Does God Exist? William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens - Full Debate [HD]May 30, 2021
good evening and welcome to biola university my name is my name is
craighazen i am the director of the master of arts in christian apologetics program here and it is my honor to be your host tonight to get things started, although the gym is packed with almost 3,000 people and it looks like you're pretty well packed in here and my condolences to those who have already been sitting for an hour and have a couple more hours to hold on, hold on, but you're not the only ones watching. There are thousands of people elsewhere on this campus, not only are there people in overflow sites across the country and around the world, we have people in 30 states and four different countries watching this and a special shout out to everyone watching on all over campus and in places like Stockholm and Sri Lanka.
I hope you really enjoy this. A special greeting to some distinguished guests tonight. uh, William Lane's wife, Craig, Jan is here. Janet, it's a pleasure to see you. Betsy Hewitt is here. Yes, my wife, my wife, Karen. hazen is here uh dr barry corey the president of the university is here yes, we have distinguished philosophers everywhere doug divided jpmorton high hopes, okay, we are delighted that you all could come well, this event was started by the associated students of biola university and it makes sense that as president eric weaver should give a quick welcome on behalf of the student body eric come on good evening everyone biola is a 100 year old christian university that wants to grapple with big questions in a way honest and open in In my final year, my colleague Mark Keith and I thought we should sponsor a blockbuster event that addressed the big question.
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does god exist william lane craig vs christopher hitchens full debate hd...
The most important question of all: is it reasonable to believe that God
exists? A proposal was presented to the Senate and the student body wholeheartedly agreed, so I invited two acclaimed academic leaders in this area, William Lane, Craig and Christopher Hitchens, and together with the wonderful people of the apologetics program, we are delighted to see it on display tonight on behalf of Biola students. I hope you really enjoy this event. Thank you. you for representing the students eric you are a senior student how is that job search going in this economy? it's going well we'll give you some help oh no our career service is in the first rank of biola thank you well uh the students I have it going, but there is another important sponsor and that is the program that I direct, the master's program in arts and Christian apologetics, uh, if you like to wrestle with the big questions, the
existence of God, the evidence for the resurrection, the problem of evil, historical reliability. from the bible that reconciles science and faith, this really is a degree program for you and if you're looking at it from a distance you're thinking I can't do it because I don't live in Southern California, that's not the case, we have this. amazing distance learning program and it's really open to anyone and you don't have to move to Southern California although today was a very nice day you might want to consider it although we just got taxed into oblivion so you might want to Reconsider if If you want to learn more about these programs, visit biola.edu biola.edu and go to the Christian apologetics page on that site.
Well, how is this all going to work tonight? It's quite simple, in fact, its handy and elegant program will tell you what is happening on the top inner panel, the program numbers one to eight, will guide you through what is happening every step of the way during the
debate. , so take a look at that, towards the end, we will have some time for questions, but as you will notice there is no microphone in the hallways, we will open it up for students, we have a student section there, bravo students of all types, Now it's your job tonight to think of some tough questions and I'll wait for you. to examine them, that is, you may have learned in school that there are no stupid questions that are not true.
Okay, not to intimidate you, but check it out. Do a peer review. If you have a question, pass it on to the person next to you or on each side and let's see how it goes, so we'll open it for a while and our attentive moderator will make sure everything goes well, when we're done tonight, there's another person . What you need to consider and is to exit this building to the pavilion just outside here and various places along the way to pick up the featured books tonight. One is God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and another is Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig these are the featured books pick them up and you can sign them to sign them just leave this building look for all the lights and there are some tables out there and our distinguished
debaters will be there signing books and answering your toughest questions right there at the table, I'm sure if you have a lot of books at home, in fact you have a book, so you don't need another one, maybe you can buy some DVDs or CDs of some dynamic discussions . and lectures that Bill Craig has given all over the world, these are top-notch materials and our apologetics program is actually the focal point for getting them all, so if you want to get them all tonight, they have wonderful special offers, check out the red brochure . in your brochure and that will tell you the scoop.
You can even pre-order tonight's debate if you want to get a copy. It's something you want to share with many people. You can reserve it tonight. Complete the form. bring it to the table and they will help you move forward. We are delighted to have Mr. Hitchens here on campus, but we realize that we theists certainly have the home field advantage, that is, being on a meaning-making basketball court, after all. It's a Christian university and it even says, "All glory to God or something, on top of the stands." I'm excited to see some members of the atheist and agnostic community wearing t-shirts.
I love it, yes, absolutely, yes. I was giving a lecture at the University of South Florida a few weeks ago and the whole atheist club came out in t-shirts and we had the best time ever, so I'm hoping for the same tonight, well since we have home field advantage, those of you who are theists and believers in God, please let's be polite to Christopher Hitchens, he is known for saying a provocative thing or two, so if you could practice. You could practice your polite golf clap, right, let's practice it, practice that no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, there will be plenty of opportunities for it, but let's restrain ourselves and those of you who are in the community atheist and agnostic again.
No, no, no, no, no, no Don't shout, in fact, Mr. Hitchens, I can guarantee that he really
doesn't need much help. I just watched a video of him debating four prominent evangelical theists in Dallas and it really wasn't fair that we needed more theists on the panel, so I think he'll do well, but we're grateful that he came to sort of uh, what pit of opposition at Biola University, but we are grateful to really open the doors and go over these big important questions and if the debate is not resolved in the end, this is a basketball court, for God's sake, we will lower the hoops, We'll turn on the lights and let them go one by one, I heard, yeah, I heard, I heard Chris has game, so We'll see how it goes well, let's get started.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to our moderator for tonight's debate and he will get this party started. Hugh Hewitt yes, Hugh Hewitt was a broadcast magazine law professor whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities in the United States every weekday by more than 2 million listeners. By the way, locally, this show is heard on krla, which is 8:70 a.m. I think it goes from three to six, great show, in fact I think it's the I think it's one of the biggest fast-paced news and topic shows on the airwaves today, so check it out If you live in outlying regions, check hughhewitt.com to find out where he's streaming or podcasting.
Professor Hewitt graduated from Harvard College at the University of Michigan Law School. He has been teaching constitutional law at Chapman University School of Law since it opened in 1995. He was a frequent guest on all the major cable news networks and writes for the country's largest newspapers. He received three Emini Emmy Awards for his groundbreaking television work and is the author of eight books, including two bestsellers. Professor Hewitt worked for nearly six years in the Reagan administration in a variety of positions, including assistant White House counsel and special assistant to two attorneys general, Don Don't miss his daily blog at hughhewitt.com.
He has always been very generous with his time at events like these at Biola and we are deeply grateful for his help here tonight. Please join me in welcoming our moderator, Professor Hugh Hewitt. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. one, please turn off your cell phones, I repeat, please turn off your cell phones. Number two, gentlemen, to the extent that any of you have jackets that are still on, please, as Ronald Reagan used to say, feel free to throw them on the ground. It's a little hot here our guest by virtue of this crowd. It obviously needs no introduction.
I'm not going to waste time with elaborate presentations. I just want to thank you both for being willing to participate in this very important conversation. the best of times is the best of times for those who like to argue about god in the public square largely due to the rise of new atheists like mr
hitchensrichard dawkins my friend
williamlubdell and others who have once again put at the center of the public stage the question of whether or not God exists and whether or not Jesus Christ is his son and it is up to people like William Lane Craig prolific author much loved professor here to enter into that conversation in a way that is both persuasive and attractive, so without further ado let me welcome the prolific author, Vanity Fair columnist, my friend and defender of freedom, Christopher Hitchens and, from this extraordinary lighthouse institution, another prolific author, an apologist, an extraordinary scholar who , like Mr.
Hitchens, has his doctorate in a wonderful English university professor
craigplease professor this is a very structured debate along classical lines until the questions at the end we begin with an opening argument 20 minutes for professor craig professor good nights I'm very excited to participate in this debate tonight Jan and I used to sit in those same stands over there watching our son John run up and down this court as a forward for the Biola Eagles, so I feel like I'm playing in home court tonight and I want to congratulate mr. Hitchens for his willingness to enter this nest of lambs and defend his views tonight.
On the other hand, if I know Biola students, I suspect that many of you, when you came here tonight, said to yourself, I'm going to check it out for myself. views at the door and I will evaluate the arguments as objectively as possible I appreciate that challenge, you see, the question of the existence of God is of interest not only to religion but also to philosophy, now Mr. Hitchens has left It is clear that he despises and disdains religion, but presumably he
doesnot despise philosophy as much, therefore, as a professional philosopher, I will approach tonight's question philosophically from the point of view of reason and argument.
I am convinced that there are better arguments for theism than for atheism, so in tonight's debate. I am going to defend two basic arguments: first, that there are no good arguments that atheism is true and, second, that there are good arguments that theism is true. Now look care
fully at the circumscribed limits of those arguments; We are not here tonight to debate social impact. of religion or Old Testament ethics or biblical inerrancy, all interesting and important topics, no doubt, but not the topic of tonight's debate, which is the existence of God. Consider then my first argument that there is no good argument that atheism is true.
Atheists have tried for centuries to disprove it. the existence of god, but no one has been able to present a successful argument, so instead of attacking the straw men right now, i will simply wait to hear mr.
hitchenspresent his arguments against the existence of god and then respond to them. In the meantime, in my next speech, let's move on to my second main argument that there are good arguments that theism is true in the insert of your program, I described some of those arguments, number one, the cosmological argument, the question of why something exists is the deepest question. of philosophy, philosopher Derek Parfit says that there is no question more sublime than why there is a universe, why there is something instead of nothing.
Atheists have typically answered this question by saying that the universe is simply eternal and uncaused, but that there are good philosophical as well as scientific reasons. To think that the universe began to exist philosophically the idea of an infinite past seems absurd just think about it ifthe universe never began to exist that means that the number of past events in the history of the universe is infinite but mathematicians recognize that the existence of a truly infinite number of things leads to contradictions, for example, what is infinity minus infinity ? Well, mathematically you get contradictory answers. This shows that infinity is just an idea in your mind, not something that exists in reality.
David Hilbert, perhaps the greatest mathematician. In rational thought, the role left for infinity is only that of an idea, but that implies that , since past events are not just ideas but real, the number of past events must be finite, therefore the series of past events cannot go backwards. since always, rather, the universe must have begun to exist. This conclusion has been confirmed by notable discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics in one of the most surprising developments in modern science. We now have pretty solid evidence that the universe was not eternal in the past, but rather had an absolute existence. which began about 13 billion years ago in a cataclysmic event known as the big bang, what makes the big bang so amazing is that it represents the origin of the universe literally from nothing, as all matter and energy, even physical space and time emerged at the same moment.
The big bang, as physicist PCW Davies explains, the emergence of the universe as analyzed by modern science is not just a matter of imposing some kind of organization on a previously incoherent state, but literally the emergence of all physical things from out of nowhere now. it puts the atheist in a very uncomfortable position as anthony kenney of oxford university urges a defender of the big bang theory at least if he is an atheist he should believe that the universe arose from nothing and for nothing but surely that doesn't make sense at all , nothing comes so why does the universe exist instead of just nothing? power must also be personal also why because the cause must be beyond space and time, therefore it cannot be physical or material now there are only two types of things that fit that description, either a abstract object such as numbers or a personal but abstract mind. objects cannot cause anything, therefore it follows that the cause of the universe is a transcendent intelligent mind, therefore the cosmological argument gives us a personal creator of the universe. of the big bang were fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life with a precision and delicacy that literally defies human understanding.
