I watched the Creation debate and over the last two days I’ve been mulling over my experience. There are plenty of articles out there criticizing both sides, but there seems to be something about the event that everyone is missing. Before we get into that, here is a summary of some of the web’s insights.
– Individuals on both sides of the debate wrote the debate off as a publicity stunt. In fact, they wrote about it enough that it ended up getting a lot of publicity.
– The always-surprising Pat Robertson told Ken Ham to shut up. Of all the news, this was the most surprising and the most hilarious.
You can read a number of other articles from a variety of perspectives. Yet there is one thing that I don’t see being addressed. Let me explain.
Throughout the event I was always glued to the screen whenever they showed the crowd. To be honest, I was trying to see if I could tell who the “creationists” were compared to the few “evolutionists” that were sure to show up—based on their facial expressions alone. I figured one or the other would look angry or annoyed based on whoever was speaking. I have to admit that there was a couple of times that I felt I could pin point someone with some accuracy.
Yet, as I scanned the audience, I noticed something else. It had nothing to do with either side of the debate, but maybe it has something to do with the nature of the debate in general. If you watch the video, maybe you noticed it too. If not, here are some screen shots from the night. What do you see missing from this audience?
My favorite screen shot is the one in the bottom right. This is moments after Ken Ham makes his very clever Bible joke about where matter comes from. I’m assuming the exuberant joy that some of them seem to be experiencing and the look on their faces that seems to scream “Gotcha Bill Nye!” gives away which team they are on.
But what is missing? Have you found it yet?
If I were to sum it up in one word, it’d be diversity.
Like many of our churches in America, the audience seems to be entirely one demographic of people. I have to wonder, and sadly I was unable to find any information to back it up, but I have to wonder if this entire debate is a one sided argument? Or in other words, is this debate a concern mostly of white, American Christians?
I can’t speak for other ethnicities or subcultures, but I can speak for my own. Having been a big fan of Ken Ham in the past, I would argue that there is something within my culture that wants to impress the world with knowledge and facts. We are holding onto the modern thought that faith is backed up by science. That absolute truth is provable. And that the word of God is our textbook for life. Now I will tread carefully from here on out, as I don’t want to discourage anyone from the pursuit of truth or from an honest relationship with God through Christ. What I mean to say is simply this: Ken Ham wants to use science to prove faith.
I find it ironic that Ken Ham accuses Christians who disagree with him of trying to “appease the secularists.” Who is really trying to appease secularists: the one who simply believes or the one who spends billions of dollars on creation-based science? Let me put it another way. In a world where children die of preventable diseases like Malaria, the Creation Museum is trying to raise 25 million dollars to build a Noah’s Ark theme park. Does anyone else have a problem with this?
There’s a hashtag people use to make fun of westerners and their petty complaints. We call them #firstworldproblems. The idea is that we complain about our dishwasher being broken when most of the world doesn’t have clean water. When that happens, it’s a #firstworldproblem.
I think this debate deserves a similar hastag: it seems to be a #suburbanchurchproblem. Who else is willing to invest millions of dollars to support something that most of the world could care less about? Correct me if I’m wrong.
Instead of debates like this, lets get people talking about things that matter. Why not look into the Redskins controversy or the United Methodist campaign to end malaria, or the new Locust Effect book from IJM, or any of a thousand worthy causes lighting up my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I’d love to see some of these get some much-needed publicity.