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Christian pseudo-historian David Barton gave a sermon last month at Calvary Chapel Salt Lake (Utah) in which he explained the bizarre conditions under which he’d debate an atheist.

Rule #1) He won’t do it unless he gets to speak 92% of the time. Because Christians make up 92% of the country.


I remember I got challenged to debate one time by the American Atheists Association [sic]. They called me — not they, but a news guy called — and said, hey, American Atheists Association wants to debate you. Will you debate ’em? And I said, “Well, here’s the ground rules. If I debate them, I get 92% of the time.

He said, “That’s not fair!”

I said, “Well, wait a minute.” I said, “92% of the nation believes in God. 6% doesn’t. 2%’s undecided. Now, if I debate them and they get 50% of the time, they now get eight times more than what they’ve earned. They’ve earned 6% of the time. My side has 92%–I’m not gonna give away my 92% to go down to their 50%. And so that’s the way policy works in America, is the majority gets to rule.

That’s… that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

The whole point of a debate is that both sides get to make their case and may the best arguments win. Barton believes that he should get a huge head start because most people already agree with him. (Good thing we’re not debating race or else African Americans would barely get to speak, much less Asian people.)

Not that this should stop atheists from debating him. We would offer more reason and logic in our limited speaking time than Barton could give in his entire sermon. (You can hear this particular sermon right here. The relevant portion begins at the 1:24:45 mark.)

By the way, Barton’s still wrong. Christians now make up 70% of the country even when you lump them all together. The non-religious are nearly a quarter of the population.

He’s pulling the 92% number out of his ass, which is probably where all of his other math mistakes come from.

***Update***: American Atheists tells me they have no record of ever inviting Barton for a debate. I don’t know if Barton mentioned the wrong group or if he’s making the whole story up…

(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Kyle for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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