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Ken Ham shares some thoughts about the heavy responsibility of representing Christianity to both the Christian and secular world who would be watching the debate with Bill Nye.
I am writing this letter to you about two weeks before my scheduled debate with well-known TV personality (and ardent evolutionist) Bill Nye “The Science Guy” of TV fame.
By the time you receive this letter, the debate probably will have just happened—assuming there were no unforeseen circumstances, like a weather or travel problem.
As we were leading up to what some people have dubbed the “debate of the century,” “an historic debate,” and even “Scopes 2,” I thought I would share some personal thoughts that are going through my mind right now.
The Scopes trial in 1925 was a turning point in the history of America, and not just for the creation/evolution debate. The man representing Christianity (William Jennings Bryan), a fine man, sadly did a poor job defending the Christian faith as he went against the ACLU attorney Clarence Darrow. Bryan didn’t know how to answer questions like “where did Cain get his wife?” and he also compromised the Bible with millions of years.
Even though Bryan technically won the trial, in the whole scheme of things it was a win for the secularists. In a real sense, the well-publicized trial showed the world that Christians couldn’t defend the history in the Bible—and that they were willing to give in to the secular teaching of millions of years.
I truly feel inadequate. Yet I know the Lord has put me in this position.
As some bloggers and media reports were comparing our evolution/creation debate to that of the Scopes trial, I must admit I shuddered. You see, I thought of the heavy responsibility of representing Christianity to both the Christian and secular world who would be watching. I truly feel inadequate. Yet I know the Lord has put me in this position.
Many people have told me that “God has obviously orchestrated this debate.” Frankly, I do feel the pressure—immense pressure. The debate is on my mind day and night. Yes, I’m trusting the Lord, but from a human perspective, this is a very stressful time.
I want to do the best I can. I want to be bold. I never want to knowingly compromise God’s Word, and yet I’m not an expert in every area of science and theology. What about questions I may not be able to answer?
The pressure of this debate only increased when we found out that several Christian colleges and seminaries will be live streaming the debate. As I write to you, many churches and organizations have also told us they are using the debate as an outreach to their communities, and will be live streaming the debate at a special meeting in their facility.
Also, because the debate will be live streamed by Google+ Hangouts On Air, through YouTube, potentially millions of people will view it. Many families have told us they are making sure their children will watch this debate online at home.
The debate has turned into something we could never have orchestrated ourselves. Lots of people are praying for me—I really need it—and for this debate. Special prayer groups have even formed. But it has been a challenge to deal with the incredible pressure I feel, as I want to ensure I make the best possible presentation I can.
As for the debate presentation itself, how can anyone present what needs to be said on such a broad topic of creation and evolution in one evening?
Here’s what else is fascinating. Many people (well-meaning) have sent me countless emails, Facebook posts, letters (some even by certified mail) and have called us and left voicemail messages giving me advice on what I needed to include in my presentation. If I included all their ideas (over 100 of them!), my presentation would be 12 hours long!
And, of course, I know that after the debate, I’ll receive lots of emails, letters, and phone calls telling me what I should have included! Oh well . . . .
When we announced the debate, I knew it would receive some media attention. Bill Nye is such a well-known public figure (from his Bill Nye the Science Guy TV programs on PBS in the ’90s and for appearing last year on the popular Dancing with the Stars program).
Well, I was astounded how quickly this debate went viral on the Internet, and how it became a secular and Christian media sensation. As I write to you, we are predicting that this debate will actually receive much more attention than the opening of the Creation Museum six years ago. And the media attention for the museum was extraordinary.
Because Bill Nye is so well known, and has largely become a spokesperson for evolution in the secular media, this debate has created huge media interest. And Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum have become very publicly known for our stand on Genesis.
Also, just before the debate, the Pew Research Center released a headline-grabbing report. Pew presented the results of a survey that purportedly showed that about one-third of Americans believe as AiG does regarding Genesis. In addition, Pew stated that the majority of people believed that God had something to do with the creation of the universe and life.
