ABC’s Christian Vs. Atheist Debate: So Much Anger

face off 

First let me say that I was disappointed in the documentary.  It wasn’t nearly long enough and didn’t do justice to the event – But on to some thoughts.

Granted, I have a bias (like everyone does) on this issue, and mine happens to be a Christian one.  Yet, before any tenets of the arguments were discussed, the first thing I noticed was the anger – and this theme continued throughout the whole documentary.  Perhaps they caught the atheists on a rough day, but I have never seen a group of people so consumed by anger.  I truly feel bad for them.  Unfortunately, this anger led to disrespect.  Interestingly, the atheists were the ones sporting the “Holier than thou” attitude as it was evident through their remarks, reactions, and body language.  The Christian debaters trumped the atheists in regards to civility.

Two things I want to harp on from the debate and then I’m done.  First, Kelly made a rather interesting statement, something along the lines of (this isn’t exact, but the message is the same), “There’s not sufficient evidence that Jesus was even a man”.  Wow.  To begin, the debate was about God and not Jesus, so it would have been better for her to stay on topic (yes, Jesus is God, but the title of the debate was, “Does God exist?”). 

The reason that she should have stayed away from this is because we (“we” meaning historians) have sufficient evidence everywhere regarding the existence of Jesus.  Josephus is often cited as a source, and it should be (atheist will cry “foul” b/c it is said that it was altered…but if one takes out the added text, it still says Jesus existed, had a following, and was put to death by Pontius Pilate).  No matter though, there is still (with no Christian bias) evidence in the letters from Pliny The Younger to the Roman Emperor, The Babylonian Talmud, ancient Graffiti regarding Christians and Christ, evidence from Tactitus, and Lucian (to name a few).

Next, Brian Sapient brought up the question, “who created God?”.  Very cliche; most likely expected.  I haven’t heard/read the response to this, but here is a quick one on the subject.  First, this statement assumes that God was created.  However, if we perceive of God as outside of the three-dimensional world that we know, then such a question cannot apply.  If God is a being that is unlimited in time (outside time), and if He has access to every piece of time as if it were now, the question of who created God is an invalid question.  The question is like asking someone to draw a four-sided triangle – the terminology is self-contradictory.  God exists outside of time and space, and if He is the Creator of time and space, He obviously was not created.

I chuckled a bit at the end of the documentary when Sapient and Kelly said that they felt like Ray and Kirk needed a hug.  I got the impression that they thought Ray and Kirk were overwhelmed by the debate.  That obviously wasn’t the case, both men appeared at ease, calm (not angry mind you), and eager to talk more about the subject.  I am willing to admit that my interpretation of this particular event isn’t the only one, but it is defiantly what I observed.

In the end I think that the documentary, as well as the subject, elicited more attention.  Regardless, at least it started up some dialogue, and likely millions of blog posts from passionate Christian and atheist believers alike.

(picture from abcnews.go.com/nightline)

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3 Responses

  1. I watched the video. I thought Kirk and Ray had the right tone, but their efforts to work in basic Gospel presentation got them off track and gave easy debate ammo to the atheists. Part of the problem with these debates is that to make your arguments properly you need more time than a TV show will allow.

    The atheists brought up classic arguments like “but who made God?” as if it was some kind of trump card. They ignored the fact that they had no explanation for creation outside of a first cause.

    They made an outright misrepesentation that all signs point to the universe being eternally existent. Kirk and Ray missed easy opportunities to point out the Big Bang, etc. (unless it was on the video portion that wasn’t online).

    The atheists did make decent points about the arguments drifting away from the scientific perspectives.

    I agree with the points above about mixing up theism and Christianity. I think the arguments are more clear if you make the case for theism, then ask the questions about whether God revealed himself and how (e.g., a comparison of religions and their truth claims). When people glom it all together it probably confuses people.

  2. Kirk Cameron held up a painting and told us that obviously there had to be a painter, so since creation is around us there had to be a creator. He said this as if it were some big revelation, like we haven’t heard this one a million times. Has anyone ever thought that paintings, watches, automobiles, (and all of the other examples I’ve heard used) happened by chance. Somehow we are supposed to make the leap from the painter of a painting to a creator of all life on earth?

    Then Kirk pulled out all the stops showing his ridiculous cartoon pictures of transitional species . I’ve had posts like this on my blog by those trying to disprove evolution. Kirk was absolutely correct, there is no evidence of those transitional species because that isn’t the way evolution works. The very fact that he, or anyone else, would ask that question shows complete ignorance of the evolutionary process. No one has ever claimed that we get a dog from a cat, or a bull from a frog. Before one goes attacking science one should become knowledgeable about the subject of their attack. By knowledgeable, I don’t mean pseudo-scientific propaganda written by fundamentalist Christians that masquerades as scientific fact.

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