This May Be the Most Mismatched Debate Over God’s Existence You’ll Ever See

Over the weekend, Matt Dillahunty (host of The Atheist Experience) debated Christian Presuppositional apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate on the existence of God. The debate took place in Memphis, Tennessee and was moderated by Dogma Debate‘s David Smalley.

Seth Andrews has the video:

Sye Ten Bruggencate (left) and Matt Dillahunty

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If you want to jump to the Q&A, just click here. (At 1:15:10, Bruggencate even says he thinks a Christian theocracy would be the best form of government, to audible gasps from the audience.)

I haven’t had a chance to watch the full two-hour debate yet, but the word from atheists who have written about it is that this was incredibly one-sided. (I know, I know, what else would atheists say?) From the segments I’ve seen, that seems to be right on the mark.

Neil Carter, comparing the debate to the infamous pairing of Clint Eastwood and an empty chair, summarizes the problem:

[Bruggencate] never actually presented a positive argument for why it is reasonable to believe in any deity, much less in one particular iteration out of the thousands available. Instead of offering an affirmative case for his particular religion, he did the only thing which his peculiar variety of presuppositional apologetics can do: He argued (quite poorly, I might add) that atheists lack certainty in their knowledge and he concluded without explanation that somehow this means his view wins by default.

The most telling exchange I’ve seen so far comes at the 1:37:12 mark, when Bruggencate is asked a ridiculously simple question:

Questioner: … As a Christian, does your doctrine not state to be kind to other human beings?

Bruggencate: Um, I don’t know. You’d have to quote the verse.

Because if the Bible doesn’t say it directly, the idea can’t possibly be worth adopting…

JT Eberhard also adds another perspective from the debate that further explains why Bruggencate probably didn’t just say “Yes”:

Sye did not like Sarah Morehead…, the woman who organized the debate. His ongoing tantrum included refusing to let her treat him to dinner with the rest of the participants, going after her from the stage for not giving Sye the format he wanted… refusing repeatedly to “share the stage” if Sarah was onstage, refusing to acknowledge the event was sponsored by Recovering From Religion, refusing to be on Dogma Debate if Sarah was on during his segment

Check out the video when you get a chance and let us know your thoughts below. If any segment stands out, please leave a summary and timestamp!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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