I never saw this one coming. I had a feeling Dan Barker would be going a different way in his presentation than he had in his 2007 book, Godless. But when he gave a completely different presentation than he had in a book published only two years ago (with a foreword by Dawkins—a book he was selling in the foyer of the church, and which I have heard him promoting at colleges around the US this year), I knew something was up. He went first, so I had the second 20 minute opening statement. Exactly 20 seconds into that statement he interrupted me, objecting to the moderator. His objection? I was quoting from his own book! “This debate isn’t about my book. Please stick to the topic!” Can you believe it? He wanted me to do my presentation without any reference to the very arguments he himself had put in print on the very same topic in a book he was selling in the foyer of the church! I couldn’t believe it. In all my nearly twenty years of debate I had never encountered a more absurd situation. Someone demanding that you not hold them accountable to their own published statements on the topic of the debate! Amazing beyond words. Obviously, I refused to let him silence me, and I proceeded to document error after error in his work. But it was truly the most amazing thing I had ever seen. He later openly, and without repentance, broke the rules of cross-examination we had agreed to before the debate, and openly said that was a rule he was “proud” to break. It was an amazing display of atheistic ethics, to be sure. I know the atheists in the audience were rowdy, doing a fair amount of vocal “participation” from what those sitting next to them tell me. One yelled out at the end of my closing, “What about Islam?” As if I haven’t debated that topic enough! But these were the same zealots who applauded wildly every time Barker mentioned the “Flying Spaghetti Monster.” When I pointed out how irrational and absurd Dawkins and his argument actually is, they were very displeased. They just about worship Dawkins, sad to say.
I can’t pull the video of Barker’s objection to my quoting his own book (please note, he was not saying I was misrepresenting him, he was objecting to anyone even quoting him, even in context!) until I get home (I am at the gate at the Portland airport about to get on my return flight: I preach both services at PRBC tomorrow), but I will post that portion first so you can see for yourself. Despite that, the debate went very well, and I think will be very helpful to those dealing with this subject. Thank you for your prayers and support!