The Polemics of Disbelief: An Atheist, an Agnostic and a Catholic Priest


“I want to believe,” says Fox News’ John Stossel.  “I see the peace and purpose it gives most of you who believe—and I tried.  I just can’t.”

Born of Jewish parents, then raised Protestant, Stossel is not steeled against religion—he just hasn’t experienced the spark of faith in his own life.  By his own admission, he’s gone to churches and temples; but he just hasn’t been convinced that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

In the video which follows, Stossel discusses the question “Does God exist?” with two men who have each considered the possibilities, and who have arrived at two very different answers.  One is Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society and editor-in-chief of Skeptic magazine.  The other is Catholic priest and Fox News correspondent Fr. Jonathan Morris.

Who wins the debate?  I believe that Father Jonathan is the hands-down victor.  His clear, graced elucidation of the evidence for a benevolent Creator is compelling.  To my thinking, this affable and keenly intelligent priest is a great gift to the American Church.

And I was impressed, too, by Stossel’s openness to inquiry, and by his respect for his guests.  Apparently, his demeanor was appealing to his viewers, as well; while the Internet is frequently aflame with critics armed with word-darts, Stossel’s commenters are courteous and respectful.  The first comment I read is a case in point.  “Thervor” says:

John we don’t dislike you or hate you for your skepticism or disbelief. We won’t stop watching you.

We applaud your honesty. We appreciate your tolerance. We support your searching heart.

Most of all we pray for you. Dear Heavenly Father, please fall fresh upon John Stossel, reveal yourself to him, such that he may know You. And, come to know, trust, love, and accept Your Son Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Amen

God Loves you and so do I.

Take a few minutes to watch this lively exchange.  I think you’ll like it.

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  • former expat

    Whoa. They needed to get someone with a bit of depth to sub for Father Morris because he came off about as substantive as a summer camp counselor. The ability to love = the existence of god? Ouch. His basic premise is this: because I feel it, it must be so. Utter poppycock.

    Shermer was not attempting to play in the rah-rah world that the good Father bounces around in, but simply stated the rational point of view crisply and cleanly.

    I’ve seen debates between the late Christopher Hitchens and religious intellects ten times the size of Morris’ and the religious always lost them, too.