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Don't bother with the Dead Sea Scrolls program at Science Museum
April 12, 2010
by Herald Journal & Enteprise Dispatch Editor Lynda Jensen

Our family visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Science Museum Saturday and I must report our experience there.

Although we enjoyed the Titanic and Vatican Splendors exhibits immensely, I must say this exhibit amounted to an hour-long advertisement for Islam (during the Omnitheater presentation), and an exhibit itself that was a clinical review of the Dead Sea Scrolls, divorced from any marvel of Christian or Jewish wonder.

If you are looking for inspiration of sacred writings that echo our own Bible 2,000 years ago, then don’t look to this exhibit to achieve that.

Our family attended this exhibit expecting just to hear about the earliest recorded writings of the Bible (the scrolls). We were excited about seeing what the scrolls recorded and reading more about them.

Instead, we were first subjected to an unwanted hour of what I would describe as propaganda for Islam.

I don’t mind receiving an insight into a different culture, but we didn’t come for this and it was misleading. We came to see and hear about Christian and Israeli roots.

It was unfair to those who drove an hour to see it, because the two were paired together and the first one wasn’t advertised. We didn’t know they were going to do that.

I wonder what would happen if the museum hosted an exhibit about the Islamic culture, with a movie all about how wonderful Jesus Christ is, paired with it? I bet things would “happen,” and I’m not saying good things.

The movie also alluded to Islam making great strides regarding treatment of women.

This would be true if we still lived in the 1800s (or stone ages), but women there need to have permission from a man even to travel anywhere (this, according to the movie itself, but you can’t take notice of this above all the sweeping camera moves and fancy packaging in the movie). That’s not progress.

The year is 2010. They have not made great strides in their treatment of women. This part of the video is misleading.

We honestly thought that the museum didn’t plan to host the Dead Sea Scrolls and literally pulled out a drawer marked “religion” with this movie the only thing available there.

Or perhaps this is the politically correct way for the museum to try to balance out the heavy emphasis on the Bible, which the scrolls mirror?

Whatever the case, you won’t find this “Arabia” movie listed or described on the museum web site or in its advertisements.

Then there’s the exhibit itself. A smiling guide begins the exhibit by describing Christians as a SECT.

Yes apparently, we Christians are a sect (Jews, too). This is true because what was written 2,000 years ago by scribes is believed today.

Scribes who transcribed writings like the book of Psalms and book of Isaiah wrote about what is very similar to our modern-day Bibles – that is, the writings are very close to one another comparing scrolls to modern-day Bible, according to the walls of this exhibit.

Oh, sorry – you have to get through the first two-thirds of the exhibit that take such pains to make sure you understand that scribes EDIT things as they go, and to cast doubt on the validity of the scrolls (and the Bible).

It is a clinical analysis of our religious roots that is sort of like having a scientist explain the wonders of Christmas. It just doesn’t work.

How odd that the passionate and emotional part of the program – the movie – was about a different religion that has nothing to do with the scrolls, except for logistics.

If you ever read the book of Isaiah or Psalms, you would find drama and emotion on epic levels! The scrolls actually recorded more Psalms that what we know now. It’s possible that some were lost or didn’t make the cut. But the ones that are in our modern-day Bibles are also in the scrolls. That’s amazing.

But I digress.

In order to be a Christian or Jew (or person of Islamic faith), you have to have faith. Faith is something believed, but not seen; and apparently outside the grasp of scientists.

If you decide to attend this exhibit, avoid the Omnitheatre movie, and visit the exhibit with a steel heart.

Or better yet, don’t go at all. Wait for the next exhibit, which is sure to be better than this one.