Well, it was an interesting night. The results of the night were rather interesting, as our "friendly enemy" Alex has decided to start his own blog in which he attacks the ministry of Operation 513.
The night began with our normal time of Bible reading, and prayer as a team. Then at around 9pm we headed up the Queens Street Mall. I was expecting a lively night, as today was the big homosexual parade in Brisbane and history has shown that in the past it is normally the homosexuals that respond most violently to the gospel proclamation in Brisbane city. It was interesting to run into Riley, who is a regular. He openly admits to being homosexual, but tonight he was running around with fairy wings, and a halo on. Also, shouting about taking five ecstasy pills.
Andre was the first preacher up, and as normal Alex was standing in the back throwing a few heckles out. Andre ignored him and continued to preach the gospel. During this time it was encouraging to see a few people from my church stop by and watch. I didn't know they were coming, but I was glad to see them there, and also encouraged to see them witnessing to some of the people in the area.
Once Andre had finished his preaching, I jumped up and began to immediately to engage Alex in open air debate. I really enjoy his debates, and the cases he tries to make for evolution and atheism. Although, some other Atheists have commented that they disagree with the arguments he uses. Nevertheless, we began to have our open air discussion. Alex started in trying to prove evolution, this time he used E-coli a ‘proof' of evolution. The case he tried to build was that we have observed E-coli evolving, however, he failed to mention what he believed to be evolution. What Alex described was what is known as "micro-evolution" or variation within a species. Now, any Creationist would agree with Alex over "micro-evolution", the E-coli that "evolved", went from one kind of E-coli to another kind of E-coli. This did not prove his case of "macro-evolution" (one kind becoming another kind - I.e. Primates to Humans") But rather that we observe changes within kinds. However, the case that Alex made was simple "If there is a lot of little changes within the species, then it is possible for it to change into another species". Sadly for the evolutionary camp there is no evidence of one species becoming another species. The "argument" that was put forward by Alex was nothing more than an "argument" built upon speculation. The argument he made has some major holes in it, for instance, "Where did the new information come from in order to create this new species?" If you are going to have one kind evolve into another kind, then new information must be added somewhere along the line. Now where does that new information come from?
After we wrestled over the issue of E-coli for awhile, I decided it was best to make a line for the cross of Christ. My reasoning for this was that earlier when Andre was preaching, Alex argued his hardest against Christ dying on the cross for the sins of His people.
Alex objected to this, which was to be expected, as the Bible makes it clear that those who are not Christians find the message of the cross foolishness, and abhorrent to them. But, I still preached the cross, for it was on the cross that Christ Jesus paid for the price of Alex's sin if he would repent and believe.
I always wish to be fair in open air debates, so I addressed the crowd and stated that I would make a five minute case for the existence of God, and the Christian worldview, and then Alex will present the case for atheistic evolution. Alex corrected me and said that he would present the case for "evolution without the need of God". So I made my case, and Alex then made his case. He stated all these ‘facts' but failed to bring any support for them. And in his speech he spent time attacking Christianity. So I wonder how attacking actually counts as evidence for your claims?
Alex then called on the crowd to vote, and I admit there were 10 known Christians in the crowd. So the crowd put there hands up over which side they agreed with. Without much surprise the theists won. But Alex managed to get three votes. So then Alex launched into another speech on how his view point was correct. [It should be noted the crowd actually grew in this time and no one left]. Then the call to vote was give again, this time Alex lost votes from those who had been with him previously. This makes me wonder how Alex can claim victory on his blog when he actually lost ground with the crowd...
Some of the arguments that Alex presents are self refuting, for instance one of his favourites is "There is no evidence for God!" However, he fails to realise that logically speaking, for him to make that statement, he must have seen ever bit of evidence in the universe, and have all knowledge of everything. Now, if that was the case and he knew everything about everything, then by definition he would be "God". It would be far safer for Alex to say "In the knowledge that I currently have, I am yet to see evidence for God".
This of course led us into the argument of "What evidence is there for God?", this week I thought I would ask Alex a question to see what he would accept as evidence. His reply was "If God is real, then let Him come down to earth, and appear before me!" Now, there are some problems with this demand, firstly, God did come down to earth in the form of a man, and they nailed Him to a Cross. Secondly, Why should God bow to the will of Alex? If there is a Supreme God who controls everything, and He chooses not to appear before Alex, does that make Him any less real? No! The problem is, Alex wants God to conform to his ideals and also to his standard. Basically speaking, Alex is wanting God to be subservient to him, and that he becomes the sovereign.
