Recently, a friend sent me a link inviting me to a debate between a prominent evangelical intellectual and a prominent atheist thinker. It made me remember how I used to eat those sorts of things up when I was in college, and I really appreciated this friend sending it, but at this point in my life, I genuinely had no interest whatsoever.
Eventually, you realize that every debate of this sort goes the exact same way. At some point–without fail– there’s comes a moment when the evangelical says something to which the atheist responds with “well, what proof [or “evidence” or “basis” or “reason”] do you have to make such a claim!”, to which the evangelical responds with something like “well, it’s faith” (or something like that).
And then the debate should end. The fool’s errand of these events has been exposed.
I have noticed, recently, especially with the waning influence (or at least presence) of the “New Atheists” in the public square, that there has been a shift in the tack that Atheists have taken against Christianity in the past year or so.
Philosophical movements generally begin in academia, then find themselves trickling down to the masses as those twenty-something college students that were influenced by these academic discussions now move on into the wider world. Both Atheism and Evangelical Christianity generally find themselves one generation behind in these philosophical developments of the world.
So, for example, when the world was just beginning to move on into “post-modernity” (notwithstanding the functional meaninglessness of such terms at this point), it was the heyday of Atheistic and Evangelical evidentiary apologetics, representing firm pre-modernist, Enlightenment thought (on both sides). Arguments centered around the very existence of Jesus, fidelity in translation and transmission, Intelligent Design, and the general historical reliability of the Bible.