In a recent article published in the Huffington Post entitled How To Debate A Christian Apologist, victor Stenger expounds on the reasons that Atheists do poorly in debates with Christian Apologists and then attempts to instruct his readers on how to handle those rascally guys. As an introduction of sorts Stenger warns his reader that they should beware of the Christian Apologist(CA) because they are usually smooth and well prepared (one gasps at the thought of it) and that a “lay person” should not debate one of these masters of the trickeration of logic and reason. But of course, Stenger assures us, the fact that most Atheists get slapped around has nothing to do with attempting to defend a self defeating position, it is all about the craftiness of the CA.
Stenger goes on to assure us that in some mystical debate from times unremembered, all of the the Theists positions were refuted. There is no need to check that, just accept it by faith. Also by refuted he means that Atheists chose not to agree with them and refused to give any rationale for doing so other than that they are Atheists and thats how they roll.
Stenger cites the first difficulty for the Atheist is that they do not make a living promoting Atheism. (You should try to forget about the books written by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the like.) On the other hand Theists have the unfair advantage of having Apologist who have actually spent their lives studying these ideas. Of course we might ask ourselves why an Atheist feels that they are in a position to refute an argument that they are clearly not qualified to debate, but I would not put too much thought into that.
Stenger then goes on to offer what he feels is the solution to the problem, but unfortunately continues to offer the same failed arguments, special pleading and strawmen that Atheists typically regurgitate; which leads me to my point. If Atheists hope to stand “toe to toe” with Theists and other philosophical view points, then they need to spend the time needed to develop their own world view. But herein lies the problem, Atheist cannot even admit that they have a world view. They would prefer pretending that they have made no assumptions about the nature of the universe. They like to believe that the world owes them an answer and that they have no reason to defend anything that they present.
The issue for them is that if they admit to having made assumptions, taken a position or developed a philosophy, then they cannot hide behind their typical “burden of proof” dodging and will have to step into the arena of philosophy. And as Stenger points out, this is an area where they are clearly behind the curve. So at the end of the day perhaps it would be better for them to stick to their present game plan, after all being schooled by a Theistic Apologist is much better than the alternative … dealing with the reality of their untenable position.