My Prediction: William Lane Craig Will Trounce Christopher Hitchens in their Upcoming Debate

Kevin Harris and Zachary Moore did a podcast from the Christian Book Expo after a panel discussion which included both Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig. Both men stopped in to be interviewed by Harris and Moore about their upcoming debate: Special - Live at the Christian Book Expo (Click the link and scroll down a bit). These two men will debate “Does God Exist?” April 4th, at Biola University. In this interview you'll hear Dr. Craig claiming Hitchens is "incapable" of responding to his arguments. I wouldn't go that far but given Craig's experience as a debater and the fact that he's a professional philosopher, my prediction is that Craig will trounce Hitchens. I wish this wasn't the case, but this is my prediction. [In the poll at the right you can vote a Craig/Loftus match-up, if you want].

60 comments:

Kenn said...

Anyone besides me notice that...

• Only Christians (few exceptions) buy tickets to these events.

• No one debates the existence of air or the circumference of the earth because, unlike God, they are established facts. The continued need to debate is, itself, an argument against God's existence.

•The venue is a bookseller convention and the motive is to sell books, not defend the existence of God.

• If you were to call Dr. Craig's office, tell them you will get saved if Dr. Craig will personally explain how, Craig will let you spend an eternity in hell rather than be bothered by your phone call.

Try it: 1-404-348-6301

Brad Haggard said...

Kenn, I thought debates and hearing two sides of an issue was good. Are atheists now turning their backs on debate?

And I'll explain salvation to you, but surely you aren't really interested right now.

Kenn said...

Brad,

Christians flock (no pun) to these events to shore up their insecurities. Professional apologists take advantage of those insecurities with book sells and costly seminars.

The fact that you Dr. Craig has no time to rescue me from an eternity in hell-fire speaks volumes of his motive. Then again, I could be wrong. Call and find out. Then call Focus on the Family and ask to speak with Dr. Dobson about your eternal separation from God. I'll bet he, too, is too busy to prevent your soul from everlasting torment.

Steven Carr said...

I'd like to see a God-Hitchens debate.

But God never shows up for these debates. He has 'turned his back on debates', in Brad's phrase.

Jason Long said...

Am I the only one who thinks Hitchens shows up drunk for his speeches?

Darrin said...

As I've said before, I wouldn't watch this debate if they had it on a stage in my backyard with free BBQ and beer. I think Carrier/Craig would have been better had Richard stuck with Two-Body instead of going after the Gospels, but the real cheese was Craig/Morriston. I hope that surfaces somewhere, whether by text or by Youtube.

Samphire said...

Brad,

"And I'll explain salvation to you,"

I'm all ears for one. Will your explanation reflect the version in Matthew or that of St.Paul?

AndreLinoge said...

To believe as Craig does is to be a bit of a sociopath. How does one get photographed smiling while believing that humans will be tormented eternally in hell?

Wild said...

I predict they will just talk past each other. Craig will win, philosophically speaking. Hitchens will have a few funny lines, as he always does.

Hitchens will use his "humans have been around 100,000 years. Heaven watched with folded arms until 2000 years ago and figured its time to intervene" speech. Craig will close with his "God changed my life, let him do the same for you" speech.

etc.

Kevin H said...

John,

Thanks for mentioning our podcast. Zach and I had a great time. We walked around the Expo but spent most of the time debating the Young Earth guys at the ICR booth.

Imagine that! An atheist and a theist on the same side! I said I appreciated their focus on Christ but that YEC was preposterous. Zach took them to task on dating methodology (not the EHarmony kind).

As to Hitchens-Craig, it will be entertaining. Hitchens depends on his excellent verbal skills but he is more interested in making his points than rebutting others. Bill will try to hold him to the issues which could prove frustrating.

The Problem of Evil will take front and center and the Q&A will focus on morality. Hide and watch!

K

Badger3k said...

Considering that these debates are usually BS-Faires, and each side thinks they win, and that usually Christians flock to these to have their faith propped up by pseudo-intellectual arguments...then, yeah, you can think Craig "wins". If we're talking rationality and intellectual honesty - well, it is Hitchens, so I'd call it a tie.

I've heard Craig debate 5-6 times now, and the man is a weasel who often misunderstands the points others are making, or he just ignores them. He may be polished, but you can polish a turd as often as you like, but it's still a turd.

