This Thursday, Richard Dawkins finally revealed to the world why he won't debate William Lane Craig. Word got out quickly, and within a few days every big-named Theist/Atheist blogger startedtalkingaboutit. It seems like this is the biggest news since Flew's conversion to Deism. My only question is- why? Why do Theists want to see it happen- and why do we Atheists want to prevent it? Sorry- but I think that Craig being an "apologist for genocide" is hardly a sufficient reason. I have a hypothesis- but even I don't like it. I think it might be at least partially true. I think that the reason people are so worked up about it is that- simply put- this debate will make Atheists look really, really bad. See- the common Atheist is usually quite a fan of Richard Dawkins. Likewise, the common Theist tries to avoid him. They see him as a bully and, misfortunately, representative of Atheism. So imagine what will happen if ignorant Theists and Atheists watch this debate. Yes- a lot of doubt will emerge amongst the doubters, and faith amongst the faithful.
Now, this explanation may seem strange- but I can't help but put it out. Atheists are already disliked quite a bit in the public sphere. I remember the first time I told someone that I was an Atheist.Surprisingly, their first reaction was one of disgust, since atheism was apparently "loud and obnoxious". I don't even think I bothered correcting him. I was more surprised that this is what common Theists believe- that we Atheists are all the same.
And apparently, it's not just common, uneducated Theists that think this way. Just look at this article, which is actually written by an Oxford research fellow, and printed by a reputable Newspaper. In it, the author writes an annoying diatribe about how bad Dawkins is and how great Craig is. Now- I understand the author, undoubtedly a Christian, wants revenge- I mean, Dawkins has been calling them delusional for many years. However, that's not what his concluding remark suggests:
"In Craig, Dawkins met his match. Like Jonah, he was confronted by the truth and he ran away."
Hold on a second- the truth? Why is that? Is Christianity so obviously correct that the rest of the world is just simply delusional? This is sounding exactly the same as the New Atheist message! Now, I don't know if this is a joke or something- but he ought to know that non-Christians of all creeds and beliefs will find this comment belittling and degrading. And if that bit sickened you, imagine how much worse it would be if Dawkins actually did debate Craig and lost!
So all in all, I really don't know whether this debate will be good for Atheism in general. After all, it could knock some sense into those rebellious New Atheist teens. However- I also see the social ramifications as being very large. Personally, if you ask me, this whole scenario could've very easily been avoided. We Atheists have a lot to be proud of. Rather than belittle Theists, we should celebrate the great Atheist Scientists, Philosophers, Artists, Writers and public intellectuals that represent the very best of Atheistic thought. Maybe, to quote a well known Atheist, we should Give Peace a Chance.