Good evening and welcome to biola university my name is my name is craig hazen i'm the director of the master of arts program in christian apologetics here and i'm honored to be the host tonight to get things started although the gym is packed with nearly 3 000 people and it looks like you're .
Stuffed in here pretty well and my condolences to those who have already been sitting an hour and have another couple hours to go hang in there hang in there but you're not the only ones watching there are thousands of people in other venues on this campus not only that there are people in over .
Flow sites really across the country and around the world we have people in 30 states and four different countries watching this and a special greeting to all of you who are watching across campus and in places such as stockholm and sri lanka i hope you really enjoy this .
A special greeting to some distinguished guests tonight uh william lane craig's wife jan is here janet's good to see you betsy hewitt is here yeah my wife my wife karen hazen is here uh dr barry corey the university president is here yeah we've got distinguished .
Philosophers all over the place doug divided jpmorton high hope all right we're thrilled all of you could come well this event was initiated by the associated students of biola university and it makes sense that a.s president eric weaver should give a quick welcome on behalf .
Of the student body eric come on up good evening everyone biola is a 100 year old christian university which desires to wrestle with big questions in an honest and open way in my senior year my a.s colleague mark keith and i thought we should sponsor a blockbuster .
Event that pursues the big question the biggest question of all is it reasonable to believe that god exists a proposal was presented to the senate and the student body heartily agreed so we invited two acclaimed academic leaders in this area william lane craig and christopher hitchens .
And along with the wonderful people from the apologetics program we are thrilled to see it on display tonight on behalf of the students at biola i hope you really enjoy this event thank you thank you for representing the students eric you're a you're a senior how's that .
Job search going in this economy is that going well we'll give you some help oh no our career service is on biola first rank thank you well uh the students got this going but there is one other important sponsor and that is the program that i direct the master of arts program and christian apologetics .
Uh if you like wrestling with the big questions the existence of god evidence for the resurrection the problem of evil the historical reliability of the bible reconciling science and faith this really is a degree program for you and if you're watching at 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 anybody and you don't need to relocate to southern california although it was a very nice day today you might want to consider it although they've just taxed us into oblivion .
So you you may want to reconsider if you want to find out about these programs check out 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 pretty straightforward in fact your your handy dandy program will tell you .
What's going on right up at the top inside panel the program numbers one through eight it'll guide you through what's taking place every step of the way during the debate so take a look at that uh at toward the end we will have some time for questions but as you notice there's no mic sitting .
Up in the aisles we are going to throw it open to the students we have a student section up there bravo students of all stripes now it's your job tonight to think up some tough questions and i expect you to to actually vet them that is .
You may have learned in school that there's no such thing as a dumb question that is not true okay not not to intimidate you but check it out do peer review if you come up with a question run it by the person next to you or on either side and let's let's see how it goes so we'll throw it .
Open for for some q a time and our our thoughtful moderator will make sure it goes well all right well when we're done tonight there's one other thing you need to be considering and that is getting outside of this building to the pavilion right outside here and several places along the walkway to pick .
Up the featured books tonight uh one is god is not great by christopher hitchens and another one is reasonable faith by william lane craig these are the featured books pick them up and you can actually have them signed to have them signed just walk out this building look for all the .
Lights and there's some tables out there and our distinguished debaters will be out there signing books and answering your toughest questions right there at the table i'm sure if you you've got a lot of books at home in fact you own a book so you don't need another one .
Perhaps you can buy some dvds or cds of some dynamite debates and lectures that bill craig has done around the world these are first rank materials and our apologetics program is actually the the center point for getting all of these so if you want to get them tonight they've got wonderful special deals .
Check out the red flyer in your brochure and that will tell you the scoop you can even pre-order tonight's debate if you'd like to get a copy of it it's something you want to share with a lot of people you can pre-order it tonight fill out the form take it to the table and they'll move you right through well .
We're delighted to have mr hitchens here on campus but we realize that we theists certainly have the home court advantage i mean being in a basketball court that makes a lot of sense after all it's it's a christian university and even says you know all glory to god or something above the the .
Bleachers there so clearly this is a home court advantage for the theists and i imagine the crowd here is over two-thirds evangelical christian although i'm thrilled to see some the atheist and agnostic community turn out wearing t-shirts i love that yeah absolutely yeah i was lecturing at the university of .
South florida a few weeks ago and the entire atheist club came out wearing t-shirts and we had the best time ever so i expect the same tonight well uh since we have the home court advantage those of you who are theists believers in god please let's let's be polite to christopher hitchens he's known to say a .
Provocative thing or two so if you could practice your you could practice your polite golf clap right let's practice it practice that no no shouting no hooting there'll be plenty of opportunity for it but let's restrain ourselves and those of you who are from the atheist and agnostic community .
Again no no shouting no hooting no hollering in fact mr hitchens i can guarantee he doesn't really need a lot of help i just saw a video of him debating like four prominent evangelical theists in dallas and it really wasn't fair we needed more theists on the panel so i .
Think he will do just fine but we're grateful for him to come to sort of uh what a the pit of opposition at biola university but we're grateful to really open up the doors and and run through these big important questions and if the debate
is not resolved at the end this is a basketball .
Court for goodness sakes we'll lower the hoops we'll turn up the lights and we'll let them go one on one i hear yeah i hear i hear chris has game so we'll see how that goes well let's get to it it's my pleasure to introduce uh our moderator of the debate tonight and he'll get this party started .
Hugh hewitt yes hugh hewitt he was a law professor in broadcast journals whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the united states every weekday by more than 2 million listeners by the way locally this program is heard on krla which is 8 70 a.m .
I think it goes from like three to six great program in fact i think it's the i think it's one of the most important smartest fast-paced news and issues program on the airwaves today so check that out if you if you live in outlying regions check hughhewitt.com to find out where he's broadcasting .
Or podcasting professor hewitt is a graduate of harvard college in the university of michigan law school he has been teaching constitutional law at chapman university law school since it opened in 1995. he was a frequent guest on all the big cable news networks and is written for the most important .
Newspapers in the country he's received three emini emmys for his groundbreaking television work and is the author of eight books including two bestsellers professor hewitt served for nearly six years in the reagan administration in a variety of posts including .
Assistant counsel in the white house and special assistant to two attorneys general don't miss his daily blog at hughhewitt.com he's always been so very generous with his time toward events like these at biola and we are deeply grateful for his help here .
Tonight join me in welcoming our moderator professor hugh hewitt thank you ladies and gentlemen number 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 once used to say feel free to just throw them on the floor it is a little bit warm in here our guest by virtue of this crowd it is obvious need no introduction i am not going to waste time then on elaborate introductions i just wish to thank them both for being willing to participate in this most .
Important of conversations it is the best of times it is the best of times for those who like to argue about god in the public square largely because of the rise of new atheists such as mr hitchens richard dawkins my friend william lubdell and others who have once again put to the center of the public stage the question of whether or .
Not god does exist and whether or not jesus christ is his son and it is up to people like william lane craig prolific author much beloved professor here to enter into that conversation in a way that is both persuasive and winsome and so without further ado allow me to welcome up vanity fair columnist .
Prolific author my friend and champion of freedom christopher hitchens and from this from this extraordinary lighthouse institution another prolific author an apologist a scholar extraordinaire who like mr hitchens has his phd from a wonderful english university professor william lane craig please .
Professor this is a very structured debate according to classical lines until the questions at the end we begin with an opening argument 20 minutes to professor craig professor good evening i am very excited to be participating in this debate tonight jan and i used to sit in those very .
Bleachers right over there watching our son john run up and down this court as a forward on the biola eagles and so i feel like i'm playing on the home court tonight and i want to commend mr hitchens for his willingness to come into this den of lambs .
And to defend his views tonight on the other hand if i know biola students i suspect that a good many of you when you came in tonight said to yourself i'm going to check my own views at the door and i'm going to assess the arguments as objectively as possible .
I welcome that challenge you see the question of god's existence is of interest not only to religion but also to philosophy now mr hitchens has made it clear that he despises and disdains religion but presumably he is not so contemptuous of .
Philosophy therefore as a professional philosopher i'm going to approach tonight's question philosophically from the standpoint of reason and argument i'm convinced that there are better arguments for theism than for atheism so in tonight's debate .
I'm going to defend two basic contentions first that there's no good argument that atheism is true and secondly that there are good arguments that theism is true now notice carefully the circumscribed limits of those contentions we're not here tonight to debate the .
Social impact of religion or old testament ethics or biblical inerrancy all interesting and important topics no doubt but not the subject of tonight's debate which is the existence of god consider then my first contention that there's no good argument that atheism .
Is true atheists have tried for centuries to disprove the existence of god but no one's ever been able to come up with a successful argument so rather than attack straw men at this point i'll just wait to hear mr hitchens present his arguments against .
God's existence and then i'll respond to them in my next speech in the meantime let's turn to my second main contention that there are good arguments that theism is true on your program insert i outlined some of those arguments number one the cosmological argument .
The question of why anything at all exists is the most profound question of philosophy the philosopher derek parfit says no question is more sublime than why there is a universe why there is anything rather than nothing typically atheists have answered this question by saying .
That the universe is just eternal and uncaused but there are good reasons both philosophically and scientifically to think that the universe began to exist philosophically the idea of an infinite past seems absurd just think about it if the .
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 an actually infinite number of things leads to self-contradictions for example what is infinity minus infinity well mathematically you get .
Self-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 of the 20th century wrote the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality it neither exists in nature nor provides .
A legitimate basis for rational thought the role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea but that entails that since past events are not just ideas but are real the number of past events must be finite therefore the series of past .
Events can't go back forever rather the universe must have begun to exist this conclusion has been confirmed by remarkable discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics in one of the most startling developments of modern science we now have .
Pretty strong evidence that the universe is not eternal in the past but had an absolute beginning about 13 billion years ago in a cataclysmic event known as the big bang what makes the big bang so startling is that it represents the origin of the universe from literally .
Nothing for all matter and energy even physical space and time themselves came into being at the big bang as the physicist pcw davies explains the coming into being of the universe as discussed in modern science is not just a matter of imposing some .
Sort of organization upon a
previous incoherent state but literally the coming into being of all physical things from nothing now this puts the atheist in a very awkward position as anthony kenney of oxford university urges a proponent of the big bang theory at .
Least if he is an atheist must believe that the universe came from nothing and by nothing but surely that doesn't make sense out of nothing nothing comes so why does the universe exist instead of just nothing where did it come from .
There must have been a cause which brought the universe into being now as the cause of space and time this being must be an uncaused timeless spaceless immaterial being of unfathomable power moreover it must be personal as well why because the cause must be beyond space and time therefore it .
Cannot be physical or material now there are only two kinds of things that fit that description either an abstract object like numbers or else a personal mind but abstract objects can't cause anything therefore it follows that the cause of the universe is a transcendent .
Intelligent mind thus the cosmological argument gives us a personal creator of the universe two the teleological argument in recent decades scientists have been stunned by the discovery that the initial conditions of the big bang were fine-tuned for the existence of .