From here we went onto the argument of the "proof of God", and after reading Alex's blog, I am rather perplexed over why he failed to mention on his atheistic blog for all his atheistic friends, on why he admitted (on video camera) that there could be a God, and since there is a God He could do whatever he wants! No correct me if I am wrong, but I was always under the impression that an atheist believed that there was ‘no god' (a= no; theos= God), however, what Alex admitted to was not being an atheist, but rather an agnostic (a=no; gnosis=knowledge). Was this backsliding on behalf of this member of the Brisbane atheist group? Going from "No God" to "There could be a God" is a fairly big leap for one who champions the cause of there being no god.
This revealed something interesting, the Alex does not have an issue with God. But rather his issue is with Jesus Christ. So I asked Alex "If there is a God, can He do whatever He wants?" to which Alex replied "Yes", that admission destroys Alex's argument against the Cross of Christ. For if there is a God then He is perfectly right to provide one to die in the place of sinners.
Something that I did find rather interesting throughout the whole discussion was the fact that Alex maintained that there is no "right and wrong", and under some circumstances he believed that rape and even child molestation could be ‘right'. Yet, whenever a case was made opposing his view argument, he would very loudly shout "you're wrong!" How can one be "wrong" if there is no "right and wrong"? All these arguments really just go to show the silliness of the atheistic worldview.
Alex then tried to make the classic case of religion being responsible for the deaths of millions. To which I agreed, religion has been the cause of many wars and deaths. Alex then said "Christianity has been the cause!" This is where I had to get Alex to define his terms, what did he mean by "Christianity", his definition was "someone who claims to follow Christ". I disagreed with his definition, and pointed out that if I claim to be a doctor, it doesn't necessarily make me one. Then I pointed out that a Christian is one who has repented and trust in Jesus Christ, as a Christian is a Christ follower. Now, if that is what a Christian is, then we should be able to judge the fruits of those who claims to be Christians. For instance, Jesus made the case in the Gospel of John, that if someone kills you in the name of God, then that person does NOT know God. Jesus also made it clear that as Christians we are to love our enemies, and bless those that curse us. So by definition those who kill in the name of God, are not Christians. But rather they are religious.
From here I made the case that atheistic communism is responsible for more deaths than any religious movement. And that if one takes the time to look at the top twenty dictators you will not find a Christian among them, but rather you will only find Atheists and Muslims. Alex rejected this argument, stating that Atheism is not violent, however, I would like to reference Alex's blog from June 19, 2008: "CASE dislikes violence of any kind (unless it is necessary to futher the One True Cause: Atheism)" [http://casehq.blogspot.com/2008/06/case-note-street-preachers-instigate.html]
Really the question has to be asked, which is more dangerous: A Christian preaching, repent and trust in Christ, Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself! Or an Atheist preaching, the use of violence to advance the cause of atheism?
I will let the reader decided which one is more dangerous for society...
By the end of the hour of the discussion, Alex who openly admitted that there could be a God, and that God could do whatever He wants, made one final attack before withdrawing for a cigarette. His closing argument was "You Christians believe in God by faith!" To which I replied "I accept God's existence by faith, even though I can see evidence for Him, and the atheists accept God not existing "by faith", and I don't have enough faith to be an atheist!"
I tagged Ryan in, and the reason for this was that Ryan has spent a lot of time studying atheism, and the evidences for the existence of God. Each time in the past when Alex has engaged Ryan in debate it has ended up with Alex's arguments being smacked for six. It is interesting to note, that Alex even though he was present did not engage Ryan this time for discussion. So, Ryan preached the gospel to the good size crowd that had gathered.
The rest of the night was quite quiet, with many people being witnessed to, and many people getting to hear the gospel. One highlight for me was a friendly long haired atheist who came up to me, and thanked us for taking the time to come out and debate and discuss many issues. He stated that he enjoyed the night, and hopes to come back to talk again some time. It is my hope that this man would heckle, as he is really friendly and calls himself a ‘rationalist atheist'.
In closing, I must mention, that on Alex's blog he invites other atheists to come out on Saturday nights to the Queen Street Mall. So, I would like to on behalf of Operation 513 encourage the atheists to come along and have some friendly chats. We look forward to our future discussions!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Brisbane Team (Night) (QLD)
Meets every Saturday night in King George Square 7-10pm.
Brisbane Team (Day) (QLD)
Meets Wednesday afternoons 1-5pm in King George Square (near Adelaide St crossing).
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.