Saturday, May 4, 2013

#75- Debating Debating Theists

A friend told me that she does not debate theists.  She concluded that it was a total waste of her time.  I thought that it was a shame because she is really intelligent and can make convincing arguments.  When confronted by theists she basically tells them to disprove all the other gods before she can start talking about their god.

I was of a different opinion.  I had some experience with a formal debate club in which I learned some skills and techniques.  I always looked for the opportunity to display my knowledge of the religions that I am familiar with and see if I can learn a new point of view from the person that I am having the discussion with.

A few months ago I was invited to an online radio show called "Debate Talk 4 U".  The host heard of me through a mutual Facebook friend.  I was asked to represent the atheist side along with two other atheists.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak on this subject.  As you may be able to tell by my blog, religion is somewhat of a passion of mine.  I agreed and started to do some background research on the show.

When the time of the show arrived, things took a bit of an unexpected turn.  I communicated on various occasions with the host in order to understand the formalities of the show.  There were many topics that could be covered. I wanted to be prepared.  I started to read the New Testament as a refresher.  I was sincerely under the impression that I was going to be given the opportunity to explain why I had chosen to be an atheist after being a Christian.  This did not happen.

We ended up doing 3 shows.  By the time the third show finished, I was totally upset and dismayed.  I realized why my friend said she would not debate theists.  Talking to some people can be draining and depressing.

To be fair, I was told that I was not taken seriously because I had a sarcastic and mocking tone.  After listening to the shows later I understood why the person said that.  Even though I tried to keep my cool and wait my turn, my frustration seeped through my voice and words.  That did not help the "debate" one bit.

From my perspective, the conversation went all over the place.  The scientific theory of evolution was brought up.  The atheists were accused of having faith.  People accused each other of twisting the words of another.  It was not a fruiful venture.

Before this series of shows I was more than willing to sit down with almost anyone to speak about religion.  I walked away weary of doing future so-called "debates" based on my experience on Debate Talk 4 U.  It takes so much time to catch  the theist up to what I know.  Then I have to correct them without coming off like a jerk.

It is a truly tasking endeavor.  I have slowed down with these conversations.  Maybe my friend's tactic is the best one.  Either avoid discussing religion or ask the believer to disprove the other gods before even starting to discuss their own.


  1. Greetings Brother: I heard this show and I have a debate set up with Brother Stanley on the 6th of June 2014. I enjoyed the series of shows. Dodging and deflecting is a part of the theist response because they have no evidence. I think the key is to hold their feet to the fire and consistently focus on getting them to provide evidence for their god-claim...they are exposed once that is done. I enjoy interacting with them. I think you did very well. I encourage you to reconsider your stance and develop your debate skills further.

    1. Hi Yautja,

      Thank you for your kind words. I will continue to develop my skills.