A Christian pastor and an atheist came together on Sunday to debate a contentious question: “Is a creationist model consistent with scientific observations of the natural world?”
And Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, said he’s received “unbelievable feedback from all over” the U.S. in the wake of his debate with Jay Naphas of the Antelope Valley Freethinkers.
But Idleman said there was a key moment at the end of their nearly three-hour exchange — which was titled, “Bible: Delusion or Divinely-Inspired?” — that sparked the most fervent response from those who have watched it.
“The closing point was one of the most powerful that anyone has heard at a debate … even atheists have thanked me for it,” Idleman told Faithwire in an email. “It really got them thinking.”
The pastor said during his closing remarks that “man is in rebellion with God” and went on to explain why he believes so many people reject Christianity and, more broadly, a definitive belief in God.
“This has nothing to do with facts. We are prejudice to conclude, ‘I don’t want there to be a God. I want to do what I want, to who I want, when I want, how I want. I’m the master of my own destiny,'” Idleman said. “‘I’m the captain of my own ship. I don’t want there to be a God.'”
The pastor went on to passionately tell the audience that each person can get to “know God,” later recounting to Faithwire that at least three people who identified as Satanists got up and walked out during his remarks.
“When the heat’s turned up people do not want to hear the truth of God’s word,” Idleman said as the individual exited the room.
The pastor also told Faithwire about how he shared the story of Antony Flew, once the world’s most famous atheist — a man who preceded other well-known secularists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.
Flew, who lived from 1923-2010, reportedly shocked the world when he abandoned atheism before his death. Idleman said he used the example to show that “Christianity is the most persuasive argument.”
Watch the pastor’s closing remarks below:
The debate between Idleman and Naphas came to pass after Idleman said he was inspired to start intentional dialogue a few months ago with local nonbelievers.
“I began dialoguing with them for a few months and we decided to put on a debate at a local college,” he told Faithwire.
He went on to say that he hopes people realize “that science and the Bible are not at odds” and said Naphas couldn’t “name one scripture where the Bible contradicts science.”
Watch the debate in its entirety here.
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