In one of the more hostile states toward atheists, Carter defused the situation immediately, putting the audience at ease, welcoming their questions, and letting them know this wasn’t a debate but a conversation. If you want an example of what an ideal Christian/atheist dialogue looks like, watch this video. The questions begin around the 30:00 mark.
Neil spent about 15 minutes early on talking about the misconceptions people have about atheists. If nothing else, watch that section (beginning at the 7:05 mark) because he does a wonderful job of explaining and rebutting the stereotypes. You can also watch just that portion of the interview here.
Let’s hope today’s interviews with atheists go just as smoothly.