There were times in Monday night's great debate on the ABC's Q&A between Catholic Cardinal George Pell and militant atheist Richard Dawkins when you felt the boxing authorities would step in and call a halt to the bout, writes Greg Sheridan in The Australian.
Dawkins was so obviously boxing above his weight division, was so completely outclassed in all aspects of the encounter, that you felt the event promoters were being cruel to him.
The ABC deserves credit for broadcasting the debate and doing so in a reasonably serious fashion, allowing answers to go a bit longer than usual so that whole thoughts, rather than staccato sound bites, could emerge from our screens. And the ABC was duly rewarded with nearly a million viewers, the highest ratings Q&A has ever got.
This debate was an important event in Australian public life and it tells us several things.
First, though, there is a context we should bear in mind. Throughout human history the vast majority of people, and indeed the vast majority of people alive today, have believed a religious interpretation of life.
Australia seems an unusually secular society, though not as secular as Britain or France. But we are less secular than we seem. One lesson from Monday night is that the ABC, and much of the secular media, consciously or unconsciously, censor and sideline mainstream, orthodox Christian voices.
Two types of Christians are commonly asked to appear in the public affairs part of media. One concentrates entirely on social justice issues, with an interpretation always that governments should spend more money, and more or less promises never to mention God.
Tim Costello comes to mind. Another is what one might call the "turbulent priest", the person whose main contribution to public debate is to criticise or condemn the Christian denomination with which they are affiliated.
What was so distinctive about Pell was that he was a clear, self-confident, erudite but easily understandable spokesman for mainstream Australian Christianity.
FULL STORY Pell's performance was a revelation (Australian)