Brad - you can explain this "salvation" you believe, and I'll explain how, if you live and die properly, you can be taken to Valhalla to fight with Father Odin at Ragnarok.

TKD said...

Totally right. Craig, in my opinion, has won nearly all of his debates with atheists (not that I think he's correct), and I haven't ever seen Hitchens with any actual, intellectual points to make ever really 'win'. Hitchens is a funny guy, but there's no way he's going to succeed pulling the high ground here. And, to Jason, I also think that Hitchens shows up a bit drunk to his 'debates'.

SE said...

Debates only do one thing, they show you who the more skilled debater is, but beyond that, they aren't worth much, and they certainly are a poor means of deciding what's true.

Eric said...

"• Only Christians (few exceptions) buy tickets to these events."

This hasn't been my experience. The few debates I've attended have had, if anything, more skeptics in the audiences than theists. Also, the debates I've listened to and watched seem to have more questions for the theist than for the atheist, and more applause lines for the atheist than the theist. This isn't dispositive, of course, but it's all I have to go on.

"• No one debates the existence of air or the circumference of the earth because, unlike God, they are established facts. The continued need to debate is, itself, an argument against God's existence."

No, it's an argument against the notion that the answer to questions about god's existence is self evident or obvious; the fact that people disagree about X says next to nothing about X's truth or falsity. And if it does, then the argument works against you, not for you, since the vast majority of all the people who have ever lived have been theists. Finally, science is rife with disputes about what does and doesn't obtain; if the fact that X is being debated is evidence against X, then nearly every scientific issue fails to meet your criterion.

Zachary Moore said...

TKD: I also think that Hitchens shows up a bit drunk to his 'debates'.

I've heard that Hitchens has moderated his alcohol intake as of late.

Whatever the case, he seemed clear-eyed and sharp when speaking with me; if that's him inebriated, then I'd love to see him sober.

Thanks for linking to the Apologia podcast, John. Anyone is welcome to head over there, and especially to play around in our new forum!

Steven Carr said...

I heard attendances at the C. Book Expo were much below expectations.

Is that right?

Alice said...

I'll be there at the Biola debate, with a lot of atheists from the local (Inland Empire) Meetup. Most of us are also expecting Craig to do better as far as the technicalities of debating are concerned, but we are also looking forward to seeing Hitchens crack jokes and be clever and make observations about how silly religion is.

I think the problem with debates about the existence of God are inherently meaningless in that nobody really goes to get their minds changed on the subject. We go to watch our side perform and hope that he's funnier/better/smarter than the other guy. I do hope that Biola takes a survey about the audience's opinions before and after.

dvd said...

Darrin

Craig/Morriston was a friendly dialogue, and it was a theist vs a theist.

AS for Hitchens, he is a very gifted speaker that a lot of Christians actually enjoy and are entertained by, he will have his witty Rhetoric there and he will use emotional responses and odd statements to his advantage.

Brad Haggard said...

Kenn, if you're really interested, why don't you talk to me, instead of calling Craig or FoF? I wish these silly "wrong motive" cracks would stop. What if Craig showed up at your door during dinner to evangelize you? Would that clear up his motives or would you think he was intruding?

But honestly, I feel like all of the skeptical posters here are turning their back on dialogue and disparaging debate. That is the whole point of the movement, isn't it?

And Steven, I'm appreciating your posts more and more, but God is at the debates, working through the debate. He surely wasn't on Carrier's side in the most recent one. ;-)

Paddy Jive said...

Even Aristotle said that a debate is an exercise is rhetoric and not a replacement for dialectic.

To claim that God is working through the debates strikes me as kinf of silly. Did he abandon Mike Licona when he got trounced by Bart Ehrman?

The Skeptical Realist said...

Yes, it will be a slaughter. Hitchens isn't prepared for somebody like Craig. I want to see a Loftus/Craig debate.

Will Fenio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

I'd like to see Craig debate Harris or Dennett.

Steven Carr said...

WILD
I predict they will just talk past each other. Craig will win, philosophically speaking. Hitchens will have a few funny lines, as he always does.

CARR
I would second that prediction.

Evil Bender said...

I don't think Hitchens will do well. I'm an atheist, but I often find Hitchen's thinking lazy and embarrassing. He gets by because he's an outspoken defender of atheism, and there are relatively few publicly prominent atheists, and because he has a nice speaking style. I would never look to him for an intellectually rigorous defense of much of anything, however. He's done some good work as a popularizer of atheists ideas, but beyond that I don't have much use for him.

