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Richard Dawkins The Coward

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To be fair to Dawkins, he is not a good debater, while Craig is an expert in debate. He could probably do a better job defending atheism in a debate format that most atheists. Dawkins also has the aditional problem that he is not a philosopher, while that is Craig's profession.

Dawkins should just admit that is the reason he doesn't want to debate, and stop with the stupid excuses. He doesn't want to debate because he knows he would lose, and if he is going to avoid his most dangerous opponents, then he shouldn't debate at all.

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dawkins doesnt know his arse from his elbow man. u ever seen him live? he totally freaks out if anyone asks anything that doesnt kiss his ass in some way or another

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^ Well, in that case he shouldn't really be acting like a philosopher. He's a classic example of the impressive scientist who thinks he can just wander into the philosopher's territory and come out on top. He should have stuck to zoology, I think.

I agree. He is completely out of his depth, and his only purpose is to become famous, make money, and perhaps pick up a few converts to atheism among the easily influenced. He has no interest in a real academic discussion, because he simply isn't qualified to have one.

For some reason, many people seem to think that scientists, and in particular those who are evolutionary biologists or cosmologists, are in a position to determine whether or not God exists. This is why so many people are interested in Einstein's beliefs, or those Hawking.

Anyway, I was recently watching this discussion between the 'four horsemen of new-atheism', and I was struck by how shallow the whole thing was:

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^That's because three of them are shallow; I make an exception for Dr. Dennett. He's one of the greatest minds today. Dawkins' Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype were brilliant; like I say, he should remain in his actual field.

.

Edited by Psychopath

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Ugh don't ever post a video with that dog people call 'Christopher Hitchens'. 'God is not great' is a book that wasted literally two hours of my life; speculative nonsense and a superiority complex which deluded hitchens into playing the role of a polymath.

He should stick with being a columnist for Vanity Fair (provided that he beats cancer)

Edited by La'nat Ma Man

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^That's because three of them are shallow; I make an exception for Dr. Dennett. He's one of the greatest minds today. Dawkins' Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype were brilliant; like I say, he should remain in his actual field.

.

Yeah, I was actually thinking of adding that Dennet is the only one that came out relatively well of the whole discussion. Hitchens is a moron with a large vocabulary, and the other two are in the wrong field. The discussion does show how little they understand about the faiths that attack though. For example, considering how much time they spend interacting with Christianity, their knowledge of the religion seemed extremely superficial. To say nothing of their knowledge of Islam, which was on the level of the 72 virgins in Paradise stereotype. They actually seemed to think that Ayan Hirsi Ali was an effective critic of Islam, and that Ibn Warraq was a serious scholar of Islam.

I think this shows some of their arrogance that they think these religions are so obviously stupid that they don't even need educate themselves on them.

Ugh don't ever post a video with that dog people call 'Christopher Hitchens'. 'God is not great' is a book that wasted literally two hours of my life; speculative nonsense and a superiority complex which deluded hitchens into playing the role of a polymath.

He should stick with being a columnist for Vanity Fair (provided that he beats cancer)

You should watch his disaster of a debate with William Lane Craig. It really exposed how little Hitchens has actually thought through what he believes.

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Much agreed with haidar and psychopath.

William Craig uses historical evidences for his arguments, which are completely different from scientific evidences. The two of them could debate but it would probably be stupid and wouldnt lead anywhere.

It would be more reasonable for someone like Hitchens or someone who...for starters isnt a scientist, to debate a theologian/historian.

Scientists debate on scientific grounds, historians debate on historical grounds, philosophers debate on philosophic grounds. Thats just how it goes.

On scientific grounds, obviously dawkins would win, on historical theologin grounds, William Craig would win.

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Much agreed with haidar and psychopath.

William Craig uses historical evidences for his arguments, which are completely different from scientific evidences. The two of them could debate but it would probably be stupid and wouldnt lead anywhere.

It would be more reasonable for someone like Hitchens or someone who...for starters isnt a scientist, to debate a theologian/historian.

Hitchens did debate Craig and did terribly. You can watch the whole debate on youtube, or just look at some of the many highlight clips.

Here is the first part of the debate:

Scientists debate on scientific grounds, historians debate on historical grounds, philosophers debate on philosophic grounds. Thats just how it goes.

On scientific grounds, obviously dawkins would win, on historical theologin grounds, William Craig would win.

The problem is Dawkins doesn't just make scientific arguments. He also makes philosophical and historical arguments, where he doesn't really know what he is talking about.

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bear in mind that the scientists' arguments against creationism are based soley on the christian view of creationism, with the view that muslim and jewish teachings are identical to genesis etc. so therefore they believe that our faith states god made the universe in 7 days and needed a rest, he directly controls all destiny to the minutest degree (including who will go heaven and hell before they are born), the earth is 10,000 years old and so on and so forth.

i have yet to see even one of them discuss the concept of tawheed, arguing against the shia viewpoint. quite simply they are going for the easy targets because they sell.

