Premier Christian Radio Debate 13/08/11: MSP –v- Peter Harris – “Hitler’s & Stalin’s regimes”


manicstreetpreacher goes for Round 2.

The second of my two recently recorded debates for Justin Brierley at Premier Christian Radio for his sceptics debate show, Unbelievable?, was whether atheism or Christianity was responsible for the so-called secular atrocities of the mid-20th century.

My opponent was Peter Harris, a teacher and a doctorate student of theology and apologetics who has a page on BeThinking.

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6 Responses to “Premier Christian Radio Debate 13/08/11: MSP –v- Peter Harris – “Hitler’s & Stalin’s regimes””

  1. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    Peter Harris emailed Justin and me on 16 August 2011 with this to say about David Robertson’s comments which were read out at the end of the second show, which he has kindly permitted to me to reproduce.

    A response to David Robertson’s criticism

    Dear Justin,

    I have just had a chance to listen to the feedback to Ed and my debate regarding the propensity of religion to cause people to kill and noted with interest David Robertson’s characterisation of our debate as ‘a bit disappointing’. As an apologist, I do not always find Robertson’s style and tone of debating with atheists helpful to the Christian cause as it, and so thought I would respond to his comment.

    The show was subtitled as a response to Anders Breivik’s mass killings, but it was titled ‘Does Religion make people kill?’ Robertson objected to the fact that the show dwelt too little on Breivik and wandered off the topic. You, Ed and I were also criticised for not discussing Breivik’s views more broadly and for omitting to discuss Breivik’s world of warcraft obsession, his racist ideology and his alleged use of drugs. In response, it is clear from the title of the programme that a broader discussion than just Breivik’s lunacy was in the offing. More, it became apparent early on in the debate that Ed and I had no disagreement over Breivik’s ‘philosophy’ and motivation, and that fundamental Christianity was not to blame. The programme therefore had to move on to a more general discussion as agreement does not make for good debate radio! Ed honourably asserted he did not wish to make any capital for the atheistic cause out of Breivik and this also hastened the conclusion of our discussion. In addition, as the news of Breivik was so new, it was difficult to provide an in depth assessment of this man’s views and lifestyle. At the time, those investigating his crime regarded Breivik as not wholly understood and the British press seemed to be having a difficult time delineating the lineaments of Breivik’s world view. Finally, I think both Ed and I did our best to provide an accurate picture of the eclectic picture of Brieivk’s outlook. I remember describing Breivik’s occulticism, Islamophobia, probable anti-Semitism thus his racism was addressed), knights-templarism and extreme right wing politics. Ed supplemented this characterisation by referring to Breivik’s abnormal psychology and rambling political document. To be criticised for not mentioning Breivik’s warcrafting and his alleged use of narcotics seems to be a strong and unfortunate case of nit-picking on Robertson’s part.

    With best regards,

    Peter Harris

  2. Joe Says:

    What happened to this blog? Are you still blogging on another site?

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      Hi Joe

      Thanks for your comment asking after me! I have all but given up blogging after experiencing something of mental meltdown just over three years ago:

      I have in recent years attempted to escape from my problems in The Real World by immersing myself in issues that I have little if any control over and worrying about them instead of my social life, love life and career. I suppose there are worse outlets of the kind of anger and frustration (…). At least I didn’t turn to domestic violence, alcohol or drugs. But my obsession with blogging has been destructive in other ways and I have let many things slide in my personal life, which came back to hit me in the face very recently.

      I have been tempted to delete or archive this blog and move on completely, but am not quite able to do so. I would like to return to writing in some form or other and still enjoy reading books of a philosophical and irreligious persuasion. But if I do, it will be in a more measured and less soul-consuming way.

      If that happens, you’ll be the first to know. 😉



    • Joe Says:

      Oh wow! Sorry, I thought that I would get an email telling me that you responded, hence the late response. I just linked to your blog in one of my posts and when I came here I saw the more recent posts.

      I hope you do keep it up but in a totally healthy manner!

  3. Ukip councillor David Silvester displays a disgraceful lack of ‘scholarship’ in the face of Britain’s recent floods. But will the ‘scholars’ actually correct him on it? | manicstreetpreacher Says:

    […] I have also forwarded the post to the host Premier Christian Radio’s sceptical debate show, Unbelievable?, Justin Brierley and former opponents, Andy Bannister and Peter Harris. […]

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