Kenn said...

Brad,

I'll be happy to talk with you. I'm in your area occasionally making sales calls.

But you're missing the point.

It's not that I want Craig or Dobson to explain the plan of salvation. It's to underscore the disingenuous nature of their ministries; (disingenuous being a Limbaughnic term for hypocritical.)

2.5 years ago I was in China with a Christian mission endeavor. I was assigned the task of reading through Four Spiritual Laws with a Chinese student, something I thought I could do -- I've done it scores of times before. But realizing a) the Bible verses were not relevant to the supposed plan of salvation and b) I no longer believed what I was presenting, I passed off the tract to another American and let him finish the task.

So, yes, you may explain the plan of salvation next time I'm in your area. You may even invite a pastor friend or two.

But do you really want to hear my responses?

Toby said...

Craig always tries to argue that supernatural explanations are the MOST probable reason for Christianity, Christian experiences, healings, the Bible etc.

I would sooner believe that David Blaine could levitate using controlled farts than I would believe that he has supernatural powers. Natural explanations are always more probable than supernatural ones, but Craig will never admit that.

If Hitchens is smart he will watch a bunch of Craig's debates and employ Craig's tactics against him. Carry over every last f'ing argument that Craig misses. "Ahh, you see that my opponent didn't respond to x, y, and z. It's because xyz is fatal to his position and he doesn't have a response." He just has to kill Craig on points. Ask the Big questions that take no time, but provide plenty of doubt and then criticize Craig for not adequately responded to his question. I would personally start the debate off with:

"If God exists:
1. Why is half the world malnuturished and living in poverty.
2. Have there been viruses for millions of years?
4. Why have millions of babies suffered horrible deaths from viruses?
5. Why do people suffer so greatly?
6. If he is all knowing, why did he create such confusion?
7. If he is all powerful, why doesn't he intervene consistently or even a little more?
8. If he revelation is so blatant, why are their so many vastly different opinions?
9. Why doesn't he show more compassion?
10. Why doesn't he make himself plainly (keyword) known through science?
11. Why did he allow Christians or other religions to so mess up his message?
12. Humans have had speech for 200,000 years... why did he wait until 2,000 years ago to come?
13. You get the idea?

I would rattle of a certain number of these. I would actually probably spend a lot of time isolating the best questions and rattle off those 10 or so. Then I would carry them through the whole debate and criticize his attempts to respond or his excuses for not responding to each claim.

Craig always commands the debate, bringing to the issues he wants to discuss on the offensive. Hitchens will care nothing about what Craig says, but he should pretend to care and have one solid reason why Craig's arguments are all dismissable and start each segment off with why all of Criag's arguments can be lumped all together and dismissed with this one idea. The he should go back on the offensive and try to put Craig on the defense.

Okay, there's my worthless two cents. I was a horrible debater in high school and actually know next to nothing about winning a debate. So if Hitchens takes my advice, he'll get his ass handed to him for sure.

Deist Dan said...

Toby,

Craig would respond to those claims by saying "asking a question is not an argument" I heard him say that to Ludemann.

However he uses the same question asking form of argumentation. He likes to ask "why would people say mark and luke wrote those gospels if they were making it up" and "why would they make up the women at the tomb".

Christians often ask those kinds of questions when the lack of evidence for their outrageous claims is demonstrated.

I think Robert Price has the best approach, do not grant that which has not been proven. Christians are making the ridiculous claims, christians need to overcome the improbability of their claims by providing evidence.

If christians claim they have "facts", like Craig says he has his "four facts", or like Habermas says he has "minimal facts", then let them provide proof. If they want us to submit our lives to their imaginary friends (all 3 of them) then let them prove their case. Christians need certainty, as Robert Price said

"imagine a creed that if you confess with your mouth that jesus died for your sins, and believe in your heart that god probably raised him from the dead, you most likely will be saved"

Steven Carr said...

I can equally confidently predict that Hitchens would lose a debate on the Holocaust against David Irving.

Brad Haggard said...

Kenn,

I think I know what your answers would be, but I think what it exposes is your disingenuous

You're not interested in hearing about salvation, and you know that WLC and FoF do a lot more than simply evangelism. It's a ministry of all believers, as you know.

This is just a distraction technique. How about you call up Hitchens and ask him to explain secularism to you?

John W. Loftus said...