Intelligent life with a precision and delicacy that literally defy human comprehension this fine tuning is of two sorts first when the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations you find appearing in them certain constants like 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 in 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 of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life permitting values were these constants or quantities to be altered by less .
Than a hair's breath the balance would be destroyed and life would not exist to give just one example the atomic weak force if it were altered by as little as one part out of 10 to the 100th power would not have permitted a life permitting universe .
Now there are three possible explanations of this remarkable fine tuning physical necessity chance or design now it can't 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 .
Around 10 to the 500th power different possible universes consistent with nature's laws so could the fine tuning be due to chance well the problem with this alternative is that the odds against the fine tunings occurring by accident are so incomprehensibly great .
That they cannot be reasonably faced the probability that all the constants and quantities would fall by chance alone into the infinitesimal life permitting range is vanishingly small we now know that life prohibiting universes are vastly more .
Probable than any life permitting universe so if the universe were the product of chance the odds are overwhelming that it would be life prohibiting in order to rescue the alternative of chance its proponents have therefore been forced to resort to a radical .
Metaphysical hypothesis namely that there exists an infinite number of randomly ordered undetectable universes composing a sort of world ensemble or multiverse of which our universe is but apart somewhere in this infinite world ensemble finely tuned universes will .
Appear by chance alone and we happen to be one such world now wholly apart from the fact that there's no independent evidence that such a world ensemble even exists the hypothesis faces a devastating objection namely if our universes is just .
A random member of an infinite world ensemble then it is overwhelmingly more probable that we should be observing a much different universe than what we in fact observe roger penrose has calculated that it is inconceivably more probable that our solar system should suddenly .
Form through a random collision of particles than that a finely tuned universe should exist penrose calls it utter chicken feed by comparison so if our universe were just a random member of a world ensemble it is inconceivably more probable that .
We should be observing an orderly region no larger than our solar system observable universes like those are simply much more plenteous in the world ensemble than finely tuned worlds like ours and therefore ought to be observed by .
Us since we do not have such observations that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis on atheism at least then it is highly probable that there is no world ensemble the fine tuning of the universe is therefore plausibly due .
Neither to physical necessity nor to chance it therefore follows logically that the best explanation is design thus the teleological argument gives us an intelligent designer of the cosmos three the moral argument if god does not exist then objective moral values do not exist by .
Objective moral values i mean moral values which 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 noted philosopher of science explains .
The position of the modern evolutionist is that morality is a biological adaptation no less than our hands and feet and teeth considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something ethics is illusory i appreciate .
That when somebody says love thy neighbor as thyself they think they are referring above and beyond themselves nevertheless such reference is truly without foundation morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction and any deeper meaning is illusory .
Like professor roose i just don't see any reason to think that in the absence of god the morality which has emerged among these imperfectly evolved primates we call homo sapiens is objective and here mr hitchen seems to agree with me he says moral values .
Are just innate predispositions ingrained into us by evolution such predispositions he says are inevitable for any animal endowed with social instincts on the atheistic view then an action like rape is not socially advantageous and so in the course of human development has become taboo .
But that does absolutely nothing to prove that rape is really morally wrong on the atheistic view there's nothing really wrong with raping someone but the problem is that objective values do exist and deep down we all know it in moral experience we apprehend a realm of objective moral goods .
And evils actions like rape cruelty and child abuse aren't just socially unacceptable behavior they're moral abominations some things at least are really wrong similarly love 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 remarkable individual historians have reached something of a consensus that the historical jesus came on the scene with an unprecedented sense of divine authority .
The authority to stand 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 miracle working and exorcisms but the supreme confirmation of his claim was his resurrection from the dead .
If jesus did rise from the dead then it would seem that we have a divine miracle on our hands and thus evidence for the existence of god now most people probably think that the resurrection of jesus is something you just believe in by faith or not but t
here are actually three established facts .
Recognized by the majority of new testament historians today which i believe are best explained by the resurrection of jesus fact number one on the sunday after his crucifixion jesus tomb was discovered empty by a group of his women followers according to jacob kramer an austrian .
Specialist by far most scholars hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb fact number two on separate occasions different individuals and groups experienced appearances of jesus alive after his death .
According to the prominent new testament critic ludeman it may be taken as historically certain that the disciples had experiences after jesus death in which jesus appeared to them as the risen christ these appearances 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 jews had no belief in a dying much less rising messiah and jewish beliefs about the afterlife prohibited anyone's rising .
From the dead before the resurrection at the end of the world nevertheless the original disciples came to believe so strongly that god had raised jesus from the dead that they were willing to die for the truth of that belief n.t wright an eminent new testament .
Scholar concludes that is why as a historian i cannot explain the rise of early christianity unless jesus rose again leaving an empty tomb behind him attempts to explain away these three great facts like the disciples stole the body or jesus wasn't really dead .
Have been universally rejected by contemporary scholarship the simple fact is that there just is no plausible naturalistic explanation of these facts and therefore it seems to me that christian is amply justified in believing that jesus rose from the dead and was .
Who he claimed to be but that entails that god exists finally number five the immediate experience of god this isn't really an argument for god's existence rather it's the claim that you can know that god exists wholly apart from arguments simply by immediately experiencing him .
Philosophers call beliefs like this properly basic beliefs they aren't based on other beliefs rather they're part of the foundation of a person's system of beliefs other properly basic beliefs include the belief in the reality of the external world the 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 proved but although these sorts of beliefs are basic for us that doesn't mean they're arbitrary rather they're grounded in the sense that they're formed in the context .
Of certain experiences in the experiential context of seeing and hearing and feeling things i naturally form the belief in a world of physical objects and thus my beliefs are not arbitrary but appropriately grounded in experience they're not merely basic but properly basic in the same way .
Belief in god is for those who know him a properly basic belief grounded in our experience of god now if this is right there's a danger that arguments for god's existence could actually distract your attention from god himself if you're sincerely seeking god then god will make his existence evident .
To you we mustn't so concentrate on the external arguments that we fail to 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 then we've seen five good .
Arguments to think that god exists if mr hitchens wants us to believe instead that god does not exist then he must first tear down all five of the arguments that i presented and then in their place erect a case of his own to prove that god does not exist unless and until he does that .
I think that theism is the more plausible worldview well am i audible am i audible to all yes well ladies and gentlemen brothers and sisters comrades friends thanks for coming out as senator larry craig actually did say at his press conference .
Thank you mr hewitt and dr craig for being among them very many very very many christians who have so generously and hospitably and warmly uh taking me up on the challenge i issued when i started my little book tour and welcomed me to your places to have this .
Most important of all discussions i can't express my gratitude enough um and uh thanks to the very nice young ladies who i ran into at the elephant bar this afternoon well i hadn't expected a posse of biola students to be um on staff where i thought god they're .
Everywhere now um now what i have discovered in voyaging around this country and others in this debate and just debating with hindus with muslims with the jews with christians of all stripes is that the arguments are all essentially the .
Same for belief in the supernatural for belief in faith for belief in god but there are very interesting and noteworthy discrepancies between them and one that i want to call attention to at the beginning of this evening is between those like my friend doug wilson with whom i've now done a .
Book of argument about christian apologetics who would call himself a presuppositionalist in other words for whom really it's only necessary to discover the workings of god's will in the in the cosmos and to just to assume that the truth of christianities is already .
Proven and what are called and they include dr craig with great honor and respect in this the evidentialists now i want to begin by saying that this distinction strikes me first as of a charming distinction and second as false or perhaps as a distinction without a difference .
Well why do i say uh charming because i think it's rather sweet that people of faith also think they ought to have some evidence and i think it's progress of a kind um after all if we had been having 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 maybe even less than i know now which is to say quite a lot in its way and they would have grounded themselves or he would have grounded himself on faith .
On scripture on revelation on the prospect of salvation on the means of grace and the hope of glory and perhaps on paley's natural theology uh paley who had the same rooms or had had the same rooms later occupied by charles darwin in cambridge with its um watchmaker theory of design that i know i don't .
Have to expound to you but which briefly suggests that if an aborigine is walking along a beach and finds a gold watch ticking he knows not what it's for or where it came from or who made it but he knows it's not a rock he knows it's not a vegetable he knows it must .
Have had a designer the paley analogy held for most christians for many years uh because they were willing to make the assumption that we were mechanisms and that therefore there must be a watchmaker but now that it's been here's where the .
Um presuppositionalist versus evidentialist dichotomy begins to kick in now it's been rather painstakingly and elaborately demonstrated to the satisfaction of most people i don't want to just use arguments from authority but it's not very much contested anymore .
That we are not designed as creatures but that we evolved by a rather laborious combination of random mutation and natural selection into the species that we are today uh it is of course open to the faithful to say that all this was now that they come to .
Know it now that it becomes available to everybody now that they think about it and now that they've stopped opposing it or trying to ban it then they can say ah actually on second
thought the evolution was all part of the design well as you will recognize ladies and .
Gentlemen there are some arguments i can't be expected to refute or rebut because there's no way around that argument i mean if everything including evolution which isn't a design is nonetheless part of a divine design then all the advantage goes to the person .
Who's willing to believe that that cannot be disproved but it does seem to be a very poor very weak argument because the test of um a good argument is that it is falsifiable not that it's unfalsifiable so this i would therefore this tactic or this style of argument which we've .
Had some evidence of this evening i would re-baptize or might i dare say i would rechristen it as some retrospective evidentialism in other words everything can in due time if you have enough faith be made to fit and you too are all quite free to believe that a sentient creator .
Deliberately consciously put himself a being put himself or herself or itself to the trouble of going through huge epochs of birth and death of species over eons of time in which 99 in the course of which at least 99.9 percent of all species all life forms ever to have appeared on .
Earth have become extinct as we nearly did as a species ourselves you i invite you to look up the very alarming and beautiful and brilliant account by the the uh national geographic coordinator of the genome project by the way you should send in .
Your little 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 find out where in africa you came from but there came a time .
Probably about 180 000 years ago when due to a terrible climatic event probably in indonesia an appalling global warming crisis occurred and the the estimate is that the number of humans in africa went down to between 40 and 30 000. this close this close .
Think about fine tuning this close to joining every other species that had gone extinct and that's our exodus story is that somehow we don't know how because it's not written in any scripture it's not told in any book it's not part of any superstitious narrative but somehow the escape from africa to .
Cooler latitudes was made but that's how close it was you have to be able to imagine that all this mass extinction and death and randomness is the will of a being you will you were absolutely free to believe that if you wish and all of this should happen so that one very imperfect .
Race of evolved primates should have the opportunity to become christians or to turn up at this gym tonight that all of the all of that was done with us in view it's a curious kind of solipsism it's a curious kind of self-centeredness i was always brought up to believe that christians were .
Modest and and humble and comported themselves with with due humility and this there's a certain arrogance to this assumption that all of this all of this extraordinary development was all about us and we were the intended indesign result and everything else was in the discard .
The tremendous wastefulness of it the tremendous cruelty of it the tremendous caprice of it the tremendous tinkering and incompetence of it never mind at least we're here and we can be people of faith it doesn't work for me i have to simply say that and i think there may be .
Questions of psychology involved in this as well um believe it if you can i can't stop you believe it if you like you're welcome it's obviously impossible as i said before to disprove and it equally obviously helps you to believe it if if as we all are you're in the happy position of .