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bear in mind that the scientists' arguments against creationism are based soley on the christian view of creationism, with the view that muslim and jewish teachings are identical to genesis etc. so therefore they believe that our faith states god made the universe in 7 days and needed a rest, he directly controls all destiny to the minutest degree (including who will go heaven and hell before they are born), the earth is 10,000 years old and so on and so forth.

i have yet to see even one of them discuss the concept of tawheed, arguing against the shia viewpoint. quite simply they are going for the easy targets because they sell.

Yes, I agree with this. I notice that many of these atheists are turned off from believing in God because of Christianity because of its absurdity (no disrespect to Christians intended).

They never study Islam but are turned off by the media, terrorism, apostasty laws etc.

I would love to see them take on narrations from the Imams (as).

Edited by Replicant

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I have said this always, Dawkins when it comes to the God problem. His arguments are all old, with except a new more flashy name of "Boeing".

None of his arguments are convincing, even the atheist philosophers are embarrassed to know that this person is leading their belief.

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Yes, I agree with this. I notice that many of these atheists are turned off from believing in God because of Christianity because of its absurdity (no disrespect to Christians intended).

They never study Islam but are turned off by the media, terrorism, apostasty laws etc.

I would love to see them take on narrations from the Imams (as).

I would love to see Muslims take on the actual Christian religion and not generalise about us on the basis of a minority of heretics. Perhaps they are turned off by the Da Vinci Code, the media, sex abuse scandals, High Middle Ages ectera. They never study the Catholic Faith but they speak of it's absurdity quite freely. Absurdity. That is why you have to study some (and only some) of our names to pass you philosophy courses? And why even put a "no disrespect intended" clause in brackets? What else could you have possibly done by the remark than offend a Christian reader? And so what were your intentions in making the comment to begin with?

As well - who is spear-heading the theistic cause in Western academia? In Britain it is (or was) Richard Swinburne. He is a Christian - Eastern Orthodox. In the United States it is William Lane Craig - Protestant but educated at a Catholic University, clearly influenced by his reading of Thomas of Aquinas and with Weslyan leanings. Still a heretic though. But I find it remarkable that Muslims can use William Lane Craig as a bludgeon on atheists and by the same token speak of the "absurdity" of "Christianity". He is brilliant, thoughtful, incisive when it comes to atheism. But as to his own convictions - absurdity.

Sounds rather absurd.

Edited by Servidor

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I would love to see Muslims take on the actual Christian religion and not generalise about us on the basis of a minority of heretics. Perhaps they are turned off by the Da Vinci Code, the media, sex abuse scandals, High Middle Ages ectera. They never study the Catholic Faith but they are speak of it's absurdity quite freely. Absurdity. That is why you have to study some (and only some) of our names to pass you philosophy courses? And why even put a "no disrespect intended" clause in brackets? What else could you have possibly done by the remark than offend a Christian reader? And so what were your intentions in making the comment to begin with?

I'm very sorry if I offended. Reading it again, I did not put it nicely and I apologize.

I just meant that these Atheists may find Islamic Monotheism (Tawhid) a bit more palatable than the Christian idea of God being in the form of a human or the concept of the trinity etc.

I hope you will accept my apology.

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I would love to see Muslims take on the actual Christian religion and not generalise about us on the basis of a minority of heretics. Perhaps they are turned off by the Da Vinci Code, the media, sex abuse scandals, High Middle Ages ectera. They never study the Catholic Faith but they speak of it's absurdity quite freely. Absurdity

dude my third primary school was a roman catholic school. bible studies was a mandatory lesson no matter your faith, as well as morning prayers and hail marys and lords prayer for punishments and everything. it wasnt even as though i was the only muslim, there were loads of us.

so yeah. im pretty sure i know enough to speak about christianity, especially catholicism.

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I'm very sorry if I offended. Reading it again, I did not put it nicely and I apologize.

I just meant that these Atheists may find Islamic Monotheism (Tawhid) a bit more palatable than the Christian idea of God being in the form of a human or the concept of the trinity etc.

I hope you will accept my apology.

No.

No I will not accept your apology. Not until you furthermore agree to apologize for supporting Liverpool. I shall accept it conditionally on your immediate transference of allegiance to Arsenal FC. But - of course. I shall take your olive-branch.

