“When you die, you’re done.”
That’s the opinion of famed God doubter Bill Nye, who attended the recent opening of the Ark Encounter, a new park that some fans described as a “Christian Disneyland.”
It features a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, it is described as the largest timber frame structure in the world. The Williamstown, Kentucky, site also includes “jaw-dropping” exhibits, a zoo and more, the organizers say.
Nye, famous for advocating for science, not the Bible, had been invited by Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis and the driving force behind the Ark project.
He said the project’s opening was incredibly successful, with the first few days’ attendance reaching 35,000. And he said visitation at the nearby Creation Museum, which has been in operation for a number of years, doubled over the same period.
But back to Nye, who once called the Ark Encounter plan a danger because it would “indoctrinate children” into the biblical – “unscientific” – point of view.
Ham said he had invited Nye, and Nye wanted to come on the condition he could bring a video crew. So Ham said of course, because he would have his own video crew also.
Ham told WND that Nye appeared to not want to visit the site as much as raise pointed questions on video, so he brought out a few of his questions too.
Hear a question and answer about death:
For one, what happens when you die.
Nye’s response, Ham said, “You’re done.”
So Ham followed with a question about why it matters, from that perspective, what one believes if you’re done when you die.
Nye also raised the issue of looming scientific achievements, and mentioned the possibility of trips to Mars.
Nye told other visitors at the Ark at the time that, Ham said, “It’s not crazy to believe we’re descendants from Martians.”
So Ham asked why, then, is it “crazy” to believe people descended from Adam and Eve.
He said Nye came with an apparent agenda.
“He wouldn’t listen to anything I said. I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case, hoping he wanted to know what we believe.”
Ham also asked Nye why he wore clothes, since they originated in Genesis of the Bible.
Ham also explained he asked Nye, the chief of the Planetary Society, for permission to pray for him, and Nye responded that he couldn’t stop that.
“I talked to Bill about the second death and that when you die, you’re not done,” said Ham. “You’re either going to be with the Lord or you’re going to be separated from Him for eternity.”
Ham told WND the children have been using words like “awesome,” “big” and “unbelievable” in describing the Ark.
Adults have told him they’ll be returning with their entire families – or entire churches.
Hear a question and answer about humans and animals:
WND reported earlier on the headwinds the project overcame to open.
The path to completion was dotted with opposition from “secularists” who put several obstacles in its path of the project.
“The local secularists have revealed their true motive with their proposed billboard campaign. They ultimately want to stop people going to the Ark Encounter, which is a Christian, family friendly attraction that will have a great economic impact on the state and add jobs,” Ham said some months ago.
His comments came in reaction to complaints to the media by the Tri-State Freethinkers, which wanted to post billboards with messages condemning the Ark Encounter.
In a blog on the AIG website, Ham recounted the long history of opposition his organization has faced, including the opposition to the nearby Creation Museum.
“When we set out to build the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky in 1996, a local atheist group vigorously opposed us. As a result, the then-Fiscal Court ruled against our rezoning, and we had to find a different museum property. We found the piece that the museum is now built on – a much better location, right off exit 11 on Interstate 275, and we built a much bigger museum. The atheists protested outside the Creation Museum on the day it was opened in 2007. Over the years, they did all they could to try to keep us from opening a museum,” he wrote.
There also was a dispute over whether the project would be allowed to participate in a state program that rebates part of the sales taxes generated by tourist attractions. A federal judge eventually ruled it could.
“These atheists had wanted to stop us from building a museum that eventually provided thousands of jobs in the area (including about 400 staff at the Answers in Genesis/Creation Museum/Hebron design facilities). They wanted to stop the opening of a facility that has added at least $60 million every year to the regional economy since it opened in 2007, based on a formula provided by the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Creation Museum has now been open for almost nine years,” Ham explained.
“The point is that atheists and other secularist groups (including the Tri-State Freethinkers) apparently would rather stop Kentucky from receiving this tremendous economic and job-creation boost that the Ark will bring, than being tolerant of Christians trying to have free exercise of their religion by building Christian-themed attractions. They really would rather hurt Kentucky than have a Christian group build such world-class attractions open to everyone who chooses to visit,” he wrote.
In the rebate dispute, critics had claimed since the project is Christian, the state legally could discriminate against it.
But U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove in the Eastern District of Kentucky affirmed the Ark Encounter’s right to participate in a program.