Knowing the outcome in other words we are here but there's a fallacy lurking in there somewhere too is there not now it's 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 in fact very slightly but crucially misrepresents what we've always said there's nothing new about the new atheists it's just we're recent there's nothing particularly dr victor stenger a great scientist has written a book called the failed hypothesis which he says he thinks that science can .
Now can now license the claim that definitely is no god but he's unique in that and very i think very bold and courageous here's what we argue we argue quite simply that there's no plausible or convincing reason certainly no evidential one to believe .
That there is such an entity and that all observable phenomena including the cosmological one to which i'm coming uh have are explicable without the hypothesis you don't need the assumption and this objection itself our school falls into at least two perhaps three sections there's no such thing no such .
Word though there should be as a deism or as being an a deist but if there was one i would say that's what i i was i don't believe that we are here as the result of a 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 that and for april or our reasons don't if there was such a force which i cannot prove by definition that there was not if there was an entity that was responsible for the beginning of the cosmos and that also happened to be busily engineering .
The very laborious product production of life on our little planet um it still wouldn't prove that this entity cared about us answered prayers cared what church we went to or whether we went to one at all cared who we had sex with or in what position or by what means .
Cared what we ate or on what day uh cared whether we lived or died there's no reason at all why this entity isn't completely indifferent to us um that you cannot get from deism to theism except by series of extraordinarily generous to yourself assumptions the deist has all his work .
Still ahead of him to show that it leads to revelation uh to redemption uh to salvation or to suspensions of the natural order in which hitherto you've been putting all your faith all your evidence is on scientific and natural evidence or why not for a change of pace and a .
Change of taste say yes but sometimes this same natural order which is so miraculous in in observation no question about it is so impressive in its in it's favoring the conditions for life in some ways but it's randomly suspended when miracles are acquired .
So with with with caprice and contempt these laws turn out not to be so important after all as long as the truth of religion can be proved by their being rendered inoperative this is having it both ways in the most promiscuous and exorbitant manner in my submission um bear in mind also that .
These are not precisely the differences between dr craig and myself i mean morally or intellectually equivalent claims after all dr craig to win this argument has to believe and prove to a certainty he's not just saying there might be a god .
Because he has to say there must be one otherwise we couldn't be here and there couldn't be morality it's not a contingency for him i have to say that i appear as a skeptic who believes that doubt is the great engine the great fuel of all inquiry .
All discovery and all innovation and that i doubt these things the disadvantage it seems to me in the in the argument goes to the person who says no i know i know it it must be true it is true we are too early in the study of physics and biology it seems to me to be dealing in certainties of that .
Kind especially when the stakes are so high it seems to me to put it in a condensed form extraordinary claims such as the existenc
e of a of a divine power with a son who cares enough to come and redeem us extraordinary claims require truly extraordinary evidence i don't .
Think any of the evidence we heard from dr craig brilliantly marshalled as it was was extraordinary enough to justify the the extreme claims that are being made and backed by it um hypocrisy said la rochefoucault is the compliment that vice plays to virtue .
Retrospective evidentialism strikes me in something of the same sort of light it's a concession uh made to uh made to then the need for fact maybe we'd better have some evidence to go along with our faith but look at what dr craig says in his book he says i'll quote directly he says .
Should a conflict arise between the witness of the holy spirit to the fundamental truth of the christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence then it is the former which must take precedence over the letter he adds not vice versa but a good editor i think would have told you you don't .
Have to put the vice versa in it's clear enough as it is i'll say it again should a conflict arise between the witness of the holy spirit to the fundamental truth of the christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence then it's the former which must take precedence .
Over the latter that's not evidentialism that's just faith it's it's a priori belief um i it's rephrased in another edition it says therefore the role of rational argumentation in knowing knowing christianity to be true is the role of the servant a person knows christianity is true .
Because the holy spirit tells him it is true and while argument and evidence can be used to support this conclusion they cannot legitimately over rule it now then he goes on to say the bible says all men are without excuse even those who are given no reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to .
Disbelieve have no excuse because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected god's holy spirit that would have to be me but you see where this lands you ladies and gentlemen with the christian apologetic you're told you're a miserable sinner .
Who is without excuse you're you've disappointed your god in whom who made you and you've been so ungrateful is to rebel you're contemptible you're worm-like but you can take heart the whole universe was designed with just you in mind these two claims are not just mutually .
Exclusive but i think they are intended to compensate each other's cruelty and ultimately absurdity in other words evidence is an occasional convenience seek and ye shall find i remember being told that in church many a time as a young flat seek initial fight i thought it was a sinister injunction .
Because it's all too likely to be true we are pattern-seeking mammals and primates if we can't get good evidence we'll go for junk evidence if we can't get a real theory we'll go with the conspiracy theory you see it all the time religion's great strength is that it was the first .
Of our attempts to explain reality to make those patterns take some kind of form it deserves credit it was our first attempt at astronomy our first attempt at cosmology somewhere is our first attempt at medicine our first attempt at literature our first attempt at philosophy .
Good while while there was nothing else it had many uh functional uses of that kind never mind that they didn't know that germs cause disease maybe evil spirits cause disease maybe disease is a punishment never mind that they've believed in astrology rather than astronomy even thomas aquinas believed .
In astrology never mind that they believed in devils never mind that they things like volcanic eruptions earthquakes tidal waves were thought of as punishments not as natural occurrences on the cooling crust of of a planet the pattern-seeking has gone too far .
And it's gone i think much too far with what was until recently thought of as christianity's greatest failure greatest of all failures cosmology the one thing christianity knew nothing about and taught the most abject nonsense about the the for most of its lifetime christianity taught that the the earth .
Itself was the center of the universe and we had been given exclusive dominion as a species over it could not have been more wrong how are we going to square the new cosmology the fantastic new discoveries in physics with the old dogmas well one is the idea of this fine tuning which about .
Which i've i've only left myself three and a half minutes i'll have to refer some of this to later in the discussion um this is essentially another form of pattern seeking on the basis of extremely limited evidence most physicists are very uncertain as they have every .
Right to be in fact i would say for physicists as they have the duty to be at the moment extremely uncertain about the spatiotemporal dimensions of the original episode the big bang as it's sometimes called we're in the very very early stages of this inquiry we hardly know .
What we don't know about the origins of the universe uh it's we're viewing it from an unimaginable distance not just an unimaginable distance in space we're perched on a tiny rock in an extremely small suburb of a fairly minor galaxy trying to look .
To discern our origins but also at an unbelievable distance in time and we we claim the right to say ah we can see the finger of god in this process it's an extraordinary arrogant assumption it either deserves a nobel prize in physics which it hasn't yet got i notice i don't know any physicist who .
Believes these assumptions are necessary or it deserves a charge of hubris let me make three tiny quick objections to it as it stands and i'm no more a physicist than most of you are um i'll make these layer objections one was there pre-existing material for this extra spatio-temporal being to .
Work with or did he just will it into existence the x9 who designed the designer don't you run the risk with the the presumption of a god and a designer and an originator of asking well where does that come from where does that come from and locking yourself into .
An infinite regress why are there so many shooting stars collapsed suns failed galaxies we can see we can see with the aid of a telescope sometimes we can see with the with the naked eye the the utter failure the total destruction of gigantic unimaginable .
Sweeps of outer space is this fine-tuning or is it extremely random capricious cruel mysterious and incompetent and have you thought of the nothingness that's coming we know we have something now .
And we speculate about what it might have come from and there's a real question about x nihilo but nihilo is coming to 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 was it fine-tuned to do that .
Uh we know that for the from the red light shift of the hubble telescope or rather edwin hubble's original discovery the universe is expanding away from itself at a tremendous rate it was thought that rate would go down for newtonian reasons no uh it's recently improved by professor lawrence krauss the rate of expansion .
Is increasing everything is exploding away even faster nothingness is certainly coming who designed that um and that's all if if before these things happen we don't have the destruction of our own little solar system in which already there's only one planet where anything .
Like life can possibly be supported all the other planets are too hot or too cold to support any life at all and the sun is due to swell up burn us to a crisp boil our oceans and die as we've seen all the other suns do in the night sky this is not fine tuning ladies and gentl
emen and if it's if it's the work of a designer .
Then there's an indictment to which that designer may have to be subjected i'm out of time i'm very grateful for your kindness and hospitality dr craig a 12-minute you'll remember that in my opening speech i said i would defend two basic contentions in tonight's debate .
First that there's no good argument that atheism is true now far from being a point of contention tonight as far 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 simply don't have any positive .
Reason to believe in god but he doesn't really give an argument against god's existence indeed he seems to suggest that's impossible but notice that doesn't prove atheism that just leaves you with agnosticism namely you don't know if there's a god or not so at best you're left merely with .
Agnosticism we don't see any good reason to think that atheism is true now he did make some remarks about the theory of evolution which at least insinuated that this was somehow incompatible with theism and i have two points to make about this first i think that the theory of .
Biological evolution is simply irrelevant through the truth of christian theism uh genesis one admits all manner of different interpretations and one is by no means committed to six day creationism howard van till who is a professor at calvin college writes .
Is the concept of special creation required of all persons who trust in the creator god of scripture most christians in my acquaintance who are engaged with either scientific or biblical scholarship have concluded that the special creationist picture of the world's formation .
Is not a necessary component of christian belief nor is this a retreat caused by modern science saint augustine in the ad300s in his commentary on genesis pointed out that the days don't need to be taken literally nor need the creation be a few thousand .
Years ago indeed he suggested that god made the world with certain special potencies that would gradually unfold over time and develop and this interpretation came 1500 years before darwin so that it is not a forced retreat in the face of modern science .
So any doubts that i would have about the theory of biological evolution would be not biblical but rather scientific namely what it imagines 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 would occur the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and incinerated the earth and they calculate the probability of the evolution of the human genome between .
To be somewhere 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 did occur on this planet it was literally a miracle and therefore evidence for the existence of god so i don't think this is an argument for .
Atheism quite the contrary it really provides good grounds for thinking that god superintended the process of biological development so the christian can be open to the evidence to follow it where it leads by contrast as alvin planinga has said for the naturalist evolution is the only .
Game in town no matter how fantastic the odds no matter how improbable it's got to be true because there is no intelligent creator and designer so in one sense you've got to feel a little sorry for the atheist he can't really follow the evidence where it leads his presuppositions determine the outcome .
By contrast if there is a fine tuner and creator of the universe then already in the initial conditions of the big bang you have an elaborately designed universe that permits the evolution and existence of intelligent life and i think evolution simply layers on more improbability .
Now mr hitchen says but why did um god wait so long all that waste during this time well that sort of concern with efficiency is only of of importance to someone with either limited time or limited resources or both but in the case of god .
He has both unlimited resources and unlimited time and therefore it's simply not important uh to do this uh in a quick way well now mr hitchen says but why did god wait so long before he sent christ human beings have existed for thousands of years on this planet .
Before christ's coming well um what's really crucial here is not the time involved rather it's the population of the world the population reference bureau estimates that the number of people who have ever lived on this planet is about 105 billion people only 2 percent of them were born prior to the .