As for what atheists find or might find palatable - I shall have to disagree. Most sincere atheists tend to see a drawing power in the claim that God became man. A God Who comes to you is both more profound and unnerving than the God too far away to be so interested. I have never met an atheist who had sincerely reflected on this central claim of the Christian religion without seeing it's profundity. I have never known an atheist who rejected the Christian religion because of the Incarnation. As for the Holy Trinity - the very center of the our Faith. I have never - mark me well: never - met anyone, atheist or otherwise, who denies or attacks the doctrine of one God in Trinity who has actually known what the doctrine is. In what our confession consists.

Beside that - it is unreasonable to suppose that they only needed a copy of the Qu'ran and a link to al-Islam.org and their lives would be different. Even granting that it is the historical claims of the Christian religion and/or the Christian confession of God that is sending them away - why would they become atheists? Presumably they would adopt some notion of a God different from ours (as in the so-called Enlightenment). Deism or another form of personal monotheism more to their taste; indeed - entirely the product of it. Most thoughtful atheists I know of tend to reject the existence of a God on considerations relative to attributes common to both our conceptions. So, as an example, omniscience relative to free will or prayer.

Most atheists who leave or spurn religion do so because they are or become against religion in itself. They reject ritualism. They reject revelation. They reject moral culpability. Islam has all of these as well. Moreover we live in days in which almost for the first time we are drilled, from childhood to television, in a purely materialistic understanding of the world. Atheism is prevalent because it is the logical conclusion of what we are taught. And even those who do not follow it through to it's conclusions still mitigate their religious convictions where appropriate. This is the first time in recorded history that the majority of humanity, irrespective of religion, does not believe that we are actually creatures and that the world was actually created. This is either going to change and people shall come to recognize that presuppositions bear upon how we interpret even purely natural phenomena or data - or it is going to become worse. There are other considerations as well. License - prevalent immorality making the religion that would condemn them rather unpalatable, one might say. Suffering. And ectera.

You cannot inculpate the Christian religion for the existence of atheism. In point of fact - it was the forcible displacement of the Christian religion (not on rational but on political grounds) that marked the beginning. What is occurring in Western Europe and English-language countries is the consequence of increasing distance between modern men and the Christian religion. It is not a matter of knowledge and denial. It is a matter of not knowing at all.

dude my third primary school was a roman catholic school. bible studies was a mandatory lesson no matter your faith, as well as morning prayers and hail marys and lords prayer for punishments and everything. it wasnt even as though i was the only muslim, there were loads of us.

so yeah. im pretty sure i know enough to speak about christianity, especially catholicism.

I am certain you do not. Going to a Catholic school does not mean you know the Christian religion. Not anymore than going to public schools these days guarantees literacy. It is relative to the student. Not least telling here is the boldness. I was a Shia Muslim and I do not arrogate to myself the right to define the religion of the Shia Ithna Ashari. Beside that Catholic schools have been unspeakably and increasingly low (doctrinal) standard since the Second Vatican Council. Indeed - the fact that I keep coming across alleged students who know nothing of the Catholic Faith and can do no more than reiterate distortions, confirms me in saying so. For example - you have twice now claimed that double-predestination or fatalism is a Christian doctrine. I, in another thread, demonstrated that it is a historical heresy condemned by multiple councils. Blame your teachers - but do not tell me what my religion is.

Edited by Servidor

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No.

No I will not accept your apology. Not until you furthermore agree to apologize for supporting Liverpool. I shall accept it conditionally on your immediate transference of allegiance to Arsenal FC. But - of course. I shall take your olive-branch.

Nooooooo!!!

1) I cannot do that because I love Liverpool too much.

2) Arsenal are going to get relegated at this rate.

3) My family will behead me if I change teams.

As for your main point, you make some valid claims.

I don't watch many of these debates, but from the few I've seen, I gather that Atheists usually attack Christian theology more than anything else about Christanity.

When they attack Islam, they attack the ethical side (stuff like women, apostasy, violence etc) rather than the theological side of things. I would like to see them discuss Islamic Monotheism a bit more to see what they have to say about that.

Maybe they should look at Saduq's Kitab al-Tawhid (Book of Divine Unity) because it's quite a profound collection of narrations.

Either way, I don't they'll ever be satisfied because of their arrogance.

One thing in common between Christianity and Muslims that Atheists do attack though is the stories of the Prophets, like Noah (as) or Adam (as). They would deem the Christian and Islamic version as fairytales.

Edited by Replicant

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As for your main point, you make some valid claims.

I don't watch many of these debates, but from the few I've seen, I gather that Atheists usually attack Christian theology more than anything else about Christanity.

When they attack Islam, they attack the ethical side (stuff like women, apostasy, violence etc) rather than the theological side of things. I would like to see them discuss Islamic Monotheism a bit more to see what they have to say about that.

Maybe they should look at Saduq's Kitab al-Tawhid (Book of Divine Unity) because it's quite a profound collection of narrations.

