Creationism vs. evolution, an on campus debate

Tom Short discusses creationism at UND. Photo by Matt Eidson/ The Dakota Student

Tom Short discusses creationism at UND. Photo by Matt Eidson/ The Dakota Student

Before I dive in, allow me to say that I am a card-carrying Catholic, a supporter of religious freedoms, a supporter of freedom of speech and believe debate is a crucial role in society. With that being said, let’s begin.

People should not argue with preachers. There. I said it. If you don’t believe what a person is preaching, walk away and go on with your life (or lives, depending on your faith). Last Thursday and Friday, the UND green was, let’s say, blessed with the rants of Tom Short from “Truth On Display.” On these days, this brave soul set up camp and began preaching his word of God and his disbelief in scientific advances.

Just to clarify on what he was preaching, he is a non-denominational Christian who follows Creationism. The Dakota Student is no place to either attack nor promote a religious belief, but I can get on my soapbox over how students reacted to Preacher Tom.

You could hear Tom from O’Kelly to Merrifield, but his bully-circle was no more than 20 students at a time. This mob mostly consisted of those who were there to watch a fight rather than listen to the poor guy talk. During the two hours I was sitting there (shooing away his hip, young semi-preachers like mosquitos), half the time Tom was talking about his beliefs. The other half was a medley of medical and engineering students questioning him about everything in the universe.

These students would ask Tom questions — “If God exists, why is there suffering in the world?” and “Can God cure cancer?” — While I watched and listened, all I could do was smile at the amount of pretentiousness and bullying happening around me. I watched a group of 20-somethings argue with a balding adult about morality and how the universe worked. I watched college students (who have read neither the Bible nor The Origin of Species) ask a man questions as though Tom was God.

Tom is a man. A man with a strong faith and wants to help the world. He believes he knows how to save people from a terrible life and is watching the world around him fall like Sodom. And I saw a group of young kids argue with him for the sole purpose of trying to hurt him.

There is no reason to go after this man. Your beliefs are not being harmed by him. If you don’t want to listen, simply keep walking. If you care that other people might stop and start believing what Tom believes, you don’t. Odds are, you would not have spoken about this if Tom had not shown up. No one goes around campus preaching about evolution. That tells me that no one cares about what other people think unless they are given the opportunity to yell at a grown man and gain a few moments of fame for a snapchat story they don’t even follow.

The interesting thing is that Preacher Tom has dedicated oodles of more time into proving his theories than a student has simply reading about their own. Heck, he created a traveling God parade with a band of God-kids; I don’t think everyone got an “A” on their evolution exam. My point is that those who attacked Tom had no right to. They disrespected not only freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but they also disrespected someone who is praying for them. If a student argues with him regarding his beliefs, they are only fueling Tom’s fire and proving his point. They guy just wants to help you, don’t grill him over it.

Jacob Notermann is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]