Advent of christ eric crepes of the survey research center at the university of michigan's institute for social research says god's timing couldn't have been more perfect christ showed up just before the exponential explosion .
In the world's population the bible says in the fullness of time god sent forth his son and when christ came the nation of israel had been prepared the roman peace dominated the mediterranean world it was an age of literacy and learning the stage was set .
For the advent of god's son into the world and i think in god's providential plan for human history we see the wisdom of god in uh orchestrating the uh development of human life and then in bringing christ into the world in the fullness of time so i don't see that there are any good .
Grounds here for thinking that this provides a reason for atheism now what about my arguments for theism or mr hitchens had some general remarks here he says it's difficult to get from deism to theism now i want to point out that's a false use of these terms this is simply confused .
Deism is a type of theism theism is the broad worldview that god exists deism is a specific kind of theism that says god has not revealed himself directly in the world now my arguments are a cumulative case for christian theism they add up to the belief in the god that has been revealed by jesus of .
Nazareth now mr hitchen says but you must prove this with certainty not at all i am not claiming these arguments demonstrate christian theism with certainty i'm saying that this is the best explanation of the data when you compare it with other .
Competing hypotheses i think it's more probable than not he quotes me as to saying the holy spirit's witness is the basis for knowing christianity to be true and i affirm that i think the fundamental way in which we know christianity is true is through the objective inner witness .
Of god's holy spirit what i called the immediate knowledge of god himself and my fifth point on the basis of 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 that what we know through the witness of the holy spirit .
Is true here we appeal to argument and evidence as i've done tonight and the arguments and evidence that i've appealed to are largely deductive arguments this isn't retrospective evidentialism these are deductive arguments if the premises are true .
Then you cannot deny the conclusion on pain of your rationality because the conclusions follow with logical necessity from the premises so the only way to deny the conclusion is you've got to show me which of the premises are false that's why you've got that program insert with .
The premises in your program for these arguments doc mr hitchens needs to identify which premises of the argument he rejects his faults if he's to reject the conclusions now with respect to my cosmological argument notice that he didn't dispute whatever begins to exist as a cause nor did he .
Dispute the philosophical and scientific arguments for the beginning of the universe all he asked was the question was there pre-existent 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 at such a singularity we would truly have a creation ex nihilo that is out of nothing and this isn't talking religion folks this is talking contemporary cosmology so the first argument it seems to me is .
Unrefuted what about the fine-tuning argument here he said well scientists are terribly uncertain about the fine-tuning argument well i think that's simply not the case sir martin reese the royal astron astronomer royal of great britain has said .
The laws governing our universe appear to be finely tuned for our existence everywhere you look there are yet more examples wherever physicists look they see examples of fine-tuning ernan mcmullen philosopher of science says it seems safe to say that later .
Theory no matter how different it may be will turn up approximately the same numbers and the numerous constraints that have to be imposed on these numbers seem both too specific and too numerous to evaporate entirely so that it's very unlikely that this fine-tuning is going to vanish or be explained away .
Now mr hitchens responds but we're headed toward nothingness we're ultimately going to be doomed and therefore the universe is not designed well now this is this is not a very powerful objection the temporal duration of something is irrelevant to whether it's been .
Designed the products of human intelligence and engineering like computers and automobiles will eventually decay and cease to exist but that doesn't mean they weren't designed i think the real objection he's getting at here is why would god create mankind only to have it go .
Extinct but of course you see on the christian view that that's false that is an atheistic assumption on the christian view life does not end at the grave and god has given assurance of this by raising jesus from the dead so the objection simply has no purchase against christian .
Theism so it seems to me that the fine-tuning argument is also unrefuted what about the moral argument we saw that without god there are no objective moral values mr hitchens agrees with this and yet he himself affirms over and over again moral statements like the moral um reprobation of .
Religious intolerance and violence in the name of religion so he does affirm objective values but without any basis for it what i can offer him 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 .
Response to this let me simply quote nt wright in his recent study of the resurrection he says that the empty tomb and the appearances of jesus have a historical probability so high as to be virtually certain like the death of augustus in a.d 14 or the fall of jerusalem .
In ad70 so we are on very solid ground in affirming these three facts that i mentioned in my opening speech and i can't think of any better explanation than the ones that the eyewitness gave namely that god raised jesus from the dead finally the immediate experience of god unless mr hitchens can show that i'm .
Psychologically deranged or delusional it seems to me i'm 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 all of these arguments stand intact despite his reputation .
We've seen no argument for atheism so clearly the weight of the evidence falls on the side of the scale for christian theism tonight there is a there is a terminological problem here uh which it may conceal more than just terminological difficulty um the .
Proposition that atheism is true or that is is a is a misstatement of what i have to prove and what we believe there's an argument among some of us as to whether we need the word at all in other words i don't have a special name for my unbelief in tooth fairies say or witches or .
In santa claus i just don't think that they're there i don't have to prove a tooth theoryism i don't have to prove a santa clausism i don't have to prove a witchism it's just i have to say i think that those who do believe these things have never been able to make a plausible or intelligible case for doing so .
That's not agnosticism because it seems to me that if you don't think there is any evidence you're wrong to take refuge in saying you're neutral you want to have the courage to answer the question which one is regularly asked are you an atheist or not yes i will say i am you can't tell anything else about .
Me can't tell anything else about what i think about what i believe about um uh what my politics are or my other convictions it's just that i i don't believe in the existence of a supernatural dimension and i don't i've never been shown any evidence that any process observable to us cannot .
Be explained uh by more satisfactory um and more convincing means um the great uh physicist laplace um when showing his working model of the solar system to the emperor napoleon was asked well your your model seems to have no room for .
A god in it for deity and he said well your majesty it still all operates without that assumption um now here's what you would have to believe if you thought that this was all designed dr craig gave a slight parody of what i .
Think about this it could be true but you'd have to imagine let's say the human species has been homo sapiens has been with us some people say as long as quarter of a million years uh some say 200 some say a hundred thousand francis collins and richard dawkins oscillate about this .
There's no it's not a very big argument i'll just take a hundred thousand if you like you have to imagine that human beings are born um well actually most of them a good number of aren't born they die in childbirth or don't long out live it they're born into a terrifying world of of the unknown everything is a mystery .
To them everything from from from disease to volcanic eruptions um everything is their life expectancy for the first i don't know many many tens of thousands of years would be lucky to be in the 20s probably dying agonizingly over their teeth poorly evolved as the teeth are .
And from other inheritances of from being primates such as the appendix that we we don't need such as the fact that our genitalia to have been designed by a committee other shortcomings of the species exaggerated by the by scarcity by war by famine by competition and so on .
And for 98 000 years or so heaven watches this with complete indifference and then we know where your children go to school by the way um heaven watches this with total indifference and then with two thousand years to go on the clock thinks actually it's .
Time we intervened this we can't go on like this why don't we have someone tortured to death in bronze age palestine that should teach them that should give them uh the chance of redemption you're free to believe that but i think the the the designer who thought of doing it that way .
Is a very or was a very cruel capricious random bungling and incompetent one the news of this dr craig talks as if okay but since then there's been 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 still haven't even heard of .
This idea the news hasn't penetrated them or where it has it's been brought to them by people who dr craig doesn't doesn't
think of as christians such as mormons for example um and it's it's taught to them in many discrepant and competitive and indeed incompatible and violently .
Irreconcilable ways um and there's been a lot of argument in the church in the churches all this time about well okay what is the answer to that what about all the people who never could have heard the good news or who never will hear it or still haven't been reached by it and who've .
Died not knowing about it what happens to them how can they be saved well the argument is that it's all somehow made retrospective and as so with so many of these arguments i just comment on these well how convenient uh because if you're willing to make .
Assumptions of this kind then really evidence is only ancillary to what you uh are advancing now i i didn't have the chance oh and just on mr wright i i sorry i scrolled an inch myself um in your first round doctor you said that uh ng wright is an impressive person .
Says that no no um explanation of the success of christianity is possible that doesn't rest on the terms of its being true in other words right says it was so successful it must have been and the people were so strongly motivated to believe it that it must have been true i regard that as a .
Very very unsafe assumption or if it is a safe one then it must surely apply to islam and to mormonism i mean these are two very very very fast-growing religions have people prepared to sacrifice enormously for it uh have ancestors who were absolutely determined of the truth of it at the .
Time and who made extraordinary conquests in its name if you're going to grant this for one religion it seems to me you have to be willing not just willing you may you may indeed be compelled to make this concession for all of them and .
That i think would be not just an unsafe assumption but for most of you here a distinctly unwelcome one now i didn't get the chance because i out-talked myself and i'm sorry for it to get to the moral dimension um and i interested that the word .
Objective morality is the one that dr craig chooses usually arguments about morality are whether is so to say absolute or whether it's relative as to objectivity i think it's a very good compromise word by the way and i'm very happy to to accept it but the problem with .
Um with morality is this in respect of religion you can't prove that anyone behaves any better if they refer this problem upward to a supreme dictator of a celestial kind there's there are two questions that i've asked in public .
Um and i'll try them again because i try them on every audience and they're very simple ones first you have to name for me or challenges let's say rolling questions you have to name for me an ethical action or an ethical statement or moral action moral statement made .
Or undertaken by a believer that i couldn't undertake or say i couldn't state or do i haven't yet had an example pointed out of that to me that otherwise that a person of faith would have an advantage by being able to call upon a divine sanction whereas if i ask you to think .
Of a wicked act undertaken by someone in the name of god or because of their faith you wouldn't have or a wicked statement made you wouldn't have that much difficulty i think in coming up with an example right away the genital mutilation community for example is almost exclusively religious .
The suicide bombing community is almost exclusively religious there are injunctions for genocide in the old testament there are injunctions and warrants for slavery and racism uh in the old testament too there's there's simply no way .
Of deriving morality and ethics from the super natural when we come to the question of the absolute well the most often cited one is the golden rule the one that almost everyone feels they have in common the injunction not to do to others as .
You wouldn't want them to do to you this doesn't in fact come from the sermon on the mount or from christianity or it doesn't originate with it it's certainly admirated by rabbi hillel babylonian rabbi and it's to be found in the analytes of confucius too but it has if since .
We're talking about objective relative and absolute a crucial weakness in it unfortunately we'd like to be able to follow it but it's only really as good as the person who's uttering it in other words if i say i won't treat you as i don't want you to treat me .
What am i to do when confronted with charles manson i want i want him treated in a way that i don't i wouldn't want to be treated myself anything else would surely be completely relativistic so the argument isn't isn't at all advanced by saying that i couldn't know any of this .
I couldn't have any moral promptings i couldn't decide for myself if i see a pregnant woman being kicked in the stomach but because she's pregnant that's obviously worse than if it was just a woman who wasn't pregnant being kicked in the stomach this is part of my patrimony .
As a human being it's part of the essential emotional solidarity that i need to have uh with my fellow creatures to make us realize that we are brothers and sisters one with another we are dependent upon each other we have duties we have uh expectations of one another and that if we didn't .
Have these and try and fulfill them we couldn't have got as far as we have we couldn't have evolved as a species we couldn't have ever had a society there's never been a society found where rape and murder and perjury are not condemned and these these these moral discoveries .
