If your a male under 25, know what ESPN is, and owned a television at some point in your life, it wouldn’t be a stretch to make the claim that this “call out” scene in the Sandlot could quite possibly be the highlight of your childhood. For those unfamiliar, tensions have been rising all film as the “rag-tag” Sandlot misfits have been the laughing stock of Phillips and his prissy group of talented sluggers. The product of a relentless exchange of insults, Ham “the great bambino” Porter has seen enough and takes a stand against Phillips and his preppy followers by doing the unthinkable. Porter is enraged after having just been told that he “bobs for apples in the toilet, and likes it!” Regaining his composure, he responds with the infamous line, “You play ball like a giiiirlllllllllll!”, as the camera’s pan the field and illustrate the magnitude of the proclamation. Nearly buckled at the knees and fumbling for words, Phillips ups the anty replying, “Tomorrow. Noon, at our field. Be there, buffalo-butt breath.” As the scene concludes with Porter accepting the challenge, the boys part ways with their chest’s held high. There is something about a challenge, a ‘mono y momo’, 1 v 1 showdown that jiggles the heart of all of us. Whether in old Western’s, Disney Movies, or out in our own front lawns, these “call outs” seem impossible to elude or ignore. Incredibly similar to this scene in the Sandlot seems to be the current and historical relationship between the Theists and Atheists. Constantly bantering over a host of topics in which they disagree, debates seem to be the by-product and spectacle in which people around the world can gather to observe these intellectual giants “take the plate.” Backing down to a debate request is like keeping a wall post from your great-great-second removed-great grandparents about the time you wet yourself at Christmas dinner on your Facebook profile. Its a no-no.
To the astonishment of many in the field, the very prominent and respected atheist intellectual Richard Dawkins has turned down not one, but four recent debate offers to debate William Lane Craig this fall at Oxford University. Arguably the most notable names from each side of the coin, a debate between Craig and Dawkins would be one for the ages, a “can’t miss” spectacle. Though the tides are recently changing, the majority of our world still without question holds the false assumption that Christianity has no business in the ring the greats in the scientific and philosophical realms. Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, recently debated Craig at Notre Dame and in his opening statements admittedly stated that Craig “is the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists.” In light of the student and scholarly reviews of the Harris-Craig debate, one wouldn’t be stretching to suggest that Harris may have left that debate a little “frightened” of Craig himself. Dawkins states in summary that his reasons for not participating in the debate are that “I have no interest in this.” For a man typically so quick to engage in argument and discussion, this debate refusal leaves many with the jaw dropping reaction much similar to the one seen in on the Sandlot. As far as statements by Dawkins go, this one is about as bold as it gets. The “banquet of the brains” has by many seemed one the Christians scarcely dine, could William Lane Craig be pulling up a chair?
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