An Interesting Debate

On Friday Dr. Alex Rosenberg and Dr. William Lane Craig met at Purdue University to debate the question, “Is Faith in God Reasonable.”

Biola University published the debate and Q&A session on YouTube:

Personally, I wasn’t terribly impressed with Rosenberg or Craig. Craig connected well with the audience, and addressed Rosenberg with kindness and respect (even if he did completely ignore his arguments). Craig’s arguments were riddled with logical fallacies. However I was somewhat moved by his arguments against the problem of evil and in favor of a definition of god that was more conceptual and escaped Rosenberg’s Abrahamic god-box.

Rosenberg, on the other hand, was clearly the superior logician. He failed, however, to connect with the audience outside of his acerbic criticisms of Craig’s opening arguments, “I hope none of you paid money to see this,” he said to the Purdue crowd. His sour attitude and admission that he felt the debate forum wasn’t ideal for discourse (begging the question, why did he agree to debate Craig?) dampened the strength of his arguments. He slipped a bit with appeals to authority and appeals to his own moral outrage (which were not compelling). Still, Rosenberg’s answer to the overused, “Jesus Conundrum” was so clean I was shocked I hadn’t heard it before. His argument for secular morality boiled down to a refreshingly succinct recognition of secular ethicists throughout history (Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Voltaire, to name a few).

Overall the debate was an interesting exercise to watch. While the arguments weren’t stellar, the forum served to put a lot of common Christian apologetics on display, as well as several underrated points in favor of secularity. I’m quite interested in seeing your thoughts in the comments below.

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