I, Pastor Dustin and Sye TenBruggencate of Sinner Ministries had the privilege of engaging in our first formally moderated public debate on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro last night. We appreciate the UNGG Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics for inviting us to participate in this debate.
Our goals for the debate were twofold: (1) give a clear gospel presentation, and (2) that God be glorified. In my humble opinion, our goals were met. However, we can always do better by God's grace! As expected, our opponents attacked God's character and God's word. We knew that they would focus on those two things, and so instead of trying to answer their many assertions about alleged contradictions or about God supposedly being an immoral monster, etc., we simply took their feet out from under them by showing that they have no basis for using the laws of logic to begin with in order to create any objection to Christian theism. Then we preached the gospel to them and the crowd.
In the debates I've listened to over the years with atheists that have no formal scholarly training in either Biblical studies or philosophy, I have noticed a disingenuous trend of three things:
1. They tend to amass a list of alleged Biblical contradictions one after another knowing that their Christian opponents will never have time to fairly respond to them in a public debate setting.
2. They tend to ask questions of their opponents that have been successfully answered by Christian theologians for hundreds of years (i.e., Euthyphro's Dilemma).
3. They make bare naked assertions based upon prejudicial conjectures in order to "preach" their unbelief (i.e., "You can't trust the Bible because it's been translated and re-translated, over and over again.")
Regarding # 1, no one is impressed, except the most hardened atheist.
Regarding # 2, the Christians definitely aren't impressed because you are using old worn out arguments that have been refuted for hundreds of years.
Regarding # 3, the uninitiated may be impressed because they don't have the background knowledge in spotting such informal logical fallacies as the bare-naked assertion in the form of a question-begging epithet. Not only that, they also don't have the background knowledge in understanding issues related to textual criticism and the effect that underlying presuppositions have on any field of study.
In conclusion, I will take the time to respond to numbers 1-3 above as they presented themselves in our debate for the benefit of the Christian reader. May God be glorified and may His church be edified!