This fine tuning is of two types: first, when the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, certain constants appear in them, such as the gravitational constant. These constants are not determined by the laws of nature. The laws of nature are consistent with a wide range of values for these constants second, in addition to these constants, there are certain arbitrary quantities put as initial conditions on which the laws of nature operate, for example, the amount of entropy or the balance between matter and antimatter in the universe now all these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of values that allow life if these constants or quantities were altered by less than a hair the balance would be destroyed and life would not exist to give just one example the weak atomic force if it were altered by just one part of 10 to the hundredth power it would not have allowed a life-supporting universe now there are three possible explanations for this remarkable fine tuning physical necessity chance or design now cannot be due to physical necessity because the constants and quantities are independent of the laws of nature, in fact, string theory predicts that there are about 10 to the power of 500 different possible universes consistent with nature.
So the problem with this alternative is that the probabilities of the fine adjustments occur by accident are so incomprehensibly large that they cannot reasonably be faced with the probability that all constants and quantities occur by chance alone. In the infinitesimal range that allows life is extremely small, we now know that universes that prohibit life are much more likely than any universe that allows life, so if the universe were a product of chance, the odds that it would prohibit life life are overwhelming to be able to rescue the alternative. Therefore, its defenders have been forced to resort to a radical metaphysical hypothesis, namely, that there is an infinite number of undetectable universes arranged randomly that make up a kind of set of worlds or multiverse of which our universe is but one. part somewhere in this set of finely tuned infinite worlds.
Universes will appear only by chance and it turns out that we are now one of those worlds, completely apart from the fact that there is no independent evidence that such a set of worlds exists, the hypothesis faces a devastating objection, namely, whether our universes are just a random member of an infinite universe. then it is overwhelmingly more likely that we are observing a very different universe than what we actually observe. Roger Penrose has calculated that our solar system is inconceivably more likely to form suddenly through a random collision of particles than a finely formed universe. The tuned universe should exist, by comparison, Penrose calls it chicken feed, so if our universe were just a random member of a global ensemble, it is inconceivably more likely that we would be observing an ordered region no larger than our solar system.
Observable universes like those are simply much more abundant in the global ensemble than finely tuned worlds like ours and should therefore be observed by us, since we have no such observations; This fact strongly contradicts the multiverse hypothesis about atheism, at least then it is very likely that a world set does not exist. Therefore, the fine tuning of the universe is due neither to physical necessity nor to chance. Therefore, it logically follows that the best explanation is design. Therefore, the teleological argument gives us an intelligent designer of the cosmos. Three. The moral argument. If God does not exist, then he is objective.
Moral values do not exist because of objective moral values, I mean moral values that are valid and binding, whether we believe in them or not. Many theists and atheists agree that if God does not exist, then moral values are not objective in this way. Michael Roos, a prominent philosopher. The science that explains the modern evolutionist's position is that morality is a biological adaptation no less than our hands, feet, and teeth considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about a goal, something that ethics is illusory. I understand that when someone says love thy neighbor as they think they are referring beyond themselves, however, such a reference really has no basis, morality is only an aid for survival and reproduction and any deeper meaning.
It is illusory, like Professor Roose, I simply see no reason to think that in the absence of God, the morality that has arisen among these imperfectly evolved primates that we call homo sapiens is objective and here Mr. Hitchen seems to agree with me: he says that Moral values are simply innate predispositions ingrained in us by evolution; such predispositions, he says, are inevitable for any animal endowed with social instincts from the atheist point of view, then an action like rape is not socially advantageous and, therefore, in the course of human development it has become a taboo, but that does nothing to prove that rape is actually morally wrong.
From the atheist point of view, there is nothing really wrong with raping someone. But the problem is that objective values exist and deep down we all know in moral experience that we apprehend a realm of objective moral goods and evils. Actions like rape, cruelty and child abuse are not only socially unacceptable behaviors, they are abominations. morals some things at least are really wrong similarly the love of equality and self-sacrifice are really good but then it follows logically and necessarily that god exists number four the resurrection of jesus the historical person jesus of nazareth was a notable individual historians They have reached a kind of consensus that the historical Jesus entered the scene with an unprecedented sense of divine authority, the authority to stand up and speak in God's place.
He claimed that in himself the kingdom of God had come and, as visible demonstrations of this fact, he carried out a ministry of miracles and exorcisms. but the supreme confirmation of his claim was his resurrection from the dead. If Jesus rose from the dead, then it would seem that we have a divine miracle on our hands and therefore evidence of the existence of God. Now most people probably think that God's resurrection. Jesus is something you simply believe in by faith or not, but there are actually three established facts recognized by most New Testament historians today that I believe are best explained by fact number one of Jesus' resurrection. the Sunday after his crucifixion.
The tomb of Jesus was discovered empty by a group of his followers according to Jacob Kramer, an Austrian scholar, by far the majority of scholars cling firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb, fact number two, in different On occasions, different individuals and groups experienced apparitions of Jesus alive after his death. According to prominent New Testament critic Ludeman, it can be considered historically true that the disciples had experiences after Jesus' death in which Jesus appeared to them as the resurrected Christ. These apparitions were witnessed not only by believers but also by unbelievers, skeptics and even enemies fact number three the original disciples suddenly came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus despite having every predisposition to the contrary the Jews did not believe in a messiah dying let alone resurrected and Jewish beliefs about the afterlife forbade anyone to be raised from the dead before the resurrection at the end of the world, yet the original disciples came to believe so firmly that God had raised Jesus from the dead. the dead who were willing to die for the truth of that belief.
No Wright, an eminent New Testament scholar concludes that this is why, as a historian, I cannot explain it. the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus was resurrected leaving an empty tomb behind him Attempts to explain these three great facts as that the disciples stole the body or that Jesus was not really dead have been universally rejected by contemporary scholars the simple fact It is that there is simply no plausible naturalistic explanation for these events and therefore it seems to me that the Christian is largely justified in believing that Jesus rose from the dead and was who he claimed to be, but that implies that God ultimately exists.
Number five: the immediate experience of God. It is not actually an argument for the existence of God, rather it is the claim that you can know that God exists completely apart from arguments simply by immediately experiencing Him. Philosophers call beliefs like this properly basic beliefs; they are not based on other beliefs, but are part of them. The basis of a person's belief system Other properly basic beliefs include belief in the reality of the external world Belief in the existence of the past and the presence of other minds like your own When you think about it None of these beliefs can be proven, but although these types of beliefs are basic to us, that does not mean that they are arbitrary, but rather that they are based in the sense that they are formed in the context of certain experiences in the experiential context of seeing, hearing and feeling things.
Naturally, I believe in a world of physical objects and therefore my beliefs are not arbitrary but are properly based on experience. They are not merely basic, but properly basic, in the same way that belief in God is for those who know him a properly basic belief. In our current experience with God, if this is correct, there is a danger that arguments for the existence of God can distract your attention from God himself. If you sincerely seek God, then God will make his existence evident to you. We should not focus so much on the external arguments that we do not hear the inner voice of God speaking to our own hearts.
For those who listen, God becomes an immediate reality in their lives. So, in conclusion, we have seen five good arguments for thinking that God exists if Mr. Hitchens wants us. To believe instead that God does not exist, you must first demolish the five arguments I presented and then, in yourFirst, build your own case to prove that God does not exist unless and until you do. I think theism is the most plausible worldview? Well, am I audible? Am I audible to everyone? Yes, well, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades, friends, thank you for coming out as Senator Larry Craig said in his press conference, thank you Mr.
Hewitt and Dr. Craig for being among them. many, many Christians who, with such generosity, hospitality and warmth, accepted the challenge I posed to them when I began my little book tour and welcomed me to their places to have the most important of all discussions. I can't express my gratitude enough um and uh thank you to the very nice young ladies I ran into at the elephant bar this afternoon well, I wasn't expecting a bunch of biola students to be on staff where I thought, gosh, now they're on everywhere um, now what? What I have discovered from traveling through this country and others in this debate and simply debating with Hindus with Muslims with Jews with Christians of all stripes is that the arguments are all essentially the same for believing in the supernatural for believing in faith for believing in god but there are very interesting and noteworthy discrepancies between them and one that I want to draw attention to at the beginning of this afternoon is between those like my friend doug wilson with whom I have written a book of arguments on Christian apologetics that he himself would call es a presuppositionalist, in other words, for whom it is really only necessary to discover the workings of god's will in the cosmos and simply assume that the truth of christianities is already proven and what is called and they include dr. craig with great honor and respect for this evidentialists now I want to start by saying that this distinction seems to me first as a charming distinction and second as false or perhaps as a distinction without difference well, why do I say uh charming because I think it's quite sweet that People Faith believers also think that they should have some evidence and I think that is a kind of progress.
After all, if we had had this debate in the mid-19th century, Professor Craig or his equivalent would have known little or probably nothing about the laws of physics. and biology perhaps even less than I know now, that is, quite in his own way, and they would have been based or he would have been based on faith, on the Scriptures, on revelation, on the perspective of salvation, on the means of grace and hope. of glory and perhaps about the natural theology of Paley, uh, Paley, who had the same rooms or had had the same rooms that were later occupied by Charles Darwin in Cambridge with his theory of design, a watchmaker, which I know I don't have to explain to them, but it briefly suggests that if an Aboriginal person is walking on a beach and finds a gold watch ticking, he does not know what it is for or where it came from or who made it, but he knows that it is not a rock, he knows that it is not is a vegetable, knows that it must have had a designer, Paley's analogy held for most Christians for many years, because they were willing to assume that we were mechanisms and therefore there must be a watchmaker, but now This is where the presuppositionalist versus evidentialist dichotomy begins to come into effect.
It has now been demonstrated quite thoroughly and elaborately to the satisfaction of most people. I don't want to simply use authoritative arguments, but it is no longer much disputed that we are not designed as creatures but rather evolved through a rather laborious combination of random factors. mutation and natural selection in the species we are today uh of course it is open to the faithful to say that all of this was now that you know it, now that it is available to everyone now that you think about it and now that I have stopped opposing or try to ban it, then they can say: "Oh, actually, on second thought, evolution was part of the design.
Well, as you will recognize, ladies and gentlemen, there are some arguments that I cannot be expected to refute or refute because there is no way around that argument, I mean, if everything, including evolution, that is not a design, is nonetheless part of a divine design, then all the advantage goes to the person who is willing to believe that that cannot be disproved, but it seems to be a very poor choice very weak argument because the test of a good argument is that it is falsifiable, not that it is unfalsifiable, so therefore this tactic or this style of argument that we have had some evidence of tonight I would rename it or I might dare say rename it a kind of retrospective evidentialism;
In other words, everything can be done in due time if you have enough faith to fit in and you are all also quite free to believe that a conscious creator deliberately put himself as a being put to himself or the trouble of going through enormous epochs of birth and death of species over eons of time in which 99, over the course of which at least 99.9 percent of all species, all life forms that have ever appeared on Earth, they have become extinct as we move forward. We almost did it as a species. I invite you to look for the very alarming, beautiful and brilliant account of the national geographic coordinator of the genome project.
By the way, you must submit your small sample from the inside of your cheek and have your African ancestry traced. It's absolutely fascinating to follow the mitochondrial DNA that we all have in common and that we have in common with other species, other primates and other life forms, and discover where you came from in Africa, but there came a time, probably around 180,000 years ago. , when due to a terrible climate event probably in Indonesia a horrific global warming crisis occurred and the estimate is that the number of humans in Africa was reduced to between 40 and 30,000. joining all the other species that had become extinct and that is our story of the exodus is that somehow we don't know how because it is not written in any scripture it is not told in any book it is not part of any superstitious narrative but somehow it is the escape from Africa to colder latitudes, but they were that close.
