Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Reasonable Faith Debate

Last night at the Westminster Central Hall, debate between William Lane Craig and Lewis Wolpert, chaired by John Humphreys on the question of : Is God a delusion?

Craig opened with his five arguments why God is not a delusion. These are found in expanded form in his booklet God, are you there? Wolpert replied, beginning with a sincere apology to all the theists in the room (probably 1800 out of 2000 at a guess...). He said he was sorry but we only believed because it made us feel better, conceding that we may have a happier and longer life... but such are the benefits of being stupid (which it seems we're supposed to believe we are). Ultimately Wolpert simply said that there was no evidence and kept asking who made God?

This was a bit disappointing because he didn't engage seriously with Craig's five arguments for God's existence, merely dismissing them. The two atheists sat in front of me really didn't like Craig's arguments. He played at a high intellectual level, constructing his premises and arguments clearly. Probably to some this came across as American arrogance in comparison with Wolpert's more British (though he's South African) self-deprecation and confessions of ignorance - which almost exposed him as an agnostic in the fire-side chat with John Humphreys at the end of the evening.

It felt like Wolpert either didn't want to play, or couldn't. Debates are more fun when they're a bit more close run. Still, there are more debates to come so perhaps they'll be more evenly matched. In the meantime, Craig showed that there are good reasons to believe in God - both philosophically, scientifically (which he was very keen to emphasise), theologically and experientially. In his final summary Craig made a warm and personal invitation for people to read the New Testament evidence about Jesus' resurrection. This didn't go down well with the two atheists in front of me "now he's preaching"... if that's what asking people to engage with evidence then perhaps we need more preaching!

Tom Price sums up how the Craig-Wolpert debate went down...
Cat went with the guys from Surrey CU
Paul was selling books
Matt reflects on some serious assertions
Jason wanted his money back

www.bethinking.org for more thinking Christianity.

2 comments:

  1. Hello thebluefish, do you remember me?

    I went to the WLC talk about suffering a few days ago and wrote up my experience and thoughts (http://robhu.livejournal.com/391160.html).

    I thought I might mention it in case you happened to be extremely bored (it is rather long after all).

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  2. Sure I remember u. I'll take a look.

    ReplyDelete