(This is part of a series of posts about the 2015 Alberta Secular Conference: None of the Above.)
At the end of the first day of our conference we had a debate. In the atheist corner was Matt Dillahunty, an atheist heavy-hitter with dozens of debates behind him. In the Christian corner was Jon Morrison, an assistant pastor from BC with no debates under his belt, brought in by a local church.
I was prepared for scorched earth, for a (metaphorically) bloody rout of the newcomer by the veteran. But, although Matt clearly reasoned circles around Jon in most of the exchanges, both of them managed to keep it civil and lighthearted throughout. The debate turned out much more engaging and worthwhile than I had feared.
And while, at the end of the debate, Jon had uttered no argument that was at all new or persuasive to me, I felt that I had at least managed to map out where he was coming from. Talking with him afterwards, I was even pleased to find that he supports a secular government as much as anyone else there: he agreed that intertwining religious authority with government is bad on all sides.
So, while I won’t be going to him for metaphysical or philosophical insights, I would be happy to work alongside him on any social issue we agree on. If nothing else, by travelling hundreds of kilometers to debate against someone like Matt Dillahunty in front of a room full of atheists, he has proven his bravery.
I could say more, but why don’t you just watch the debate yourself? Here it is, hosted on Matt’s Atheist Debates YouTube channel (just over 2 hours total). Enjoy!