As you’re no doubt bored of hearing, I was on BBC1’s The Big Questions last week, debating the question “Can children be damaged in fundamentalist religions?”.
While Twitter was busy talking about my hair, something fairly historic took place. On British television, for the first time to my knowledge, two Christians (of very different sorts) publicly denounced Accelerated Christian Education.
In the battle to save children from indoctrination and poor education, my contribution was probably the least important in the whole segment. By the end of the show, even the person they’d invited to defend fundamentalism agreed that she condemned Accelerated Christian Education. Here’s what happened.
Fundamentalists: you have not been trying very hard to save me. Either you do not really believe I am going to hell, or you do not care. Which is it?
I wasn’t going to post this until next week, but I needed to get it online while the relevant Big Questions episode is still on BBC iPlayer so you can see what I’m talking about.
Liz Weston is a member of Christ Church Southampton. She was on The Big Questions this week to defend fundamental Christianity against the charge that it is harmful to children.
Let me say this first: I like her. She got a lot of bile from Twitter atheists when the episode aired, but I chatted to her after the show and she was genuinely nice. I got the feeling that we could have spoken for a long time and found many areas of common ground. Liz was shocked by my experiences of fundamentalism and expressed genuine regret. She was also far more tolerant than I was in my fundamentalist days. I got the feeling that where we disagreed, we could have done so without it being a source of animosity.
So yes, I think Liz Weston is a good person, and that’s important to remember in light of what I’m about to say.
There will be three debates:
- Is now the time to arm the Syrian opposition?
- Should porn be on the school curriculum?
- Is rap music a way to God?
Best comment from the Facebook thread so far:
“And, is rap music a way to God?”
Unlikely, as it tends to be too manic and staccato in nature to depict holiness.
I’m not taking part in the first. I’ll probably be in the second one a bit, but number 3 is (obviously) the reason I was invited. I’ll be debating a Christian rapper called Guvna B. Doing some background research, I found a track on which he was guest rapper from 2010. It includes these lyrics:
They say we evolved from monkeys
So why do they still exist?
At least with a caterpillar you see it change to a butterfly and spread its wings
I ain’t never seen a human bein’
Evolve from a chimpanzeein’
While the programme is airing, you can take part in the debate live by tweeting with the hashtag #bbctbq.
Then on Wednesday I’m giving my talk “Inside Britain’s Creationist Schools” at Birmingham Skeptics. It’s a short walk from Birmingham New Street station, at The Victoria, starting at 7:30. Hopefully I’ll see some of you there.