I didn’t watch the debate. Based on what I’ve read, I’m not sure it would have been the best use of my time. I think if we take a step back we can (hopefully) see that the debate is NOT a 2-sided black and white affair. There isn’t a “side” that can “win.” How telling that the debate took place in the United States, the poster child society for hyper-polarized opinion, modeled clearly each time we set out to elect our favorite ideologue.
I think what is important in this debate can vary wildly depending on whom you ask. Consequently, I’m not sure how helpful it is to pick up your nametag at the door which brands you pro-this or anti-that. Sure, it’s good to stand up for what you believe in, but that’s just it isn’t it – what DO you believe in anyway?!
For me this debate (I hesitate to say “creation vs. evolution” or “science vs. religion”, etc. because the shorthand titles are INCREDIBLY reductionist and inaccurate) should only be about our non-negotiable beliefs. I think that behind the tip-of-the-iceberg vitriol, it probably is about non-negotiable beliefs for everybody involved…except that most of them might have difficulty articulating just what ARE their non-negotiable beliefs! They don’t know what they’re fighting for!
With respect to this debate, here are mine:
1. God is the Creator and He created the universe and everything in it.
2. Humankind holds a special place in God’s heart and in His Creation.
Notice that the list doesn’t include things like a young earth. I didn’t even mention the evil “E” word made so in/famous by Mr. Darwin. Those things are simply are not issues for me. I care only that the non-negotiable items are in place. How and when God created the universe are things that I believe He is delighted for us to discover – whether we believe in Him or not. But if we ignore that He IS the Creator, we open the door to many problems in our society that we try and fix like a band-aid on cancer.
Unfortunately, a significant number of those of us who do hold to these two important tenants have, in my opinion, wasted a lot of time an energy arguing points, fostering enemies, and misrepresenting God by thinking that various negotiable issues jeopardize the non-negotiable issues. It’s a lamentable state of affairs and I hope the damage can be undone because it clouds the discussion about things that are ultimately very important.
Since I’m neither a theologian nor a scientist, I’m not in the position to noticeably affect the debate. Thankfully there ARE some of both that contribute helpful voices to the discourse. I’d recommend N.T. Wright as a theologian who knows how to keep the main thing the main thing and can speak with authority on what the Bible says…and doesn’t say! (http://ntwrightpage.com/, http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/CIS/Wright/lecture.htm) As for scientists, I really like what BioLogos had to say about Ham on Nye (http://biologos.org/blog/ham-on-nye-our-take) and it would appear that they also have an excellent voice to add.
I’ll end there because I don’t need to debate this.