The Arena

This section is confined to serious and formal debate. New topics will not appear in this section until approved by a moderator. For best results, contact a moderator before attempting to post a new topic in this section.

Arena Rules

To propose a formal debate, the following is required:

1. General topic area (examples: Sexuality, Apologetics, Christology, Evolution, etc.).

2. Proposition. Must be a formal statement. Examples:

"The apostle Paul taught, in 1 Corinthians chapter seven, that divorced persons may marry."

"Creationism is supported by science."

"The Testimonium Flavium is historically valid."

NOTE 1: We are ExChristians, so a debate that presupposes that Christianity is factual is not appropriate. For instance, "Did Jesus' sacrifice bring salvation to all or just the elect?", would be a debate between believers, not between a believer and a non-believer, because it presumes that Christianity's claims are factual.

NOTE 2: Members of ExC.NET are former Christians, we are not "never been Christians". Please keep in mind this fact when debating here.

3. Debate parameters. These should follow basic debate rules, where the affirmative begins, the counter responds. Rounds of debate must be specified.

(example debate format)

Round One:
Proponent opens - 1500 word limit
Opponent refutes - 1500 word limit

Round Two:
Proponent refutes above - 1000 word limit
Opponent refutes above - 1000 word limit

Round Three:
Proponent cross-examines - 3 questions only.
Opponent answers - 250 words each question.

Round Four:
Opponent cross-examines - 3 questions only.
Proponent answers - 250 words each question.

Round Five:
Proponent concludes - 500 word limit
Opponent concludes - 500 word limit

Membership Q&A
Member questions - 3 questions to each participant. 1 question only per member. A total of 6 questions asked.


Word Count - The best way to make sure your word count is within the given limits is to use an application such as Microsoft Word. Paste your document into Word and click on 'properties' under the dropdown menu 'File'. There is a tab that gives statistics. One of those statistics is a word count. The moderator will not count greetings and other such comments at the beginning and end of the post in the word count.

Proposal - Give your proposal an accurate short title descriptive of the thesis you will propose. Clearly state the background of your argument, be specific. (Catholic, reformed protestant, atheist, mormon, etc…) RESEARCH your topic beforehand and present a complete argument that is clear and well thought out. Define any terms our members or your opponent may not be clear on. Your Proposal may not exceed 1500 words.

Counter Proposal - The opponents may present one counter proposal specific to the proponent problem area. By this, we mean that the counterproposal must deal with the arguments presented by the proponent. State what the background of your counter argument is. Research your topic. Counter proposals should include a reasonable alternative. Define terms. Counter Proposal may not exceed 1500 words.

Rebuttal - Used to respond to the opposition’s lines of argument made in the proposal and counter proposal, and to extend arguments, clarify or introduce new evidence related to previous arguments. (New arguments in rebuttal are left to the discretion of the participants, but the participant should only advance new arguments if they have successfully addressed their opponent's arguments. The participant will risk their position if they fail to address their opponent and opt to "change the subject." In other words, new arguments are introduced at the debater’s own risk.) Rebuttals may not exceed 1000 words.

Cross Examination – Each participant will have an opportunity to ask the opposition 3 questions in cross-examination. Questions should be brief and specific and constructed as to not require an answer to exceed a couple paragraphs. Answers must deal directly with the questions. Answers may not exceed 250 words per question.

Conclusions - Demonstrate how you have established or refuted the thesis. Conclusions may not exceed 500 words.

Membership Q&A - Questions must be approved by the moderator/judge prior to them being answered. Post your questions after conclusions are complete. The Moderator will delete questions not chosen and mark selected questions to be answered as approved.3 questions to each participant for a total of 6 questions will be approved.



Evidence- ONLY use evidence that is accurate and thoroughly referenced in your presentation. Evidence will be accurately and directly quoted. (ALL EVIDENCE MUST BE FROM A PUBLISHED SOURCE, AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC, AND VERIFIABLE.) The first time a source is presented, the debater must state the full source when introducing the evidence. A “full source” is assumed to include author’s name, author’s qualifications (when apparent in the original), full date, and title of source with page numbers. Once a source has been cited, evidence subsequently cited from the source need only include the author and/or publication name as well as a phrase along the lines of “previously cited.”

Conduct - Absolutely no personal attacks or ‘flames’. Please address your criticisms to arguments, not to people. If you violate this rule, your post will be deleted, and at the discretion of the moderator, you may be removed from the debate forum.

Important: Remember, debates are constructed for the benefit of the membership/listener, not your opponent. In other words, address your arguments to the audience! (Eg: "Mr. Smith has not shown how 'A' is true, because...)

4. If there is a specific person you wish to debate please state their name or state if you want the ExC members to choose an opponent.