So tomorrow night ‘faith’ will debate ‘science’. I fear this is one of those debates where everyone loses in the end.
The topic of the debate is ‘is creation a viable model of origins?’
On one hand you have Ken Ham, a ‘young earth creationist’ who believes it is of utmost importance that we take the first chapters of Genesis literally. He believes Christian faith is incompatible with biological evolution and that evolutionary theory is a source of great trouble in our world. He will defend the belief that young earth creationism is a scientifically valid theory.
On the other hand you have Bill Nye, a scientist who believes the theory of evolution and believes young earth creationism to be scientifically baseless. Bill Nye is an agnostic in matters of faith, but he believes denying biological evolution is a source of great trouble in our country. He will defend the idea that creation (presumably Ham’s version) is not a viable model of origins.
The problems here are legion, but I’ll stick to the BIG 2.
1) Ken Ham, bless his heart, is not someone who I want people to look at and say ‘oh, that’s what Christians are like’. To all my friends who like him, forgive me, but he comes across as arrogant. I’m not even taking about WHAT he believes here, but about how he communicates. I don’t know the guy and can’t comment on his heart. I can only comment on what he portrays, and what he portrays is not how I think Jesus wants us to represent Him. I want the world to see Christians who speak and act with kindness and humility, regardless of what they believe about evolutionary theory.
2) This debate, as I mentioned, appears to pit faith against modern science. The message one gets from the Ken Hams of the world is that ‘if you want to be true to God, you must reject evolution.’ The message one gets from many (not all) scientists is that ‘if you want to be true to science, you must reject belief in the God of the Bible.’ Honestly, I never got the impression Bill Nye is engaged in a real war on faith in general, but there certainly are some hardcore anti-faith scientists out there who are waging that battle.
Either way, the message that is that evolution and Christianity exclude each other. It’s as if anti-faith scientists look are our origins and see a circle, and the young earth creationists look at our origins and see a triangle. Triangles and circles are totally different. A circle can not be a triangle and a triangle can not be circle. So it is with these two points of view.
And that would be where I would leave it, needing to choose between a circle and a triangle, evolution and faith… Except we don’t have to do this. There is a third way. What if the circle and the triangle are not mutually exclusive after all?
What if, given a different perspective, we can consider that both evolutionary science and God’s story as told by the Bible both speak truth about our origins? It’s worth considering that maybe we don’t need to be doing battle over the circle and the triangle.
Now I don’t advocate you believe both without examining them. One should arrive at beliefs on important matters (particularly the decision to follow Jesus) because you genuinely think there is good reason to believe it. I’m simply saying I don’t believe we have to chose between one or the other. I think both can be looked at on their own merit. Unfortunately, I fear this perspective will be absent from tomorrow’s debate. I just hope that whatever happens won’t do more damage to the already messy relationship between Christians and scientists.
For more info on science and faith in harmony, check out Biologos.