You have to be able to imagine that all this mass extinction, death and randomness is the will of a being. You were absolutely free to believe that if you want, all this should happen. so that a very imperfect race of evolved primates has the opportunity to become Christians or to show up in this gymnasium tonight, that all of that was done to us because it is a curious kind of solipsism, it is a curious kind of self- Centering I was always raised to believe that Christians were modest and humble and carried themselves with due humility and there is a certain arrogance in this assumption that all this extraordinary development was about us and we were the intended design.
The result and everything else was discarded, the tremendous waste, the tremendous cruelty, the tremendous whim, the tremendous tinkering and incompetence, it doesn't matter, at least we are here and we can be people of faith, it doesn't work. For me, I just have to say that and I think there may be psychology issues involved in this too, believe it if you can, I can't help it, believe it if you want, you're welcome, it's obviously impossible, like I said before. to refute and equally obviously it helps you believe it if, like all of us, you are in the happy position of knowing the outcome, in other words, we are here, but there is a fallacy lurking somewhere too, isn't there now?
It is often said it was said tonight um and dr. craig said in print that atheists think they can prove the non-existence of god this actually very slightly but crucially misrepresents what we have always said there is nothing new about the new atheists it's just that we are recent there is nothing in particular The doctor. Victor Stenger, a great scientist, has written a book called The Failed Hypothesis in which he says that he believes that science can now authorize the claim that there is definitely no God, but he is unique in that and I think he is very bold and brave. .
What we are arguing is that we are simply arguing that there is no plausible or convincing reason, and certainly no evidentiary reason to believe that such an entity exists and that all observable phenomena, including the cosmological one I am referring to, are explainable without the hypothesis that you do not has. The assumption and this objection in itself is not necessary, our school is divided into at least two, perhaps three sections, there is no such thing, there is no such word, although it should exist as deism or as deist, but if there was one, I would say That's what I do.
It was I don't believe that we are here as a result of design or that by making the appropriate propitiations and adopting the appropriate postures and following the appropriate rituals we can overcome death I don't believe it and for April or our reasons no No, if there was such a force that I cannot prove by definition that it didn't exist, if there was an entity that was responsible for the beginning of the cosmos and that was also busy engineering the very laborious production of life on our little p
lanet um, it still wouldn't prove that this entity cared about us answered prayers cared What church we went to or if we went to any did he care who we had sex with or in what position or by what means did he care what we ate or on what day did I care if we lived or died?
There is no reason why this entity should not be completely indifferent to us. That you cannot move from deism to theism except by a series of extraordinarily generous assumptions about yourself. The deist has all his work still ahead of him. of it to show that it leads to revelation, to redemption, to salvation or to suspensions of the natural order in which until now you have been putting all your faith, all your evidence is based on scientific and natural evidence or why not, to a change of pace. and a change of taste says yes, but sometimes this same natural order that is so miraculous in observation, no doubt, is so impressive in the sense that it favors the conditions for life in some way, but is randomly suspended when miracles are acquired. with whim and contempt, these laws turn out not to be so important after all, as long as the truth of religion can be proven by rendering them inoperative, this is having both in the most promiscuous and exorbitant way in my opinion, um, have consider.
Furthermore, these are not precisely the differences between Dr. Craig and me, I mean morally or intellectually equivalent statements, after all, Dr. Craig to win this argument has to believe and demonstrate with certainty that he is not just saying that There could be a god because he has to say so. there must be one, otherwise we could not be here and there could be no morality, it is not a contingency for him, I must say that I appear as a skeptic who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel of all research, all discovery . and all innovation and I doubt these things the disadvantage seems to me in the argument goes to the person who says I don't know I know it must be true it is true we are too early in the study of physics and biology It seems to me that it is about certainties of that kind, especially when there is so much at stake that it seems to me that, to put it condensedly, these are extraordinary claims such as the existence of a divine power with a child who cares enough to come. and redeem us extraordinary claims require truly extraordinary evidence.
I don't believe any of the evidence we heard from dr. craig, brilliantly put together as they were, were extraordinary enough to justify the extreme claims being made and supported. um hypocrisy, said la rochefoucault. It is the praise that vice pays to virtue. Retrospective evidentialism surprises me in the same way. It is a concession that was made to the necessity of a fact. Maybe it would be better if we had some evidence to support our faith, but look at what says dr. craig in his book, he says that I will quote him directly, he says that if a conflict arises between the testimony of the holy spirit about the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former that should take precedence over the letter you add, not the other way around, but I think a good editor would have told you that you don't have to put the vice versa.
It's pretty clear as it is. I will say it again if a conflict arises between the witness. from the holy spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on arguments and evidence, then it is the first that must take priority over the second, that is not evidentialism, it is just faith, it is an a priori belief, um, It is restated in another edition, he says. Therefore, the role of rational argument in knowing that Christianity is true is the role of the servant: a person knows that Christianity is true because the holy spirit tells him that it is true and, while arguments and evidence can be used to support this conclusion, they cannot legitimately be overlooked. rule it now, then goes on to say that the Bible says that all men are without excuse, even those who are given no reason to believe and many persuasive reasons for not believing are without excuse because the fundamental reason they do not believe is who have deliberately rejected the will of God.Holy Spirit, it would have to be me, but you see where this is going, ladies and gentlemen, with Christian apologetics, they tell you that you are a miserable sinner who has no excuse, you have disappointed your god, who made you. and you have been so ungrateful it is to rebel you are despicable you are like a worm but you can cheer up the entire universe was designed only with you in mind these two statements are not only mutually exclusive but I believe they are meant to compensate for each other's cruelty and ultimately instance, the absurd; in other words, the evidence is an occasional search for convenience and you will find that I remember being told that in church many times when I was young, looking for the initial fight, I thought it was a sinister order because it is very likely to be true, we are pattern-seeking mammals and primates.
If we can't get good evidence, we'll look for junk evidence. If we can't get a real theory, we'll go with the conspiracy theory. You see her all the time. Religion is great. The strength is that it was the first of our attempts to explain reality to make those patterns take some kind of shape. Deserves credit. It was our first attempt at astronomy. Our first attempt at cosmology somewhere. It's our first attempt at medicine. Our first attempt at literature. first attempt at philosophy at a good time, even if there was nothing else, it had many such functional uses, never mind that they didn't know that germs cause illness, maybe evil spirits cause illness, maybe illness is a punishment, It doesn't matter if they believed in it. astrology instead of astronomy, even Thomas Aquinas believed in astrology, never mind that they believed in demons, never mind that things like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tidal waves, were considered punishments, not natural events in the cooling crust of a planet, the search for patterns has gone too far and I think it has gone too far with what until recently was considered Christianity's greatest failure, the greatest of all failures, cosmology, the one thing Christianity did not know about nothing and taught the most abject nonsense about what for most of his life Christianity taught. that the earth itself was the center of the universe and we had been given exclusive dominion as a species over it.
I couldn't have been more wrong, how are we going to square the new cosmology, the new and fantastic discoveries in physics with the old dogmas? Well, one is the idea of this fine tuning that I only have three and a half years left on. minutes I will have to refer to some of this later in the discussion. um, this is essentially another form of searching for patterns based on extremely limited evidence. Most physicists are very insecure, as they have every right to be. In fact, I would say for physicists. As you must be at this time extremely unsure about the space-time dimensions of the original episode, the big bang, as it is sometimes called, we are in the early stages of this investigation, we barely know what we don't know about the origins of the universe uh, we're looking at it from an unimaginable distance, not only from an unimaginable distance in space, we're perched on a small rock in an extremely small suburb of a fairly minor galaxy, trying to look to discern our origins, but also from an incredible distance in time and we claim the right to say ah, we can see the finger of god in this process is an extraordinarily arrogant assumption or he deserves a Nobel Prize in physics that he hasn't yet won, I realize he doesn't I know any physicist who believes these assumptions are necessary or deserve an accusation of arrogance.
Let me make three quick little quibbles as it is and I'm no more physical than most of you. I will make these layered objections into one. Was there pre-existing material for this extra-space-time being to work with or did he simply make it exist? The x9 who designed the designer does not take the risk with the presumption of a god and a designer and a creator. to ask well where does that come from where does that come from and lock yourself in an infinite regression why are there so many shooting stars collapsed suns failed galaxies that we can see we can see with the help of a telescope sometimes we can see with the naked eye , the total failure, the total destruction of gigantic and unimaginable expanses of outer space is this fine tuning or is it extremely random, capricious, cruel, mysterious and incompetent and have you thought about the nothingness that is coming?
We know we have something now and we speculate. about where it could have come from and there's a real question about x nihilo but nihilo is coming towards us uh in the night sky you can already see the andromeda galaxy it's heading straight for hours on a collision course is that part of a design? tuned to do that, we know that due to the red light shift of the Hubble telescope or rather the original discovery of Edwin Hubble, the universe is expanding away from itself at a tremendous rate, it was thought that rate would slow down for Newtonian reasons, No. uh it was recently improved by professor lawrence krauss the expansion rate is increasing everything is exploding even faster nothing is certainly coming who designed that um and that's it if before these things happen we don't have the destruction of our own little system solar system in which there is only one planet that can support anything resembling life, all the other planets are too hot or too cold to support any kind of life and the sun is going to swell, it will burn us to a crisp, It will boil our oceans and die like We have seen everything the other suns do in the night sky.
This is not fine tuning, ladies and gentlemen, and if it is the work of a designer, then there is an accusation that designer may have to face. I ran out of time. I am very grateful for his kindness and hospitality, Dr. Craig, 12 minutes. Remember that in my opening speech I said that I would make two basic arguments in tonight's debate: first, that there is no good argument that atheism is true, now it is far from it. One point of contention tonight, as I understood Mr. Hitchens' last speech, he would agree with that first statement that there is no good argument that atheism is true.
He says I just don't have any positive reason to believe in God, but he doesn't. It doesn't really give an argument against the existence of God, in fact it seems to suggest that that's impossible, but note that that doesn't prove atheism, it just leaves you with agnosticism, i.e. you don't know if there is a god or not. , so at best you are left with simply agnosticism we see no good reason to think that atheism is true now he made some comments about the theory of evolution that at least hinted that this was somehow incompatible with theism and I have two points to make about this first, I think the theory of biological evolution is simply irrelevant through the truth of Christian theism uh genesis one admits all kinds of different interpretations and one is in no way committed to creationism of six days howard van until he is a professor at calvin college writes is the concept of special It requires the creation of all people who trust in the creator god of the Scriptures.
Most Christians I know who are engaged in scientific or biblical scholarship have concluded that the special creationist picture of the formation of the world is neither a necessary component of Christian belief nor is it a setback caused by science. modern Saint Augustine in the year 300 AD. In his commentary on Genesis he pointed out that it is not necessary to take the days literally nor is it necessary for the creation to have been a few thousand years ago; In fact, he suggested that God made the world with certain special powers that would develop and develop gradually over time and this interpretation came 1500 years before Darwin, so it is not a forced retreat in the face of modern science, so any Any doubt he had about the theory of biological evolution would not be biblical but scientific. that is, what you imagine is fantastically improbable.
Barrow and Tipler, two physicists in their book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle list ten steps in the course of human evolution, each of which is so improbable that before it occurred, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star. and they incinerated the earth and calculated the probability of the evolution of the human genome between 4 to the negative 180th power to the 110,000th power and 4 to the negative 360th power to the 110,000th power, so if evolution occurred on this planet it was literally a miracle and therefore evidence of the existence of god, so I don't think this is an argument in favor of atheism, quite the opposite, it really provides good grounds for thinking that god supervised the process of biological development so that the Christian can be open to the evidence to follow it wherever it takes us, by contrast, as Alvin Planinga said, naturalistic evolution is the only game available, no matter how fantastic the odds, no matter how improbable, it has to be true because it doesn't. there is an intelligent creator and designer. so in a sense you should feel a little sorry for the atheist, he can't really follow the evidence where it leads, his presuppositions determine the outcome, on the contrary, if there is a fine tuner and creator of the universe, then already in the beginning.
