Posted: Oct 19, 2010 10:22 PM by Drew Trafton - Q2 News
Updated: Oct 20, 2010 1:59 PM
BILLINGS - A casual spectator would never have thought the two men debating in "God or No God" at the packed Babcock Theater in Billings Tuesday night would be friends.
However, the point was hard to miss as Larry Taunton and Christopher Hitchens mentioned their friendship at several junctures during the debate.
But the two didn't let their friendship get in the way of making a very passionate case when presented with an opportunity to discredit the opposing ideal.
The two debated a wide array of topics: from the featured question about the very existence of God, to the merits and failures of atheism and Christianity in society today and throughout history.
"It's the most important of all debates," said Hitchens. "It's the original argument on which everything else depends. And, so, I think we're very fortunate to be at a time when it's reviving."
After the seventy minute debate, both men spoke with supporters and Hitchens signed books.
When asked about the difficulty of debating a friend, both men were quick to respond.
"I'm used to debating friends, says Taunton."So,I guess in some ways it makes it a little easier because I know his arguments, but in other ways it makes it a little harder because he knows mine too."
"In a sense, the warmer the better," added Hitchens.
The sentiment seemed to spread to the spectators, who politely applauded both speakers throughout the debate.
Many spectators brought books or DVD's for Taunton and Hitchens to sign, and this reporter met a few that traveled from as far away as Salt Lake City.
They told me they thought the debate was well worth the trip.