Brian Fields, the leader of the Pennsylvania Non-believers and state director of PA for the Secular Coalition for America (and all-round pretty epic guy) was helping me flash a new ROM on my tablet last night (via Skype). During the conversation, he told me of a Christian author who kept bugging him for a debate and who kept “threatening” to go on his blog and say that Brian was conceding the debate and chickening out.
How does one concede a debate into which they never entered? Who knows.
Anyway, I wasn’t paying Brian for his time or expertise, so I thought that perhaps I could repay him by taking this guy off his hands. I asked Brian to send him my way. I just got his email.
From: A. J. MacDonald, Jr.
Subject: Possible debate regarding atheism and theism, science and religion?
J. T., After reading an article by Adam Russell recently in the Public Opinion I challenged him to a public debate, asking the PO to moderate. I have yet to hear from either Adam or the PO. I also challenged Brian of PA Nonbelievers and he chickened out in spades, which was quite pathetic. He gave me your name and email so I am asking you if yo would be open to engaging me in such a debate.
See: Meaningless prayers for atheists: http://www.
publicopiniononline.com/ opinion/ci_22163900/ meaningless-prayers-atheists
And I wrote back…
Thank you for contacting me.
Don’t confuse “chickening out” with “ignoring you.” There’s a difference. If a toddler is challenging me to go twelve rounds in the ring, I’m not going to act as if Mike Tyson just gave me a shot at the title (in fact, I’d probably tell him to go finish his green beans and leave me alone so I can get my real work done). Many of us, myself included, are inundated with debate challenges from every blowhard with a bible. We find that most of them are looking for us to legitimize their ill-formed opinions by appearing in a public place to listen to some of the most insipid ideas to ever grace the planet. We can’t possibly engage all of them and, indeed, we shouldn’t – even when they attempt to goad us with promises of flying back to their flock to preen about how the atheist “chickened out” and was “pathetic”.
However, if you’re up for a debate on whether or not god exists, I’m your Huckleberry.
Generally when I do online debates I go three rounds (though I would be open to four or maybe five) at a max of 2,000 words apiece (so debating someone doesn’t become all I’m doing with my time as I do have other obligations).
This could be fun.