The internet has been a buzz after the “Creation Debate” between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis. The debate focused on the question “is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”
Ham is the founder of the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky which postulates the world was created how it is described in the book of Genesis and believes that the world is only 6000 or so years old (this model is known as Young Earth Creationist.) Nye showed another side stating that science and evolution were the models of creation that should be accepted.
Both people gave their reasoned arguments in a bevy of pictures, graphs and charts. They had their particular point of view and they were showing the world how they understood the world to work. Ham is a Christian literalist and Nye is a Scientist. Both are coming from completely different angles while looking at the same thing. On one hand you have Ham trying to make the model of Creation found in the Bible fit the world around him and on the other you have Nye who uses the empirical method to be certain about his beliefs. Both of these men were using their view to be the one that should be seen as true and authoritative. Here in lies the problem.
Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) articulated the notion of perception when he wrote:
“Just as if A, B and C should each put on different colored glasses; A puts on green spectacles, B yellow, and C blue; each one of them looks through his own glasses at a piece of white paper and concludes he is right, not remembering that he has his spectacles on. Thus to A it appears green, to B yellow and to C blue. They begin to argue on the subject, and it is impossible for any of them to convince another that he is wrong- each one feels a conviction next to absolute certainty that his opinion is right. But D, who has no spectacles on, and who is standing looking on during the contest very well knows that they are all wrong; he sees the spectacles on each man’s face and accounts for the difference.”
Throughout the debate I could not help but to think that one person was missing: the person who doesn’t see religion and science as mutually exclusive. Where was the person of faith who is OK with a bit of mystery in the world and OK with the notion that the world might not have been created in seven 24 hour days?
The problem with this type of debate is the same problem that people have with the political pundits in Washington: they are too polarizing. Both sides think they have it figured out. This is being played out in our society; a Gallup poll stated that 42% of voters claim to be Independent, while 31% affiliate with Democrats and 25% with the Republicans. People more and more do not like to be “nailed down” in one camp or another.
Some of the biggest complaints I hear from people not in the church or those who recently left is that some churches have “it all figured out” and leave no room for questioning or growing or new ways of looking at something. Learning, growing, shaping and forming our own ideals is something that we instill in children when we teach them critical thinking. Why do people in some churches feel they have to become robots of their church or pastor and just spit out what they have been told to believe?
The creation debate more than likely didn’t change anyone’s mind about how the world came to be. If anything those on either side felt their guy “won” and their view was shown in the best light. Then there are those who struggle with faith and how the world works in harmony together.
They were left out.
The way I see it is that both Ham and Nye missed the mark. Ham is using the Bible as a science book– the Bible is a book of faith and people’s experience with the Divine. Nye did not leave any room for mystery and faith; it was charts, graphs, facts and figures.
There has to be a balance made. Faith and Science do not have to be at odds with each other. The debate was too focused on facts and not on mystery. Where was the presenter who said “I’m not sure how this all happened, but I have faith?”