Under Big Bang conditions, you have an elaborately designed universe that allows for the evolution and existence of intelligent life, and I think evolution simply adds more improbability. Now Mr. Hitchen says, but why did God wait so long for all that waste during this time? Well, that guy. Concern about efficiency is only important for someone with limited time or limited resources or both, but in the case of God, he has unlimited resources and time and therefore it is simply not important to do this in a quick way. Now Mr. Hitchen says but why did God wait so long before sending Christ?
Humans have existed for thousands of years on this planet before the coming of Christ. Well, what's really crucial here is not the time involved, but the population of the world, the population reference. The bureau estimates that the number of people who have ever lived on this planet is approximately 105 billion people. Only 2 percent of them were born before the arrival of Christ Eric Crepes of the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, God says. The timing could not have been more perfect. Christ appeared just before the exponential explosion in the world's population.
The Bible says that in the
fullness of time, God sent his son and when Christ came, the nation of Israel was prepared. Roman peace dominated the world. Mediterranean In the world was an era of literacy and learning, the stage was set for the advent of the son of God into the world and I believe that in God's providential plan for human history we see the wisdom of God in orchestrating the development of life human nature and then in bringing christ into the world in the fullness of time, so I don't see that there is any good basis here for thinking that this provides a reason for atheism.
What about my arguments for theism? Mr. Hitchens made some general comments here, he says that it is difficult to go from deism to theism. Now I want to point out that this is a false use of these terms. This is just confusing. Deism is a type of theism. Theism is the broad worldview that God exists. Deism is a specific type of theism that says that God does not exist. was revealed directly to the world now my arguments are a cumulative case for christian theism they add up to the belief in the god who has been revealed by jesus of nazareth now mr hitchen says but you must prove this for certain no, not at all, I am not.
By claiming that these arguments demonstrate Christian theism with certainty, I am saying that this is the best explanation of the data when compared to other competing hypotheses. I think it's more likely than not. You quote me as saying that the testimony of the holy spirit is the basis for knowing that Christianity is true and I state that I believe that the fundamental way in which we know that Christianity is true is through the objective internal testimony of God's holy spirit which I called the immediate knowledge of God himself and my fifth point based on that We have a properly basic belief in the existence of God and the truth of Christianity, but when it comes to showing someone else what we know through the testimony of the spirit holy it is true, here we appeal to arguments and evidence as I have done tonight and The arguments and evidence to which I have appealed are largely deductive arguments.
This is not retrospective evidentialism. These are deductive arguments. If the premises are true, then you cannot deny the conclusion under penalty of your rationality because the conclusions are derived with logical necessity from the premises. So the only way to deny the conclusion is that you have to show me which of the premises are false. That's why you have that program insert with thepremises in your program for these arguments. Dr. Hitchens needs to identify which premises of the conclusion. argument he rejects his faults if he is going to reject the conclusions now regarding my cosmological argument note that he did not question what begins to exist as a cause nor did he question the philosophical and scientific arguments for the beginning of the universe everything he asked Was the question If there was pre-existing material?
The answer is no, there was not, as Barrow and Tipler point out, at this singularity, space and time came into existence, literally nothing existed before the singularity, so if the universe originated in such a singularity, we would actually have an ex nihilo creation that arises from nothing and this is not talking about religion, friends, this is talking about contemporary cosmology, so the first argument seems unrefuted to me. What about the fit argument? Well, scientists are terribly unsure about the tuning argument, well I think that's simply not the case, Sir Martin Reese, Britain's astronomer royal, has said that the laws that govern our universe appear to be finely tuned to our existence.
Everywhere you look, there are even more examples everywhere physicists look. examples of fine tuning Ernan Mcmullen, philosopher of science, says that it seems safe to say that subsequent theories, no matter how different they may be, will yield approximately the same numbers and the numerous restrictions that must be placed on these numbers seem too specific and too numerous to evaporate completely so it is very unlikely that this setting will go away or be dismissed with explanations now mr hitchens responds but we are heading towards nothing, ultimately we will be doomed and therefore the universe is not well designed Now this is not a very powerful objection.
The temporal duration of something is irrelevant to knowing if it has been designed. Products of human intelligence and engineering, like computers and cars, will eventually break down and cease to exist, but that doesn't mean they didn't exist. designed, I think the real objection you are referring to here is why God would create humanity only to extinguish it, but of course from the Christian point of view that is seen to be false, it is an atheistic assumption depending on the point From a Christian point of view, life does not end in the grave. and god has given assurance of this by raising jesus from the dead, so the objection simply has no basis against christian theism, so it seems to me that the adjustment argument is also not refutable.
What happens to the moral argument we saw that without God there is no? objective moral values mr hitchens agrees with this and yet he himself affirms again and again moral statements such as the moral reprobation of religious intolerance and violence in the name of religion, thus affirming objective values but without no basis for it, what I can offer. he as a theist is a transcendent basis for the objective moral values and duties that we both want to affirm fourthly the resurrection of jesus again there was no answer to this let me just quote nt Wright in his recent study on the resurrection, he says that the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus have such a high historical probability that they are practically certain, like the death of Augustus in 14 AD. or the fall of Jerusalem in the year 1970, so we are on very solid footing in stating these three facts that I mentioned in my opening speech and I cannot think of any better explanation than those given by the eyewitness, namely that God raised Jesus from the dead, finally the immediate experience of god, unless mr hitchens can prove that I am psychologically disturbed or delusional, it seems to me that I am perfectly rational on the basis of my immediate experience of god to believe that god exists and that, therefore, this for me is a properly basic belief.
So I think that all these arguments remain intact despite their reputation. We have not seen any arguments in favor of atheism. So clearly the weight of evidence falls on the side of the scale for Christian theism. There is a terminological problem here tonight. may hide something more than a simple terminological difficulty, the proposition that atheism is true or that it is a misstatement of what I have to prove and what we believe, there is an argument among some of us about whether we need the word in other words , I don't have a special name for my disbelief in tooth fairies, they say, or in witches or in Santa Claus, I just don't believe they are there, I don't have to prove a theorism about teeth, I don't have to prove a Santa clausism I don't have to prove witchcraft I just have to say that I believe that those who believe these things have never been able to present a plausible or intelligible case for doing so that is not agnosticism because it seems to me that If you don't believe there is any evidence, you are wrong to take refuge in saying that you are neutral.
Do you want to have the courage to answer the question that is regularly asked: are you an atheist or not? Yes, I will say I am. you can't say anything else about me you can't say anything more about what I think about what I believe about um uh what my politics are or my other convictions it's just that I don't believe in the existence of a supernatural dimension and I've never been shown any evidence that any process observable by us cannot be explained by more satisfactory and more convincing means, the great physicist Laplace, when he showed his functional model of the solar system to the Emperor Napoleon.
He was asked: Well, his model seems to have no place for a god or deity and he said: Well, your majesty, it still works without that assumption. Now this is what you would have to believe if you thought this was all designed by Dr. Craig. Gave a slight parody of what I think about this, it could be true, but you would have to imagine, let's say the human species has been homo sapiens, it has been with us, some people say for a quarter of a million years, some they say 200. let's say a hundred thousand francis collins and richard dawkins oscillate on this there is no, it's not a very big argument i will take a hundred thousand if you want you have to imagine that human beings are born um well, actually most of them a good number of are not born, die in childbirth or do not survive long, are born into a terrifying world of the unknown, everything is a mystery to them, from diseases to volcanic eruptions, um, everything is their lifespan for the First, no I know, many tens of thousands of years old they would be lucky to be in their 20s, probably dying agonizingly from their poorly evolved teeth as they are and from other inheritances of being primates, like the appendix that we don't.
It is not necessary, like the fact that our genitals were designed by a committee, other deficiencies of the species exaggerated by scarcity, war, famine, competition, etc., and for about 98,000 years the sky observes this with complete indifference and then By the way, we know what school your kids go to. Heaven looks at this with complete indifference and then, with two thousand years left on the clock, thinks it's actually time for us to intervene. We can't continue like this. Because we do not have? Someone tortured to death in Bronze Age Palestine, that should teach them, that should give them a chance at redemption, you're free to believe that, but I think the designer who thought of doing it that way is very or was very cruel. . capricious, clumsy and incompetent, the news of this dr. craig talks like it's fine but since then there have been more people born so it might have been a good time in terms of population growth, well there are a huge number of people in the world who haven't even heard of it yet To talk about this idea, the news has not penetrated them or, where it has, it has been brought to them by people that Dr.
Craig does not consider Christians, like the Mormons, for example, um, and they are taught in many discrepant ways, competitive and in fact incompatible and violently irreconcilable, um, and there have been a lot of discussions in the church in the churches all this time about, well, what's the answer to that? What about all the people who never could? They have heard the good news or they will never hear it or they have not yet been reached by it and they have died without knowing it what happens to them how they can be saved well the argument is that in some way everything becomes retrospective and how So, with so many of these arguments , I only comment on these, how convenient, because if you are willing to make assumptions of this type, then really the evidence is only auxiliary to what you are advancing now.
I did not have the chance. just on mr wright sorry i moved an inch um on your first round doctor you said uh ng wright is an impressive person he says that no explanation of the success of christianity is possible that is not based on the terms of his being true, in other words, he is right, he says that it was so successful that it must have been true and that people were so strongly motivated to believe it that it must have been true. I consider it a very, very unsafe assumption, or if it is safe, then it must be true. surely it applies to Islam and Mormonism, I mean, these are two very, very, very fast growing religions, they have people willing to sacrifice enormously for them, they have ancestors who were absolutely determined in their truth at the time and who They made extraordinary conquests in his name.
If you are going to grant this to one religion, it seems to me that you have to be willing, not just willing, but you may even be forced to make this concession for all of them and I think that would not only be an unsafe assumption, but for the majority of you here, a clearly unpleasant one, now I didn't have the opportunity because I went too far in my words and I'm sorry that it got to the moral dimension, um, and I'm interested in the word objective morality being the one that dr. Craig's usually chosen arguments about morality are whether it is, so to speak, absolute or relative to objectivity.
By the way, I think that's a very good word of commitment and I'm very happy to accept it, but the problem with morality is this. With respect to religion, it cannot be demonstrated that someone will behave better if they refer this problem to a supreme dictator of a heavenly type. There are two questions that I have asked in public and I will try them again because try them in every audience and they are very simple first you have to name me or challenges, let's say continuous questions, you have to name me an ethical action or an ethical statement or moral action moral statement made or undertaken by a believer who could not undertake or say I cannot affirm or an example of that has not yet been pointed out to me that otherwise a person of faith would have an advantage in being able to invoke a divine sanction, whereas if I ask you to think about an evil act done by someone in the name of God or because of his faith that you would not have or in an evil statement made, you would not have so much difficulty, I think it will occur to you to give an example right away. the genital mutilation community, for example, is almost exclusively religious, the suicide bomber community is almost exclusively religious, there are injunctions for genocide in the Old Testament, there are injunctions and injunctions for slavery and racism, in the Old Testament There is also simply no way to derive morality. and ethics from the supernatural when we come to the question of absolute good, the most cited is the golden rule, which almost everyone feels they have in common the mandate not to do to others what they would not like them to do.
In fact, this does not come from, or originate from, the Sermon on the Mount or Christianity. It is certainly admired by the Babylonian rabbi Rabbi Hillel and is also found in the analytes of Confucius, but so it is. Since we are talking about relative and absolute objectives, there is a crucial weakness in this, unfortunately we would like to be able to follow it, but in reality it is only as good as the person who says it, in other words, if I say I will not treat you. Since I don't want you to treat me, what should I do when facing Charles Manson?
