Many of you know me and may remember when I got suckered in to the debate at work that turned in to a royal rumble in the parking I was supposed to get a debate with that pastor shortly afterwords. Well for reasons beyond my understanding he was unable to comply with the date. I think the church didn't like the idea or something.

Anyway, so he has set up another one to be held march 26th in Mississippi at a convention center. I'm very nervous because I'm not an experienced public speaker. Also there is going to be an audience of (I'm assuming) all Christians. I may get lynched lol.

So I think I may be getting suckered in to another bad situation. I don't wanna have to fight more Christians (physically) but if I back out now I'm scared I may hurt our cause. I'm not worried about the winning or losing part (again physically) but I'm sure the police and the judge are going to think I'm out looking for fights. I'm also ill prepared as school started back March 15th and I'm to busy studying design and coding to deal with the fictitious lord of the Jews. Is anyone in the area that could maybe attend with me? If not can anyone lend some advice? Thanks guys.

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Didn't you do alright at the last one?

The one thing that's true about most christian debates is that there material is hardly ever original.
Do you have any friends that would be willing to go with you? If you're worried about physical violence it might be wise to back out.
One of the best arguments presented to me was (Very paraphrased) "O.K. lets use the premise your God does exist in the way you say, now what?" How does this help with crime, cancer, amputees, war etc. What are the alternatives to solving problems without regard to whether this God of yours exists or not.
I wouldn't go if I were you,sounds like you are being set up for a beating or worse.

These people have no scruples and no conscience.
Tell them that you will only debate in front of a nonbiased audience
Yes Richard I did hold my own last time. For those concerned about my physical safety, I appreciate your concern however I am not concerned about that. I am a 2 time combat veteran and an ex-cop. I don't fear physical confrontation. The one thing I AM concerned about is, the last time I got involved with a similar debate I ended up in a fight and my opponent ended up in the e.r. I had to go to court and was let off the hook seeing as I was defending myself. I'm worried about going in front of the same judge IF things in fact DO escalate.

But my MAIN concern is my prepared-ness. I would hate to lose the debate. I'm going over my material now as I type this. I was just wanting to know if anyone in the area would like to come support me
I would absolutely love to... But I'm 16, I don't have a car, the money to buy gas, and my one friend who'd be willing to drive me there is also penniless.
It's the long-distance; moral-support-only, I'm afraid.

Maybe we can get some A|N or T|A members from Memphis to attend - maybe leave a message with the RDF or Pharyngula? Get the word out that way.

If you'd like help preparing the material however, happy to help.
Being beaten up by Christians sounds like you have done more harm to their position than any amount of debating will achieve! Bravo, sir. It reminds me of play ground scuffles when I was six, "There is no santa claus." Thump, thump, kick. "There is too, so take it back or I'd thump you again!"
Consider what you have achieved:
You offered to debate the existence of their god or gods, and their response was to beat you up. This is hardly the most rigorous academic support for a position that one could imagine, and a public relations disaster.

If you are willing to risk another santa claus scuffle by debating with these people, there is one basic point is in your favor at all times:

We share beliefs between theists and atheists: We live in a physical universe composed of atomic structures and we are a carbon based life form amongst many others on a watery planet orbiting a sun in the milky way galaxy. If someone disagrees with any such contentions, you can invite them to examine centuries of careful research and study that has evinced much tangible evidence that such views are correct.
However, the theists assert that there is something FURTHER in which we need to believe to explain the nature of the universe.

You are not the one claiming the existence of an additional super-natural being(s), and therefore you are not the one who has to produce any proof. When someone claims the extraordinary to be true, such as the idea that frost occurs because snow fairies powder the ground with ice dust overnight, the onus is on the believer to provide some sort of proof and NOT on you to disprove such a claim. Since god(s) are super-natural (outside the normal laws of nature) then people who believe in them need to provide proof in support of their position.

