A Christian mother and her atheist daughter, a street preacher, and a philosophy student looking for some extra credit…walk into a bar. Well, in this case, they walk into a debate.
The “Jesus Debate” between Christian writer and filmmaker John Christy and atheist author Dave Fitzgerald March 25 in the City College Student Center focused on sources that claimed whether or not Jesus Christ existed. David Smalley of Dogma Debate acted as moderator, and occasional comic relief, during the debate, sponsored as a collaboration between the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Secular Student Alliance.
One of the listeners who happened upon the debate was Alin Patania, who was on campus to return somebody’s phone before the debate began.
“I saw the flier in the library,” said Patania a Christian, “and it drew me. I just had to be here.”
But Patania was not the only Christian at the debate. Moderator Smalley took a quick poll of the audience with almost half identifying themselves as Christians and the other half as athiests. More than 200 people attended the event.
During the debate, Christy and Fitzgerald were given time for an opening statement. Both men presented evidence to prove their points, mentioning the names of theologians and historians such as Augustine of Hippo, the namesakes of the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and Papias. The debaters spoke over each other to get their points across.
Rachel Larsen, a City College administrative assistant, attended with her daughter Taylor, who is an atheist.
“I thought this was a perfect venue for us to hear other people’s viewpoints since we have similar debates at home on this exact topic,” Larsen said.
Both Larsen and her daughter shared a pause as laughter broke out between them. “We usually don’t come to a conclusion,” said Taylor, to which her mother quickly agreed.
Christy and Fitzpatrick hugged after their closing statements.
“I love this man,” said Fitzpatrick. “I don’t like this man, I love him.”
Philosophy professor David Gilbert offered extra credit for anyone who attended the event. The debate was also broadcast live on Dogma Debate.
To hear the entire debate, visit http://dogmadebate.com/