What Is The Goal In A Debate?

I’ve been in several debates over the years. They’re sort of fun, and they help to bring the best out of the debators. Recently there have been a few debate challenges issued in the comments sections here and here.

I’m not opposed to debates. I’m having one in front of an audience with David Wood of Answering Infidels on the problem of evil this coming Fall. I know Dr. Craig and Dan Barker do them often too.

But sometimes it just seems to me that debate challenges are motivated by the desire to be the top dog, or something like it…that is, “who knows the most about the topic at hand?” Is it true that only the most informed person on an issue has the right to believe or not to believe? Surely that cannot be!

This Blog is a debate challenge. Every post of ours is an ongoing debate about some aspect of Christianity. We ask for relevant comments to sharpen our understandings, and this happens on a daily basis. We’re thankful for any intelligent, non-demeaning and relevant comment.

But my unbelief does not depend on winning a debate; just like my opponent's faith does not depend on winning a debate, either. So, what are the specific reasons for having a special one-on-one debate, and why do people issue these debate challenges so often?

I'll share some of my observations later.