It turns upon the atheist. Some atheists do take aim at the ethical questions - inquisition, witch-burning, quotations from the Old Testament and so on. Overall I have seen very few actually raise questions of what we would call theology (the Incarnation for example); in fact I cannot remember a single instance where this has occurred. The problem of evil is the main thrust of the atheistic counter-argument. They then focus on whatever it is the theist interlocutor had put forward as evidence. Again - arguments from the alleged inconsistency of omniscience and other attributes common to both the Christian confession of God and the Muslim conception are common enough. Denis Giron raised the problem of omniscience and free will in reference to Islam on his Free Thought Mecca.

Most atheists have no serious, grounded knowledge of the Catholic Faith. Take any atheist and give him twenty minutes with an FSSP priest for interrogation on Christian doctrine and they shall come up nil. Protestantism is the problem and even then it is too vague to allow of talk of "knowing". No one knows the full content of the selection of Protestant denominations thoroughly. Protestantism has therefore allowed an ambiguity to prevail when it comes to the Christian religion. That is why so many atheists think they can talk about it intelligently without having read any of the fathers, knowing the acta of any council or having any serious acquaintance with the other sources of Christian doctrine.

But I think that is enough for this thread.

Edited by Servidor

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I would love to see Muslims take on the actual Christian religion and not generalise about us on the basis of a minority of heretics. Perhaps they are turned off by the Da Vinci Code, the media, sex abuse scandals, High Middle Ages ectera. They never study the Catholic Faith but they speak of it's absurdity quite freely. Absurdity. That is why you have to study some (and only some) of our names to pass you philosophy courses? And why even put a "no disrespect intended" clause in brackets? What else could you have possibly done by the remark than offend a Christian reader? And so what were your intentions in making the comment to begin with?

Can you suggest some Catholics who have debated with Muslims, or are willing to debate with Muslims? Because it seems like mainly Protestants who are active in that field.

I would also be interested in your recommendation for a good Catholic apologist who has debated with Protestants, or perhaps even a debate you have seen where you think the Catholic did better but was up against a well-informed Protestant. For example a Catholic against James White, who as far as I am aware used to be quite active in the Protestant-Catholic debate scene, with what appears to me to be decent success.

Alternatively, a good book refuting Protestant arguments against Catholicism would also be welcome.

As well - who is spear-heading the theistic cause in Western academia? In Britain it is (or was) Richard Swinburne. He is a Christian - Eastern Orthodox. In the United States it is William Lane Craig - Protestant but educated at a Catholic University, clearly influenced by his reading of Thomas of Aquinas and with Weslyan leanings. Still a heretic though. But I find it remarkable that Muslims can use William Lane Craig as a bludgeon on atheists and by the same token speak of the "absurdity" of "Christianity". He is brilliant, thoughtful, incisive when it comes to atheism. But as to his own convictions - absurdity.

Sounds rather absurd.

Yes, but let's face it there aren't many high-quality Muslim intellectuals in the West who are qualified for these types of debates. Even Craig is an exception among Christians due to his training both as a philosopher and especially as a debater. It's rare to get someone at such a high level in both these fields.

I don't think he is particularly well versed in theology however, which perhaps explains why he refuses to debate other Christians or even in some cases former Christians. His arguments are also usually in favour of the existence of a God, and not a specifically Christian God. I'm not aware of any argument he often makes that wouldn't equally apply to arguing in favour of Allah in the sense that Muslim understand Him. In fact, he would probably have a slightly easier time in his debates since, among other things, he wouldn't find himself in the position of defending some of the things that happen in the Old Testament, as so often happens.

Edited by Haider Husayn

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Can you suggest some Catholics who have debated with Muslims, or are willing to debate with Muslims? Because it seems like mainly Protestants who are active in that field.

One of the forum members, Yahya Seymour (Yahya 2004 here) recently had an exchange with some people from Fordham if I am not mistaken. You would likely have to ask him concerning those willing to debate Muslims in a strict academic context. Otherwise - go to any university and talk to a Catholic student.

I would also be interested in your recommendation for a good Catholic apologist who has debated with Protestants, or perhaps even a debate you have seen where you think the Catholic did better but was up against a well-informed Protestant. For example a Catholic against James White, who as far as I am aware used to be quite active in the Protestant-Catholic debate scene, with what appears to me to be decent success.

Alternatively, a good book refuting Protestant arguments against Catholicism would also be welcome.