The world cannot work if we require disproof of extraordinary claims. Consider the court room:
"I claim that we had a contract for you to pay me $500 dollars."
"Produce the contract."
"No. You have to disprove that it exists, or you will have to give me the $500."

While I don't claim to fully understand the formation of frost (it is to do with radiation into space, still air with sufficient water vapor, ground temperature below freezing, and the alteration of water vapor to form solid ice particles without a liquid phase) HOWEVER, I am darned well sure that frost is not caused by frost fairies dusting things with ice powder.

In the same way, I don't claim to understand all the mechanisms of the universe, but I am darned sure that there is no super natural being or beings responsible for any of what we observe. If someone can produce proof for such a contention, then it would be possible to test their idea, and I would look with great interest at such testing.

One fallacious counter is that the bible tells us that there is a god, and the bible is reliable because it is the word of god. This is a circular argument. I could just as easily write a text claiming to be written by the frost fairies and explaining their method of frost formation. This would be no more nor less reliable than the bible--there is no argument that the bible is a text written by men in a late stone aged culture of the middle east. There is not one shred of evidence can be obtained from such an artifact in support of the existence of a god or gods.

An atheists believes in the universe but not in anything more fundamental. The theists also believes in the universe (though some really weird people might claim we are brains in a vat or something similar, that is a philosophical back water of arcane argument - don't get distracted) and in addition, in the existence of a god or gods. The theist believes more than the atheist, and the more one believes in, the more proof one needs to provide.

If we accept the position that beliefs do NOT require any proof, anarchy will reign. All beliefs would be equally valid, and creative people will fill the world with havoc because the truth of their ideas won't be challengeable. Consider a world in which every fiction book and opinion posting to the internet ever written was given equal credence with peer reviewed scientific articles. Chaos would ensue. Why should religious belief be exempted from the burden of proof?

One of my favorite examples comes from The Atheist Debater's Handbook by B.C.Johnson. You can get it at amazon,com:

Suppose I accuse someone of breaking my car window. They deny it, and they demand to see my proof. I reply that it is his responsibility to prove he did NOT break my window. Plainly, I believe in one more 'fact' than the person I am accusing. They don't ned to produce any evidence unless I can show some proof of my position.

Anyway - if you decide to go ahead and debate, keep your footing with this constant position: the pressure is on them to prove the existence of a god or gods.

I keep saying 'god or gods' because eventually someone will ask why. I reply that there are x+1 gods I don't believe in while there are only x gods they don't believe in. If they can prove the other x gods don't exist, then they should check to see if application of that proof to their god also makes him/her/it disappear.
I appreciate the help guys! Thanks! Some of you are still missing the point I made earlier that i did NOT get beat I invite you to see the original post here for some background on the matter

Ian you make a very good point...HOWEVER I've learned that when debating Christians it's easier to make them go on the defense. They claim to have a book that is God's word and is without error. I simply show them where that is wrong. Then I take a common sense approach from Genesis and work my way up. It's a little more time consuming but, the very basis of their silly superstition is this "book". If you pull that from under their feet...well....they fall! lol

I appreciate everyone's help and I will use that point Ian. Well put. I wish I could also open up a Q&A as Verne suggests but, I am on their floor. All I can hope for is equal time/treatment. Garrick I would love to see you there but, I understand you situation. I hope to get at least one person to come video tape it so I can get it up here for all to see/critique and what not.

Also my brother in law (atheist) has agreed to go. He wanted to bring a gun! LMAO I quickly put that out the window....but we ARE in the bible belt. These are the same looney ass people that play with snakes and drink strychnine so who know what they are capable of?

To address my man Mr. Healy I am attempting to spread the word between classes, studying for the debate, homework, actual work, and raising my 2 beautiful girls but I'll tell you it's difficult. Worst case scenario? I'll be the first martyr for atheism! LMFAO! Maybe then we could get some attention?!?!? J/K if it turns violent I will leave. Might take a few out on my way to my car though.....LOL
Or with your car. ;-D
I'd go with you if I could!


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