The debate centered around the question of whether Christianity or Secular Humanism provided a better foundation for civil society. Dr. David Marshall represented the Christian side while Dr. Phil Zuckerman represented the non-theists.
As Richard noted, the church never posted the full debate online. Instead, they posted a few “rebuttal” videos responding to certain points made in the debate. But why not the actual thing so we could see it all for ourselves?
Zuckerman offered an explanation in a Huffington Post piece:
When I called pastor Bryan [Hardwick], and asked him why they are refusing to post the video — even after repeated promises of doing so — he replied, “It just didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. We were not represented well.”
In other words, we lost and we don’t want to embarrass ourselves any further.
That’s pretty much the worst thing they could’ve done. Had they posted it a week ago, it probably would’ve gone under the radar. Instead, after the posting on this site, the church’s Facebook page and several comment threads on Reddit were inundated with messages (from both sides) calling for the video to be made available.
After the debate, I honestly thought the video posting was my choice to make, and I was floored to learn that our decision not to post it was considered by some as evidence of close-mindedness. I apologize for not posting this debate earlier, and now that we have clearly heard from both presenters, we are posting the debate.
I hope that the conversation about civility can continue and might return to the civil tone in which it began.
Pastor Rick Stedman
It’s too bad it took this long for Stedman to do it, but I’ll take him at his word here and chalk the original decision up to his just not knowing any better. Whether it was out of genuine ignorance or a fear of more bad publicity, the video’s finally available for all to see. We can now go back to criticizing bad arguments made in the name of Christianity instead of bad decisions made by individual Christians.
My thanks to Richard Wilson for sticking with this story.