Long or absolutes if you want to call them that long predate the arrival of anything recognizable as monotheism it's a bit like the argument of free will people say well how do you how do you have free will do you think you do have it .
Well it's a very very difficult subject indeed some religions say you don't in effect have it that all is determined by heaven you're really only a play thing in a larger game i i take that to be some of the point of calvinism there there are some schools of islam also .
That say it is only as allah wills there's no there's no will of yours really involved as long as you're willing to make the prostration and the obedience so the connection between religion and free will isn't as simple as easy as some people like to think it is um but i would say yes i think we have free .
Will when asked why i think so 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 at this point that i'm being ironic and that some of the irony is at my own expense and it's .
A risk i have to be willing to run but the christian answer is of course you have free will the boss insists upon it this somewhat degrades the freedom and redefines the idea of will and it seems to me also that there's something degrading in the idea of saying that morality .
Is derived in the same way that it comes from on high 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 know a right action or a right statement when we see it or when we want to to perform it it's it's this servile .
Element in religion it's not strictly speaking the subject of our debate this evening i know but i'm damned if i completely forgo it it's the idea that buried in the religious impulse is actually the wish to be unfree is the wish for an immovable .
Unchangeable celestial authority a kind of heavenly uh north korea that will take our decisions that will take our decisions away from us and commit us only to w
orship and praise and thank a great leader and his son the deer leader forever and ever and .
Ever i'm so glad there's no evidence that this is true thank you we now enter the period of cross-examination which trial like allows the questioner to pose and the answer only to answer and not to repeat the question or to dodge six minutes of questions begin to dr .
Craig followed by six questions six minutes of questions to mr hitch and dr craig your questions for mr hitchens all right let's talk first about whether there are any good arguments to think that atheism is true now it seems to me that you're rather ambivalent here that you say you .
You redefine atheism to mean a sort of ah theism or non-theism that's what it means um but how do you distinguish then the different varieties of non-theism for example what is normally called atheism agnosticism or the view of verificationists that uh .
The statement god exists is simply meaningless well i mean there are different schools of atheism as you say but the there's no there's no claim i know how to make says atheism is true because atheism is the statement that a certain proposition isn't true so i wish you'd get this bit right um .
Because i'm it's there you go again well i i just devoted a little time to this i said it it's it is not in itself a belief or a system it simply says you can get by uh better probably we think um without the assumption that no one who wants you to worship a .
God has ever been able to come up with a good enough reason to make you do it now so so the the point is though that on your definition of of uh ah theism or non-theism it really embodies a diversity of views such as agnosticism what is normally called atheism or this .
Uh verificationism now which of those do you hold to within this umbrella of atheism are you an atheist who asserts the proposition god does not exist or do you simply withhold belief in god in the way the agnostic does right i'm a in some on some days .
I'm a great i'm a no i'm not gonna no i'm not gonna do that much of a favor um on some on some days i'm a great admirer of thomas huxley who had the great uh who had the great debate with bishop wilberforce um in oxford at the natural history museum about darwinism um in the .
Mid 19th century who was known as darwin's bulldog we would now say darwin's pit bull and who completely tranced 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 either which is so much or rather .
I i need an answer to this i'll attract you yes but because i think i think agnosticism is evasive to me yes if you if you talk about the power of the holy spirit and so forth to me that is meaningless it's 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 just many of us to whom of whom this is the case it may be true it is true okay i gotta press you here again feel free what is your view .
Press away do you do do you affirm god does not i think once again i think once i have said that i've never seen any persuasive evidence for the existence of something and i've made real attempts to study the evidence presented and the arguments presented that i will i will .
Go as far as to say have the nerve to say uh that it does not therefore exist except in the minds except except in the the henry jamesian uh subjective sense that you say of it being so real to some people in their own minds .
Right yeah that counts as a force in the world yeah okay so you you do affirm then that god does not exist now what i want to know and do you have any justification for that i think i've come unwind horrible are you sure do you have any any arguments leading to the conclusion that god does not exist .
Well i would rather i think i'm i'm wondering if i'm boring anybody now i would rather i would rather say i'd rather state it in reverse and say i i find all the arguments in favor to be fallacious or unconvincing and i'd have to add that though this isn't my reason for not believing in it that i would be very depressed if it was .
True but that's a quite different thing i don't i i don't say of atheism that it's at all morally superior that would be very risky i wouldn't admit that it was until morally inferior either but we can at least be acquitted on 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 that i would agree okay let's turn to the moral argument and talk about that a little bit i think you've unders you've misunderstood the moral argument given .
The stakes doctor sorry given the stakes i mean you're not saying we're not talking about unicorns or tooth fairies or leprechauns here we're 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 um it seems to me a very uh not a not a small question no it's certainly not a small question because you're making a very very very large claim your evidence has better be absolutely magnificent it seems to me and it's the lack of magnificence i .
Think that began to strike me first one final question okay well let's go to the moral argument it seems to me there that you've misunderstood the argument in that we're looking for an objective foundation for the moral values and duties that we want we both i think want to affirm it's not a matter .
Of whether or not we can know what is right and wrong or that we need god to tell us what is right and wrong it's rather that we need to have some sort of an objective foundation for right and wrong wouldn't you agree on your view it's simply the sociobiological spin-offs of the evolutionary process .
And that therefore these do not provide any sort of objective foundation for moral values and duties that that could be true yes that could be true yeah i don't want to be too much of a reductionist but it's it's it's entirely possible that it is purely .
Evolutionary and functional one wants to think that there's a bit more to one's love for the fellow creature than that but it's it's it doesn't add one iota of weight or moral gravity to the argument to say but that's because i don't believe in a supernatural being .
Just it's a non-sequitur stretching your questions for doctor correct ah well um i'd like to know first you said um the the the career of jesus of nazareth involved a ministry of miracles and exorcisms when you say exorcism do you mean that .
You believe in devils too what i meant there was that most historians agree that jesus of nazareth practiced miracle working and he practiced exorcisms i'm not committing myself nor are historians committing themselves to the reality of demons but they are saying that jesus .
Uh did practice exorcism and practice uh healing so you believe that jesus and nazareth cause devils to leave the body of a madman and go into a flock of pigs that hurled themselves down the gadarin slopes into the sea do i believe that is that's historical yes right .
That would be sorcery wouldn't it though no it would be an illustration of jesus ability to command even the forces of darkness and therefore an illustration of the sort of divine authority that he 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 even could command the force
s of darkness and and that they would obey so whether you think he was a genuine exorcist or that he merely believed himself to be an exorcist what is historically undeniable is that .
He had this radical sense of divine authority which he expressed by miracle working and exorcisms right and do you and you believe he's he was born of a virgin i yes i believe that as a christian i couldn't claim to prove that historically that's not part of my case .
Tonight but i i i as a christian i believe that and i know you believe in the resurrection but as a matter of yeah what should we call it um consistency um it's said in one of the gospels that at the time of the crucifixion .
All the graves of jerusalem were opened and all the tenants of the graves walked the streets and greeted their old friends it makes the resurrection sound rather commonplace in the greater jerusalem area it says that's in the gospel of matthew and that's actually attached to a crucifixion .
Narrative that's what i said it says at the time 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 the time this is part of matthew's description of the crucifixion scene i mean do you believe that .
I don't know whether matthew intends this to be apocalyptic imagery or whether he means this to be taken literally i'm i've not studied it in any depth and i'm open-minded about it i'm i'm willing to be convinced one way or the other you see the reason i'm pressing is this because i mean we know from scripture that the pharaohs .
Magicians could produce miracles in the end aaron could out produce them but i'm saying what i'm suggesting to you is even if the laws of nature can be suspended and great great miracles can be performed um it doesn't prove the truth of the doctrine of the person who's performing them .
Um would you not agree with that not necessarily i think that's right so somebody could be casting out devils from pigs and that wouldn't prove he was the son of god i think that's right in fact there were jewish exorcists the only point that i was trying to make there was that this was illustrative of the kind .
Of divine authority that jesus claimed especially since he didn't cast them out in god's name or he didn't perform miracles by praying to god he would do them in his own authority so that jesus exercised an authority that was simply .
Unheard of at that time and for which he was eventually crucified because it was thought to be blasphemous well it was thought to be blessed who claim to be the messiah to be exact i mean the people who got the closest look at him the jewish sanhedrin would work thought that he his claims were not genuine so remember if you're resting anything on .
Eyewitnesses the ones who we definitely know were there thought he was bogus but okay i think i've got a rough idea assuming you make that assumption of his pre-existing divinity that it's a presuppositionalist case i can see what you're driving well no i'm not going to know the question .
I've got another question for you which is this how many religions in the world do you believe to be false i don't know how many religions in the world there are so could you name right fair enough i'll i'll see if i can't narrow that down that was a clumsily asked question i admit uh do you .
Do you regard any of the world's religions do you regard any of the world's religions to be false preaching yes yes i think yeah certainly would you name one then islam that's quite a lot pardon me that's quite a lot yes do you therefore do you think it's immoral to preach false religion .
No so religion is responsible for quite a lot of wickedness in the world right there certainly right i'd be happy to concede that i would agree with that so if i was to be if i was a baby being born in saudi arabia today would you rather i was me or a wahabi muslim .
Would i be you would rather be would you rather would you rather it was me it was an atheist baby or um the wahhabi baby uh i i i don't have any uh preference as to whether you were doing good as as as bad as that okay .
Are there any are there any are there any i mean i must i'm sorry i've got a few seconds it's a serious question i shouldn't squander it are there any christian denominations you regard as false certainly could i know what they are um well uh i i am not a calvinist for example i think that certain tenets .
Of reformed theology are incorrect i would be uh more in the wesleyan camp myself but these are differences among brethren these are not differences uh on which we need to put one another in some sort of a cage so within the christian camp .
There's a large diversity of perspectives i'm sure they're views that i hold that are probably false but i'm trying my best to to get my theology straight trying to do the best job but i think all of us would recognize that none of us agree on every point of christian doctrine .
On on every uh uh dot and tittle before mr hitchen succeeds in launching another series of religious wars among christians let's get to the let's get to the responses seven minutes are each dr craig it is your seven minute okay well i think it's very evident that in .
Tonight's debate we've not heard any good reasons to think that what is normally called atheism is true that is to say the belief that god does not exist mr hitchens withholds belief in god but he's unable to give us any argument to think that god does not exist which is what is called .
Positive atheism now he does mention that the human species has been here for a hundred thousand years but i've already responded that what's crucial there is not the number of years it's 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 lot of those people rather he is preparing humanity preparing the world for the advent of christ so that in the fullness of time christ would come into the world and those people who lived apart from christ god cared for them as well and provided .
For them the bible says ever since the creation of the world god's invisible nature namely his eternal power and deity has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made paul says that from one man god made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth .
And he determined the time set for them in the exact places that they should live he did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him for he is not far from each one of us for in him we live and move and have our being so that those who .
Lived before christ were covered by the death of christ they were covered by his atoning sacrifice and god will judge them on the basis of the information that they had in their response to general revelation similarly for those who haven't heard of the gospel yet today they will be judged on the basis of the .
