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Museum of the Bible set to open in D.C., will be one of the city's largest museums

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
10/17/2017 (8 months ago)
Catholic Online (

Museum will be free to the public.

The Museum of the Bible is about to open in Washington D.C., but the project is already mired in controversy as Christians debate what to make of the new facility. The museum has been built by the same family that runs Hobby Lobby and admission will be free.

The Museum of the Bible opens on Nov. 17, and admission will be free.

The Museum of the Bible opens on Nov. 17, and admission will be free.


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Washington D.C. is about to open another museum, one of the city's largest. The Museum of the Bible opens on Nov. 17, and admission will be free. Built by the Green family, the same family that owns Hobby Lobby, the museum features 430,000 square feet of space dedicated to the greatest book in all human history.

The museum is already mired in controversy because its directors have taken a remarkably neutral approach to the scriptures, choosing not to favor any particular interpretation over another. For some Christians, this will be a reason to stay away. However, for more people, including non-believers, this will be more reason to visit.

The museum's aim is not to promote evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity, but rather to connect people with the Bible. To accomplish this, they have created dozens of exhibits as well as interactive experiences, displays, and even a ride. The facility is notably high-tech and promises to provide personalized, immersive experiences.

When the museum was first proposed, some took the notion it would become a temple to Evangelical Christianity, that it would promote a fundamentalist view of the scriptures, such as belief in the literal, six-day creation and the story of Adam and Eve. However, such a perspective would limit interest and engagement, and ultimately, the experience would only appeal to fellow fundamentalists.

Instead of taking a narrow approach that would please some at the expense of the rest, the Museum opted for a more ecumenical presentation. To accomplish this, the museum asked experts from other religious traditions for input on exhibits. Jewish scholars, Catholics, and other Protestants were consulted. These consultations often resulted in more neutral presentations of subject matter.

The museum has also made a deliberate decision to avoid some of the more controversial topics in the faith. The goal is to inspire people, not start arguments.

On the surface, there is concern that some Christians will not like the neutral approach, which could challenge some of their deep-seated beliefs. Conversely, there is concern that the facility's ultimate goal is to promote biblical fundamentalism.

For example, the museum's board of directors were all required to sign statements of faith which stress the literal, factual truth of the Bible. There is also concern that events hosted at the museum will also promote fundamentalist Christianity.

But so what?

The Green family is unashamed of their evangelical beliefs, and they have no reason to feel otherwise. They built the museum, and they are entitled to set the rules for its management. Admission is free, so nobody else is paying for the project. And while some people, especially Catholics may disagree with a literal reading of the scriptures, there is no harm from belief in the literal truth of the Bible.

To their immeasurable credit, the Bible Museum will engage people with the single most remarkable text ever written and compiled in human history. They will do so without promoting loyalty to any particular denomination. Instead, their aim is to inspire people to connect with the Bible, and to draw their own conclusions.

The Green family, and the management of the Bible Museum have put together an incredible project that will encourage and educate millions of people each year. If we should judge a thing by its fruits, then we can expect the Bible Museum will be among the best in the city, and a must see for anyone with a love of scripture and history.

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