Here I am not on firm ground. I have not really had any great interest in arguments (of others) concerning Protestantism. I could give you my reasons for rejecting Protestantism. High among them would be that this is not how the Christian religion works. Christ did not give the holy apostles the authority to go out and convince all nations of the logical force of His claims and commandments; or to hold a symposium and work it out for yourselves. A doctrine is not decided by an argument. There is a visible Church of true teachers with apostolic authority and Christ with those true teachers (as He promised) until the consummation of the world. A Church against which the gates of Hades cannot prevail. Doctrine is received from the apostles and fathers - not from the deliverances of private interpretation of vernacular translations of the New Testament. It is for that apostolic and authoritative Church to hand the Faith that comes to us from the apostles on - and mark out error; i.e. what does not come to us from the apostles but from say a loquacious fifteenth century German.

If you are sincerely interested in studying the Catholic Faith - you should not begin at Protestant/Catholic controversies. Why not begin with the first one thousand five hundred years and draw your conclusions when you come to it? And presumably you would do better to begin by looking at the Catholic Faith in and of itself; considering it for yourself. Then perhaps look at what it is Protestants want to tell you.

As for books - for the Catholic Faith as against Protestantism there is obviously no better than the Council of Trent. You could find it online. I know Saint Robert Bellarmine wrote a very thorough refutation of Protestantism, though I do not know if a full translation is available (it is a little much to reasonably offer to translate from Latin for you...). Saint Francis de Sales preached in Protestant Geneva with immense success. He wrote a little book called the Catholic controversy which is available online - pdf or html. The little book converted apparently nearly seventy two thousand heretics back to the Christian religion. As well, the original Jesuits paid no little attention to the Protestants; their purpose being largely to engage emerging Protestantism (Counter-Reformation). The religious face of Western Europe for the last several centuries marks their success. But again - I do not have any particular work in mind that I could recommend to you. But you might look along those lines for yourself.

Yes, but let's face it there aren't many high-quality Muslim intellectuals in the West who are qualified for these types of debates. Even Craig is an exception among Christians due to his training both as a philosopher and especially as a debater. It's rare to get someone at such a high level in both these fields.

Not really. To study philosophy at a university standard you generally have to engage in discussions as a matter of course. You have to offer a defence of your doctoral thesis as well. There are also several academic bodies in which one might find ready opponents on any of the central questions of modern philosophy. Most academic philosophers spend a considerable amount of their time in discussion or debate. I particularly like Swinburne's lectures because he literally expects his audience to argue with him afterward or to ask questions at least; there are also other debates in which he has participated over the years at Oxford which no one had the presence of mind to record; one particular heart-rending loss being a debate with Richard Dawkins from the biology department.

Moreover, that is not the only front on which one can engage atheists. To hold to Swinburne as an example, he wrote a robust trilogy on precisely the crucial issues pertaining to theism; it's coherence, reasonability and probability; all in conscious opposition to atheist intelligentsia and aimed directly at them. But, anyway - my point there was that it is hardly reasonable or fair to say that precisely these "high quality" theist "intellectuals" in the West not only affirm absurdities but make something absurd the object of their deepest convictions and commitment.

I don't think he is particularly well versed in theology however, which perhaps explains why he refuses to debate other Christians or even in some cases former Christians. His arguments are also usually in favour of the existence of a God, and not a specifically Christian God. I'm not aware of any argument he often makes that wouldn't equally apply to arguing in favour of Allah in the sense that Muslim understand Him. In fact, he would probably have a slightly easier time in his debates since, among other things, he wouldn't find himself in the position of defending some of the things that happen in the Old Testament, as so often happens.

He is not a good "theologian". Some of his arguments could be construed that way, naturally. Not his customary argument from the historical resurrection of Christ - but certainly his nuanced version of the cosmological arguments, those from teleology and morality. My point there, again, was that it is not very reasonable to use his arguments and reasoning against atheists and then bizarrely conclude on the same token that his religious convictions are an "absurdity". You cannot both think much and little of his intelligence.

Edited by Servidor

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An atheist who refused to debate? Strange.

He is scared of what he calls the "Professional Debater".

Dawkins enjoys debating religious people because most of these people are emotional and dogmatic. Religious people are always bounded by their religion and their debating style is predictable, hence it is an easy victory for Dawkins, who already know all the tricks and techniques, of how to deal with such people.

Edited by Zareen

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I am certain you do not. Going to a Catholic school does not mean you know the Christian religion. Not anymore than going to public schools these days guarantees literacy. It is relative to the student. Not least telling here is the boldness. I was a Shia Muslim and I do not arrogate to myself the right to define the religion of the Shia Ithna Ashari. Beside that Catholic schools have been unspeakably and increasingly low (doctrinal) standard since the Second Vatican Council. Indeed - the fact that I keep coming across alleged students who know nothing of the Catholic Faith and can do no more than reiterate distortions, confirms me in saying so. For example - you have twice now claimed that double-predestination or fatalism is a Christian doctrine. I, in another thread, demonstrated that it is a historical heresy condemned by multiple councils. Blame your teachers - but do not tell me what my religion is.

