A REVIEW OF THE LIVE DEBATE: Does The God of the Bible Exist?
I sincerely hope you had a chance to watch the debate with Dan Barker (Preacher turned Atheist) and Kyle Butt (Christian Apologist).
Kyle had two primary arguments that are very hard to answer. One, he is correct in saying that Atheists cannot tell you what happened to start the ‘Big Bang.’ We all admit that we don’t know. His second convincing quote was “You can’t make a living-cell from non-life.” So far, he is right about this as well, and scientists all over the world are hard at work looking for an answer. We have not yet discovered the solutions to these two things. (If any of my fellow Atheists out there have a good rebuttal, I would love to hear it). However, this is not an argument for Christianity; only a missing link of evolution. This lack of answers is not proof of magic.
By making those statements, Kyle has only proved what Atheists have already admitted. There are things we don’t fully understand yet. But simply because we don’t know yet – doesn’t mean we won’t find out or that we should stop looking for answers. Nor, is that sufficient evidence of the Holy Bible being an accurate depiction of faith, and that New Testament Christianity is the ‘one true religion.’ There are many more obstacles to overcome, and Mr. Dan Barker quickly pointed them out.
I don’t know that it was a good idea for Kyle to take this debate. You see; Mr. Barker has been a major player on both sides of the fence, while Kyle has only seen things from the Christian viewpoint. To put things into perspective for you, by the time Dan had his degree in religion, ministered for 19 years, and turned to Atheism, Kyle was just 9 years old. To put it bluntly, this Atheist was a preacher longer than Kyle Butt has been a Christian.
Overall, Kyle was clearly out-matched. I would love to see Dan Barker take on Dr. Craig. (I will YouTube that to see if it’s happened yet).
It was clear that Dan knew the Bible better than Kyle, and put forth his case for Atheism far better than I could have (so far). Quite often, we heard Kyle fall to the ad hominem remarks such as “any honest Atheist…” followed by a theatrical pause, and then he continued; “well, honest about some things…” Of course, he always followed those jabs with comments like “but I’m not attacking Mr. Barker in any way” as if that somehow erases the sarcasm he had just put forth. It falls right in line with the southern lingo of “Bless his heart, but…” followed by an unimaginable attack of character that is graciously excused due to the pleasant preface. That only made me enjoy the little jabs Dan took back at him, which I would not normally condone.
I have to say one of my favorite arguments of the night, which I’ve heard before – but never put quite like this, was Dan’s analogy of the ‘married bachelor.’ When one thing is proved to be two opposite things, it is therefore evidence it does not exist in part or in whole. His examples came straight from the Bible where Yahweh is said to be ‘a god of peace’ and then another passage that claims he is ‘a god of war.’ Moreover, multiple passages state he is ‘all knowing’ yet when he speaks through an angel - to Abraham stopping the sacrifice of his son Isaac in Genesis 22, he states ‘now, I know…” Since a god can’t be both a god of war and a god of peace, nor ‘all-knowing,’ and ‘able to discover,’ he is therefore just as real as another common contradiction, the married bachelor.
Another standout argument addressed the ever-popular Christian stance that creation requires a Creator. The typical Atheistic response is “Then what created God?” Followed by the scripted Christian rebuttal: “God has always existed.” Mr. Barker eloquently nailed Kyle down to his own words, after Kyle stated “something so complex such as life DEMANDS an intelligent designer.” Dan’s response was “what could be more complex than a god? If trees and people demand design, the complexity of a god spirit would too, according to Christian logic.” This was a great response, but Kyle retreated back to his argument of material items, stating that God does not follow natural laws of physics.
This concept is a contradiction in itself, because God sure follows the laws of physics when Christians want him to, for the sake of their argument. “We’re keeping God out of our schools, so he can’t protect our children.” “There’s so much crime because we’re trying to keep God out of our courtrooms.” “Evil is the absence of God.” Suddenly, when it’s convenient for their argument, God has to follow human rules and natural laws of science – yet he is everywhere, all the time, and has always existed. This brings us full circle to the married bachelor argument! God can’t be everywhere, forever, but also limited from schools and courthouses. Evil would not be able to happen if God were everywhere because it would be impossible to be in his absence. But that’s only if you’re thinking logically.
Two of Dan’s final statements really caught my attention. One of them hits on something I am always blogging and debating about, but never put it quite this eloquently. Dan simply stated the alleged words of Jesus “They who are healthy do not go to the doctor.” The principle here is, Christians think we are bad, sick sinners and need God to make us well. So there is this constant strain of their instincts versus their biblical teachings, and they always feel like a bad person trying to become clean (especially Catholics). Your true freedom comes when you realize there is no sickness at all, and you can just be free, as I have discovered. I have never been happier than I am now as an Atheist and Secular Humanist.
The final quote from Dan that sparked a thought for me was “Any system of thought that includes a threat of violence, is morally bankrupt. You should not proudly hold that Bible under your arm.” This was a powerful statement, and I was very proud he was there to represent us.
For the first time ever, I actually heard a Christian make a statement followed by a ‘booing’ crowd. Kyle firmly stated that birth control was “killing little children.” The audience let him know very quickly, that he had made a mistake. He mispoke again when he stated "Hitler was an atheistic dictator." Which Dan quickly corrected him on by proving that Hitler was in fact a Roman Catholic, whom credited Jesus for his actions against the Jews, and had 'God Be With Us' engraved on the Nazi's belt buckles. Kyle apologized for his incorrect statement, but he completely lost me when he said, “Every law of science proves there is a personal god.”
A question from the crowd to Kyle asked if he believed in modern-day miracles. Kyle said he did not – the time of miracles was in the Old Testament. Dan quickly jumped in and said “Kyle is telling you not to waste time praying for your sick children, because God is done with miracles and granting wishes.” Kyle’s statement is of course, a direct contradiction from the Bible, which tells us to ask in prayer, and it will be received.
I won’t take you through all six pages of my notes, but I had a great time with this debate, and hope to include you in on many more to come!
Thank you, and Congratulations to Dan Barker for a well-deserved victory for reason!
Until next time,