First, each participant was given a chance upfront to state where he is coming from and why. Michael Egnor, representing the Yes side, went first. How did a medic, formerly an atheist, who cuts open people’s brains for a living, come to be sure there is a God? And how did a fundamentalist Christian come to be hosting The Atheist Experience?
[From] Michael Egnor’s opening statement
“I never disliked Christians. I always thought they were nice people, but that what they believed didn’t make a lot of sense. I thought it was just a fairy tale. I majored in biochemistry in college. I love science. I went on to medical school. I became a neurosurgeon. I still love science. I still think science is fascinating. And I believed that in order to be a Christian specifically or to believe in God in general, I had to leave my brain at the door, basically. That if I went to church, I couldn’t really be a thinking person. [00:02:00]
“I came to feel very differently about that over time for a whole bunch of reasons. I had a Damascus road experience related to the illness of one of my children. But I also investigated the questions about God’s existence in considerable detail. I read a lot of Thomistic philosophy. I read and watched a lot of debates between Christians and atheists. And I must say that, repeatedly, I was amazed at how little atheists had to say about the question of God’s existence. I was shocked actually that the atheist arguments were as weak as they were. And that the arguments for God’s existence were remarkably strong. [00:02:30]”
[From] Matt Dillahunty’s opening statement
“I’ve been hosting the Atheist Experience for the last 16 years, but I didn’t start off anywhere near there. I was raised primarily a Southern Baptist. I did go to Pentecostal churches on a couple of occasions, but we were pretty much Southern Baptist. And my mom’s side of the family was Catholic, but Catholics were Mary worshiping, Saint worshiping, evolution accepting, drinking people. And so that was forbidden for us. And yet curiously, I always had a lot more fun and, and had more pleasant times around my Catholic relatives. [00:04:30]
“And at some point that kind of changed. wonder actually — me being a former Baptist and with Dr. Egnor being a current Catholic — if that’s going to cause more conflicts in thoughts than whether or not I’m an atheist. But I walked down [00:05:00] the aisle at the age of five at a revival and accepted Jesus into my heart.”
[But that didn’t last.]
Next: A neurosurgeon’s 10 proofs of the existence of God
You may also wish to read: How Orwell’s 1984 can be seen as an argument for God’s existence Atheism is not only fundamental to the power of the Party in 1984 but is also its central weakness.