Back in December I emailed Justin Brierley (host of Unbelievable) to propose a “devil’s advocate” debate show in which the Christian defends atheism and the atheist defends Christianity. Justin got back to me a couple days ago and suggested we record this Friday. Granted the timing isn’t ideal (in the last two days I delivered nine lectures at Oklahoma Baptist University; my semester starts on Monday; I’m volunteering at a swim meet Fri-Sun.), but I’m always up for a challenge.
So this Friday I’ll be defending atheism. And my esteemed atheist opponent who will defend theism/Christianity? Michael Ruse! I’m especially pleased at that since I’ve long been an admirer of Ruse, both in terms of his scholarship and his refreshing, irenic disposition.
But this time will be unique insofar as I’ll be defending a view I don’t hold.
And why would I do that? Easy. There’s no better way to deepen your own views and develop empathy with others than to go through the exercise of defending a position you don’t hold.
In addition, while I have participated in many debates, I have long had deep misgivings about the tendency of the debate format to entrench people into partisan positions rather than encouraging a thoughtful exchange of ideas. Switching things up with a devil’s advocate approach is a way of culture-jamming the standard debate.
I assume the show should be available in a week or two … so stay tuned.