I love watching debates, especially on the topics of God and Christianity. Thankfully, in our Internet age there are hours upon hours of such footage for someone like me to watch.
In summary of my experience so far: I’ve seen a lot of bad debates. Let me clarify what I mean: I consider a debate to be bad when any of the following occur:
- One or both parties fail to treat the other in a personable manner and with respect
- One or both parties make blanket statements without backing them up
- One or both parties fail to offer any definitive arguments for their position (rather resorting to “talking points”)
- One or both parties fail to answer the other’s points directly
- It is apparent that one or both parties are not “on their game”
Thus, by these criteria, a debate in my opinion can be good, even if the atheist presents a better argument. In fact, I’m not so much concerned with who wins a debate, as much as I am the manner in which it is engaged. If both sides bring their A-game, engage directly and respectfully with each other, bring up good points and adequately answer their opponents’… hey, that’s a good time for me! I’m that way with sports too — I don’t enjoy watching games where one side absolutely obliterates the other, even if it’s my team who’s doing the pummeling. I’d much rather watch a good match (even one where my team loses) then see my team wipe the floor with the other. I’m curious if you all feel similarly or not in this respect.
So, first things first: I’m in the market for some new debates. If anyone has any recommendations, shoot them my way!
I’m also always looking for new faces in the world of theological debate, especially on the atheist side of the table. I’m very interested to hear from my readers (atheists especially) who your favorite thinkers are in favor of the atheist position.
As for me, in watching many debates and applying the criteria above, I have established somewhat of a scoring system in my mind for the various prominent thinkers who tend to fill one side of the debate table or the other, and have a mental list of my favorite and least-favorite debaters. A few prominent names on my list, starting with my favorites and working my way down: (more…)