Last night was a local meet and greet with Loftus and his wife and also the UIC Campus atheists, agnostics and freethinkers as well as an adult group of the same ilk.
Skeptic Money’s Phil Ferguson set up the event, and as time passed, it became more and more clear that I already kind of met him. I actually already had his blog bookmarked, and I can’t figure out why. It’s probably because he was responsible for getting PZ Myers over to the Creation Museum event.
Last night’s discussion ranged from deconversion stories to asking about Loftus’ hope for the debate. Loftus explained that he has been preparing for D’Souza by watching his previous debates. Of course anyone would do that, but if you’ve ever seen D’Souza’s machine gun style of attacking atheism and not really addressing his own god, it might be a very important point.
Loftus is much more taciturn and pensive than you might imagine. He admittedly will tell you he might not hear a question and not address it straight forwardly, but he does have fascinating answers.
I was a little embarrassed at one point, because I wanted to know more about his almost obsessive hope to one day debate William Lane Craig, despite the fact that Craig refuses to debate former students, and Loftus admitted he hasn’t thought about Criag in some time, because he’s been concentrating on D’Souza for so long.
The title of the debate is “Does the Christian God Exist?” This is important, because the original title, according to Ferguson, was “Does God Exist?” Ferguson explained that Loftus agreed to do the debate, only if the title changed to include “Christian” as we’re not as concerned whether or not “god” exists. Specifically, we want to show how the Christian god is no different than any other god of religions. He’s a manmade entity, and when sought out through research and history, the Christian god really isn’t all that great.
Yesterday I spoke to a great friend and a believer on the phone. I was telling him about the debate. I said, “These debates rarely sway anyone’s beliefs from one side to the other. If you came in a Christian, you will likely leave a Christian.” His response was, “Unless Jesus shows up.” I laughed. He laughed. I was a little deflated. I wanted to say (but did not), “That’s part of it. Even if Jesus showed up, an atheist would still have much to straight out.”
Whether or not god, Jesus, or anything exists, there’s still a major amount of information that needs to be smoothed out. AKA in Café Witteveen speak: let me finger his wounds. I’ve still got questions.
Loftus explained that his goal today is to debate the Christian god. We will see what that means.
By the way, I’m in the Yeshua Fog here. When I was driving down, there was a noticeable boundary that I must have crossed when 95% radio stations were secular which changed to at least 60% to 40% secular to Christian. There was preaching, contemporary Christian, country Christian and gospel. It was interesting. But I imagine that will be a litmus test for the crowd ratio tonight.
I have to check out of my hotel.