My Non-Debate with a Christian Pastor

Last month, I mentioned that I participated in a non-debate with a Christian pastor. Jay Gamelin and I took questions from the audience (via moderators) and talked about faith and atheism and politics and stereotypes and all things entertaining.

The entire video isn’t available at once, but several clips are finally up.

The first clip is below. The others are linked to after that:

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.
Part 4.
Part 5.
Part 6.
Part 7.
Part 8.
Part 9.

(via Legacy7070)

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    Having the unchurched visit churches and relate their experiences was a good idea. I wonder if someone could do this with atheist groups. That could be your next book idea.

  • Cafeeine

    I added them on a playlist.

  • Luke

    Full version here: video is a bit weird at the beginning, looks like he’s working on re-doing it though. Audio is fine.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTKU2vc88E4

  • Hank Bones

    Thanks for posting that, Hemant. I think that those are the kind of conversations that we need to see more of.

    One thing that got me thinking was Jay’s comment that electronic conversations are not particularly helpful to religious (or any) arguments because of the inherent annonymity behind the conversation. It is entirely too easy to smear Christians as faceless idiots who simply follow Dobson, et al. We need more of these conversations to happen publicly so that both sides of the (non) debate can see that its not abject fools taking the opposite stance; it’s (often) intelligent, rational people.

    In other words, for every Sam Harris or Chris Hitchens, we need two or three Hemants. :)

  • Mark

    Hey, Hemant, see what happens when you have a conversation with a REAL CHRISTIAN.

    Its a “non-debate”

    The point I have been trying to drive home over several threads on your website is that the problem with Christians is coming from people who aren’t really Christians at all.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Hey, Hemant, see what happens when you have a conversation with a REAL CHRISTIAN.

    Its a “non-debate”

    The point I have been trying to drive home over several threads on your website is that the problem with Christians is coming from people who aren’t really Christians at all.

    It’s a “non-debate” because we didn’t go into it trying to make one particular point or another. It was just a dialogue with an audience…

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    I love what you’re doing Hemant. Can’t wait for your summer project, too!

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    The point I have been trying to drive home over several threads on your website is that the problem with Christians is coming from people who aren’t really Christians at all.

    Actually, who gets to say who is a “real” Christian? The fundies say the liberals are phonies, the liberals say the fundies are. The Catholics say Protestants are phonies, the Protestants say the Catholics are. Some Christians say Mormons aren’t really Christians and Mormons think other denominations haven’t found the truth.

    The fact is that there are good and bad Christians just like there are good and bad people in any group. Being a Christian (or an atheist) isn’t a magic formula for becoming perfect.

  • http://atheistinanabsurdworld.blogspot.com/ Tina

    Great conversation. I watched all 9 videos this morning and not once did I get enraged and want to yell at either of you. To me, that’s a sign of respecting each other while still disagreeing.

    I do wish you talked a little more about a general atheist view with the question of morals and where they come from. I know it is a hard question to answer but an important one for believers to know the atheists side of the answer. I think many just don’t know the general atheist viewpoint and this conversation could have been a little more “get to know us” then is was.

    I feel like this question is a huge barrier to atheists being able to “come out of the closet” because it is one of the first questions somebody will pose to them as soon as they announce they do not believe in a god. The more the “other” side already knows the answer, the easier it will be.

    Otherwise, great job. I really wish I got to engage with more belivers like the pastor. What a wonderful opportunity.

  • http://jedipunk.newsvine.com jedipunk

    Having the unchurched visit churches and relate their experiences was a good idea. I wonder if someone could do this with atheist groups. That could be your next book idea.

    See the book Jim and Casper Go To Church.

  • mark

    writerdd wrote:

    …The fact is that there are good and bad Christians…

    No there are not. This idea that Christianity is an exclusive club and once you “get in” then you can be bad and still be a member of the club is a bunch of hogwash invented by frauds and liars. Its a Bernie Madoff styled ponzi scheme.

    You are either a true Christian or you are a liar and Matthew 7:21 clearly says that the liars are NOT going to heaven so you can put your suit cases back in the closet. You ain’t making the trip.

    What’s my point?

    The point is that all people are bad. All are imperfect. A true Christian simply has his eyes on Jesus’ teachings trying to make himself a better person. Its not a club to be joined. Its a life long journey to be struggled. Nowhere has Jesus appointed you the police man over others. The minute you take your eyes off of Jesus’ teachings and look around the room and start judging others you are not a Christian. You are Bernie Madoff. You are a ponzi schemer and you are a liar.

    Being a Christian is all about acknowledging your own failures, your own badness, your own incompetence, your own sin. It has nothing to do with judging others.

    Let me try to illustrate this idea another way. Imagine a 4 month old child sitting in the middle of the living room floor because he has not yet learned to walk. He is crying because his diaper is soiled. The kid is literally sitting there in his own shit unable to take care of himself and then suddenly he turns to you and starts to give you career advice. How crazy, how weird and stupid is that?

    That’s how strange a so-called Christian looks when he or she takes his eyes off of Jesus and starts judging the people around him.

    Today’s so called Christian community is an embarrassing humiliation. Its a complete fraud. I’m glad to see that Hemant managed to find Jay Gamelin, one of the extremely few Christians who is willing to admit that Christians need to spend their lives working on their own sin and they don’t have any time to spare judging others.

  • Ty

    “Being a Christian is all about acknowledging your own failures, your own badness, your own incompetence, your own sin.”

    What a horrible worldview.

    Every now and then someone reminds me why I’m so happy NOT being religious. Thanks for today’s reminder.

  • godfrey

    mark, I’d agree that learning to be a better person (in whatever topic or discipline chosen) is a lifelong thing. But that xtian thing about people’s imperfection just doesn’t wash with me, at all. I’m not bad, not incompetent, not sinful. These are religious constructs used to manipulate people into doing/being/acting how the manipulator wants, end of story. It’s a sick way to live, and I want no part of that.

  • Jason R

    blah, you need to post these videos on google video also. My work blocks youtube video’s even though they are both viewable from the google video site

    - side note. and speaking of debates i’ve been quote mined on a religious blog.
    The original blog entry with my comment (Jason R).
    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/video-and-audio-from-christopher-hitchens-panel-debate/

    and the their response with the cherry picked quote mine.
    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/evaluating-atheistic-reponses-to-scientific-arguments-for-theism/

    I replied to the second post but they haven’t posted my response yet, its been about 2 hours since my last response.


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