News: The Genesis Debate

Earlier this week, Wired magazine ran an interesting story that, at its crux, was really about copyright laws and online videos. But the groups that set the stage for the story were entangled in a debate that continues to make news. The headline read, “Creationist vs. Atheist YouTube War Marks New Breed of Copyright Claim.” And though it may only serve as an overly sensational news headline, the term “war” has replaced the idea of civil debate between the two camps.

The story surrounds action taken by officials at the online video site YouTube, who took down several clips posted by the atheism activists group Rational Response Squad because they used what initially appeared to be copyrighted material from the Creation Science Evangelism ministry. At one point, the Rational Response Squad’s account was suspended. Eventually, the atheists convinced YouTube that the material in question fell under “fair use,” and the clips were re-uploaded. But it’s not the first time the Rational Response Squad has made news for confronting creationists.

Last year, the group used YouTube as a forum to promote their “Blasphemy Challenge.” They encouraged users to post clips of themselves committing “the unforgivable sin,” deigning the Holy Spirit. Hundreds uploaded videos, and the group got the attention of several major media outlets. The attention also led to a live televised debate with Way of the Master ministry personalities Ray Comfort (an evangelist) and Kirk Cameron (the former TV star-turned-evangelist). The group took turns arguing the existence of God for an audience of millions on ABC’s news magazine Nightline. But as the debate between creationists and evolutionists (two camps with wildly differing opinions and philosophies) remained in the news, another story about creationism advocates also grabbed headlines this week. But this time, the two groups involved were on the same side (at least ideologically).

After engaging in a long legal battle, the group Answers in Genesis and fellow creationism proponents Creationism Ministries have called a truce. Representatives from the two parties met to settle a lawsuit that stemmed from an accusation of “unbiblical conduct.” Despite maintaining very similar views about interpreting Genesis’ account of creation (a literal six-day creation and a belief that the earth is 6,000 years old), the two groups became divided after years of sharing resources and even board members. When millions of dollars in backing and technicalities regarding publications stood between them, a lawsuit was drafted, and the battle lines were drawn. But regardless of what the terms of the divisions stemmed from, one thing was clear: The “war” between the two creationism groups appeared almost as fierce as the one waged with atheists.

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Though it’s only one sentence, the intro to this article about the case from an Ohio newspaper (the home of one of the groups) says a lot: “Two leading creationism advocates, including Boone County’s Answers in Genesis, have decided to settle their differences like Christians.” It seems to show that no matter what a believers holds to concerning his or her interpretation of the creation account (or any spiritual idea), the entire story serves as a reminder that how we treat one another is the ultimate reflection of what we believe.

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