I want, I want him to be treated in a way that I am not. I wouldn't want to be treated myself. Anything else would surely be completely relativistic. so the argument is not at all advanced in saying that I couldn't know any of this I couldn't have any moral impulse I couldn't decide for myself if I see a pregnant woman getting kicked in the stomach but because she's pregnant it's obviously worse than if she just was a woman who was not pregnant receiving a kick in the stomach this is part of my heritage as a human being it is part of the essential emotional solidarity that I need to have with my fellow human beings to make us realize that we are brothers and sisters with each other, we depend from each other, we have duties, we have expectations from each other and if we did not have them and did not try to fulfill them, we could not have obtained them as well.
Because of what we have done, we could not have evolved as a species, we could never have had a society, a society has never been found where rape, murder and perjury are not condemned and these moral discoveries are long or absolute, if you will. . call them long before the advent of something recognizable as monotheism is a bit like the free will argumentPeople say well, how do you have free will? Do you think you have it? It's a very, very difficult topic, in fact, some religions. Say you don't really understand that everything is determined by heaven. You're really just a game in a bigger game.
I think that's part of the point of Calvinism. There are some schools of Islam that also say yes. only as Allah wills, there is no will of yours really involved as long as you are willing to do the prostration and obedience, so the connection between religion and free will is not as simple as some people like to think. um, but I would say yes, I believe we have free will when you ask me why I believe that. I would have to take refuge in philosophical irony and say because I don't think we have any choice but to have free will, but at least I know.
At least I know, at least I know right now that I'm being ironic and that some of the irony is on my own and it's a risk I have to be willing to take, but the Christian answer is, of course, you have free will. The boss insists on it, this degrades freedom a little and redefines the idea of will and it also seems to me that there is something degrading in the idea of saying that morality is derived in the same way that it comes from above that we ourselves are not good enough , uh, that we don't have the dignity, we don't have the self-respect, we don't have the character to recognize a right action or a right statement when we see it or when we want to make it, it's this. servile element in religion is not strictly speaking the subject of our debate this afternoon I know, but I'll be damned if I renounce it entirely is the idea that buried in the religious impulse is actually the desire not to be free is the desire to something immovable and immutable heavenly authority a kind of heavenly uh north korea that will make our decisions that will take away our decisions and commit us only to worship and praise and thank a great leader and his son, the leader of the deer, forever. of the centuries.
I am so glad there is no evidence that this is true. Thank you, now we enter the cross-examination period in which the type of evidence allows the interrogator to pose and the response is only to answer and not repeat the question or dodge six minutes of questions that Dr. Craig begins to say. followed by six questions six minutes of questions to mr hitch and dr. craig your questions for mr hitchens okay let's talk first about whether there are good arguments for thinking that atheism is true now it seems to me that you are quite ambivalent here in that you say you redefine atheism to mean a kind of atheism or non-theism, that's what it means, but how then do you distinguish the different varieties of non-theism, for example, what is normally called atheism, agnosticism or the view of the verificationists that, eh? the claim that god exists just doesn't make sense, well I mean there are different schools of atheism, as you say, but there is no claim that I know how to make, it says that atheism is true because atheism is the claim that a certain proposition is not true, so I wish you would get this right because I'm there, it goes again well, I just spent a little time on this, I said it, it's not in itself a belief or a system, it just says that you can cope better.
We probably think, um, without assuming that anyone who wants you to worship a god could have found a good enough reason to force you to do so now, so the point is that depending on your definition of uh ah theism or non-theism, it really embodies a diversity of points of view such as agnosticism, what is normally called atheism or this verificationism, now which of what do you cling to within this umbrella of atheism? Are you an atheist who affirms that the proposition God does not exist or do you simply retain the belief in God in the same way that the agnostic does what is right?
I'm a on some some days I'm a Great, I'm a no, I won't, no, I'm not going to do much please, some days, I'm a big fan of Thomas Huxley, who had the great debate with Bishop. wilberforce um in Oxford at the natural history museum on Darwinism um in the mid 19th century who was known as Darwin's bulldog now we would say Darwin's pit bull and who completely entranced the good bishop um but I can't thank him for inventing the term agnostic and I can't thank him for some of his social Darwinist positions, which is a lot or rather I need an answer to this, I will attract you, yes, but because I think agnosticism is elusive for me, yes, if you talk. about the power of the holy spirit and so on to me that doesn't make sense it's to me I'm sorry I've tried it's white noise it's like saying there is only one god and allah is his messenger it's gibberish to me there are many of us I'm sorry, There are many of us for whom this is the case it may be true it is true okay I have to press you here again feel free what is your point of view press away do you affirm it?
Do you claim that God does it? no, I think that again, I think that once I said that I have never seen any persuasive evidence for the existence of something and I have made real attempts to study the evidence presented and the arguments presented, I will go as far as I can. say have the nerve to say uh that therefore does not exist except in minds except except in the subjective sense of henry jamesian uh that you say is so real to some people in their own minds, yes, that counts as a force in the world, yes, okay, then you claim that God does not exist now.
What I want to know and do you have any justification for that? I think I've relaxed horribly. You're sure? Do you have any argument that leads to the conclusion that God does not exist well I would prefer I think I wonder if I am boring anyone now I would rather I would rather say I prefer to say it the other way around and say that I find all the arguments in favor to be fallacious or unconvincing and I should add which, although this is not my reason for not believing in it, I would be very depressed if it were true, but that is a very different thing. of atheism that is morally superior, that would be very risky.
Nor would I admit that it was until it is morally inferior, but at least we can be absolved of the charge of wishful thinking. I wonder if that's the case. Would you agree that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence well, you know, I'm not sure I agree, well, let's move on to the moral argument and talk about that a little bit. I think you've misunderstood the moral argument given what's at stake, doctor. Sorry, given what's at stake, I mean you're not saying we're not talking about unicorns, tooth fairies, or elves. Here we are talking about an authority that would give other human beings the right to tell me what to do in the name of God.
So for a claim like that, if there's no evidence for it, it seems like a very, very, very big question to me, no, it's certainly not a small question, because you're making a very, very, very big claim, you better your evidence is absolutely. It seems magnificent to me and it is the lack of magnificence. I think that the first thing that started to catch my attention is one last question. Okay, let's go to the moral argument. It seems to me that you have misunderstood the argument in the sense that we are looking for an objective basis for the moral values and duties that we want, I think we both want to affirm that it is not about whether or not we can know what is right and what is wrong or that we need God to tell us what is right and what is wrong, it is more well that.
We need to have some kind of objective basis for good and evil. Wouldn't you agree with his opinion? These are simply sociobiological consequences of the evolutionary process and, therefore, do not provide any type of objective basis for moral values and duties. that that could be true, yes, that could be true, yes, I don't want to be too reductionist, but it is entirely possible that it is purely evolutionary and functional. One wants to think that there is a little more to one's love for one's fellow creature than that, but it doesn't add one iota of weight or moral gravity to the argument, but that's because I don't believe in a supernatural being, it's just a non-sequitur that extends your questions so that the doctor is correct, ah, well. um, I'd like to know first that you said that the career of Jesus of Nazareth involved a ministry of miracles and exorcisms.
When you say exorcism, do you mean that you also believe in demons? What I meant was that most historians agree that Jesus. of Nazareth performed miracles and performed exorcisms. I'm not compromising nor are historians compromising on the reality of demons, but they say that Jesus practiced exorcisms and he practiced healing, so you believe that Jesus and Nazareth make the demons go away. the body of a madman and entering a herd of pigs that were thrown down the slopes of Gadarin towards the sea. I think that is historical? Yes, of course, that would be witchcraft, wouldn't it?
Although no, it would be an illustration of Jesus' ability to command even the forces of darkness and therefore an illustration of the type of divine authority that was able to command and exercise this , as I say, is illustrative of this unprecedented sense of divine authority that Jesus of Nazareth had that he could even command the forces of darkness. darkness and that they would obey so, whether you think he was a genuine exorcist or whether he just believed himself to be an exorcist, what is historically undeniable is that he had this radical sense of divine authority that he expressed through miracles and righteous exorcisms.
Do you and you believe that he was born of a virgin? Yes, I think as a Christian I couldn't hope to prove that historically that's not part of my case tonight, but as a Christian I believe that and I know you believe in the resurrection, but as a matter of yes, what should we call it? um consistency um it is said in one of the gospels that at the time of the crucifixion all the tombs in Jerusalem were opened and all the tenants of the tombs walked through the streets and greeted their old friends, makes the resurrection sound quite common in the Jerusalem metropolitan area.
He says it's in the Gospel of Matthew and it's actually attached to a narrative of the crucifixion. That's what I said. It says at the moment of the crucifixion. Yes, that's right at the time of the crucifixion it says that there were appearances of Old Testament saints in Jerusalem at that time this is part of Matthew's description of the crucifixion scene I mean do you think I don't know if Matthew intends Is this an apocalyptic image or is this what it refers to? should be taken literally. I haven't studied it in depth and I have an open mind about it.
I'm willing to be convinced one way or another. You see, the reason I push is this. because I mean we know from the Scriptures that the magicians of the pharaohs could produce miracles, in the end Aaron could produce them, but what I am saying is that even if the laws of nature can be suspended and great miracles can be performed. performed um does not prove the truth of the doctrine of the person who is performing them um wouldn't you agree with that? I don't necessarily think that's right, so someone could be casting demons out of pigs and that wouldn't prove that he was the son. of god, i think it's true, in fact there were jewish exorcists, the only point i was trying to make there was that this was illustrative of the kind of divine authority jesus claimed, especially since he didn't expel them in the name of god or not He performed miracles by praying to God, he would do them on his own authority so that Jesus would exercise an authority that was simply unheard of at the time and for which he was eventually crucified because it was thought to be blasphemous, well, it was thought that blessed be those who claim to be the messiah to be exact, I mean the people who observed him most closely, the Jewish Sanhedrin would work, thought his claims were not genuine, so remember, if you are basing something on eyewitnesses, those who definitely know there I thought it was false, but okay, I think I have a rough idea, assuming you make that assumption of his pre-existing divinity, which is a presuppositionalist case.
I can see what you're driving well, no I'm not going to. You know the question, I have another question for you, which is: how many religions in the world do you think are false? I don't know how many religions there are in the world, so could you tell me the correct name? I'll see if I can narrow that question down. It was a question asked awkwardly. I admit it. Do you consider any of the world's religions? Do you consider any of the world's religions to be false preaching? Yes, yes, I think so. Certainly, would you? Name one, so Islam, that's quite a lot, forgive me, that's a lot, yes, therefore, do you think it's immoral to preach a false religion?
No, then religion is responsible for a lot of evil in the world. Certainly, I would be happy. admit that I would agree with that so if it was if it was a baby born today in Saudi Arabia would you rather it was me or a Wahhabi Muslim would it be me would you rather be would you prefer it was I was an atheist baby or um the Wahhabi baby uh I I no I have no preference as to whether you were doing it right or as bad as that's okay, are there any, are there any, I mean, should I?
Sorry, I have a few seconds. It's a serious question that shouldn't bewaste. Is there any Christian denomination that you consider false? Certainly, could you know what they are? Well, I'm not a Calvinist, for example, I believe that certain tenets of Reformed theology are incorrect. I myself would be more in the Wesleyan camp, but these are differences between brothers. These are not differences where we should put each other in some kind of cage, which is why within the Christian field there is a great diversity of perspectives. I'm sure these are views I hold and are probably false, but I'm doing my best to clarify my theology trying to do the best job, but I think we would all recognize that none of us agree on every point. of Christian doctrine in every uh uh dot and tilde before Mr.