Carr said...I can equally confidently predict that Hitchens would lose a debate on the Holocaust against David Irving.

;-)

I like this analogy!

Russ said...

Brad Haggard said to Kenn,

And I'll explain salvation to you, but surely you aren't really interested right now.

Kenn might be open to discussing your take on salvation, but there are many of us, me included, for whom the question of the correctness of Christianity is a long-settled issue: Christianity is wrong, period. Why can I say this with real assurance? Science.

I know from science that biological evolution is the correct model for how life on earth, including the fortuitous coincidence of human evolution, has reached the state is has. This is a basic truth which makes Biblical accounts useless for explaining the world. Evolution is an amazing slick-ass way of building life, and the purported creator of the universe got it wrong - terribly, horribly wrong. The inexcusability of such gross error can't be masked by literary sleight-of-hand. Analogy, metaphor, allegory do not in any way account for the incorrectness of the content.

John Loftus on this blog has noted many times that humans at the time the Bible stories were penned were not innately stupid, they were superstitious and ignorant. They did not possess very much reliable knowledge. But, they did possess enough solid, reliable knowledge to understand evolution.

For millenia humans had been selectively breeding plants, work animals and livestock for desirable traits. Horses, oxen, sheep, chickens, dogs, wheat, and the cabbage family were all consciously domesticated - read that "evolved to our purposes" - by man long before the first word of any sacred text was ever written. Man lived among, was fully aware of, and purposefully harnassed evolutionary processes to secure his survival - more meat, more grain, more wool, and improve his quality of life through the likes of faster horses for racing or camels with greater endurance, leaving more water for human travelers. Since his first demonstrated attempts to domesticate wolves more than 15000 years ago, evolution has been fully integrated into the human experience and understanding of the world.

If the reputed creator of the universe was dictating the Bible's contents to regurgitating scribes - creator puts in, scribe writes out; creator puts in, scribe writes out - since man already possessed a fundamental understanding of evolution that creator would surely have also known it. There is no doubt whatsoever that those scribes were scrawling out local myths, fables, fairy tales and legends. They were not recording the surest, profoundest, most reliable information available to an omni-anything deity. They were not even recording the practical results of millenia of experimentation. The Biblical god is exactly what we would expect from paid clergy. The most recent few millenia of human history would certainly have played out rather differently had those scribes of old recorded the observations of those pioneering farmers and breeders who had so much useful information to share instead of the bizarre seemingly hallucinatory babblings of out of touch professional clerical authorities. Humankind has suffered greatly for it ever since.

As a straightforward consequence of evolution, there were no Adam and Eve. There was no Garden of Eden. There was no Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was no Original Sin requiring salvation by human sacrifice.

There is no such thing as an inherently sinful person. We humans are the products of billions of years of evolution. Some of the traits we have evolved - aggression, rage, envy - are not so compatible with living as we do in vast dense aggregates. When an individual's behaviors violate community standards, we deal with them as best we can. When warranted, communities adjust their standards based on various factors, empirically demonstrated better understanding, for instance. The concept of sin serves no real purpose in providing a better understanding of ourselves. One man's social pleasantry, say, strolling the avenue with an attractive member of the opposite sex, is often not only another man's sin, but a death sentence.

Note that as sin goes Brad, you have committed the sin of not being a member of every Christianity that says you're going to hell. Even though you're a Christian, and, no doubt, by your sensibilities, the correct kind of Christian, from the standpoint of other just as well-meaning Christianities, you are doomed. What's more, Brad, those other Christianities have professionals, they call them theologians, who will be glad to talk to you about your salvation, and point to verse after verse, in the same Bible you use, to prove to you, with absolute certainty, that, by not being one of them, eternity for you will be hot and boring. With this new information, you could of course change Christianities, but then you'd be doomed by whatever kind of Christian you are now. Oops!

Brad Haggard said...

Russ,

I can't comment on everything you wrote, but let me offer some quick generalities.

1. I worship God and Jesus, not the Bible. The Bible is my access to God and Jesus, but they are not the same thing. Peter Enns has a great book on how the whole inspiration thing works.

2. Saying evolution disproves Christianity can't be maintained. Let me just cite Francis Collins.

3. And as for other Christians condemning me, well, I guess I'm waiting for God's judgment instead of theirs. And it's nice to know that I won't be making those judgments either.

But back to the point, why are the followers of this blog backing off on debates and turning to ad-hominems against WLC now that he won against Carrier?

