Recently I went to a debate between a Creationist (whose name escapes me,) and the well-known atheist Richard Dawkins.
It took place in a large church auditorium, and to his credit, Dawkins stood in front of an audience that was overwhelmingly on the Creationist side. The debate was lively and respectful and Dawkins was the superior presenter, if not to my mind, persuasive.
The biggest impression for me was not the debate itself, for the arguments had all be tried before, but the four in the audience sitting right in front of me. There were three men and a girl, all about college age.
They were clearly on the atheist side, for each time a perceived Dawkins point was won they mockingly laughed. Though greatly outnumbered, they had entered the inferior enemy camp, were going to soundly defeat him, and snicker all the while.
Their arrogance left me with a sense of distaste for their cause after what in my mind was a Dawkins win. They hurt their cause. Instead of listening respectfully (as the rest of the church audience did,) and letting the arguments speak for themselves, they brought all the attention on their immature selves.
I have seen us do the same. When the roles are reversed, when we as Christians have the advantage in dialogue, let’s not ruin the victory of the argument with the distaste of the bravado.
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