The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky has developed into quite an enterprise.
When it first opened it was granted numerous concessions from the Kentucky State Government despite the fact that it was never presented as anything but a religious endeavor. It also received numerous perks from Grant County and the city of Williamstown. The Ark Encounter presently receives $1.825 million every year from Kentucky Tourism as part of the state’s sales tax rebate program.
So much for separation of church and state.
Founder Ken Ham perpetually claims yearly attendance in the range of 1.4 to 2.4 million, figures which don’t seem to match up with the Ark’s monthly paid attendance records. In fact, from November 2022 through February 2023, monthly attendance never exceeded just over 39,000 and was only about 15,000 in January of this year.
The religious underpinning of AIG (Answers in Genesis) counts all other world religions as being evil, including Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism.
No one can be an employee of AIG who does not agree with the group’s Statement of Faith.
Among the tenets in the statement are:
- The scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. (Unfortunately, the proclamations of the gospel differ materially from the scientific aspects of creation.)
- The 66 books of the Bible are the unique written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired, inerrant, infallible, supremely authoritative, and sufficient in everything it teaches. Its assertions are factually [emphasis added] true in all the original autographs. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science. (Somebody must have been watching Inherit the Wind and copied all the arguments of William Jennings Bryan.)
- The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. (Very convenient.)
- The account of origins presented in Genesis 1–11 is a simple but factual [emphasis added, again] presentation of actual events, and therefore, provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe.
- Scripture teaches a recent origin of man and the whole creation, with history spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Christ (guess they can thank Bishop James Usher 1581–1656 for that little tidbit.)
- The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages but are six consecutive 24-hour days of creation. (Even Bryan couldn’t reconcile that when queried by Darrow.)
- No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any [emphasis added] field of study, including science, history, and chronology can be valid if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture obtained by historical grammatical interpretation. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information. (Apparently this last snippet of information only applies if the evidence one is utilizing lies outside the 66 books of the Bible.)
There are many other tenets enumerated in the Statement of Faith which can be found in its entirety at https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith. It is a most enlightening tome.
For those who may be contemplating a trip to Ark Encounter, be prepared to take your credit card or pocketbook. Present entry fees for adults are $59.95 per person; seniors get a $10 discount and young adults 11–17 are admitted for only $29.95. Children under 10 are admitted free. This must be because AIG notes the importance of capturing young minds before they have developed the capacity of critical thinking.
And if you want to partake of the Creation Museum (where dinosaurs romp gaily amongst early man despite the fact — denied by those who allegedly possess all the information — that some 65 million years separated the two), you will need to add about another $40 to each of the prices listed above.
So, an outing with mom, dad, one grandparent and one teen will run you about $199.80.
Oh, and don’t forget the parking, which is not free.
With these kinds of prices, one must only wonder why Kentucky Tourism needs to send a yearly stipend of $1.825 million of your taxpayer dollars to the Ark Encounter.
Written by Chuck Witt, a retired architect, a former newspaper columnist, and a lifelong resident of Wincheste. Cross-posted from WinCity Voices.