Steven Carr said...

WLC didn't win against Carrier. You have been reading generally unreliable reports of the debate :-)

Craig produced nothing but rhetoric and non sequitors,so 'won' the debate that way.

But he lost the arguments.

Where was Craig's evidence for the burial of Jesus by the combined forces of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus?

A reliable report

' He said that there were multiple independent sources in ancient times telling about the stories of Hercules, but that did not make Hercules a historical figure.'

Not even Craig dared claim that most scholars believed the burial stories happened as described in the Gospels, so where does that leave his '4 facts'?

David said...

Hitchens will trounce and embarrass Craig as he did D'nuza or whatever his name is, and Frank Turdek. I look at it like this, Hitchens will make statements that Craig simply can not reconcile, Craig will ignore them, and bore the audience with a few anecdotes about the reliability of scripture and how amazing it is that women found the empty tomb.

At the end of the day, the burden of proof is on Craig, and it is a well known fact that the bible is full of irreconcilable mistakes.

Kenn said...

Brad,

• I realize that Focus on the Family an other Christian groups have some validity. But they also lack sincerity.

• If Hitchens' declared his explanation of secularism could keep one from eternity in hell, then I would challenge his declaration by calling him on it. Literally.

• If you were to explain the plan of salvation to me, which plan would you explain?

The plan that requires baptism? If so, would this be by sprinkling or immersion? If immersion, would it be three-times face down? Or the conventional backward dunk? Would the baptizer be required to utter something as he forced me under?

If the plan requires a recite a sinner's prayer, I would like to see that prayer in the New Testament. If find it peculiar that the actual script isn't in the scripture.

Am I saved by faith alone, as was the Philippian jailer (Acts 16)? Or must I also repent? Or must I confess with my mouth? What if I'm a mute?

Must I make Jesus Lord of my life, as some insist? Must I speak in tongues as others insist? Must I belong to a particular church group, as some insist?

In other words, there are many plans of salvation, each contending that the others are tricks of Satan to confuse us. Indeed, Jesus said he was "the way" and "the door", but there is much confusion as to how to get to the doorway.

See what I mean??

Matt McCormick said...

I am not happy about it, but I think I have to agree with JL here that Craig will win, where winning means scoring lots of rhetorical points, and probably handling the various tangled philosophical issues better. Hitchens is quick, eloquent, and mean, and he's prone to invoke some rhetorically effective but philosophically weak manipulations. Craig has done this thousands of times and just has the background to control it.

Psych research shows that when two disagreeing groups look at the same ambiguous evidence concerning the issue they disagree on, they both take it to support their position. Then if you show them comparable arguments for both sides, people will conclude that the arguments that favor their view are better and the oppposing arguments are worse. Both sides do this in a kind of biased assimilation of the evidence. So reading reports from observers about who won will be suspect for this reason. You should even mistrust your own opinion of who "won" since the effect and bias in evaluation is so robust.

Matt McCormick
www.atheismblog.blogspot.com

gleaner63 said...

I think their might be another reason why Craig will win the debate; his education, peer-reviewed work and the like far outshine anything that Hitchens has or ever will do. I'm sure Hitchens is a good guy and very bright, just not in the same league as Craig.

Brad Haggard said...

Steven,

"Bias" is the buzzword lately on these forums, isn't it? OK, here's my "biased" information that Carrier lost:

http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2009/03/craig-debate-wrap.html

Maybe Carrier was biased in his summation, though?

Brad Haggard said...

Kenn,

We're completely off-topic now, but let me just say that your strategy strikes me as hollow.

Denominational divisions have been destructive for the Church, but to claim them as evidence against the truth of Christianity is a non-sequitor. First, because there are Christians across denominations who agree on the basics, and second, because we still have the objective evidence to evaluate.

What if I said atheism was untrue because you don't know which type of abiogenesis you subscribe to, or which multi-verse model, what type of evolution, or epistemology, or ethics? Just because you or someone else might get it wrong doesn't change the objective truth.

Like everyone on this blog is saying that, objectively, Hitchens will lose the debate with WLC. Shouldn't you wait for the actual sample evidence?

Steven Carr said...

Carrier didn't say Craig won the arguments.

Like me, Carrier said Craig won the debate.

But he lost the arguments.

Incidentally, I wonder why the questioner in the audience did not point out that there is another Salome in the New Testament, and nobody, including Carrier, has claimed she was named for reasons of metaphor.

