The Knoxville News Sentinel‘s Jessie Pounds has an article about American Atheists president Ed Buckner speaking to a local atheist group.
At first glance, nothing seems particular striking in the article, but I did catch one bit that made me do a double-take.
I suspect very few Christians were in the audience for an event like this — the paper notes that of the 15 people who asked questions, only one was openly Christian.
I *love* the way Ed handled his question, though. I hope everyone who gives talks to atheists follows his lead (Myself included. I’ll make a note of it):
James Swenson of Knoxville, a born-again Christian, asked several questions, including how Buckner felt about self-sacrifice and of Jesus dying on behalf of Buckner.
Buckner requested that the audience clap for Swenson, for being willing to come and ask his question, but said he did not believe that there had ever been anyone who had died to save all people.
First, a show of respect.
Second, a simple answer. Ed handled it very nicely.
I gave a talk about atheism a while back; during the Q&A portion, someone began his question like this: “How do you evolutionists explain…”
You could see the eyes roll and the snickers make their way around the room. I don’t remember how I handled the question, but it definitely wasn’t as smoothly as Ed.
The article notes that Swenson didn’t like the bluntness with which Ed spoke, but he “learned from Buckner’s talk and [has] been inspired to do further research into the extent of Christianity’s role in the country’s founding.”
Sounds like a positive outcome to me.