I want to explain to Ken Ham my opinion of why I think his Noah’s Ark park is failing. I don’t expect Ham to read this but I’m going to jot it all down here as a blog post anyway.
The BIG reason why I think his “Ark Encounter” theme park is failing is not because of the atheists, believe me! I think it’s the market forces that are working against him. I don’t think he understands his target audience well enough. I understand that the park is for Christians, but I think his biggest agenda is to reach out non-Christians too (winning souls for JEEESUSSSS!).
Now here’s the thing, the majority of Americans are Christians. But I think the ones who buy into Ken Ham’s snake oil are just the fundamentalist types and their numbers have shrunk, and continue to shrink, though they remain a vocal minority. I think the rest of the Christian population (the majority) are just “cultural Christians” – generally secular-minded people who only attend church casually and don’t take their faith seriously but identify as Christian simply because that’s the culture they grew up in. Now, why would those cultural Christians be interested in hearing the Christian message at some Bible-based theme park? I think many of those cultural Christians find sermons to be boring but just go to church anyway as an excuse to get off work and have fellowship with people in their community. And there is no doubt that there are some cultural Christians out there who don’t find sermons to be boring at all but find comfort and solace because a lot of people need someplace to escape from their troubles. But why would they need spend hundreds of hard-earned dollars just to go to some Bible theme park in the middle of nowhere for all of that? The reason why people go to theme parks is to be entertained and have fun with friends and family, not to be preached to. If they want to hear a sermon or engage in whatever religious activity, they don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to go to some Bible based theme park, they can just go to church on Sundays for free. Churches are not that hard to find in America! Why would they need to go some half-baked Bible theme park that looks like big old boat landlocked in the middle of nowhere that is supposed to be full of (not even live) animals with the only live animals being in petting zoos? Even my local zoo is far more impressive than that!
Also, millennials… More and more young people are losing interest in religion for variety of reasons and I think one of the main reasons (as a millennial myself) is because it’s hard to find any meaning that is relevant to us today in 2017 from some bronze age holy books. How could we be blamed for that? And many of us have smartphones so we have a whole world of information – the entire Internet – literally in our pockets so we can verify information coming from holy books and religious authorities (and many of those authorities – including Ken Ham – have a piss poor track record on relaying accurate information).
So in conclusion… the reason why I think Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter theme park is failing miserably is not because atheists are giving it a bad rap, even though it’s well deserved because Ken Ham is a liar and a fraud. I think it’s because most people are seeing through his bullshit. They are not stupid to buy Ham’s snake oil. The park is just a money making scheme for Ham and a rip-off to visitors. And if I remember correctly, even in the Bible itself (John 2:13-16), Jesus condemned corrupt religious people for using religion as a profit making scheme. So isn’t it ironic how Ham’s own holy book is admonishing readers to avoid people like himself? He’s using his Christian faith as an excuse to create a theme park that is a money making scheme, and he lied to the taxpayers who unwittingly funded the construction of this park (which is illegal for the state government to allow – not the taxpayers’ fault). And he made a broken promise to the people of the towns nearby by failing to bring economic prosperity to them through tourism as he promised. It never was going to happen and probably never will. Because when demographic trends show that religion is declining, religious theme parks may lose their market appeal so they won’t be marketable. Atheists don’t need to give the Ark Encounter a bad rap to make it fail. I think the free market is taking care of that for them on its own.