Is The Catholic Church A Force For Good In The World? (And Do The New Atheists Persuade Anyone?)

Do New Atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry turn off more people than they persuade?  I always emphatically argue no and the video below is solid evidence that I’m right.  Before this debate the audience was polled on whether they wanted to support the motion, “The Catholic church is a force for good in the world.”  Before the debate the results of the poll were 678 for the motion, 1102 against, and 346 undecided.  After the debate they asked the audience again and the results were 268 for the motion, 1876 against the motion, and 34 undecided.  That means he dissuaded roughly 410 people who came in favoring the view that the Catholic church was a force for good and persuaded roughly 312 of the undecideds.  (Of course, he may have persuaded more than 410 of those originally for the motion and some of the original undecideds and opposers of the proposition may have wound up for the motion).  In net sum, they gained 774 supporters for their position.

Watch the debate for yourself, determine what you think of the question in advance and see if you are persuaded one way or the other, and give us Your Thoughts.

(via Atheist Media Blog and special thanks to Sendai Anonymous for putting me on the lookout for this debate to surface online.)

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.