*shrugs* i read the bible from start to finish, attended mass and listened to weekly lessons about how awesome catholicism is for all the time i was there. my school also had summer trips to israel an vatican city as well as lourdes. it was an unspoken rule that if you were a christian, you went to at least one of those trips so i used to hear about them all the time. sorry but that makes me as good as most catholics in terms of knowing about religion.

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Dawkins has written a rather weak piece in the Guardian, explaining why he won't debate Craig. Bascially, his reasons boils down to the fact that Craig isn't worthy of any respect because he actually believes what is written in the Bible and attempts to defend it. Dawkins would rather debate modern liberal Christians who are willing to write much of the Bible off as metaphor, or who will outright disown certain passages.

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Dawkins has written a rather weak piece in the Guardian, explaining why he won't debate Craig. Bascially, his reasons boils down to the fact that Craig isn't worthy of any respect because he actually believes what is written in the Bible and attempts to defend it. Dawkins would rather debate modern liberal Christians who are willing to write much of the Bible off as metaphor, or who will outright disown certain passages.

sounds fair. Dawkins does hold debates with far more prestigious religious figures.

"That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine".

"I have publicly engaged an archbishop of York, two archbishops of Canterbury, many bishops and the chief rabbi, and I'm looking forward to my imminent, doubtless civilised encounter with the present archbishop of Canterbury."

And realistically, the OT speaks of staffs turning into snakes, seas splitting, men rising from the dead and walking on water, animal sacrifices, flood stories and masses of locusts being summoned by God and on and on. Most people, scientists in particular wouldnt waste their time with something like this on the simple fact that its all non empirical.

""But why take the lives of innocent children? The terrible totality of the destruction was undoubtedly related to the prohibition of assimilation to pagan nations on Israel's part. In commanding complete destruction of the Canaanites, the Lord says, 'You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons, or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods' (Deut 7.3-4). […] God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. […] Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.""

And If i were Dawkins, after reading something like this i surely would not waste my time with him. Hes a crazy zionist.

"It is therefore completely misleading to characterise God's command to Israel as a command to commit genocide. Rather it was first and foremost a command to drive the tribes out of the land and to occupy it. Only those who remained behind were to be utterly exterminated. No one had to die in this whole affair." "

This sounds familiar, people being driven out of the land of Isreal, hm yes.

Edited by iSilurian

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William Lane Craig is a very well respected Christian Apologetic, by both, atheists and theists. He isn't just a debater; people like to say that he just uses extraordinary rhetorical spin rather than anything substantial. The reality is quite to the contrary, he's made huge contributions to philosophical theology. It's all very convenient for Dawkins to say that he's too busy or too clever for Craig whilst launching a scathing attack on him on a platform where Craig can't answer back. Dawkins has debated far less prestigious individuals than Craig, I assure you.

Edit: The Archbishop of Canterbury is a much easier opponent than Craig (he is a philosopher). Philosophy is not Dawkins' gig, and he needs to realise that.

Edited by Psychopath

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sounds fair. Dawkins does hold debates with far more prestigious religious figures.

"That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine".

"I have publicly engaged an archbishop of York, two archbishops of Canterbury, many bishops and the chief rabbi, and I'm looking forward to my imminent, doubtless civilised encounter with the present archbishop of Canterbury."

With all due respect to these people, they are not even a fraction as dangerous as William Lane Craig would be in a debate. The Archbishop of Canterbury is basically a joke to any serious Christian, even among those who are members of the Church of England, and they have little idea about how to attack Dawkins' arguments in an effective way or make a robust defence of their faith. They are probably more interested in a 'conversation' than a real debate anyway.

I also suspect that Dawkins is being hypocritical here, because it seems extremely improbable that the Chief Rabbi, who I presume to be Jonthan Sacks, believes that the passages in the Old Testament that Dawkins objects to are mere metaphors. He is an orthodox Jew after all.

And realistically, the OT speaks of staffs turning into snakes, seas splitting, men rising from the dead and walking on water, animal sacrifices, flood stories and masses of locusts being summoned by God and on and on. Most people, scientists in particular wouldnt waste their time with something like this on the simple fact that its all non empirical.

Why even debate the existence of God then? Is He subject to empirical study? If God exists and He created the universe, then obviously splitting the sea is rather trivial.

""But why take the lives of innocent children? The terrible totality of the destruction was undoubtedly related to the prohibition of assimilation to pagan nations on Israel's part. In commanding complete destruction of the Canaanites, the Lord says, 'You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons, or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods' (Deut 7.3-4). […] God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. […] Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.""

And If i were Dawkins, after reading something like this i surely would not waste my time with him. Hes a crazy zionist.

