Polls on how Americans view the creation/evolution controversy are nothing new and, in fact, have been growing in frequency. But a survey commissioned by the US anti-creationist, liberal group The Campaign to Defend the Constitution (DefCon) is the most unusual in memory.
The occasion of this national poll—called “Creationism and the Public Belief”—was DefCon’s alarmist reaction to the opening of the Creation Museum last month. In fact, DefCon supporters stood alongside followers of the American Atheists group as they protested outside the museum fence on grand opening day, May 28.
[The poll] helps confirm our long-held view that the church is in desperate need of assistance in defending the Bible’s historicity beginning with Genesis.
The poll's first question (posed to 800 people across America who were likely to vote later this year) was
“Recently a Creationism Museum opened up in Kentucky. The museum portrays dinosaurs living alongside Adam and Eve as well as dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. Which of the following words best describes your view of this?”1
Nationwide, 54% stated that the museum could be described as “biblically inaccurate,” “scientifically unsound,” or “bizarre.” Meanwhile, 17% said the museum’s teachings were the “literal word of God” or “biblically accurate.”
When the question was posed to white, self-described evangelicals/fundamentalists (who would also be likely to vote this year; more about that qualifier later), the figures came out: 49% rejected the museum’s beliefs as “biblically inaccurate,” “scientifically unsound,” or “bizarre”; 32% agreed that the museum’s views are the “literal word of God” or “biblically accurate.”
Our guess as to DefCon’s purposes in commissioning the poll was to show that because many Christians disagree with AiG and its stand on a literal Genesis, AiG is not seen as representative of the Christian faith as a whole. If that finding (assuming the survey was carried out properly) was meant to shock us, the opposite is the case: it helps confirm our long-held view that the church is in desperate need of assistance in defending the Bible’s historicity beginning with Genesis.
For years, we’ve warned the church that if the young generation now sitting in its pews becomes so secularized and “evolutionized” (unless there is an immediate turnaround), the church in America will continue to question the Bible’s accuracy and authority. Hence in our view, the need for a Bible-upholding museum is affirmed by such a survey.
As AiG President Ken Ham told the Cincinnati Enquirer (June 29), “If that poll was valid, then it just proves what we've been saying all along about the need for this museum.”
Of course, a poll taken for the group calling itself DefCon begs the question: how is the new Creation Museum a threat to the U.S. Constitution? The Creation Museum, built on private property using private funds, is not forcing its views on anyone, yet DefCon somehow sees it as a threat somehow to constitutional liberties.
Why? Well, because DefCon decided to poll likely voters, apparently it is their stretching attempt to show that the growing creation movement is a part of the religious right’s effort to influence elections. The very purpose of DefCon, after all, is in “combating the growing power of the religious right” in American society.
Another head-scratching aspect of the DefCon-commissioned poll is that while it has attempted to marginalize AiG’s beliefs within the church, it is neverthelsss alarmed by outreaches such as AiG’s new museum. Perhaps the larger-than-expected crowds coming to the museum (on Thursday the 50,000th guest came through),2 the potential of creationist groups to challenge the dominant evolutionary worldview in American society is a looming threat to them.
“This DefCon poll should be a wake-up call to Christian leaders who compromise with evolutionary ideas and an old earth,” Ken Ham said. “Such pastors and theologians need to know that secular humansists are using them to advance an anti-Christian agenda.”
It’s worthy of note that the DefCon group and local atheists advertised nationally to gather supporters to their protest on May 28, and a few dozen showed up. Meanwhile, over 4,000 museum guests arrived through the gates that day.
The insinuation by DefCon is that AiG is a part of the religious right political movement. But AiG is apolitical and has no agenda to influence elections. It’s not our job to change the culture, but to promote biblical truths. Now, if that means the culture will be changed, including how voters think and decide, then so be it. But AiG is not an activist organization in the sense that we are involved in the political arena.
You can read the polling questions and results, including its question about the concept of intelligent design, at DefCon’s site [PDF].
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