Creation Hall at Liberty U

Yesterday, I debated Max Andrews at Liberty University, one of the most conservative and evangelical colleges in the country. One of the things that amused me about my experience there was that there existed something called the “Creation Hall” — a hallway decorated with museum-like displays showcasing the school’s position that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that Noah’s Flood was a literal event. A friend of mine took pictures of that hallway and he gave me permission to reproduce them here for you to enjoy. :-)

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  • Tim Matter
    March 30, 2013 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I was being raised a Young Earth Creationist that led to my eventually rejecting Christianity altogether. I took several vacations to the desert Southwest and saw treeless mountains with their rock layers exposed for hundreds of miles and the thought kept nagging me that “This didn’t happen in 6000 years.” I decided to find out which side was telling the truth, the Young Earth Creationists and “Flood geology”, or the Old Earth Creationists and mainstream geology. I did find the truth, and it went a lot farther than I ever expected. Not only was “Flood geology” wrong, but its “scientists” are either willfully ignorant, or dishonest. But a bigger problem was that I concluded Noah’s flood didn’t happen at all. That story really has to be true for Christianity to be true, unless they become liberal and spin it as an alligory.

    • Dan Linford
      March 30, 2013 - 10:17 am | Permalink

      I’m not convinced that Christianity requires there to have been a Flood. As far as I can tell, what is actually central to Christian belief is the idea that humans require a Savior and that the Savior came in the form of a blood sacrifice in Jesus of Nazareth. Notice that requiring a Savior does not even necessitate that Adam and Eve existed; it just necessitates the idea that Sin entered the world in some way.

      There is already a huge diversity of theological views within Christianity. The kind of view represented at Liberty University is a heavily Fundamentalist view point, but there has existed another strand of Christianity called Modernism. Of course, these two strands do not get along. but that doesn’t mean that one of them doesn’t exist or that either aren’t real Christians (whatever that would mean!).

      Modernists interpret the Bible as the product of human beings trying to express various aspects of their fallible understanding of God and therefore reject inerrancy. The Bible is still seen as central, but Modernists often say that they want to avoid biblioidolatry; i.e. worshipping the Bible, as they perceive Fundamentalists to do. It should be noted that Modernists will often reject both Old and Young Earth Creationism. People like John Shelby Spong will interpret the Bible as largely mythological, but still a source of inspiration if we can come to understand the Bible as a human document.

      At any rate, I think there are good reasons to reject Christianity, but given the diversity of views on interpreting the Bible, I don’t think that simply showing the Bible to be wildly incorrect on a variety of things is sufficient (namely because there are entire denominations of Christians who would agree with just about everything you said).

  • John Doe
    April 9, 2013 - 5:42 am | Permalink

    I can honestly say that I have been an atheist since I was a young kid. My mom prays every night and is a firm believer, but I am actually not completely certain of my dad’s opinion of religion (I do know that he stopped going once his dad was diagnosed with colon cancer). I can remember sitting in church one time with the family (I believe it was Easter), when my dad asked me a question somewhere along the lines of ‘whats on your mind son?’ My response was a simple ‘I don’t belong here,’ followed by my dads question of why and my other response of ‘I just cant believe in something that has no proof. I believe in science.’ From then on I was never pushed toward or away religion by either parent or forced to go to church. I was, however, taught to obey the common moral principles that many religions do teach, but i learned this from my parents, not church. This I am thankful for, and has become about the only part of religion that I accept.

    I was an atheist from the start, yet my religious friends have helped pushed me even more away from religion. The condescending surprise of the few who know my beliefs has definitely made an impact. Friends that I have known for 17 years of my 21 years, that know that I am morally sound and an overall good person that judge me for not believing I find pretty ridiculous. Also the friends that I have that are what I would call overly religious, also seem to be even more judgmental, especially when it comes to race, and sexuality. On a side note, one ‘extremist’ friend said she didn’t believe in dinosaurs, because it doesn’t exist in the bible….I just remember thinking, “how could you blindly believe in a BOOK that someone wrote, and denounce proven facts?” Creation Hall is honestly a joke. Really? To believe that the earth is 6000 years old?

    I watched online your debate at Liberty, and there seems to be a trend from non-believers and believers. The guy you were debating against, no-offense, has a degree in theoretical concepts. You have a degree in science and proven concepts. Anybody can put words into a sentence, and give reasons as to why something may happen, but scientists are more focused on the facts, as opposed to making up an explanation as to why something unknown exists or how it came to be. This is how I believe religion got started in the first place. Thousands of years ago, people wanted to explain why the sun and the moon switched everyday, why it rained and stormed, and why sometimes crops would flourish and other times have a poor harvest. Zietgiest gives an explanation of religion, that makes complete sense if you put youself thousands of years in the past, and religion was just a non scientific explanation of how their lives operated back then.

    The commonalities with Christianity to many other religions has also puzzled me. Zietgiest points out Horus and Set and compared to God and Satan both representing good and evil. Horus-born December 25, born of a virgin, star in the east, adored by 3 kings, had 12 disciples, crucified, buried for 3 days, and Resurrected. Similar happens with Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, and countless other gods throughout history. I believe that this just shows the evolution of religion, yet all began with what ancient people knew, and that was astronomy.

    Just wanted to give my story and rant and let you know that I enjoyed the debate.

    • Dan Linford
      April 9, 2013 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment!

      I see that you like the stuff from Zeitgeist about the history of Christianity. Unfortunately, Zeitgeist is a conspiracy theory film, with little to no actual scholarship. There are numerous websites out there which debunk the contents of Zeitgeist.

      Nonetheless, like most conspiracy theories, Zeitgeist does contain a small kernel of truth (though, in the case of Zeitgeist, it’s a very small kernel with a hell of a lot of dung). It is true that the history of Christianity, and the origins of religion more generally, are very troubling for anyone who thinks that Christianity is true. The Bible is very much a human document, sewn together by numerous different peoples and cultures over an approximately 1500 year period. It’s also true that the early history of Christianity and Judaism reveals that these belief systems grew out of older systems and cultures (in the case of Judaism, out of the pantheon of the Levant and in the case of Christianity from a variety of different sources.) Nonetheless, it’s false that Christianity grew out of the Egyptian cult of Osiris; there were very specific cultural and social conditions (in particular, the Roman occupation of the area that is now Israel and Palestine) that bred Christianity.

      Here’s a thorough debunking of Zeitgeist:

      For the record, there are much better histories of early Christianity out there than anything on offer from Zeitgeist. See, for example, the many wonderful books written by Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels, or even this course from Yale:

  • Joe Bigliogo
    August 25, 2014 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

    This place is a disgrace to the institution of higher learning. Everyone including reasonable Christians should be outraged at the mockery of science made by this farce of a university and it’s douche bag founder Jerry (give him an enema and bury him in a match box) Falwell.

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