It is very difficult to second-guess the motives of anonymous writers of 2000 years ago.

The lack of provenance and the mask of anonymity makes it difficult to get at the truth of what they writing.

Brad Haggard said...

How can you win a debate but lose the arguments? A debate is the arguments.

It's like saying someone won a soccer match but lost the goals scored.

I think it's more likely that you agreed with Carrier before the debate, so you think his arguments are stronger, just like I agree more with WLC.

Steven Carr said...

That's a fair comment. Point well made.

But Craig's arguments are terrible.

His claim that sermons in Acts are authentic if they contain semitisms (like the lynch mob was writing down what Stephen said, ready to pass it on to the anonymous author of Luke/Acts)

It is like claiming that Harry Potter is authentic because the spells contain Latinisms....

John W. Loftus said...

Brad said...How can you win a debate but lose the arguments? A debate is the arguments.

So, are you willing to say that if I defeat you in a deabte that Christianity has been shown to be a delusion?

If so, bring it on!

Brad Haggard said...

John: "if so, bring it on."

Sometimes you sound like a professional wrestler on this forum, John.

So you can't get WLC, and you want to take on a nobody like me?

John W. Loftus said...

Brad I did a little wrestling in school, so why not?

My point was about your comment: How can you win a debate but lose the arguments? A debate is the arguments.

If the issue of the truth can be settled with a debate between Craig and Hitchens, then why can't it be settled in a debate between you and I?

The phrase, "lose the arguments," is an interesting one in your comment. I don't think Craig will have an answer to the divine indifference problem Hitchens will mention with regard to his silence through the hundreds of thousands of years before God supposed revealed himself (no, I don't want to bother with this issue here). While Hitchens may not sufficiently defend his own argument, I think I can and I think others can too. Craig could never win this argument even if he might be able to win the debate with Hitchens with rhetoric and a better knowledge of obfuscation tactics.

Brad Haggard said...

John,

If we're going to do this, then, I call dibs on being the Ultimate Warrior ;-)

But let me be a little more specific. I never mentioned "truth" for a specific reason. There are always counter-arguments, always. Turkel at least proves that, doesn't he?

So let's say the the impossible happened and in our debate I shot down one of your arguments. I don't think I would have proved the truth of Christianity to you, because you would formulate a counter. And that's okay, because it is the nature of debate. But I still would have beaten your argument on that day.

So I guess my point in this is to say that arguments do not automatically correlate to truth, so just because WLC exposed Carrier's arguments on that day, it doesn't mean there aren't answers. You have to judge which you think are stronger (oh no, subjectivism!!!!!!), and eventually the really bad arguments fade away.

So if you really want to go at it, pick your favorite alter-ego. But I've have a lot more fun throwing rocks lately than actually making arguments ;-)

Kenn said...

Brad,

The fact remains: There is no clearly stated plan of salvation in the New Testament.

Each group claims to have the correct salvation method while dismissing others as Satanic-induced confusion.

And my best guess is (I hope I'm wrong), that Dr. Craig would not take the call if you were to phone his organization and ask that he personally explain how to get to heaven and avoid enternal punishment.

Steven Carr said...

WLC didn't expose Carrier's arguments.

Laughing is not an argument....

Craig produced zero evidence for the existence of , say, Barrabas.

Brad Haggard said...

Kenn,

I don't see why you're still on this. Isn't John 3:16 clear enough for you? Everything else is extrapolation.

So tell me, how do you think life started here on earth. Was it the mythical primordial soup? How about crystals? Aliens? Meteors? Without LUCA you can't even get life started.

Kenn said...

Brad,

• John 3:16 is very clear: If you believe on Jesus you will be saved.

Why are we later told "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth...thou shalt be saved"?

Which is it? Believe? Confess? Either or? Both?

So why do people insist on saying a sinners prayer? Why do some insist on baptism? Why do so many think tongues is a part of the equation?

• I don't know where my car keys are. Solution: They were swiped by a demon.

I don't know why crops fail. Solution: Gods are angry. Let's chuck a virgin in the volcano.

I don't know how we got here. Solution: Let's say God made us.

Point: We create gods to explain that which we don't understand. Your question, "how do you think life started here on earth," reveals a gap in human understanding which our minds innately fill.

Brian said...

MP3 Audio and video from the panel discussion with Christopher Hitchens, William Lane Craig, and others can be found here.

eheffa said...

