In front of a sold-out crowd of 1,200 in Birmingham, Alabama, Christopher Hitchens, famed atheist and author of “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” debates Dr. David Berlinski, Paris mathematician and author of “The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions.”

Hitchens and others of the New Atheism movement have called for the annihilation of religion in order to establish a purely secular society. Berlinski, who describes himself as a secular Jew and an agnostic takes the position that a society absent religious influence is not the kind of place where most of us would want to live.

So the question stands: Is a purely secular society preferable to a religious one? Ultimately, this is a question of importance to everyone. Whether a given society is with or without a religious influence affects people of all persuasions, not just Christians and atheists.