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The God Debates: An Alternative to Doug Wilson’s Debate with Christopher Hitchens

If you’re an atheist and you thought Doug Wilson’s arguments for Christianity were weak, or found yourself disappointed with degree of substance portrayed in the Collision Documentary, or you’re a Christian and likewise were disappointed, I suggest that you will find much more satisfaction listening to a more sophisticated/academic debate between atheist Gordon Stein and Christian scholar Greg Bahnsen.  It’s not as flashy and entertaining as The Collision, but if you are a true intellectual and can carefully follow arguments, you will find it much more satisfying of a debate.  In fact, this debate has since been often referred to simply as “The Great Debate,” without any further qualification.      

For a more recent alternative, try listening Daniel Dennett (renowned militant atheist) argue with Alvin Plantinga (retired head of the philosophy department at Notre Dame).

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6 Comments

  1. I have not been able to get up with any of the atheist debates lately, but having been one myself I have thus far found the arguments they put forth somewhat amusing. They are always at a loss, if and when God shows up. That was my problem, when Jesus appeared, knocking at my heart’s door and then opened it when I ran away. All of my questions of judgment were completely forgotten as were Job’s when God finally responded. I think it is funny, because the joke was and is on me. As to those who think God is a meglomaniac, they will find His very nature is rather overwhelming in an underwhelming way. Anyway that is what I found Dec.7,1957. Intellectually, the challenge is utter profundity in the depth of absolute simplicity. Like my friend fishing on a mountain stream in Va. He was going to cross to the other side. He glanced down and could see the bottom. He figured it was 2-3 feet deep. After all, he could see the grains of sand rolling along the bottom. He stepped off into the stream and nearly drowned. The depth was 18-20 feet. So is it with the matter of the Divine and Deity. The claity is deceptive due to our own faulty vision; we just simply don’t grasp depths very well in other mediums as my friend found to his dismay. The fact is the Bible uses paradoxical interventions. God speaks to humans with opposites, with what seems like ludicrous precepts designed to reveal the person to the person’s self, to elicit what is truly in the person, and to make known the person’s utter dependency on the Being making the revelation. His way is underwhelming (from the perspective of being lowly and yet attention focusing in a way that holds the individual’s interest with a grip undeniably overwelming in the best and healthy sense of the word. The end result is the sinner setting, clothed, and in his right mind as it was in the case of the demoniac.

  2. theophilogue says:

    Dr. Willingham,

    Thanks for your thoughts! I love your analogy about the mountain stream! I’m probably going to borrow that one at some point. 😉

    I also resonate with your observation that “the Bible uses paradoxical interventions.” Luther and Karl Barth were good at this too. Paradoxical language isn’t always the most “logical” in a scientific way, but it often gets the point across much more powerfully. It can be the difference between galvanizing rhetoric and boring straightforward facts.

    Bradley

  3. russellandduenes says:

    Thanks so much for this. It is great stuff, though I would point out that Bahnsen is not really saying anything different than Wilson. True, I’m pulling from Wilson beyond just “Collision,” but Wilson uses Bahnsen’s “transcendental argument,” albeit in different words.

  4. theophilogue says:

    russellandduenes,

    I’m very glad you enjoyed it! I actually haven’t seen Collision yet, but I’ve heard lots of Christians complain that they didn’t think Dougy Fresh did so hot. That’s why I wanted to make these other resources available.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Bradley

  5. russellandduenes says:

    The Doug Dog did falter, in my humble opinion, at a few points. He “goes to the well” a bit too often on the assertion that atheism does not allow for any objective morality. This is true, but it can sometimes come off as a kind of obstructionism. The fact is, Hitchens is not going to answer it. That said, you’ll really enjoy Collision, I think. Bahnsen and Stein give better grist for the mind, but Hitchens and Wilson cover a lot of the same territory, and they are easily more engaging and have, shall we say, more verve in their interchanges.

  6. To Theophilogue Bradley: You are welcome to use the illustration. The fellow I got it from, of Catawba Indian descent, I ordained to the ministry in June. He is one of the best fishermen I ever met. I am just praying God will make him the best spiritual fisherman to seek out the Lost. I think this third Great Awakening is getting closer every day as thing grow darker and darker. Look at Spurgeon’s Evening Devotions for Aug.6 and Dec. 24.

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