Hitchen manages to launch another series of religious wars between Christians let's get to the answers seven minutes is each dr craig is his seven minutes okay, well, I think it's very It is clear that in tonight's debate we have not heard any good reason to think that what is normally called atheism is true, that is, the belief that God does not exist. Mr. Hitchens denies believing in God, but he can't give us any reason to think. That god does not exist, which is what is called positive atheism, now it does mention that the human species is one hundred thousand years old here, but I already answered that what is crucial there is not the number of years, it is the population and only two percent of the population of The earth has existed before Christ and during that time God is not indifferent to the fate of those people, but is preparing humanity, preparing the world for the advent of Christ, so that in the fullness of time Christ will come to the world. world. world and those people who lived apart from Christ, God also cared for them and provided for them, the Bible says that since the creation of the world, the invisible nature of God, that is, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made paul says that from one man god made each nation of men to inhabit the entire earth and determined the time established for them in the exact places in which they should live, he did this so that men would seek him and perhaps they will reach out to him and find him because he is not far from each of us because in him we live and move and have our being so that those who lived before Christ were covered by the death of Christ were covered by his atoning sacrifice and God will judge them based on the information they had in their response to general revelation.
Similarly, those who have not yet heard of the gospel today will be judged based on the information they have and how they respond to it and not If you glad you don't have to judge them, you can leave this in the hands of a just, holy, merciful god who will judge people based on how they respond to the revelation they have, so we have not heard any arguments tonight that God does not exist now , on the contrary, I have given five arguments to demonstrate that Christian theism is true. We first looked at the cosmological argument with which Mr.
Hitchens did not agree with any of the premises of this argument, so I have good reason to believe that there is a personal creator of the universe as for the teleological argument again, he did not respond to what I said in my last speech regarding fine tuning being well established in science and that the fact that we are going towards nothing, as he puts it, is an atheistic assumption, not a Christian assumption and therefore , does nothing to refute the design. Now what about the moral argument? Here he says that it must be shown that people would behave better if they believed.
In God, that is not the argument. I hope it is clear to everyone. The argument is that without God as a transcendent basis for moral values, we are simply lost in sociocultural relativism. Who are you to judge that Nazi ethics was wrong? Who are you to judge that the ethics of ancient Hinduism were wrong? Who are you to judge that Afrikaner apartheid is wrong? everything is simply the result of sociocultural evolution and there is no transcendent objective standard apart from god and that is what god offers us now mr richard says name a moral action that an unbeliever could not take well that is trivially easy if god exists There are all kinds of moral duties we have that the unbeliever failed to recognize.
At last week's panel discussion in Dallas, when Mr. Hitchens demanded that someone name such an action, a pastor on the panel immediately chimed in: How about we tithe? Well let a pastor think about that but please clearly that is an action that only a believer would take even more fundamentally what about the first and greatest commandment you will love the lord your god with all your heart with all your strength with all in your mind that is an action? which only a believer can accept, no unbeliever can fulfill even the most fundamental of moral duties, but in any case all this is beside the point with respect to the moral argument;
The point is that in atheism there are no moral obligations that anyone can fulfill in nature, whatever is right, and Mr. Hitchens cannot provide any kind of objective foundation for moral values. Massimo Piliucci is a philosopher of biology. This is what he has to say. He says about atheism. There is no such thing as objective morality. Morality in human cultures. has evolved into what is moral for you, it may not be for the neighbor and it certainly is not moral for the guy across the ocean and what makes you think that your personal morality is the only one and everyone else is wrong , what we call homicide. or rape, he said, is very, very common among different types of animals, lions, for example, commit infanticide on a regular basis, now these types of acts must be tolerated, I don't even know what that means because the lion doesn't understand what It is morality.
Morality, he says, is an invention of human beings, it is just a convention that human beings have adopted to live together, but it has no objectivity and that is what I offer Mr. Higgins tonight, it is a solid transcended basis for the moral values that I believe he so desperately desires. To claim what is going on with Jesus' resurrection here, he misunderstood Wright's argument. Wright's argument is not that the success of Christianity means that it is true. That would apply to Islam and Mormonism. Rather, Wright's argument is not that the origin of the disciples' belief that God had risen Jesus from the dead is so anti-Jewish, it is so uncharacteristic that it must be explained what would lead them to adopt such a radical mutation of Jewish belief as belief in a dying messiah and a resurrected messiah, and he says the only thing he can think of.
That would explain this is the empty tomb and the post-mortem appearances of Jesus and that is why Wright concludes that they have a certainty comparable to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. so you have to understand the argument well if 'I'm going to deal with that and in fact I believe that the only explanation of these events is the one that the disciples gave that God raised Jesus from the dead finally with the immediate experience of God has remained intact, God is real to me and unless I'm delusional, I am perfectly within my rational right to believe in God on the basis of his ex-experience, just as I believe in the reality of the external world or the reality of the past Based on my experience, I believe that in some of us I have five good reasons to believe that Christianity is true.
There is no reason to think that atheism is true, and therefore I believe that Christianity is clearly the most rational worldview. I think you will correct me if I'm wrong. He's a talk show host, right? who says something as cradle queer absurdum is translated in various ways that the very improbability of the thing the very improbable improbability of someone inventing such a thing, for example, that a Jew could be made to believe something so extraordinary is testimony to its truth, I'm sure there can't be anyone who doesn't think this is too easy, a little too easy.
I, for example, have followed the career of a woman commonly known in the media as Mother Teresa of an Albanian named Agnes, a Catholic fanatic operating in the metropolitan area of Calcutta, and I observed every stage of her career, as a candidate and then recipient of beatification and soon canonization, canonization will require, and as the Vatican requires, the certification of a miracle. performed by her posthumous intercession and the miracles have already been announced a woman in bengal fortunately is already a devout catholic by pressing a medal of mother teresa on her stomach but it made a tumor disappear or so she says, all the witnesses of this have been have since retracted all the doctors have given a much better explanation of how he was cured of the swelling and growth and what the medications were etc. but they are still stuck, they have to go ahead with this process because it will lead to countless sufferings unspeakable in India because it will seem to authorize the false charlatan of shamanic medicine and, uh, intercessory medicine instead of reality, all of this will have to go through this horrible display in the name of faith and it just happens.
I've seen it in every stage and I can tell you that it is depressingly easy to get a religious rumor started. An enormous amount of pre-existing gullibility can be counted on among illiterate, frightened and ill-educated populations. There is no properly written literate. Properly attested testimony of any real kind, in the gospels it is and you can also admit it and stick to it because it's what you're good at, it involves an act of faith, second to the point of my moral question, yes, it's true. That Doug Wilson said tithing was something he couldn't do, but not only am I not moving the goalposts here.
I don't think he would consider giving all my money to the new St. Andrews church a moral act. The only challenge I've had so far that I really couldn't overcome. What I should share with you was that they told me you couldn't do this. You couldn't say, "Father, forgive them for they don't know." not what they do, but you as people of faith would not dare, it would be blasphemy for you to do it, there is only one person who can do it, even on your own, so with respect, ladies and gentlemen, I believe that my Two challenges remain. but it hasn't been shown that I can't be a moral person despite my own belief and it certainly hasn't been shown that disbelief will insure you against um uh excuse belief will um I'll say it again that disbelief uh will insure you against evil. um you mentioned things like apartheid and Nazism, well let me explain it to you in part.
This often comes up because people say: what about the crimes and evils of the secular world? The apartheid system in South Africa was actually a creation. of the Dutch Reformed Church was theologically justified as the giving of a promised land to a Christian religious tribe in which everyone else was supposed to be heroes of lumber and drawers of water, it was not until the Dutch Reformed Church, under pressure , agreed to abandon his long-standing racist sermons that the apartheid system could be dismantled the dictatorship in Greece from 1967 to 1974 was proclaimed by the Greek Orthodox Church as a Greece for Greek Christians the Russian Orthodox Church today may be Whether it is one of the churches that does not recognize him as a Christian, I do not know, but he has currently become the bodyguard of Vladimir Putin's dictatorship in Russia.
They are now producing actual icons of the Russian Orthodox Church with halos around Joseph Stalin to distribute to extreme Russian nationalists and chauvinists for whom the church has become the spiritual sword and shield in Nazi Germany. Every year prayers were said on the Führer's birthday by order of the churches for his survival and well-being. The first concordat signed by Hitler and Mussolini in both cases was with the Vatican, if you remove the words um fascista from any account of the 1920s and 1930s, any accredited historical account and insert the words Christian right or really Catholic right, you have no I have to change not a word of the rest. of the sentence and the third member of the axis, the Japanese empire was run by someone who actually claimed that he himself was a god and that everyone in Japan was a servant and had to admit their divinity in the godhead and everyone was told where Would we know without the emperor?
How would we know what to do? How would we know what a right action is without it? There would be fucking in the streets. There would be chaos. No one would know how to navigate. Without our god, we will be rudderless. Many Japanese. In fact, it's unfortunate to report that people still believe that now. I mean in other words that religion is the result of unresolved contradictions in the material world and that if it is supposed to be man-made, then very few. things are mysterious to you if you assume that religion is man made then you would know why it would be obvious why there are so many religions um when you assume that it is man made you will understand why it is that religion has been such a disappointment to our species that despite countless revivals, countless attempts to preach the truth, countless attempts toconverting pagans, countless attempts to send missionaries all over the world, the same problems are still with us and nothing is resolved.
With this, if all religions disappeared or were admitted to be all false rather than, as all believers will tell you, only some of them are false, in other words, we are faced with the absurd proposition that religions are all. true or none of them are true or only one exclusive preaching is true and none of these seem coherent to me and they all seem to be the result of a man-made cult that is supposed to have all been discredited at the same time all Our problems would be exactly the What are they now? How do we live with each other?
Where do morals and ethics really come from? What are our duties towards others? How will we build the just city? How should we practice love? How should we? How should we treat? With the basis of what Darwin called the humble seal of our original origins that does not come from a pact with the devil or an original sin but also from our evolution, all these questions, ladies and gentlemen, would remain exactly the same, emancipating themselves from the idea from a heavenly dictatorship and you have taken the first step to become free thank you, dr. craig, his closing argument five minutes into my closing speech.
I'd like to try to tie together some of the threads of this debate and see if we can come to some conclusions first: Have we seen any good arguments tonight for thinking that God doesn't exist? No, I don't think we have heard attacks on religion, Christianity impugns God, Mother Teresa goes unpunished, impugned, but we have not heard any. arguments that god does not exist mr hitchens seems not to recognize that atheism is itself a worldview and claims to be the only true one and all other world religions false. He is no more tolerant than Christianity with respect to these other views, he claims. that only he has the true worldview, atheism, the only problem is that he has no argument for this worldview, he simply states it, so it seems to me that if we are going to have a worldview and defend it tonight, We have to come to a debate prepared to give some arguments and we haven't heard any, he had an argument about evolution, but when I explained to him that it actually turned out to support theism, evolution actually provides evidence for the existence of a designer of the universe, so we haven't heard any good arguments for thinking that atheism is true.
Now I presented five reasons to think that theism is true and this is what God or the God hypothesis gives you. He asks what he gives us. Explains a wide range. range of human experience philosophical ethical uh scientific historical experiential I think the attraction of the god hypothesis is that it is so powerful in making sense of the way the world is, for example the god hypothesis explains the origin of the universe mr. hitchens has completely abandoned this point in tonight's debate when we saw that in fact the scientific and philosophical evidence points to a beginning of the universe from nothing and therefore to a transcendent personal creator of the cosmos the teleological argument the adjustment fine that is established in the initial conditions of the universe not to speak of the biological complexity that then followed and again Mr Itchins has dropped that in the course of tonight's debate so we have a creator and an intelligent designer the cosmos in third Place the moral argument we saw that without God there are no objective moral values and here Mr.