Information that they do have and how they respond to that and aren't you glad that you don't have to judge them you can leave this up to the hands of a just and holy and merciful god who will judge people on the basis of how they respond to the revelation that they do have so we've not heard any .
Argument tonight that god does not exist now by contrast i've given five arguments to show that christian theism is true first we saw the cosmological argument mr hitchens has not agreed with disagreed with either of the premises of this argument and so we have good grounds for .
Believing there's a personal creator of the universe as for the teleological argument again he didn't respond
to what i said in my last speech with respect to the uh fine-tuning being well established in science and that uh the fact that we're going toward nothingness as he puts it is an .
Atheistic assumption not a christian assumption and therefore doesn't do anything to disprove design now what about the moral argument here he says that you have to prove that people would behave better if they believed in god that's not the argument i hope that's clear to everyone .
The argument is that without god as a transcendent foundation for moral values we're simply lost in sociocultural relativism who are you to judge that the nazi ethic was wrong who are you to judge that the ethic of ancient hinduism was wrong who are you to judge .
That the afrikaner apartheid is wrong this is all just the result of socio-cultural evolution and there is no transcendent objective standard apart from god and that's what god delivers for us now mr richard says name one moral action that an unbeliever could not take well that's trivially easy .
If god exists there are all kinds of moral duties that we have that the unbeliever could not recognize at the panel discussion last week in dallas when mr hitchens demanded that someone name such an action a pastor on the panel immediately piped up how about tithing .
Well leave it to a pastor to think of that but but please clearly that's a that's an action that only a believer would take even more fundamentally what about the first and greatest commandment you shall love the lord your god with all your heart with all your strength with all your mind .
That is an action that only a believer can take no unbeliever can discharge even this most fundamental of moral duties but in any case all of this is beside the point with respect to the moral argument the point is that on atheism there are no moral obligations for .
Anybody to fulfill in nature whatever is is right and mr hitchens is unable to provide any sort of objective foundation for moral values massimo piliucci is a philosopher of biology this is what he has to say he says on atheism there is no such thing as objective morality morality in human cultures has evolved .
In what is moral for you might not be moral for the guy next door and certainly is non-moral for the guy across the ocean and what makes you think that your personal morality is the one and everybody else is wrong what we call homicide or rape he said .
Is very very common among different kinds of animals lions for example commit infanticide on a regular basis now are these kinds of acts to be condoned i don't even know what that means because the lion doesn't understand what morality is morality he says is an invention of .
Human beings it's just a convention that human beings have adopted to live together but it has no objectivity and that's what i offer mr higgins tonight is a solid transcended foundation for the moral values that i think he so desperately wants to affirm what about the resurrection of jesus .
Here he misunderstood n.t wright's argument nt wright's argument is not that the success of christianity means that it's true that would apply to islam and mormonism rather nt wright's argument is that the origin of the disciples belief that god had raised jesus from the dead is so unjewish it is so uncharacteristic .
That you have to explain what would bring them to adopt so radical a mutation of jewish belief as belief in a dying messiah and a rising 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's why wright concludes that these have a certainty that is comparable to the fall of jerusalem in a.d 70. so you've got to get the argument right if you're going to deal with it and in fact i think the only explanation of these facts .
Is the one the disciples gave that god raised jesus from the dead finally with the immediate experience of god has remained untouched god is real to me and unless i'm delusional i'm perfectly within my rational rights to believe in god on the basis of his ex this experience just as i believe .
In the reality the external world or the reality of the past on the basis of my experience so i think in some we've got five good reasons for believing that christianity is true no reason to think atheism is true and therefore i think christianity is clearly the more rational worldview .
I think it's it's you'll correct me if i'm wrong it's tertullian isn't it who says something like it's variously translated cradle queer absurdum that the the the very improbability of the thing the very unlikelihood of it the unlikely that anyone would fabricate such a thing .
For example that that a jew can be brought to believe something so extraordinary is testimony to its truth i i'm sure there can't be anyone who doesn't think that's a little too easy a little too facile i myself for example have followed the career of a woman known vulgarly in the media as mother .
Teresa of an albanian named agnes a catholic fanatic operating in the greater calcutta area and i watched every stage of her career uh as a as a candidate for and then the recipient of beatification and shortly canonization the .
Canonization will will require uh and as the vatican demands the attestation of a miracle performed by her posthumous intercession and the miracles already been announced a woman in bengal fortunately already a devout catholic by pressing a medal of mother teresa to her stomach but made .
A tumor go away or so she says all the witnesses to this have since recanted all the doctors have given a much better explanation of how she was cured of the swelling and the growth and what the medicines were and so forth but they're still stuck with it they have to go ahead with this process .
Because which will lead to countless untold suffering in india because it will appear to license the the bogus charlatan re of shaman medicine and and uh intercessory medicine rather than the real thing all of this will have to be gone through this awful display .
In the name in the name of faith and i just happen to have watched it at every stage and i can tell you it's it's depressingly easy to get a religious rumor started you can count on an enormous amount of pre-existing credulity among illiterate .
Frightened ill-educated populations there isn't a literate written down properly properly attested witness of any real sort uh in in the gospels it is and you may as well admit it and stick to it because it's what you're good at it involves an act of faith second on the matter of my moral question .
Yes it's true that doug wilson said that the tithing was something i couldn't do but then not just i'm not moving the goalposts here i don't think i'd regard giving all my money to the new st andrews church as a moral act um the only the only challenge that i've had so far that i really couldn't get .
Out of i should share it with you was i was told well you couldn't do this you couldn't say father forgive them for they know not what they do no but nor could you as people of faith you wouldn't dare it would be blasphemy for you to do it there's only one person who can do that .
Even on your account so with respect ladies and gentlemen i think both my challenges stand but it hasn't been shown that i couldn't be a moral person despite my own belief and it has certainly not been demonstrated that unbelief will will guarantee you against um .
Uh excuse me the belief will um i'll say it again that unbelief uh will insure you against wickedness um you mentioned things like apartheid and nazism well let me just run it by you partly this often comes up because people say what about the crimes and
Of the secular world the apartheid system in south africa was actually a creation of the dutch reformed church it was justified theologically as the giving of a promised land to one christian religious tribe in which everyone else was supposed to be heroes of wood and drawers of water .
It wasn't until the dutch reformed church under pressure agreed to drop their racist preachments of many years that the apartheid system could be dismantled the dictatorship in greece in 1967 to 74 was proclaimed by the greek orthodox church as a greece for christian greeks .
The russian orthodox church at present maybe this is one of the churches you don't recognize as christian i don't know but it's currently become the bodyguard of the vladimir putin dictatorship in russia they are now producing the russian orthodox church actual icons .
With halos around them of joseph stalin for distribution to extreme russian nationalists and chauvinists for whom the church has become the spiritual sword um and buckler in um nazi germany prayers were said every year on the fuhrer's birthday by order of the churches uh for for his survival .
And well-being the first uh concordat signed by hitler and by mussolini in both cases was with uh the vatican if you take out the words um fascist from any uh account of the 1920s and 30s any reputable historical account and you insert the words christian right wing or .
Actually catholic right wing you don't have to change a word of the rest of the sentence and the third member of the axis the japanese empire was led by someone who actually claimed he was himself a god and whom everyone in japan was a serf and had to admit his godhead in divinity .
And it was said to all of them where would we know without the emperor how would we know what to do how we know what a right action was without him there would be screwing in the streets uh there would be chaos no one would know their bearings .
Without our god we will be rudderless many japanese people in fact to the it's it's pitiful to report still actually uh believe that now um i want to say in other words that religion is the outcome of unresolved contradictions in the material world that if you make the assumption .
That it's man-made then very few things are mysterious to you if you make the assumption that religion is man-made then you would then you would know why it would be obvious you why there are so many religions um when you make the assumption that .
It's man-made you will understand why it is that religion has been such a disappointment to our species that despite innumerable revivals um innumerable attempts again to preach the truth innumerable attempts to convert the heathen innumerable attempts to send missionaries all around the world .
That the same problems remain with us that nothing is resolved by this that we we if the if all religions died out or all were admitted to be false instead of as all believers will tell you only some of them are false in other words we're faced with the preposterous proposition that religion .
Are either all of them true or none of them true or only one exclusive preachment is true and none of these seem to me coherent and all of these seem to be the outcome of a man-made cult assumed that all of them were discredited at the same time all of our problems would be exactly .
What they are now how do we live with one another where indeed do morals and ethics come from what are our duties to another how shall we build the just city how should we practice love uh how should we how should we deal with the the basa of what darwin called the .
The the lowly stamp of our original origins which comes not from a pact with the devil or an original sin but from our evolution as well all these questions ladies and gentlemen would remain exactly the same emancipate yourself from the idea of a celestial .
Dictatorship and you've taken the first step to becoming free thank you dr craig your closing argument five minutes in my final speech i'd like to try to draw 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 to think that god does not exist no i don't think we have we've heard attacks upon religion christianity impugned god-impune mother teresa impuned but we haven't heard any arguments that god does not exist mr hitchens seems to fail to recognize .
That atheism is itself a worldview and it claims alone to be true and all the other religions of the world false it is no more tolerant than christianity with respect to these other views he asserts that he alone has the true worldview atheism .
The only problem is he doesn't have any arguments for this worldview he just asserts it so it seems to me that we if you're going to have a worldview and champion it tonight you've got to come to a debate prepared to give some arguments and we haven't heard any he did have an argument about evolution but when i explained that it actually .
Turned out to be supportive of theism evolution actually provides evidence for the existence of a designer of the universe so we've not heard any good arguments to think that atheism is true now i presented five reasons to think that theism is true and this is what god or the god .
Hypothesis does give you he asks what does it give us it explains a broad range of human experience philosophical ethical uh scientific historical experiential i find 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 dropped this point in tonight's debate when we saw that in fact scientific and philosophical evidence points to a beginning of the universe out of nothing and therefore to a .
Transcendent personal creator of the cosmos the teleological argument the fine-tuning that is established in the initial conditions of the universe not to speak of in the biological complexity that then ensued and again mr itchins has dropped that in the course of the debate tonight .
So we have a creator and an intelligent designer the cosmos thirdly the moral argument we saw that without god there are no objective moral values and here mr hitchens has consistently distorted the argument he's portrayed the argument as how would we know moral values if we .
Didn't believe in god we don't need to believe in a tyrant in order to find moral values unbelief doesn't produce wickedness that is all irrelevant the point is that there is no foundation on a naturalistic worldview for the moral values and duties that we .
Both want to affirm and he agrees with that this is what he says and i quote he says our innate predisposition to both good and wicked behavior is precisely what one would expect to find of a recently evolved species that is half a chromosome away from chimpanzees .
Primate and elephant and even pig societies show considerable evidence of care for others parent child bonding solitary in the face of danger and so on as darwin put it any animal whatever endowed with well-marked social instincts would inevitably acquire a moral sense .
Or conscience as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well developed as in man that is the sociobiological explanation morality the problem is that that moral sense that develops in pig societies chimpanzees baboons and homo sapiens is illusory .
