The Creation Museum’s Ken Ham has challenged Pat Robertson to a debate, claiming Robertson has compromised the “Word of God.” Robertson, televangelist, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and host of The 700 Club, reportedly conceded that the biblical inerrancy of Genesis might not in fact be the case. Specifically, Robertson has come out saying that it is not likely that the world is only 6,000 years old in light of the wealth of evidence that suggests otherwise. In response, Ham accused Robertson of compromising the “Word of God.”
The news has given many outsiders quite the shock, especially those who assume that fundamentalist Christians all fall under an umbrella term and have the same beliefs. Additionally, this has not been the only publicity that Ham and the Creation Museum have received as of late. Just yesterday it was announced that the museum would open a new exhibit showcasing an Allosaurus bone as part of the narrative that dinosaurs were present during the Great Flood.
The Kentucky-based Creation Museum is backed by the apologetic ministry, Answers in Genesis (AiG), teaches what is known as Young Earth creationism, and is known for displaying dinosaurs with saddles as part of their illustration that human beings coexisted with dinosaurs. The intention behind this was to align the AiG’s biblical timeline with archaeological evidence that supported the existence of dinosaurs. The main difference between the archaeological evidence and AiG: time. The AiG suggests that dinosaurs lived less than 10,000 years ago, whereas archaeological evidence says the last dinosaurs lived around 60 million years ago.
Pat Robertson has not always been forthcoming with his views on the age of the earth, at least not his view contra the biblical inerrancy of Genesis. His recent statement on the issue, and what AiG sympathizers are referring to as Robertson’s continued attack on Young Earth creationism, has driven Ham to challenge the televangelist to a debate on The 700 Club. Ham’s supporters claim that Robertson, who contends that he receives divine prophecies, has given atheists more fuel to discount literal interpretations of Scripture. Robertson, on the other hand, has stated that it is “dumb” and “nuts” to continue believing Young Earth creationism.
Should Robertson agree to host Ken Ham on The 700 Club, it will be a unique opportunity for concerned parties. The proverbial flood of Creationism vs. Evolution debates spearheaded by icons such as Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson have been on the rise and have attracted the viewership of many, young and old. However, the degree of polarization between the creationists and evolutionists has made it difficult, from a debate-standpoint, to engage in constructive dialogue. If the two parties have no common ground on which to stand, the odds of a dialectic that approaches a single truth is less attainable. Both sides often walk away with the affirmation that their version is the truth on the matter. The debates have changed nothing.
The prospect of two fundamentalist Christians debating over the issue of Earth’s life age would undoubtedly be interesting. There would be more common ground shared between the two, and therefore more discussion that avoids polarities. Above all, it would allow both parties to address one another directly instead of from behind their respective protective curtains of a museum or a television show. It remains to be seen if Robertson will accept the challenge of Creation Museum’s Ken Ham to a debate.
Commentary by Courtney Anderson