Posted by: Billy Marsh | December 17, 2007

Debates on Christianity and Atheism

As you all know, I have been briefly keeping up with the “New Atheist” movement, especially in light of the hype surrounding The Golden Compass and recent articles in Time magazine (Atheist Sunday School). Apologetics has always been one facet of the ministry of which I have been fascinated with, but have never had the time to spend a great deal of study and preparation in. Often, I feel that I have neglected to equip myself to defend the gospel or Christianity, but it’s not too late to push forward more aggressively. As of right now, I’m debating on how much to include apologetic supplimentary readings into my normal regimen. More than likely, I will increase that intake gradually in the coming semester.

This post is intented to simply expose you to a few of the debates that are viewable online for free concerning this issue. These are amazing programs and are just as entertaining as they are informative and prophetic. If you want a crash course in the main issues and arguments concerning the “New Atheist” movement, then you should watch both of these incredibly tantalizing debates/dialogues which I will link for you below.

  • Poison or Cure? Religious Belief in the Modern World: (FORA TV) A Debate Between Christopher Hitchens and Alister McGrath – In this program, Hitchens and McGrath discuss the main arguments from Hitchens’ book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Recorded on October 11, 2007 at Georgetown University in Washington, D. C.
  • Debate on D’Souza’s book, “What’s So Great About Christianity?”: Is Christianity the Problem? (CSPAN’s Book TV) D’Souza defends Christianity and Theism based off of arguments taken from reason and creation. D’Souza’s approach for responding to Christopher Hitchens is less theological than McGrath’s, but is only so because of the base level apologetic that D’Souza wishes to demonstrate at how fundamental Christianity really is. In both debates, Hitchens proves to be a formidable opponent. It is obvious from the veracity of his attack on Christianity, and Theism altogether, that Hitchens is not showing up at these events simply for academic pleasure. He is passionate about defeating Christianity and leading the campaign to overthrow it in this world. However, D’Souza does a tremendous job of responding to Hitchens’ claims with a calm and confident demeanor. You would do well to watch both of these programs soon! This event was held in 2007 at The King’s College in New York.
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Responses

  1. Billy,
    I have loved apologetics since I was an 18 yr old freshman at OU and got my copy of Josh McDowell’s book, “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”. Dawn and I watched the debate between Hitchens and D’Souza on TV and really enjoyed it. It was very worthwhile and skillfully handled by both men. The crowd seemed evenly split even though it was at some Ivy League school that you would think would be strongly atheistic.

    To me, this is another area of theology that the Church has not brought in for the laymen like it should. Every church ought to have some apologetics training right beside evangelism training.

  2. I agree, apologetics seems to be a natural consequence of desiring to be active in ministry. Somewhere along the line, when you’re sharing the gospel, someone is going to ask some hard questions. Probably ones that they’ve already given a lot of though to, and we are usually left grabbing for something to say. We ought to have the mindset of Francis Schaeffer, who started L’Abri with the intention of providing a place where people could come and “ask honest questions and receive honest answers.”


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