On atheism because there are no objective moral duties or values that we have to fulfill and that's what the theists can offer mr hitchens and so i want to invite mr hitchens to think about becoming a christian tonight all of honestly honestly if if he is a man of .
Good will who will follow the evidence where it leads all of the evidence tonight has been on one si
de of the scale and he wants to affirm objective moral values so why not adopt theism the resurrection of jesus has gone unrefuted if the argument is not that it's too .
Improbable to be false the argument is that you need a historically sufficient explanation to explain why the disciples came to believe this and there isn't one apart from the empty tomb and appearances it's not a matter of rumor 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's anybody watching or listening to the debate tonight who hasn't found god in a personal experiential way then i want to invite you as well to think .
About becoming a christian i became a christian as a junior in high school and it changed my entire life and i believe that if you'll look into it honestly with an open mind and an open heart that it can change your life as well mr hitchens has yielded his time and therefore we move to questions .
And we are directing those questions to students tonight i want to repeat something dr hazen said there are stupid questions i want to add to it we are uninterested in your opinions only your questions matter to us i don't know where the microphone is can we hear the first question each .
Participant will answer every question dr craig mr hitchens thank you so much it's been great listening to you both my question is from mr hitchens uh mr hitchens in your book god is not great you say that quote there are four irreducible objections to religious faith end quote .
The third being that religious faith quote is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual oppression end quote so here's my question for you is it good that the bible prohibits humans from having sex with animals or is that an example of dangerous sexual depression .
Um with um the illusion i was making was not to the um man-made in the ordinary sense nature of religion that you can you can tell from studying some of its codes that it's humans are inventing it that's why so many of the injunctions in the old testament are as you quite .
Rightly say concerned with agriculture shall we put it delicately um but it's more that it's men made that it's it's it's it's uh designed to keep women in subordination but uh could you answer the question do you think the bible is right .
Uh to prohibit humans from having sex with animals i don't know of any good advice about having sex with animals in favor of it i mean say look there are things that if people do um incest is one um and cannibalism is another if you if you do them you'll die out a society that permitted .
It would if there were societies in new guinea that did practice cannibalism and they there's a terrible disease that you get called kuru if you do it and it seems to me um it's it's if you like there are some rules that are self-enforcing um that's not what i when i was talking .
About sexual repression i was talking about the enormous number of prohibitions on sex between men and women and on the evident fear of female sexuality and the superstitious dread for example the female menstrual blood things of this kind dr craig your .
Assessment of that question and answer well i think the question illustrates that uh apart from god whatever is in nature is right uh there there is no uh thing barred in nature if there is no sort of objective moral code so uh the question is a good one because it illustrates that here .
Is a guideline for sexual expression that is very good for human beings and not something that's meant to be repressive or harmful to human beings in fact the studies i've seen says that religious people have more fun with sex than people who who are not religious .
And it's actually uh shows that they are more sexually satisfied in in marriage and so forth so uh i think the question makes a good point i think i have to have another bite of this this attempting a cherry you see if it's true um that as i think it is that nature is .
Pretty indifferent pretty callous pretty random then who is who is the designer but many people say concerning the ban on homosexuality for example in the in the old testament they'll say well homosexuality is against god's law and it's against nature's law .
Well in that case why does nature see to it 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 their own gender um it doesn't help it doesn't in clarifying and elucidating this it doesn't help to assume .
A supernatural authority whereas if you look at the reasons given by maimonides and the other sages for the uh practice of circumcision it is precisely to dull and to blunt the sensation of an organ which i don't think even um well i'll leave it there our next .
Question is it's explicitly designed in other words to reduce a sexual pleasure make it more of a painful duty than a celebration i don't want to misrepresent myself i was a student here and graduated somewhat by the skin of my teeth but uh mr hitchens you you stated that uh .
Some of your most strongly stated arguments are that uh the results of religion uh violence death destruction the motivation being religion discredit those who would promote a belief in god however i think there's a imbalance there .
In that the nuclear bomb was created by physicists and is the the most demonstrable violence perpetrated on mankind so i i wonder how you respond to that well physics isn't an ideology physics isn't a belief system it's a it's a science .
Well that i think that would be subjective i mean you could i mean any more than uh the marie curie uh discovering radium makes her practice uh morally different i mean it's not comparing like with like what i'm talking about are specific religious injunctions to do .
Evil to mutilate the genitalia of children for example um to uh to take the pastor douglas wilson um who uh dr craig was just mentioning with whom i crossed swords several times this year recently in dallas i happened to be mentioning to him about the commandment .
To exterminate the amalekites in one of our debates he said that commandment is still valid if there were any amalekites it would be his job to make sure that they were all put to the sword and there or some some of the virgins left over for slavery purposes better imagined perhaps than .
Than described i think this is a very serious problem i'm not taking refuge in the commonplace that uh sometimes people religious people behave badly that would discredit religion that would be a very soft option i'm saying there are specific .
Biblical scriptural injunctions to do evil dr craig in that regards those who are announced atheists who have done evil in the world particularly in the last 20th century the marxists the trotskyites the stalinists have they done more damage in your view .
And more evil than the christians well this is a debate hugh that i don't want to get into because i think it's irrelevant i i i as a philosopher and i mean this i'm interested in the truth of these world views more than i'm interested in the social .
Impact and you cannot judge the truth of a worldview by its social impact that's just irrelevant bertrand russell in his essay why i'm not a christian understood this russell said you cannot assess the truth of a worldview by seeing whether it's good for society or .
Not now the irony was when russell wrote that back in the 20s he was trying to refute those who said that you should believe in christianity because it's so socially beneficial to society it was just the mirror image of christopher hitchens
argument we're saying you shouldn't believe in it .
Because it's socially detrimental to human culture but i think russell's point cuts both ways because it's a valid point you can't assess the truth of a worldview by arguing about its cultural and social impact there are there are true ideas that may have had negative .
Social impact and and therefore we have to deal with the truth of these the arguments for and against them and not get into arguments about has marxism or chinese communism been responsible for more deaths than theism in the 20th century no i i completely concur with what you say .
There i mean i i just wanted to say that i think that the those commandments are injunctions to do evil but i i would much prefer to say that the tribe that thought it was hearing these instructions from god to kill all of its rivals exterminate all its rivals for the holy land .
Might possibly have had i think it's overwhelmingly probably did have the need to seek and claim divine approval for the war of greedy extermination annexation and racist conquest that it was going to undertake anyway in other words i don't think .
There was an authority issuing that commandment whether it was morally good or otherwise um as a matter of truth but i would i would add an and i think the concession is very well worth having that there's absolutely no proof at all that christianity makes people behave better .
Because it's irrelevant but by no means did i concede that and i do appreciate as well the way you framed the issue about the the canaanites i think you're quite right in saying that this is not an issue about whether or not god exists rather this is a question about biblical .
Inerrancy did these ancient israelites get it right in thinking that god had commanded them to do these things or did they in their nationalistic fervor think god is on our side and do something which in fact they weren't commanded to do by god so that this isn't .
An issue between atheism and theism this is an issue about biblical inspiration and inerrancy and that's an important issue but it's not one that is on the floor tonight our next student question hi uh my question is mainly directed at mr hitchens but .
Christian theism as with all theisms that claim a revelation say that the purpose of human existence is to serve god and mr or dr craig might want to expound on that in some way but mr hitchens as an atheist with no transcendent being giving you a reason for existence what .
Then is the best way to live life or what is motivation for living life or what is the purpose of your existence without a transcendent being telling you what to do well i find i find it you see this is where i find it hard to accept the grammar of your question .
It's as if if i was only willing to concede uh supernatural you want to say transcendent um i want to say supernatural then my life would have purpose i think that's a complete non-sequitur to me at any rate i'll have to just make the confession and this is as real to me subjectively as any william james ian .
Apprehension of the divine i i don't i don't get your point at all uh dr craig one of the written questions says and i think it is consistent with the question from the audience you have written that life without god is absurd but how but i know unbelievers who are living fulfilling moral lives in what way is .
Their life absurd okay let me respond to that and to the question here that was asked i would say that the purpose of life for which god has created this is not to serve god remember jesus said i have not called you servants i have called you friends and i think the westminster .
Confession gets it right when it says the purpose of human existence is to glorify god and enjoy him forever god is the fulfillment of human existence it is in fellowship eternally with god the source of infinite goodness and love that the true fulfillment of human .
Existence and and freedom is to be found now when i say that apart from theism life is a is meaningless i mean objectively meaningless this is the same distinction that we're talking about with regard to moral values i'm saying that on atheism there is no .
Objective purpose for human existence as mr hitchens recognizes eventually the universe will grow cold dilute dark and dead as it runs down toward maximum entropy and heat death and all human existence and uh life will be extinguished uh on an atheistic view of .
The future of the universe there is no purpose for which the universe exists the litter of a dead universe will just expand into the endless darkness forever a universe in ruins now of course one can still live one's life as an illusion thinking well the purpose of life is to .
Say hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases every year you know in the major leagues and and you draw the meaning of your existence from that but that's not really the meaning of your existence that's just a subjective illusion in fact your .
Existence on atheism is objectively meaningless so that's that's the distinction that i was making again it's between objective and mere subjective illusion well um i think it's exactly the wrong way around you see as i was beginning to say earlier we didn't have time in the question .
Period i wouldn't say that atheism was morally inferior i wouldn't concede that for a second i don't want to make a claim for its superiority either but there may be a slight edge here we don't believe anything that could be called wishful in other words we don't particularly .
Welcome the idea of the annihilation either of ourselves as individuals the party will go on and we'll have left and we're not coming back or all of the uh entropic heat death of the universe we don't like the idea but there's a good deal of evidence to suggest that that is what's going to .
Happen and there's very very little evidence to suggest that i'll see you all again in some theme park one nice and one nasty experience i there's absolutely no evidence for that at all so i'm willing to accept on the evidence conclusions that may be unwelcome to me .
I'm sorry if i sound as if i'm spelling that out but i will now you want us to know what makes my life meaningful generally speaking it's been struggling myself to be free and if i can say it without a modesty mr hewitt kindly said it for me too flatteringly beforehand um but .
Trying to help others to be free too um that's what's given a lot of meaning to my life and and does still the solidarity with those those who want to be as free as i am by partly by luck and partly by my and efforts and the efforts of others well one obstacle to liberty and that's why i mentioned it and gave .
So many examples of it in history and in the present day is the poisonous role played by fellow primates of mine who think they can tell me what to do in the name of god because god's told them that they have this power so that's one thing i'd like to be shot of .
Right here in the here and now and my suspicion is if you really ask the religious where do they want power and what's the world they care about the next one or this one it'll be this one every time because they too know perfectly well that this is the only life we've got yeah i don't think that's true it seems .
To me that uh on the basis of the resurrection of jesus that we have grounds for the hope of immortality this is the the foundation upon which the christian hope is predicated so again it gets back to whether or not one has good grounds for thinking that jesus was .
Who he claimed to be and that god raised him from the dead because if he did then there is hope of immortality but then you i return your your question to me i've sa
id it to you in a in a different form if there's going to be a resurrection an ingathering if in the end all .