Hitchens has constantly distorted the argument, he has portrayed it as how would we know moral values if we did not believe in God? we do not need to believe in a tyrant to find moral values disbelief does not produce evil which is totally irrelevant the point is that there is no basis in a naturalistic worldview for the moral values and duties that we both want to affirm and he agrees that this is what what it says and I quote what it says our innate predisposition to both Good and bad behavior is precisely what one would expect to find in a recently evolved species that is half a chromosome away from chimpanzees.
Societies of primates, elephants, and even pigs show considerable evidence of concern for others. Bonding between parents and children. Solitary in the face of danger. And so on, as Darwin said, any animal endowed with well-marked social instincts would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience as soon as its intellectual powers were as well developed as in man; that is the sociobiological explanation of morality, the problem is that the moral sense that develops in pig, chimpanzee, baboon and homo sapiens societies is illusory for atheism because there are no duties or objective moral values that we must comply with and that is what theists can offer Mr.
Hitchens, so I want to invite Mr. Hitchens to think about it. become a Christian tonight, honestly, honestly, if you are a man of good will who will follow the evidence wherever it leads, all the evidence tonight has been on one side of the scale and you want to affirm objective moral values, then why what not to adopt? theism, the resurrection of Jesus has not been refuted if the argument is not that it is too improbable to be false, the argument is that a historically sufficient explanation is needed to explain why the disciples came to believe this and there is no other apart from the empty tomb and appearances are not a matter of rumors because the empty tomb was public knowledge in Jerusalem it would be impossible for Christianity to flourish in Jerusalem in the face of an occupied tomb finally the immediate experience of God if there is anyone watching or listening to tonight's debate.
If you have not found God in a personal experiential way, then I want to invite you too to think about becoming a Christian. I became a Christian when I was a junior in high school and it changed my whole life and I think if you look honestly, with an open mind and an open heart, it can change your life too. Mr. Hitchens has given up his time and so we move on to questions and we are going to address those questions to the students tonight. I want to repeat something that Dr. Hazen said there is. Stupid questions I want to add.
We are not interested in his opinions. We only care about his questions. I don't know where the microphone is. Can we hear the first question? Each participant will answer all the questions. Dr. Craig. Mr. Hitchens. Thank you so much. It was great to hear you both my question is from Mr. Hitchens uh Mr. Hitchens in your book God Isn't Great you say that quote there are four irreducible objections to religious faith end of quote the third is that religious faith is both the result as the cause of dangerous sexual oppression end quote so here's my question for you: is it good that the Bible forbids humans from having sex with animals or is it an example of dangerous sexual depression? um, with um, the illusion he was doing was not man-made.
In the ordinary sense, the nature of religion can be seen by studying some of its codes that it is humans who are inventing it, that is why many of the commandments in the old testament are, as you say, related to the agriculture, let's put it delicately. um, but it's more like made by men, it's designed to keep women in subordination, but could you answer the question? Do you think the Bible is right in forbidding humans from having sexual relations with animals? I don't know any. good advice about having sex with animals in favor of it, I mean, look, there are things that if people do, incest is one, and cannibalism is another, if you do them, you will die, a society that allowed it, would do it if there were There were societies in New Guinea that practiced cannibalism and there is a terrible disease that they call you kuru if you do it and it seems to me, um, it is if you want, there are some rules that are self-enforcing, um, that's not what I did when I was talking about sexual repression.
I was talking about the enormous number of prohibitions on sex between men and women and the obvious fear of female sexuality and the superstitious fear of, for example, female menstrual blood. Things of this type. Dr. Craig, your assessment of that question. and answer well, I think the question illustrates that apart from God, everything in nature is right, there is nothing forbidden in nature if there is no kind of objective moral code, so the question is good because it illustrates that. Here is a guide to sexual expression that is very good for human beings and not something that is intended to be repressive or harmful to human beings.
In fact, studies I've seen say that religious people have more fun with sex than people who aren't. religious and it actually shows that they are more sexually satisfied in marriage and so on, so I think the question has a good point, I think I have to take another bite of this, try a cherry, you see if it's true, that as I think which is that nature is quite indifferent, quite insensitive, quite random, so who is who is the designer, but a lot of people say about the prohibition of homosexuality, for example, in the Old Testament, they will say well, homosexuality goes in against the law of God and is against it.
The law of nature, well, in that case, why does nature ensure that so many people are born homosexual or, if you want to rephrase it, why does God have so many of his children preferring sex with his own gender? ? um, it doesn't help, it doesn't help. But to clarify and elucidate this it does not help to assume a supernatural authority, while if we look at the reasons given by Maimonides and the other sages for the practice of circumcision, it is precisely to dull and dull the sensation of an organ that I do not believe not even um, well, I'll leave it there.
Our next question is: is it explicitly designed, in other words, to reduce sexual pleasure? Do it more like a painful duty than a celebration. I don't want to misrepresent myself. I was a student here and I graduated a little by the skin of my teeth, but, Mr. Hitchens, you said that some of your strongest arguments are that the results of religion, violence, death, destruction, motivation is religion, discredit those who promote a belief in God, however, I think there is an imbalance in that the nuclear bomb was created by physicists and is the most demonstrable violence perpetrated against humanity, so I wonder how you respond to that.
Well, physics is not an ideology, physics is not a belief system, it is a science, well, I think it would be subjective. I mean, could I say anything more than Marie Curie? Discovering radium makes its practice morally different. I mean, it's not about comparing with others. What I'm talking about are specific. religious commands to do evil, to mutilate the genitals of children, for example, um, uh, take Pastor Douglas Wilson, um, who uh, Dr. Craig had just mentioned, who I crossed swords with several times this year recently in Dallas, I was mentioning to him about the commandment to exterminate the Amalekites in one of our debates he said the commandment is still valid if there were Amalekites it would be his job to make sure everyone were put to the sword and there or some of the virgins who were left for slavery purposes perhaps better imagined than described I think this is a very serious problem I am not taking refuge in the commonplace that sometimes religious people they behave badly that would discredit the religion that would be a very soft option I am saying that there are specific biblical commands to do evil, dr. craig, in regards to those who declare themselves atheists who have done evil in the world, particularly in the last 20th century, the Marxists, the Trotskyists, the Stalinists, have done more harm in their opinion and more evil than the Christians .
Well, this is a debate I don't want to get into because I think it's irrelevant as a philosopher and I mean I'm interested in the truth of these worldviews more than the social impact and you can't judge the truth of a worldview by its social impact that is simply irrelevant bertrand russell in his essay why i am not a christian understood this russell said that you cannot evaluate the truth of a worldview by seeing if it is good for society or not now The irony was when Russell wrote that in the 1920s he was trying to refute those who said that Christianity should be believed because it is socially beneficial to society.
It was just a reflection of Christopher Hitchens' argument that we said shouldn't be believed. in it because it is socially detrimental to human culture, but I think Russell's point is valid both ways because it is a valid point, you cannot evaluate the truth of a worldview by arguing about its cultural and social impact, there are true ideas that they may have had negative social impact and therefore we need to deal with the truth of these arguments for and against them and not get into arguments about whether Marxism or Chinese Communism has been responsible for more deaths than theism in the 20th century.
No, I completely agree with what you said, I mean, I just wanted to say that I think those commandments are commands to do thewrong, but I would rather say that the tribe that thought they were listening to these instructions from God to kill all their rivals, exterminate all their rivals. because the Holy Land would possibly have had, I think it is overwhelmingly likely, the need to seek and claim divine approval for the war of greedy annexation of extermination and racist conquest that it was going to undertake anyway, in other words, I don't think there would have been an authority that issued that commandment, whether morally good or not, really, but I would add one and I think it's worth having the concession that there is absolutely no proof that Christianity makes people behave better because it's irrelevant , but I by no means admitted it and I also appreciate the way you raised the issue about the Canaanites.
I think you are absolutely right in saying that this is not an issue about whether God exists or not, but rather it is a question about biblical inerrancy: were these ancient Israelites right to think that God had commanded them to do these things or in their nationalistic fervor thought that God is on our side and they did something that God did not actually tell them to do? so that this is not an issue between atheism and theism, this is an issue about biblical inspiration and inerrancy and that is an important issue, but it is not one that is in the room tonight our next student question Hello, My question is directed primarily at Mr.
Hitchens. but christian theism, like all theisms that affirm revelation, says that the purpose of human existence is to serve god and the lord or dr. Craig might want to expose that somehow, but Mr. Hitchens is an atheist with no transcendent being to give him a reason. for existence, what is then the best way to live life or what is the motivation to live life or what is the purpose of your existence without a transcendent being telling you what to do well I find it, I find it, you see, here is where I find it difficult to accept the grammar of your question it's like I'm just willing to grant uh supernatural you mean transcendent um I mean supernatural then my life would have a purpose I think that's a complete non sequitur for me in any case.
I will have to make the confession and this is as real to me subjectively as any apprehension of the divine by William James. No, I don't understand your point at all, uh, Dr. Craig, one of the written questions says and I believe. It is consistent with the audience question you have written that life without God is absurd, but how? But I know unbelievers who live full moral lives how absurd their lives are. Well, let me answer that and the question here that was. They asked me: I would say that the purpose of life for which God has created this is not to serve God.
Remember that Jesus said: I have not called you servants. I have called them friends and I believe that the Westminster confession is right when it says the purpose of the human being. existence is to glorify god and enjoy him forever god is the fulfillment of human existence is in eternal communion with god the source of infinite goodness and love that the true fulfillment of human existence and freedom is found now when I say that apart from theism life is meaningless, I mean objectively, this is the same distinction we are talking about with respect to moral values.
I am saying that in atheism there is no objective purpose for human existence, as Mr. Hitchens recognizes, eventually the universe will. it cools, dilutes, darkens and dies as it races towards maximum entropy and heats death and all human existence and uh life will become extinct uh in an atheistic vision of the future of the universe there is no purpose for which the universe exists , the rubbish of a The dead universe will simply expand into infinite darkness forever, a universe in ruins now, of course, you can still live life as an illusion, thinking carefully, the purpose of life is to connect 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases every year, you know, in the majors. you link and extract the meaning of your existence from that, but that is not really the meaning of your existence, it is just a subjective illusion, in fact your existence in atheism is objectively meaningless, so that is the distinction I was making again, it's between objective and mere subjective illusion well, I think it's exactly the other way around, you see, as I was starting to say before, we didn't have time in question period, I wouldn't say that atheism was morally inferior, I wouldn't admit it even for one second.
I also don't want to claim its superiority, but there may be a slight advantage here. We do not believe in anything that can be called illusion. In other words, we do not welcome the idea of the annihilation of any of ourselves. individuals, the party will go on and we will be gone and not coming back or all the entropic heat death of the universe, we don't like the idea, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that that is what is going to happen and there is very, very little evidence to suggest that I will see them all again at some theme park, one pleasant experience and one unpleasant.
There is absolutely no evidence of that. so I am willing to accept, based on the evidence, conclusions that may not be welcome to me. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm explaining that, but now I want us to know what makes my life meaningful in general terms. striving to be free and if I may say it immodestly, mr. hewitt kindly said it beforehand in an overly flattering way, but trying to help others to be free too, that is what has given a lot of meaning to my life and still does. does. solidarity with those who want to be as free as I am, partly by luck and partly by my efforts and the efforts of others, well, an obstacle to freedom and that is why I mentioned it and gave so many examples of it in history and in Today is the poisonous role played by my fellow primates who think they can tell me what to do in the name of God because God told them they have this power, so that's something I'd like to be shot at right here. in the here and now and my suspicion is that if you really ask the religious where they want power and what world matters to them, the next one or this one, it will always be this one because they also know perfectly well that this is the only life that We have yes, I do not think that is true, it seems to me that, on the basis of the resurrection of Jesus, we have reasons for the hope of immortality, this is the foundation on which Christian hope is based.
