The Museum of the Bible is a $500 million project opening next month in Washington, D.C., but critics are already pointing out some figures and topics the museum avoids or minimizes.
Like Jesus Christ.
Yes, a large and spectacular museum based on the Christian holy book and funded largely by the Christian family that owns Hobby Lobby is being criticized for not including enough about Jesus.
From a Washington Post report (emphasis added):
Jesus is also curiously not central to the museum’s presentation of the biblical story. Visitors walk through a multi-room saga of the Old Testament, and they can visit a re-creation of a 1st-century village in Galilee where actors will tell them what the villagers think of this controversial preacher Jesus. They can watch a movie about John the Baptist. But the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is almost absent.
What makes the minimization of Jesus seem more conspicuous is the inclusion of art and exhibits dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a figure who is very prominent in Catholic theology.
The museum apparently includes a wealth of information regarding the mother who the Bible says gave miraculous birth to Jesus, but not much about his death or his resurrection, which is the foundation of the Christian belief system.
What's the museum's role?
Whether a person thinks the museum will do its job or not is a matter of perspective. The museum's creators say the goal is to present information about the Bible, encourage curiosity, and let people decide for themselves.
“The museum has fence posts — limits. It doesn’t overtly say the Bible is good — that the Bible is true,” said Steve Green, the Hobby Lobby chief executive and chair of the museum to the Washington Post. “That’s not its role. Its role is to present facts and let people make their own decisions.”
That stance is likely to upset or disappoint Christians who were excited by the original vision for the museum that Green laid out a decade ago, which was to “bring to life the living word of God . . . to inspire confidence in the absolute authority” of the Bible.
Those involved in the museum's creation are ready for that criticism.
“The fact that it is as broad and ecumenical and nonsectarian as it is, I think there will be criticism from the religious left and the religious right — which would mean to me that we probably got it just about right," said board member Mark DeMoss.
(H/T Washington Post)