Recent debates by atheist Christopher Hitchens with defenders of God and Christianity, author Dinesh D'Souza and Oxford scholar Alister McGrath highlights the changing intellectual climate regarding debates on the existence of God and the Christian God in particular. In a nutshell, atheists and their defenders are on the defensive. This is pointed out in an interesting article in World magazine written by Marvin Olasky.
Back in the days of the Scopes trial and even before that, Theists and Christians tended to be on the defensive. Today, the roles are reversed. Advances in science pointing to design and an Intelligent Designer and the utter devastation wrought by atheistic ideologies like Marxism and Nazism have changed the terms of the debate and provided powerful evidence for the theistic, Christian position.
In the debate between between D'Souza and Hitchens, you can sense it even in the tone of taken by the debaters. D'Souza said in essence, I'll debate you on your own terms, using science and reason while Hitchens reverted to name calling, generalities, and accusations. The latter usually occurs when the side you're defending is weak and lacks evidentiary support.
I saw this a few years ago when a state Senate committee took up the proposed science standards and the topic of evolution came up. Those who oppose the materialist foundations of evolution simply argued that new scientific evidence, drawing into question evolution and other scientific theories, be included in the discussion. The atheistic representative and other supporters of evolution saw a grand religious conspiracy at play and made broad, generalized accusations. Defenders of including new evidence simply made scientific arguments. It struck me that this mini-debate was a microcosm of Scopes in reverse. That same dynamic is being played out in many other venues on the broader topic of God v. no god and design in nature v. Darwinian materialism. As always, I believe the truth will ultimately win out.