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Sunday, December 8, 2002   3:00 pm - 5:00 pm PT
The Great Debate 2002: Atheism vs. Christianity
Dr. Michael Newdow ... who tried to remove "under God" from the American Pledge of Allegiance

Click here for
Important SITE COORDINATOR Information!


Cliffe Knechtle ... who regularly engages skeptical students and professors at universities all over the U.S.
Hosted for CCN by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg 
Can the truth of Christianity stand up to scrutiny?  Join Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg as they host a live debate between atheist Dr. Michael Newdow and Christian Cliffe Knechtle.  The foundations of our faith will be put to the test in this dynamic event designed for seekers and the Christians who are reaching out to them.

This first-ever simulcast debate will center on the crucial topic of whether God exists, and the debaters will pull no punches as they make the case for what they believe. Dr. Michael Newdow is the physician who successfully sued in Federal Court to have the words "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. Cliffe Knechtle is a respected and articulate Christian apologist. These men will give the most compelling arguments, answer the toughest questions, and counter the strongest objections.

Will Christianity emerge as credible? We encourage you to invite seekers in your neighborhoods and communities to come, listen, and decide for themselves whether Christianity stand up to the toughest scrutiny!


The debate will start and end precisely at the times listed for your time zone. (There will be a test screen 45 minutes before the debate begins, with a countdown clock for the last 15 minutes.)
Please download the Debate Handout for a detailed schedule of the program. Please note that there are no breaks.

Every participant will need a copy of the Debate Handout.
The downloadable handout includes:

  • Schedule
  • Information about the debaters
  • Note-taking Outline
  • Free materials and resources
  • Ballot for Debate Poll

During the Q&A portion of this debate, we will be conducting a poll asking all
viewers to tell us which side presented the more compelling argument.
We have included a ballot as the last page of the downloadable Debate Handout. The debate host will ask your attendees to fill out the ballot and hand it in to you, the site coordinator.

After you collect the ballots, please count up the votes for each side.  Then go to:  www.christianitytoday.com/go/debate

On this web page, simply enter the number of votes at your site for both the atheist view and the Christian view.  Responses from all over North America will be tabulated and the results will be announced before the end of the program.

During the Q&A portion of the debate, we will take questions from the floor and questions from the downlink sites. Questions should be directed to either Mr. Knechtle or Dr. Newdow. For convenience, you may use the downloadable Q&A form. Download this form and print up copies for your attendees. You may send in questions via any of the following methods:


Please download a copy of the Site Coordinator feedback form, fill it out after the broadcast, and fax it to us at . Your input is very important to us!

Who should attend this seminar:

  • Pastors

  • Lay leaders

  • Elders

  • Church staff

  • Church members

  • Seekers

  • Atheists

Dr. Michael Newdow  

Michael Newdow is an emergency room physician who also has a law degree. As an atheist, he felt the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was an endorsement of religion and God by the government. His suit to remove the phrase was upheld by the 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals. Newdow has been TIME magazine's Person of the Week, and has appeared on Good Morning America and the Today Show.

Cliffe Knechtle  

Cliffe Knechtle pastors a church in Connecticut and works with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Knechtle regularly debates university students and professors on their turf at places like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. He is the author of Give Me An Answer That Satisfies My Heart and Mind and Help Me Believe: Direct Answers to Real Questions.

Mark Mittelberg  

Mark Mittelberg is a frequent teacher on CCN broadcasts and he, together with his ministry partner, Lee Strobel, leads the CCN evangelism track. Mark is the Executive Director of Evangelism for the Willow Creek Association. He is the author of the book Building a Contagious Church, primary author of the best-selling Becoming a Contagious Christian curriculum, and contributing editor of The Journey, an NIV Bible with notes designed for spiritual seekers.

Lee Strobel  

Lee Strobel, a former atheist, has been a teaching pastor at two of America's largest churches and is the author of three Gold Medallion-winning books: The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary. His latest book, co-authored with his wife, is Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage . He is an active board member of the Willow Creek Association.

Click here for more information on bringing "The Great Debate" to your church, live via satellite!

Note:  This program replaces "The Case for Faith," previously scheduled for December 8.

"The Case for Faith" with Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg will be rescheduled.

Sunday, Dec. 8, 2002
Pacific 3:00p - 5:00p
5:00p - 7:00p
Mountain 4:00p - 6:00p 
6:00p - 8:00p
Central 5:00p - 7:00p 
7:00p - 9:00p
Eastern 6:00p - 8:00p 
8:00p - 10:00p
Broadcast Materials
Follow-up Commentary Word Doc (131k)
Debate Handout Note: This file will take longer to download due to its size. PDF file (704k)
Debate Q&A Forms RTF File (26k)
PDF File (5k)
Site Coordinator Feedback Forms RTF File (60k)
PDF File (12k)
Use these promotional pieces to get other Churches and Christians involved!
Flyer RTF file (111k)
PDF file (19k)
Read Me RTF File (43K)
PDF File (10K)
Postcard by Timezone (51k) Pacific 3:00p
Pacific 5:00p
Mountain 4:00p
Mountain 6:00p
Central 5:00p
Central 7:00p
Eastern 6:00p
Eastern 8:00p
Generic Postcard Word Doc (27k)

(Please read instruction below on how to personalize these materials.)
Use these promotional pieces to invite seekers in your community!
Press Release to send to newspapers and TV stations in your area Word Doc (1 M)
Color Event Flyer PDF File (1M) (Acrobat Reader)
Black and White Event Flyer PDF File (587K) (Acrobat Reader)
Promotional Postcard PDF File (900K) (Acrobat Reader)
Bulletin Insert to put in your bulletins PDF File (771K) (Acrobat Reader)
Church Info Box For Flyer an empty pre-sized box to type your church info and paste it to the master copy flyer Word Doc (80K)
Church Info Box For Postcard an empty pre-sized box to type your church info and paste it to the master copy postcard Word Doc (19K)
Church Info Box For Bulletin Insert an empty pre-sized box to type your church info and paste it to the master copy bulletin insert Word Doc (19K)
to read PDF Files (free)

Please Test Your Satellite Equipment  and be Ready For the Next Broadcast!

Test Instructions here!