That was the question proposed tonight on Fox's "Cosmos" and tonight, like so many Americans, I watched with amazement as the visuals took us from the Earth and outward beyond the galaxies and universes. It played out like the most expensive PBS special ever made. Even the animation throughout the historical narrative reminded me of the animation in the last Harry Potter films, which was stylistically incredible. I was hooked.
Then it happened.
The Big Bang.
As soon as those words were spoken, I knew an entire segment of the audience changed the channel. The big bang theory is like a poison dart, meant to be avoided where I come from in the Bible Belt.
"That's not how it happened. It happened in exactly seven calendar days and everything appeared out of thin air. Nothing about evolution could remotely be true. The Bible would have outlined it that way if that had been the case."
There will be sermons that denounce this special as a cog in the vast liberal agenda to tear down the Christian heritage. But in actuality, if you read along with the Bible as this special went played, you'd see it all lined up. Beyond just knowing it does, I double-checked. It does. The argument about creation isn't really about the order in which is happened. It's about the timeline in which it took place. Was it 7 days or was it billions of years? I hate to be the one to say this, but I really don't think it matters.
Even in the special, the narrator spoke of the "extreme contingency" that led to humans being on the Earth. Well I believe that extreme contingency of events were not happenstance. It's sad to me that so many Christians turned off their sets instead of turning on a discussion about how the Bible and science exist hand-in-hand. Blind faith may be the hope in which we believe, but God gave us brains for a reason. He gave us the ability to reason, for a reason.
I saw it play out on Twitter. One man said he was ashamed Fox would air a special about evolution. Another said this was a sign of the end of the times. I'm sorry they feel that way. This incredible special put everything we know about the universe we live in and laid it all out there. And it does suck that Christians during the renaissance and the times that followed were so stringent that they punished people for logic and reason. Much like the Pharisees written about in the Bible, many Christians refuse to look outside what's written in the book and fill in the blanks with the evidence that's buried beneath us or in the stars above.
I personally don't care if I evolved from a monkey. They're cute and I like them. What I do care about is that I'm here right now, meant to be here right now, and try to live each day knowing there's a purpose behind my place in the cosmos.
And in that, knowing that I'm playing a teeny tiny part in this millisecond in the span of time and space, is pretty cool. As the Animaniacs said, "We're all just tiny little specs about the size of mickey-rooney."
I hope people will continue to watch this show. It's important to be informed about our past. Maybe that's how the moon was formed. Maybe that's how generations from the past treated people who thought to challenge convention and fuse logic and faith together. Either way, Cosmos is an important show and I'm thankful it's educating and creating a dialogue between millions of people during prime time.