Injustices will be cancelled all tears dried all the other promises kept then why do you care what happens in this brief veil of tears why do the churches want power in the here and now why do they want to legislate for things like abortion or sexuality or morality why .
Why bother i mean isn't it isn't it just as much the case as dostoevsky says about atheism that um without god all things are possible that with god all things are thinkable too not at all as dostorevsky said if if there is no immortality all things are permitted .
He said because it all ends up the same it all comes out in the wash the same but if there is a god who exists who loves human beings and has created them in his image and endowed them with intrinsic moral value and unalienable rights then you have every reason to treasure .
Other persons as ends in themselves and the desire of pro-life uh persons to champion the lives of the unborn or the lives of the dying isn't a power grab mr hitchens it's because they genuinely care about the lives of innocent human beings that they believe .
Are being wantonly destroyed so it's a very positive motivation agreed agreed but they're perfectly good there are perfectly good humanist motives for doing all those things and if you want to have a reason for caring about the survival and health and well-being of others .
The idea that you might depend on them for the only life you've got and and they they on you for solidarity is just as good an explanation for right action by the per contract if people think god is telling them what to do or they have god on their side what will they not do that's what i meant by the reversal of the doss to ask .
A question what crime will not be committed what offence to justice and to reason and you might he will not be is not regularly committed by people who are convinced that it is god's will that they do that if they can commit such atrocities it is .
Only because they act inconsistently with their worldview rather than in line with it jesus would not have been a guard at auschwitz or uh someone who would uh take away the human rights of another person you you need to ask what kinds of actions are sanctioned by a worldview .
And on atheism as as dostoyevsky said it seems everything is permitted humanism without god as a basis for humanism is just a form of speciesism a bias in favor of your own species i think christianity firm affirms the real basis for humanism auschwitz is the .
Outcome of centuries in which the christian church announced believed that the jewish people had called for the blood of jesus of nazareth to be on their head uh for every generation it's only in one verse in the bible i .
Know but it happens to be the verse the church picked up on i don't say jesus would have been a guard there that's not the point the point is that this is not an aberration of religion it's it is a scriptural injunction as is the one to kill the amalekites .
As is the one to mutilate the the genitals of children it is the issue is would jesus have been a guarded auschwitz because insofar as people who claim to be his followers were guards at auschwitz they were acting inconsistently and in defiance of the ethic of jesus of nazareth you should .
Tell that to the vatican i mean we know paul johnson and his very um uh friendly uh history of christianity uh says that uh up to fifty to sixty percent of the valve and ss were practicing confessing catholics in good standing no one was ever threatened with disciplined by the church with .
Excommunication for example for taking part in the final solution the only nazi ever excommunicated by the by the church was joseph goebbels and if you like i'll tell you why to the student his wife was a divorced protestant who's going to come on anyway excuse me christina he does have some standards .
Next student hi i'd just like to thank both you guys for being here and in the interest of fairness i know i'm playing devil's advocate here pun intended but um i think since almost all of the questions are going to be directed towards uh uh the mr hitchens i think we should .
Have one for dr craig they're all for both of us um for dr craig what do you think about epicurus's argument that if god is omni beloved omniscient and omnipotent if he knows about kids in africa and like that are born with like aids um what do you think about him .
Suggesting like him not intervening and him not changing that fact i don't that's a question that i've always struggled with so i'm just wondering uh like could you expand on that and i'd also like you to put on it the problem of evil and suffering has been greatly discussed by .
Philosophers and i think there's been genuine progress made in this century on this problem i think it's important to distinguish between the intellectual problem of suffering and the emotional problem of suffering because these are quite different from each other in terms of the intellectual .
Problem of suffering i think that there you need to ask yourself is the atheist claiming as epicurus did that the existence of god is logically incompatible with the evil and suffering in the world if that's what the atheist is claiming that he's got to 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 no philosopher in the history of the world has ever been able to identify what those hidden assumptions .
Would be that would bring out the contradiction and make it explicit on the contrary you can actually prove that these are logically compatible with each other by adding a third proposition namely that god has morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil in the world as long as that statement .
Is even possibly true it proves that there's no logical incompatibility between god and the suffering in the world so the atheist would have to show that it is logically impossible for god to have morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil and suffering in the world .
And no atheist has ever been able to do that so the the logical version of this problem i think is widely recognized to have failed those atheists who still press the problem therefore present is a probabilistic argument they try to say that given the evil in the world it's improbable that .
God exists not impossible but improbable well again the difficulty there is that the atheist has to claim that if god did exist then it is improbable that he would permit the evil and suffering in the world and how could the atheist possibly know that how could the atheist .
Know that uh god would not if he existed permit the evil and suffering in the world maybe he's got good reasons for it maybe like in christian theism god's purpose for human 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 that wouldn't require a world that is simply suffused with natural and moral suffering it might be that only in a world like that the maximal number of people would freely come to know god and find salvation so the atheist would have to .
Show that there is a possible world that's feasible for god which god could have created that would have just as much salvation and eternal life and knowledge of god as the actual world but with less suffering and how could the atheist prove such a .
Thing it's sheer speculation so the problem is that as an argument the problem of evil makes probability judgments which are very very ambitious and which we are simply not in a position to make with any kind of confidence n
ow i recognize that that philosophical .
Response to the question doesn't deal with the emotional problem of evil and i think for most people this isn't really a philosophical problem it's an emotional problem they just don't like a god who would permit suffering and and pain in the world and so they turn their backs on him what .
Does christianity have to say to this problem well i think it has a lot to say it tells us that god is not some sort of an impersonal ground of being or an indifferent tyrant who folds his arms and watch watches the world suffer rather he is a god who enters into human history .
In the person of jesus christ and what does he do he suffers on the cross christ bore a suffering of which we can form no conception even though he was innocent he bore the penalty of the sins of the whole world none of us can comprehend what he suffered and i think when we .
Contemplate the cross of christ and his love for us and what he was willing to undergo for us it puts the problem of suffering in an entirely different perspective it means i think that we can bear the suffering that god calls upon us to endure in this life with courage and with optimism for an .
Eternal life of an ending joy beyond the grave because of what christ has done for us and he will give us i think the courage and the strength to get through the suffering that god calls upon us to bear in this life so whether it's an emotional issue or an intellectual issue i think .
Ultimately uh christian theism can make sense out of the the suffering and evil in the world as the clock winds down i reserve the last question for myself just on the devil's advocate point when the vatican asked me to testify against mother teresa .
I discovered which i did i discovered that the office of devil's advocate has been abolished now so i i come before you as the only person ever to have represented the devil pro bono last question yeah now i'm not one of i was very intrigued by that reply and largely agree with it if i if i was .
A believer i would not feel god owed me an explanation i'm not one of those atheists who thinks you can go around saying complaining i mean if you make the assumption that there is a deity then all things are possible you just have to be able to make .
That assumption um at 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 quarter of a century and incestuously raped and tortured and kept in the dark with her children for 25 years i thought .
I asked people to imagine how she must have beseeched him how she must have begged him and how the children must have and how they must have prayed and how how those prayers went unanswered and those beggings and beseechments went unanswered for 25 years and um .
Douglas wilson's reply to me was god will cancel all that um and all those cheers will be dried and i say well if you if you if you're capable of believing that then obviously what that woman went through and her children went through was perfectly worthwhile and her father .
Was all that time without knowing it and apparently not particularly wishing it an instrument of the divine will and as i have said to you before this evening had occasion to say you're perfectly free to believe that if you wish to conclude i do you could um mr hitchens you've got 4 000 people here tens of thousands more watching you .
Could do the same exchange at wheaton at westmont at azusa pacific at point loma at notre dame at every great christian university in the united states why do you think so many people come out to see debates with accomplished people like dr craig and you .
It's a time uh for this great question to come up again um i think there are two reasons for it um one is the um emergence of a very aggressive theocratic challenge in various parts of the world um we are about to see a long a long feared nightmare come true the .
Acquisition of apocalyptic weaponry by messianic regime in tehran which is already enslaving and ruining a formerly great civilization we see the forces of al qaeda and related jihadists ruining the societies of iraq of afghanistan and pakistan .
We see jewish settlers stealing other people's land in the name of god in the hope that this will bring on a messianic combat and of the return of the messiah um and even in our own country we're not free from people who want to have stultifying nonsense taught to .
Children in school and in science class so there's there's that it's in the news all the time and then there's the existence of a very small group of which i'm very proud to be a part that says it's time to take a stand against theocratic uh bullying and is willing to go .
Anywhere to debate these matters and put these great questions to the proof so and thank you for giving me the chance i would i would answer the question somewhat differently i think that what we're seeing is the fruit of modernity .
Uh in the enlightenment the church and the monarchy were thrown off in the name of free thought and unshackled human inquiry and the thought was that once mankind was freed from the shackles and bondage of religion that this would produce a sort of humanistic utopia and instead i think what we've come to .
See is the fruit of the naturalistic world view is that mankind is reduced to meaninglessness values and purposelessness and that therefore the question of god's existence has become all the more poignant in our age because we're beginning to question i .
Think the fruit of modernity and questioning scientific naturalism i'm privileged to be part of a revolution in christian philosophy that has been going on over the last half century that has literally transformed the face of anglo-american philosophy .
As the scientific naturalistic atheistic worldview has been challenged in the name of of reason and philosophy and the theistic worldview um reasserted uh and i believe that we're seeing a tremendous groundswell of interest among laypeople as this revolution is beginning to .
Filter down to the man in the street so i would see us as as beginning to question the assumptions of modernity and the bitter fruits of modernity that have uh been so evident in the 20th century and and i'm .
Hoping that this will lead to a tremendous renaissance in christian thinking and christian faith to wrap up then five quick observations and some instructions number one no good society prohibits debate such as this one number two only confident faith welcomes .
Them only extraordinary universities staged them and only only very accomplished scholars and intellectuals can make them interesting and entertaining please join me in welcoming and thanking our panelists .
Both men both men they did agree on one thing which is that n.t wright is a very impressive man i think christopher hitchens said and therefore to the viewing audience who might not know who nt wright is i recommend on mr hitchens .
Strong recommendation that you get and read his books i also want to tell you that i'm going to ask you to stay in your seats as our panelists exit stage right there's a book signing and i want to ask you if you have a book to stand in line if you don't please don't and to recognize mr hitchens has a .
Five o'clock flight in the morning so get your book signed he loves to do that but please don't ask him about his third cousin that you once met melbourne just let them get to talk to the book so gentlemen i'm gonna let you stage enter stage left here and i'll hold them for a second thank you very much stay .
There so they can get around back finally i i want to thank dr craig hazen toy honors institute and everyone at biola for coming this evening have a safe productive trip h
ome good night biola university offers a variety of biblically centered degree programs .
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On April 4, 2009, William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens met at Biola University to debate the question of God’s existence. Craig is one of the world’s foremost Christian apologists. Hitchens, is a leading spokesman for the “new atheism” movement. In front of an overflow crowd and a global internet audience, they debated the origin and design of the universe, the implications of human morality, the deity of Jesus, and the validity of Christ’s resurrection. It was a compelling clash of worldviews and an examination of the major arguments for and against Christianity and atheism.