I don't think he is a Zionist, he is just trying to find an acceptable defence of a difficult passage in the Bible. Personally, I don't believe God ordered such a thing, or would order such a thing, but clearly if you believe in heaven and that children automatically go to heaven (which by the way is rather debatable from the Biblical viewpoint), then what he says is not completely monstruous, although I do think there are some other problems he doesn't address and I don't find his explanation all that convincing anyway.

The point is that what Craig wrote might sound horrendous to someone who believes there in no hearafter, to someone who does it is not really that bad. Since the afterlife is a fundamental belief of almost all Christians, I think it is rather disingenuous to disqualify someone as a worthwhile opponent simply because he makes a moral argument based on this belief.

"It is therefore completely misleading to characterise God's command to Israel as a command to commit genocide. Rather it was first and foremost a command to drive the tribes out of the land and to occupy it. Only those who remained behind were to be utterly exterminated. No one had to die in this whole affair." "

This sounds familiar, people being driven out of the land of Isreal, hm yes.

Even if Craig was a Zionist, why should Dawkin care? What bearing does it have on a debate about the existence of God? Dawkins probably believes the Biblical accounts are completely fictional anyway, and it's not like Christians claim this is an example to be followed.

Edited by Haider Husayn

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William Lane Craig is a very well respected Christian Apologetic, by both, atheists and theists. He isn't just a debater; people like to say that he just uses extraordinary rhetorical spin rather than anything substantial. The reality is quite to the contrary, he's made huge contributions to philosophical theology.

I hadnt noticed, but ill take your word for it.

Why even debate the existence of God then? Is He subject to empirical study? If God exists and He created the universe, then obviously splitting the sea is rather trivial.

Theres a difference between debating the existence of God, and debating whether or not a man walked on water or turned a piece of wood into a snake.

I don't think he is a Zionist, he is just trying to find an acceptable defence of a difficult passage in the Bible. Personally, I don't believe God ordered such a thing, or would order such a thing, but clearly if you believe in heaven and that children automatically go to heaven (which by the way is rather debatable from the Biblical viewpoint), then what he says is not completely monstruous, although I do think there are some other problems he doesn't address and I don't find his explanation all that convincing anyway.

yea

The point is that what Craig wrote might sound horrendous to someone who believes there in no hearafter, to someone who does it is not really that bad. Since the afterlife is a fundamental belief of almost all Christians, I think it is rather disingenuous to disqualify someone as a worthwhile opponent simply because he makes a moral argument based on this belief.

Well, tell that to the zionists wiping out palestine.

Even if Craig was a Zionist, why should Dawkin care? What bearing does it have on a debate about the existence of God? Dawkins probably believes the Biblical accounts are completely fictional anyway, and it's not like Christians claim this is an example to be followed.

Well, you dont want to give credibility to a nutcase. Thats the bottom line. If people begin to believe that its ok to kill women and children to free the land of Isreal, then we have a problem. Granted, people already do believe this, and we already do have this problem, but its something that dawkins really may as well not bother with. On top of that, as youve said earlier, Craig is a philosopher, so Dawkins would be wise to stick with his field and let the nutcase go.

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*shrugs* i read the bible from start to finish, attended mass and listened to weekly lessons about how awesome catholicism is for all the time i was there. my school also had summer trips to israel an vatican city as well as lourdes. it was an unspoken rule that if you were a christian, you went to at least one of those trips so i used to hear about them all the time. sorry but that makes me as good as most catholics in terms of knowing about religion.

Yes. As good as most Catholics for the last fifty years or so - but what in this do you think qualifies you to speak of the Christian religion? Everything you said amounts to a pretty thin religious education. You read a vernacular translation of the Old and New Testaments, had poor (apparently) religious education weekly and heard about field trips.

Honestly - you attended a Catholic primary school. Would you like to know how qualified that makes you to speak on the Catholic Faith? As qualified as a primary school student. I do not know about you - but I would not go to even a particularly sharp primary school student for extended knowledge on any subject, let alone a two thousand year old religion which moreso than any other places emphasis on tradition, proper authority and the teaching office of a consecrated hierarchy. The fact that you seem to be oblivious to even the basic structure and nature of the Catholic Church again only serves to forcibly confirm what I have said. You do not know what you are talking about.

Edited by Servidor

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An atheist Philosopher at Oxford University gives his opinion on Dawkins' recent pathetic excuse (the most recent in a long list of excuses):

Richard Dawkins's refusal to debate is cynical and anti-intellectualist

Using William Lane Craig's remarks as an excuse not to engage in reasoned debate is typical of New Atheist polemic

Richard Dawkins is not alone in his refusal to debate with William Lane Craig. The vice-president of the British Humanist Association (BHA), AC Grayling has also flatly refused to debate Craig, stating that he would rather debate "the existence of fairies and water-nymphs".

