Fairly well-known Christian apologist and scholar Johnathan McLatchie (who describes himself as “Christian writer, international speaker, debater, assistant professor…”) rage quitted a debate with the atheist Matt Dillahunty on the Youtube channel Modern-Day Debate. It is an interesting channel certainly worth subscribing to because of the breadth of debate topics it includes and the representatives it invites.
Some of the channel’s many debate topics are on God, religion, and the evidence for religious claims made by Christians and Muslims, among many others. In this encounter, Mclatchie was up against Dillahunty only to rage quit on the topic of the ‘Evidence for the Resurrection?’ for Jesus Christ (see 01:19:47 for the rage quit). This need not have happened because Mclatchie was much stronger than Dillahunty in this debate. But McLatchie was much weaker in his resilience.
Essentially, McLatchie rage quitted after Dillahunty had dismissed his arguments for Jesus’ resurrection. At one moment McLatchie’s face was on screen via a cam and the next it disappeared as he yanked off his cam and presumably stormed off. Dillahunty could not resist making a point saying that “I’m pretty sure he just quit because I’m not gonna accept the stories from his book…” The atheist disciples of Dillahunty who swarmed the chat box in this debate savored McLatchie’s rage quite like fine wine and continued their mockery of faith and its representatives.
This was a very weak moment for Christianity and Christian apologetics in particular. McLatchie failed to have the resources needed to deal with a disrespectful proponent of a different worldview, in this case, Dillahunty and atheism. Having watched several debates in which Dillahunty has participated, Dillahunty is indeed disrespectful towards his theistic opponents often scoffing at them, dismissing them out of hand, interrupting them, raising his voice, and outright insulting them (apparently the much more resilient apologist David Wood is like “talking to a brick wall”, as Dillahunty several times made known to Wood’s face in their debate on morality).
Christians need to keep cool-headed and be prepared for their engagements. The often-cited verse 1 Peter 3:15 from the Bible implores Christians to always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. McLatchie should have been prepared for his encounter, especially since he has debated on several occasions against other ideological opponents before. He should have been prepared enough to know the tactics Dillahunty employs and the potshots he takes at those who disagree with him ideologically. After all, McLatchie was dealing with a deeply entrenched fundamentalist atheism in Dillahunty, the sort who is not too far off rejecting that Jesus existed historically.
Nine minutes later McLatchie returned, his face once again popping up on screen, and apologized: “Can you guys hear me? Matt I just wanted to apologize, I was a little bit frustrated with you constantly interrupting me and dismissing everything I was saying without interaction, and so I got a bit frustrated there, so I apologize.”
But by this time, and regardless of the strength of arguments, McLatchie had already lost the debate, at least in the eyes of almost everyone watching it. One must remember that Christians are called to be brave and courageous (Deut. 31:6; Josh. 1:6), prepared (1 Peter 3:15), and to “stand firm in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13), a template they ought to apply when dealing with ideological opponents, even the rude and disrespectful ones.