For Bible-believing Christians, another factor driving interest in the debate is because biblical Christianity has been losing its influence on the culture over the decades—particularly in the past five years since the election of President Obama and his pro-gay “marriage” agenda and pro-abortion stance.
And don’t forget how atheists have been successful in imposing their worldview (their religion) on the culture. They have successfully removed Christian symbols like crosses, Ten Commandments displays, and nativity scenes from many public places. And we have also seen that prayer, Bible readings, and creation have all but been eliminated from schools.
As soon as news of my debate with Mr. Nye went viral on the Internet and was reported extensively in the secular media, many atheists called on Bill Nye to pull out of the debate. You see, these secularists have gained so much ground in the culture that they are now working hard to censor Christians from getting out the truth of God’s Word publicly. Yet it seems God has orchestrated just that with this debate!
On the Richard Dawkins Foundation website (Dawkins is the famous British evolutionist), one blogger wrote a scathing attack on me and about the debate. He stated, “Ham is a snake oil salesmen and Nye just offered him up an infomercial to sell his product. . . . Creationists have no rules, their dishonesty stops nowhere. . . . Creationism is a worthless and uneducated position to hold in our modern society, and Nye is about to treat it as an equal, debatable ‘controversy’.”
Even Richard Dawkins called me a “wingnut” (not exactly a term of endearment), stating, “and indeed it is almost always a mistake to give wingnuts the oxygen of publicity, and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere.”
And why is an atheist like Dawkins and the person who commented on the Dawkins’ website throwing a tantrum about this debate? Because they hate God and His Word—they shake their fists at Him. They are described in Romans 1 as those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” They don’t want the debate to be held because they don’t want children and others to know that evolution is a bankrupt religion and that science confirms the Bible.
Another sad aspect about the reaction to this debate was the number of Christian leaders and bloggers who, because they have gravely compromised God’s Word with evolution and/or millions of years, were siding with Bill Nye. These Christians would rather have children be influenced by a secularist who publicly speaks against biblical truths and promotes naturalism than to have them listen to someone who believes God’s Word.
What a terrible problem this is in the church—one of epidemic proportions.
Well, by now you will know how the debate turned out. As I prepared for it, I was not setting out to “win” or “lose” but to present the truth of God’s Word beginning in Genesis to the best of my ability as the Lord led, having bathed all this in prayer.
In the short time I will have to present biblical truths that are confirmed by science, I want to honor God’s Word. I seek to challenge people concerning the truth of the history in Genesis and the saving gospel message based in that history.
At the very least, the debate has seen people across the world talking about God’s Word and the creation account more than ever. I pray God will use this debate to let His Word be clearly heard by millions of people.
Sadly, a criticism I’ve seen many times is that AiG is only doing this debate for the money—and that I am in this for the money. Even some supposed Christians have made such snide comments. I’m in this ministry because God has called me to it. The ticket sales did not come close to covering even half the debate costs (such as Mr. Nye’s expenses)!
For those of you who know AiG, you are aware that we are very careful with the donations entrusted to us. From the annual independent CPA audit of our finances, to the accountability oversight of the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability), we seek to be good stewards of the resources the Lord has provided through you.
Many of the naysayers have no idea what it costs to run an organization like AiG and the Creation Museum—nearly half of our income is from donations. Every day is a faith step.
I believe this debate is going to be a significant event in the history of Answers in Genesis—and perhaps in Christendom, as God allows. Because of our current technologies that have given us social media and the Internet, this debate has come at a time when people around the world can hear about it—and the live streaming gives us the opportunity to reach millions of people with the creation/gospel message.
Thank you so much for your prayers—and for your financial support for a ministry that (as you are personally witnessing) is at the battlefront of an enormous spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of people (including generations of kids).
We need to teach and equip thousands of churches and other groups in order to reach millions of people around the world with a life-changing message. We are zealous for God’s Word and want to see people saved and won to the Lord. That’s what the ministry of Answers in Genesis is all about.
Editor's note: You can also read Ken Ham’s blog post “The Cat’s Out of the Bag” for his thoughts after the debate.