Given that there isn't much in the way of serious argumentation in the New Atheists' dialectical arsenal, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Dawkins and Grayling aren't exactly queuing up to enter a public forum with an intellectually rigorous theist like Craig to have their views dissected and the inadequacy of their arguments exposed.

Ironically, there is nothing substantively new about the New Atheists either. Despite its self-congratulatory tone, The God Delusion contains no original arguments for atheism. Summarising what he calls "the central argument of my book", Dawkins insists that even without an entirely convincing explanation for the fine-tuning in physics, the "relatively weak" explanations we have at present are clearly better than "the self-defeating … hypothesis of an intelligent designer".

Dawkins maintains that we're not justified in inferring a designer as the best explanation of the appearance of design in the universe because then a new problem surfaces: who designed the designer? This argument is as old as the hills and as any reasonably competent first-year undergraduate could point out is patently invalid. For an explanation to be successful we do not need an explanation of the explanation. One might as well say that evolution by natural selection explains nothing because it does nothing to explain why there were living organisms on earth in the first place; or that the big bang fails to explain the cosmic background radiation because the big bang is itself inexplicable.

What is new is the belittling posture toward religious believers and the fury of the polemics. The New Atheism is certainly a far cry from the model of civilised interlocution between "old atheist" Bertrand Russell and Father Copleston that took place and was broadcast on BBC Radio in 1948. The New Atheists could learn a lot from the likes of Russell, whose altogether more powerful approach was at once respectful and a model of philosophical precision.

In his latest undignified rant, Dawkins claims that it is because Craig is "an apologist for genocide" that he won't share a platform with him. Dawkins is referring to Craig's defence of God's commandment in Deuteronomy 20: 15-17 to wipe out the Canannites. Here is Craig's offending passage:

"[if] God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of [the Canannite] children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives."

I am disinclined to defend the God of the Old Testament's infanticide policy. But as a matter of logic, Craig is probably right: if an infinite good is made possible by a finite evil, then it might reasonably be said that that evil has been offset. However, I doubt whether Craig would be guided by logic himself in this regard and conduct infanticide. I doubt, that is, that he would wish it to be adopted as a general moral principle that we should massacre children because they will receive immediate salvation.

But whatever you make of Craig's view on this issue, it is irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists. Hence it is quite obvious that Dawkins is opportunistically using these remarks as a smokescreen to hide the real reasons for his refusal to debate with Craig – which has a history that long predates Craig's comments on the Canaanites.

As a sceptic, I tend to agree with Dawkins's conclusion regarding the falsehood of theism, but the tactics deployed by him and the other New Atheists, it seems to me, are fundamentally ignoble and potentially harmful to public intellectual life. For there is something cynical, ominously patronising, and anti-intellectualist in their modus operandi, with its implicit assumption that hurling insults is an effective way to influence people's beliefs about religion. The presumption is that their largely non-academic readership doesn't care about, or is incapable of, thinking things through; that passion prevails over reason. On the contrary, people's attitudes towards religious belief can and should be shaped by reason, not bile and invective. By ignoring this, the New Atheists seek to replace one form of irrationality with another.

http://www.guardian....liam-lane-craig

Edited by .InshAllah.

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For those who may be interested, here (right click and save target as), in part, is the BBC debate between Father Copleston S.I. and Bertrand Russell that Daniel Came spoke of. There is also a transcript. The mp3 is incomplete - the transcript is for the entire debate. Perhaps someone else might know of a full audio of the original broadcast recording.

Edited by Servidor

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Hitchens did debate Craig and did terribly. You can watch the whole debate on youtube, or just look at some of the many highlight clips. Here is the first part of the debate:
The problem is Dawkins doesn't just make scientific arguments. He also makes philosophical and historical arguments, where he doesn't really know what he is talking about.

God, we've had better debates on this topic on this site.

Hitchens was constantly falling back on moral outrage on the actions of religious believers, moral outrage on the 'wastefullness' and imperfectness' of nature, an outrage based on views of morality that have their basis in ancient religion, instead of recognizing that when you come to realize that morality is something man made the next step is to rise above it and impose a new morality on others, to become an ubermensch. Instead of trying to trying to rise above morality now that he sees the truth of it he instead protests against religion in a petty manner armed with moral views given to him by religion, by followers of religion and religious society, both ancient and modern.

Craig on the other hand was handicapped by his Christian-ness. He could have argued that at their core each religion, be it polytheist or monotheist, believes in the same ultimate reality, instead he had to write off everything other than Christianity, especially Islam and hand more ammunition to the atheists.

Edited by JimJam

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