Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Loathing of Christianity by the "New" Atheists

Tonight is the night of the big debate between two Christian evangelists, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, against two atheists from the "Rational Response Squad."

In this newsletter link, Comfort states:

"The atheists made it very clear they didn't like what we said," Cameron explained. "They were full of mockery and sarcasm, belittling the many great scientists and intellectuals who recognize the existence of a Supreme Being. But the average American isn't viciously anti-God. In fact, polls show that more than 90 percent believe in His existence. Our hope is that the program will cause people to think deeply about the evidence presented, and challenge them to consider this most important issue of life."

How interesting it is to recognize, in advance, that the audience (which was comprised of fifty Christians and fifty atheists) reactions during the debate shows such a stark contrast between the two camps. The Christians were polite and respectful during the debate while the venomous and hateful atheists unloaded nothing but anger, mockery, and insults:

As per ABC's stipulations, the audience was composed half-and-half -- fifty Christians and fifty atheists. The Christians were very quiet and polite -- the atheists weren't. It was very apparent who was who in the audience. It seemed that no matter what we said, it was completely ignored by Brian and Kelly (the atheists) and then followed up with their anger, mockery, and insults. But as with a good open air, the heckler is simply a platform to speak to the crowd who is listening. In this case there is a crowd of millions who will hear clear, concise evidence for the existence of God. How incredible. So I am delighted, because of what we were able to say.

Found this article called The New Atheists loathe religion far too much to plausibly challenge it via Parabiodox's blog.

Author Madeleine Bunting concludes:

This isn't the kind of debate that the New Atheists are interested in (with the possible exception of Dennett, who in an interview last year was far more open to discussion than his book would indicate); theirs is a political battle, not an attempt to advance human understanding. But even on the political front, one has to question whether all the aggression isn't counterproductive. Robert Winston voiced increasing concern among scientists when he argued in a recent lecture in Dundee that Dawkins's insulting and patronising approach did science a disservice. Meanwhile, critics in America argue that the polarisation of the debate in the U.S. is setting the cause of non-deism back rather than advancing it.

Dawkins is an unashamed proselytiser. He says in his preface that he intends his book for religious readers and his aim is that they will be atheists by the time they finish reading it. Yet The God Delusion is not a book of persuasion, but of provocation - it may have sold in the thousands but has it won any souls? Anyone who has experienced such a conversion, please email me (with proof). I suspect the New Atheists are in danger of a spectacular failure. With little understanding and even less sympathy of why people increasingly use religious identity in political contexts, they've missed the proverbial elephant in the room. These increasingly hysterical books may boost the pension, they may be morale boosters for a particular kind of American atheism that feels victimised - the latest candidate in a flourishing American tradition - but one suspects that they are going to do very little to challenge the appeal of a phenomenon they loathe too much to understand.

More info: Prepare for a Conflict: The Nightline Face-Off
No-Holds Barred Battle Over the Existence of God


The Way of the


Parabiodox blogspot


Unknown said...

Why just wait until tonight when you can get a 10 minute preview -- including all of those hateful atheists -- right here?

Christinewjc said...

Oh mean the one-sided doctored up version where the replies by Ray and Kirk are noticeably absent or hardly heard?

Right. That's a fair assessment of the debate.

I think it will be much more enlightening to hear the entire broadcast.

If those parts in the Youtube video are the only ones that the atheists are "proud of," I'm sure that Ray and Kirk's portions will be much more highly regarded, edifying and say the least!

Unknown said...

Christine, outside of the superimposed text, there was no "doctoring" going on. The sound is bad for Cameron / Comfort because the mic was much further away. The videographer was closest to the RR team.

(That's physics, btw.)

Bill Reichart said...

I will definitely be watching tonight. Although, I do have an issue though that their approach is to argue without using the Bible. To argue simply with reason as the foundation is to concede that reason is the sole arbiter of what is true or false. I think that this approach is a critical mistake. -Bill from ProvocativeChurch

Christinewjc said...

Hi Bill,

Welcome to Talkwisdom!

I thought that the first part went really well. Ray and Kirk were able to share the gospel with millions via this debate. That is the purpose of the Great Commission, isn't it?

I'm looking forward to seeing the conclusion tonight.


P.S. Did you notice the part where Kirk said that in a phonecall prior to the debate, he told the atheist that he would pray for him. The atheist said he would "think" for Kirk. Kirk's comeback, addressed to the audience was brilliant!

Level_Head said...


I would like to gently point out that not all atheists are hostile to religion, and my own efforts are directed at a reasonable approach by atheists to our fellows who are believers.

I frequently see attacks by leftists -- and even believers -- on Christianity's "evils". There's a strong tendency to exaggerate the current "threat" of Christianity while downplaying the threat of jihadists.

I oppose this tendency, and have written in defense of Christianity in this regard many times:

And I am annoyed at the frequent use of abortion clinic attacks to suggest that "Christians are just as bad as jihadists" -- so I looked into it:

In any event, I would encourage you to point carefully, not at all atheists, but at the noisy fraction that actually do and say the stupid things.

You will find friends -- and patriotic Americans -- among the atheists.

===|==============/ Level Head

Christinewjc said...

Hi Level head,

Welcome to Talkwisdom and thanks for your comment!

I visited your live journal blog and read your post re: "What about abortion clinic bombers." It was well done.

If you call yourself an atheist, I have to admit that I haven't met anyone else like you. Most of the atheists/agnostics/skeptics that I have come in contact with are very hateful towards Christianity in general, and Christians in particular.

Admittedly, the "New" atheists mentioned in my blogpost are at the extreme end of the spectrum. The fact that they know that "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" is the unforgiveable sin and are encouraging others (via their website) to do the same (and, what's worse, make a permanent record of it on a video) shows how despicable they really are.

In the past, I have posted on the "Skeptics Annotated Bible" message board, and the "Godless Zone." Again, there were very few, if any, "welcoming" commenters at either site.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. When I get some time I will further explore your LiveJournal.