right.”

I’d get behind that.

The magic flood never happened. That is the point. There was no world wide flood. Not one. Never was. Why protest about the cruelty of a story about something that never happened? Why not just point out that’s it’s not true? Why not point out that demanding that the story be literally true is just a lie and a perversion? That might be too subtle for a billboard, but that is the message that those opposed to the ark park should be pushing.

Maybe it would be better to build a natural history museum near the ark park that could educate people about the age of the earth and geologic history. It could emphasize the fact that there was never a world wide flood. Admission could even be free, if the museum were funded by tax payer dollars. Then everyone who wasted the money on going to hear the lies of the ark park would at least have the opportunity to hear the truth. And they could also see that you don’t have to believe lies in order to believe in a god.

An e-mail I just received:

The launch of the Genocide and Incest Billboard Campaign was so successful that press and media coverage exploded. The amount of support we have received has been incredible. However, the original billboard company backed out. We came up with a solution that we like even better than the original. We have found a mobile billboard company who agreed to drive our billboard around the Ark Encounter! We are confident that with your support we will raise enough money to have the mobile billboard drive around the Ark Encounter every weekend for the entire summer. This is your last chance for those considering actually being on the billboard.

Help us remind Ken Ham every weekend that absolute morals lead to discrimination, immorality, and has no place in a modern society.

You may check the IndieGoGo Website, linked above, to see what else they have in mind. I still think a more discreet (and less carbon-polluting) billboard might be preferable, but I wish them luck.

The mobile billboard company has now finked out, citing safety concerns.

You know all this, but the Lexington Herald-Leader has just run an article, Atheist group’s anti-Noah’s Ark billboard rejected, with these highlights:

Two companies turn down Tri-State Freethinkers’ signs critical of Ark Encounter

Atheist group says Noah’s Ark story is one of genocide and incest

Group opposes tax breaks, discriminatory hiring practices at Ark Encounter

Do I get my $18 back?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on March 18, 2016 10:32 AM.

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