Wednesday night's debate at UBCO was definitely something to remember. Kendall and I decided to attend, after hearing John Mackay speak at KGF last Sunday at church. Neither one of us had ever attended a debate of this nature, and we had no idea what to expect. Like going into a movie “cold”, we casually approached the university lecture auditorium.
The place was buzzing with people, and though we were early to arrive it was already nearly at capacity. The atmosphere was electric, powerfully charged with excitement and enthusiasm.
What happened next was nothing short of amazing as we listened for over two hours to two well-equipped men of learning engage each other and their audience with powerful intention and staunch conviction.
Perhaps one of the most interesting and telling things however, was that the battle was clearly not being fought on level playing ground. We watched John's opponent plead, struggle, and grasp for words in what became a painful attempt to gain audience support and assert a loosely defined moral high ground. Personal attacks on Mr. Mackay ran positively rampant, and the focus of the debate itself was often neglected in favour of these. Meanwhile John used no such tactic, instead using his time effectively and powerfully to demonstrate the fruit of his life's work with level headed restraint.
The parlay was uneven in another sense; no matter which point the opposition brought forth, his entire argument could only attain to the realm of theory, never to surpass it. In stark contrast was our visiting creationist's strong position of the absolute truth of God's Word. Indeed it was these two paradigms which often seemed more on debate than the topic itself, however large and grand it was to begin with.
To be fair, both cases were presented fairly well; indeed the calibre of this debate far exceeded my expectations. There were moments when each side seemed to gain the upper hand – if only for a brief second – and you could feel the audience appreciating the earnest effort and level of engagement offered by both men.
In conclusion I believe that John Mackay strengthened the church of Kelowna Wednesday night and gave legitimate pause to many unbelievers in the process. I was personally convicted and challenged by Mr. Mackay and Mr. Ryder's tête-à-tête in a way that left me feeling very encouraged afterward. Kudos to the UBC Okanagan Creation Club for making this event happen!