: CHRIST : COMMUNITY : LIFE “What we have are sound bites and we put you in the middle and we shout at you figuratively and literally from the right and the left,” says Taunton. “Then at the end of the day, we say that we’ve had a dialogue, when we really haven’t. There hasn’t been any opportunity for you or for me to develop what it is that we’re about or to really get to the heart of the issue.” In one sense, it’s amazing that Taunton has proved able to get such guests to agree to come to the Birmingham campus in the first place. Yet it shows that true dialogue can actually take place, despite the loud voices that often dominate the airwaves or television screens. When people can let down their guard and converse respectfully with one another, that’s the place that Taunton believes Christianity will be heard for what it really is. “Let’s go at it for more than 30 seconds and let’s actually talk for an hour or two,” he says. “Let’s hope that it makes a difference. Let’s hope that people who are watching this on DVD or TV are thinking through these issues. That’s when people will listen to what we have to say.” Larry Taunton is trying to speak. Or rather, he’s trying to let others speak. Unfortunately, the voices he works so hard to set up are often drowned out. In our highly polarizing media climate, it’s hard to find a good place to debate. As founder and Executive Director of the Fixed Point Foundation, Taunton has worked hard to establish a credible place where a proper Christian perspective can be given on subjects like atheism or science featuring some of the world’s most famous scholars—and some of Christianity’s biggest critics. It’s all in an effort to amiably discuss the differences and truly engage with the topic at hand. “Fixed Point Foundation is a Christian organization dedicated to the public defense of Christianity,” explains Taunton. “There are all kinds of organizations out there that are ‘apologetics’ ministries, but we felt so much of what counts as apologetics amounts to throwing red meat to the crowd that already agrees with you. It sometimes has the feel of a Republican or Democratic national convention. Are we really accomplishing anything here or are we just stirring our team into a frenzy? Are we really engaging with people who don’t agree with us?” To that end, Taunton has worked through Fixed Point to set up televised debates. One such debate this fall featured best-selling author Christopher Hitchens, perhaps the most well-known atheist in popular culture. Other speakers include Dinesh D’Souza, Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath. Taunton lists current news shows on both sides of the political spectrum, such as Crossfire or The O’Reilly Factor, to illustrate his point about our current extreme set-up. The answer, he believes, is to ignore the media climate and find some middle ground, which is exactly what Fixed Point aims to accomplish. The results have been covered by 60 Minutes and the debates are also shown on C-Span and other stations. defending the faith, one intelligible conversation at a time By Matt Conner You can purchase the debates and find out more information on Fixed Point Foundation at www.fixed-point.org. more 10 CCM