Last week my husband and I were fortunate enough to attend Bill Nye’s lecture at Drake University in Des Moines. Bill Nye is best known as the host of the 90’s kids show Bill Nye the Science Guy, but there is way more to him than that. He is the CEO of the Planetary Society. He has taught at Cornell (his alma mater). He holds several patents, including one for a magnifier made from water. He is an accomplished swing dancer. His father was a POW and his mother worked on the Enigma project during WWII.
Bill spoke on a variety of topics including renewable energy, climate change, and space exploration (past and future). While he is clearly well-informed and well read on these topics he presented them in a framework of humor and plan language that so everyone in attendance (well, maybe excluding the 8 year old sitting next to me) could understand what he was talking about. While I was excited going in, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the evening.
However, what REALLY surprised me was the backlash my husband and I faced from folks who really hate the Bill Nye. I mean REALLY hate him.
Most of these folks are climate change deniers, who take issue with BIll’s position that climate chance is in fact real. I genuinely believed that most people, even the early sceptics, had seen the light and realized that the vast majority of the anti climate change movement is funded partially if not entirely by the fossil fuel industry. Apparently not.
The other group – although there is a lot of overlap – were folks who were very upset that Bill insists that the Earth is more than 6000 years old. Again, I thought most people were on board with that and understood that believing that God created the world (which I absolutely believe) is not the same as believing that God created the world in 6 days as we understand that term today. In 2 Peter we read “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day”, so this isn’t sacrilege. But again, WAY more folks that I expected feel otherwise and violently so.
It makes me sad when imperfect humans insist that they have the perfect interpretation of the Holy Bible- none of us do! It wasn’t that long ago many God-fearing people truly believed that the Bible stated interracial marriage was a sin. Not too long before that good, well-meaning people were 100% sure the Bible said slavery was OK. Those folks were clearly wrong, but at the time they thought the world was going to hell in a handbasket and they had a clear calling to stop the madness. So, I don’t hate the people who made nasty comments about Bill Nye and I will pray for them to put aside their pride for the sake of the truth. As St John wrote “The truth will set you free”.