So again, it comes down to whether or not one has good reason to think that Jesus was who he claimed to be and that God raised him from the dead because if he did, then there is hope for immortality, but then I turn your question back to I I have told you a different way if there is going to be a resurrection and a recollection if in the end all injustices will be canceled all tears dried all other promises fulfilled then why do you care what happens in this brief? Veil of tears Why do churches want power here and now?
Why do they want to legislate about things like abortion, sexuality or morality? Why bother? I mean, isn't it? Isn't it as true as Dostoevsky says? atheism that um without god everything is possible that with god everything is thinkable also not as Dostorievsky said if if there is no immortality everything is allowed he said because everything ends the same everything comes out in the wash The same thing, but if there is a god who loves others human beings and created them in his image and endowed them with intrinsic moral value and inalienable rights, then you have every reason to treasure other people as ends in themselves and the desire for pro-life. uh, people defending the lives of the unborn or the lives of the dying is not a power grab, Mr.
Hitchens, it's because they genuinely care about the lives of innocent human beings who they believe are being senselessly destroyed, for which is a very positive motivation. but they are perfectly good, there are perfectly good humanistic reasons for doing all those things and if you want to have a reason to care about the survival and health and well-being of others, the idea that you could depend on them to live you have and they They ask for solidarity is just as good an explanation for right action by contract if people think God is telling them what to do or they have God on their side, what won't they do?
That's what I The reversal of the dose means asking what crime will not be committed, what offense to justice and reason and perhaps will not be committed. It is not regularly committed by people who are convinced that it is God's will for them to do that if they can commit such atrocities it is only because they act inconsistently with their worldview rather than in accordance with it. Jesus would not have been a guard at Auschwitz or someone who would take away another person's human rights. You have to ask what. types of actions are sanctioned by a worldview and by atheism, as Dostoevsky said, it seems that everything is allowed humanism without God as a basis for humanism is just a form of speciesism a bias in favor of the species itself I believe that Christianity firmly affirms the basis real for humanism auschwitz is the result of centuries in which the christian church announced that it believed that the jewish people had asked for the blood of jesus of nazareth to fall on their heads uh for each generation it is only in one verse of the bible, which I know, but it happens to be the verse that the church picked up, I'm not saying that Jesus would have been a guard there, that's not the point, the point is that this is not an aberration of religion, it is a command of the Scriptures, as it is to kill the Amalekites. such as mutilating children's genitals, the question is whether Jesus would have been a guarded Auschwitz because to the extent that the people who claim to be his followers were guards at Auschwitz, they were acting inconsistently and challenging Jesus' ethics. of Nazareth, you should tell that to the Vatican, I mean, we know Paul Johnson and his very friendly history of Christianity, he says that up to fifty or sixty percent of the valve and ss practiced the Catholic confession with good reputation, no one ever did. threatened with disciplined by the church with excommunication for example for participating in the final solution the only nazi excommunicated by the church was joseph goebbels and if you want I will tell you why the student his wife was a divorced protestant I'm coming anyway, excuse me , Christina, he has some standards, the next student.
Hello, I would just like to thank you both for being here and for the sake of justice. I know I'm playing devil's advocate here. Pun intended, but i think since almost all of the questions are going to be directed at mr. hitchens, i think we should have one for dr. craig, they're all for the two of us, um, for dr. Craig, what do you think about Epicurus' argument that God is omnipresent? beloved omniscient and omnipotent if he knows about children in Africa and thus they are born with similar AIDS. What do you think about him suggesting that he not intervene and that he not change that fact?
Not me, that's a question I've always struggled with. So I'm wondering: could you expand on that? I would also like you to mention it. The problem of evil and suffering has been much discussed by philosophers and I believe that genuine progress has been made in this century in this regard. problem I think it's important to distinguish between the intellectual problem of suffering and the emotional problem of suffering because they are quite different from each other in terms of the intellectual problem of suffering. I think that's where you should ask yourself: the atheist who calls himself Epicurus.
Is God's existence logically incompatible with evil and suffering in the world? If that is what the atheist claims, he must be presupposing some kind of hidden assumptions that would bring out that contradiction and make it explicit because these statements are not explicitly contradictory the problem is that no philosopher in the history of the world has been able to identify what would be those hidden assumptions that would bring out the contradiction and make it explicit; on the contrary, you can actually prove that they are logically compatible with each other. By adding a third proposition, namely that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil in the world, as long as that claim is possibly true, he shows that there is no logical incompatibility between God and suffering in the world, so the atheist would have to prove. that it is logically impossible for god to have morally sufficient reasons to allow evil and suffering in the world and no atheist has been able to do so, so I think the logical version of this problem is widely acknowledged to have failed those atheists who I still insist on the problem, therefore, the present is a probabilistic argument, they try to say that given the evil in the world, it is unlikely that God exists, it is not impossible, but it is improbable, well, again, the difficulty is that the The atheist has to claim that if God existed, then he is unlikely to allow evil and suffering in the world and how could the atheist know that?
How could the atheist know that God, if he existed, would not allow evil and suffering in the world? Maybe he has good reasons for it. Perhaps as In Christian theism, God's purpose forhuman history is to bring the maximum number of people freely into his kingdom to find salvation and eternal life, and how do we know that would not require a world that is simply awash in natural and moral suffering? It could be that only in a world like that would the maximum number of people freely come to know God and find salvation, so the atheist would have to demonstrate that there is a possible world that is feasible for God, that God could have created and that would have both salvation and eternal life and the knowledge of God as the real world but with less suffering and how the atheist could prove such a thing is pure speculation so the problem is that as I argue the problem of evil makes probability judgments that are very, very ambitious and we are just not in a position to do it with any kind of confidence now I recognize that that philosophical answer to the question does not address the emotional problem of evil and I think that for most people this is not really a philosophical problem , it is an emotional problem they simply do not like a god who would allow suffering and pain in the world and that is why they turn their back on him, what does Christianity have to say about this problem?
Well, I think it has a lot to say, it tells us that. God is not some kind of impersonal basis of being or an indifferent tyrant who folds his arms and watches the world suffer, but rather he is a god who enters human history in the person of Jesus Christ and, what does he do? He suffers. On the cross Christ endured suffering that we cannot conceive of, although he was innocent, he bore the penalty of the sins of the entire world, none of us can understand what he suffered and I believe that when we contemplate the cross of Christ and his love for us and what he was willing to suffer for us puts the problem of suffering in an entirely different perspective.
It means that I believe we can endure the suffering that God calls us to endure in this life with courage and optimism for eternal life. of a final joy beyond the grave because of what christ has done for us and he will give us, i believe that the courage and strength to overcome the suffering that god calls us to endure in this life, whether it be an emotional problem or As an intellectual matter, I believe that ultimately Christian theism can make sense of the suffering and evil in the world as the clock ticks down. I reserve the last question for myself right at the devil's advocate point when the vatican asked me to testify against mother teresa.
I found out which I found out that the position of devil's advocate has now been abolished so I come before you as the only person who has represented the devil pro bono last question yes I'm not one of them now I was very intrigued by that answer and I largely agree with that if I were a believer I wouldn't feel like God owes me an explanation. I'm not one of those atheists who thinks you can go around complaining, I mean if you assume there is a deity then anything is possible, you just have to be able to make that assumption.
In our debate in Dallas the other day I mentioned the case of Fraulein Frazil, the Austrian woman who was imprisoned in a dungeon by her father for a quarter of a century and raped incestuously. her and she tortured and kept in the dark with her children for 25 years. I thought I asked people to imagine how she must have begged him, how she must have begged him and how the children must have done it and how they must have prayed and what those prayers were like. unanswered and those pleas and pleas went unanswered for 25 years and douglas wilson's response was that god will cancel all that and all those applause will dry up and I say well if you're able to believe that then obviously What that woman went through and his children it was worth it and their father was there all that time without knowing it and apparently without particularly desiring him as an instrument of divine will and as I told you before this afternoon I had the opportunity to tell you.
You are perfectly free to believe that if you want to conclude that yes, you could, Mr. Hitchens, you have 4,000 people here, tens of thousands more watching, you could make the same exchange at Wheaton at Westmont at Azusa Pacific at Point Loma at Notre. lady at all the big christian universities in the united states, why do you think so many people come to see debates with successful people like dr. craig and you? It is time for this great question to arise again. I think there are two reasons for One of them is the emergence of a very aggressive theocratic challenge in various parts of the world.
We are about to see a long-feared nightmare come true: the acquisition of apocalyptic weaponry by the messianic regime in Tehran that is already enslaving and ruining a country. ancient great civilization we see the forces of al qaeda and related jihadists ruining the societies of iraq afghanistan and pakistan we see jewish settlers stealing other people's lands in the name of god in the hope that this will provoke a messianic combat and the return of the messiah um e even in our own country we are not free of people who want children to be taught stultifying nonsense in school and science class, so it's in the news all the time and then there is the existence of a very small group which I'm very proud to be a part of that says it's time to take a stand against theocratic bullying and is willing to go anywhere to debate these issues and put these Big Questions to the test, so thank you for giving me the opportunity.
I would answer the question a little differently. I think what we are seeing is the fruit of modernity. In the Enlightenment, the Church and monarchy were discarded. name of free thought and unfettered human inquiry and the idea was that once humanity was freed from the bonds and slavery of religion, this would produce a kind of humanistic utopia and instead I think what we have come to Let's see it is the fruit of the naturalistic vision. The worldview is that humanity is reduced to meaningless, purposeless values and that therefore the question of God's existence has become even more poignant in our time because we are beginning to question, I think, the fruit of modernity and to question scientific naturalism.
I am privileged. be part of a revolution in Christian philosophy that has been going on for the last half century and that has literally transformed the face of Anglo-American philosophy as the atheistic naturalistic scientific worldview has been challenged in the name of reason, philosophy and theism. worldview um reaffirmed uh and I think we're seeing a tremendous surge of interest among the laity as this revolution is starting to trickle down to the man on the street, so I would see us starting to question the assumptions of modernity and the bitter fruits of modernity that have been so evident in the 20th century and I hope that this will lead to a tremendous renaissance in Christian thought and Christian faith.
To conclude, five quick observations and some instructions number one, no good society forbids debate. like this, number two, only confident faith welcomes them, only extraordinary universities organize them and only very distinguished academics and intellectuals can make them interesting and entertaining, join me in welcoming and thanking our panelists, both men, both men, they agreed on one thing which is that nt wright is a very impressive man i think
christopherhitchens said and therefore to the audience who may not know who nt wright is, i highly recommend mr hitchens to get and read your books. I'm going to ask you to remain in your seats while our panelists leave the stage there is just a book signing and I want to ask you if you have a book to line up if you don't, please don't and to recognize Mr.
Hitchens. He has a flight at five in the morning, so sign his book. He loves to do that, but please don't ask him about his third cousin that they once met in Melbourne, just let them talk to the book, so, gentlemen, I'm. I'll let you enter stage left here and hold them for a second. Thank you so much. Stay there so they can return. Finally I want to thank Dr. Craig Hazen Toy Honors Institute and everyone at Biola for coming tonight. safe and productive trip home good night biola university offers a variety of bible-centered degree programs ranging from business to ministry, arts and sciences.
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