WL Craig might "win" the debate by his usual slick & dodgy rhetorical devices but he fails to address even the most basic issues around his supposed sources of historical data.

Accepting the Canonical Gospels as historical accurate biography is as valid as accepting Homer's description of Paris & Ulysses at face value. As far as I'm aware, Craig never addresses these issues in any honest way but plays the criteria of embarrassment card & many other ploys to avoid dealing with the question.

Craig has admitted in the past that even if he were an eyewitness to the body of Jesus rotting in the tomb & saw with his own eyes that Jesus had not been raised from the dead he would still believe on the strength of the Holy Spirit's testimony to his heart....This indicates to me that he's a propagandist who only pretends to consider the evidence as having any value to his faith. His need for evidence is only as a prop to his already fixed belief system. His modus operandi is an inherently dishonest exercise.

Like CS Lewis, he is a rhetorician & not an honest logician.

-evan

Rob Bethke said...

Kenn and Brad,

I've been fascinated by your discussion here. I'm considering attending the debate tonight and that's how I found this forum.

I'm new to the skeptics crowd, having previously been raised and molded in the evangelical Christian bubble (pastor's kid, Bible major - Christian college, worked at a church). And I've definitely become disillusioned and disappointed with the lack of logical, scientific or existential support for the Biblical worldview. But, at the same time, I'm personally not quite ready to turn in my hat.

I feel that I'm philosophically somewhere between you two. Good and bad arguments are made on both sides and I feel I'm riding the fence for now.

Would love to engage (perhaps on a different thread) you two further. Either of you in SoCal?

David said...

Wow, this link says its $98 to watch this debate, are they out of their skulls??!

Anyone know if it'll be available for free in audio or video format after the debate?
http://confidentchristianity.blogspot.com/2009/03/hitchens-vs-craig-debate-webcast.html

Brian said...

MP3 Audio of Hitchens vs. Craig is here.

Rob Bethke said...

There was no trouncing last night from my point of view.

It seemed to me that Hitchens actually offered better arguments for the most part. So I would actually argue that due to his superior honesty and reason, Hitchens won last night. Craig detailed his 5-point outline very meticulously (though not thoroughly), but I didn't find his arguments compelling. And I was actually hoping that the debate would strengthen my failing faith... It seems to have done the opposite.

Strangely, Craig approached this debate from a very "modernist" and (attempted) evidentiary perspective, where Hitchens represented the post-modern mindset. Seems that the methods have changed from atheists 100 years ago trying to prove through science that God doesn't exist to now Christian trying to use science to prove that God does exist! Both goals are unattainable I think.

Badd Bob said...

This was far from a trouncing. Craig hurt his cause by continually misunderstanding the point of the debate ("Does God Exist") by pointing out that Hitchens had no proof that "atheism is true." He beat that straw man into the ground until it became sawdust.

MikeT said...

• No one debates the existence of air or the circumference of the earth because, unlike God, they are established facts. The continued need to debate is, itself, an argument against God's existence.

That argument, of course, makes a few unforgivable mistakes:

1) It treats God as a natural phenomenon that can be poked and prodded in a lab like a microbe or a physics hypothesis.

2) It makes the basic logical error of conflating a lack of evidence with proof of non-existence.

3) It ignores the common, accepted ability of higher powers to make themselves hidden from humanity according to their will.

4) It does not even consider for the sake of argument that a being which can, for the sake of argument, bring an entire universe into existence by sheer force of will couldn't just as easily reveal itself to humanity only on its own terms, science be damned.

Other than that, it's a brilliant argument.

Sunil said...

Kenn says:
>> No one debates the existence of air or the circumference of the earth because, unlike God, they are established facts. The continued need to debate is, itself, an argument against God's existence

Not quite. It could be that God wants us to find/reach God out of personal desire for Truth/Morality rather than as a mere established academic fact. If God were like a simple scientific fact, that would defeat the purpose. It is like difference between forcefully making your spouse be with you as opposed to letting her/him stay out of free-will. The argument you are making is like saying that that easier/sure way of making your spouse be with you is to make it impossible for her/him to leave you. Now, the situation with God is that you do have a way/means to make your excuses to reject God and God's Truth/Morality etc (and deceive oneself) if one so chooses. May be that is the way God wants it to be - so that God leads only those with genuine desire for Truth/Morality towards Himself.