William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens recently had a debate about the existence of God at Biola University, and apparently Craig was the much superior debater. (I almost wrote “Craig won”, but then I worried that that makes it sound like God exists.)

An interesting informal discussion by an atheist is here. He writes:

I have little to say about the points of the debate itself because Craig gave the same case he always gives, and Hitchens never managed to put up a coherent rebuttal or argument. I will bring up one point that I liked, though. After Hitchens finished elaborating a list of religious atrocities, moderator Hugh Hewitt jumped in and asked Craig to explain how atheists had committed atrocities in the 20th century, too. Craig responded admirably:

“Well, this is a debate, Hugh, that I don’t want to get into because I think it’s irrelevant… I’m interested in the truth of these worldviews more than I’m interested in their social impact, and you cannot judge the truth of a worldview by its social impact – it’s irrelevant.”

Hitchens jumped in and said, “I completely concur,” and explained that he mentioned religious atrocities as an example of how bad people use God to justify any and all wicked actions.

So that was good. Otherwise, it was what I expected. One person was conducting an academic debate, the other thought he was hosting a polemical talk show, and there was little connecting the two performances.

The palpable unhappiness that some people on the atheist side of things expressed at my THINK! talk has got me wondering — why is it that some people who are opposed to intelligent design or theism are so emotional and angry about it? It’s not intellectually healthy, in that it leads them to give bad arguments for atheism and against the positions they oppose. I came across an interesting discussion of this point by William Lane Craig, in response to two questioners (one an atheist, one a theist) who are also wondering why this is the case. When you click that link, scroll down for Craig’s reply to the questions; it’s worth reading.

One of the reasons it’s worth reading is that Craig, one of the most prominent Christian apologists around, says:

atheism is not an implausible worldview and … therefore the poverty of atheist argumentation cannot be written off to the bankruptcy of atheism itself.

I appreciate his intellectual honesty in saying that. 

Anyway, regarding the trend of atheists being angry and emotional, I wish I had an answer as to why this trend is happening, but I don’t. I can form various hypotheses for why this trend is happening, but none of them seems plausible enough to bother typing out here — I’m sure the hypotheses that you can form are at least as good as mine. 

More perspective on this is provided by this previous post of mine.