Dinesh D'Souza v. Dan Barker...again!
- View SourceBig crowd flocks to UCSD for religion debate
By Nathan Max
Monday, March 7, 2011
LA JOLLA The man defending religion admitted there is no way to know for certain if God exists. The man defending atheism admitted there is no way to know for certain if God does not exist.
Aside from those points, there wasn't much common ground between authors Dinesh D'Souza and Dan Barker during their debate entitled, "Is Religion the Problem?" And a near-capacity audience of about 800 at the University of California San Diego seemed just as equally divided Monday during the 100-minute event.
D'Souza, a former policy analyst for President Ronald Reagan and current president of The King's College, argued the world is a better place because of Christianity. Barker, a former pastor who is now the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, countered that all religions are untrue, divisive, morally compromising, irrelevant and unnecessary.
D'Souza began the pair's sixth debate in six states by telling the audience that compassion, individual dignity, opposition to slavery and science all were a result of Christianity. D'Souza focused his entire argument on Christianity, choosing to rarely mention other religions.
"It's as if the atheist is standing on a Christian mountain," D'Souza said. "The historical fact is if it weren't for Christianity, the atheist wouldn't be affirming the things he does."
Barker began his opening argument by saying religion is not the biggest problem in the world. However, he said it is the broadest. Barker added that the most successful countries on Earth by every measure are the least religious, and the least successful countries are the most religious.
He later said that the Enlightenment, science and liberty were responsible for human progress, not religion.
"Religion clouds moral judgment," Barker said. "Religion makes it more difficult to have moral judgment."
D'Souza argued religion has brought happiness and consolation to millions of people and delivers practical benefits, while atheism only offers despair.
Barker called religious holy books, such as the Bible and Koran, "outrageous in their claims," "contradictory," and "morally bankrupt."