Although it wasn’t widely publicized, celebrated atheist pundit Christopher Hitchens came to North Texas last week to debate the existence of God. His opponent in the public event at Plano’s Prestonwood Christian Academy was Dr. William Dembski, a professor from Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a famous proponent of the “intelligent design” theory. The Academy has posted video of the debate online.
Hitchens is currently undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer, but his ability to render the famous “Hitch slap” appears undiminished. Personally, though, I don’t think it’s a fair fight. Dembski’s a right wing demagogue who has declared that the “intelligent designer” behind the universe is definitely “the Christian God,” and that this can be proven empirically. I’m a believer, but this is not only absurd, it’s missing the point of faith. I think Hitchens would more than meet his equal in the brilliant Katharine Jefforts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. But she’s probably too busy running a denomination to look for God’s fingerprints under a microscope or tussle with a hard-drinking British media hound.
In the end, though, even a Schori vs. Hitchens smackdown would probably be a big fat waste of time. As someone once said – how can two opponents debate when they’re not even speaking the same language?