Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Thursday, October 18, 2007

    McGrath & Hitchens Debate

    Poison or Cure? Religious Belief in the Modern World



    I am watching it now - should be interesting, or, as the person introducing the event said, "entertaining"...we'll see.


    ......
    From the source:

    The Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University hosted a debate ... all » between writer Christopher Hitchens and Oxford University professor Alister McGrath on the role of religious belief in the modern world. The debate was held on October 11, 2007 in Gaston Hall, in Georgetown University's Healy Hall.
    ......

    3 comments:

    swordbearer said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    swordbearer said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    swordbearer said...

    Good debate. It's worth watching not so much for the answers that either presented to the arguments of the other side as much as simply to see the SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SIDES.

    The ultimate lesson shown and illustrated in this debate is nothing new though it's still noteworthy; it's the same as presented two thousand years ago by the apostle Paul...that when it comes to Christ, the cross, and it's accomplishments, one sees it one way or the other, there's no in between! As Paul writes "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    Responses to specific statements will certainly arise, but as this site deals with skepticism my first impressions are as follows:

    1. While Hitchens argues that religion (has served as the source, and...) undermines ethics and morality, he failed (even after being presented with the question) to provide an answer for the basis and source of ethics and morality. This failure and dodge, even if accompanied by verboseness on other matters, highlights the bankruptcy of the atheistic worldview in the area of ethics and morality.

    2. Hitchens errs when he fails to distinguish when it comes to the cause of man's eternal punishment. He states man is sent to hell because he rejects God's offer. The unbeliever's guilt, not his rejection of God's grace, is what he is condemned for. Put another way, failure to accept God's offer in the gospel is to reject the solution, not to bring about the problem and result of one's own sin.

    3. Hitchen's poor scriptural exegesis and failure to understand the progressive nature of God's revelation and relationship with man results in both his misunderstanding and frustration of Scriptural teaching. (His rejection goes much deeper.) For example, his failure to understand covenant theology and God's revelations and dealings throughout various dispensations results in his arriving at faulty conclusions concerning the Old Testament and practices within.

    4. Hitchens statement alluding to God as cruel and suggesting God waited 100,000 years (or 98,000 years) to do anything about man's situation fails to recognize both the protoevangelion announcement which followed the fall of man and precedes his predicament, but also and most importantly fails to recognize the forward pointing implications of the cross which affect man, his existence and his relationship with God not only following the time of the cross but extending to man and his history leading up to the cross.

    5. Hitchens apparently loves to point to the "mutilation of genitalia" as unethical or immoral. On what basis can he even make this statement, especially since he is yet to give a basis for morality but less grounds for the standard of such morality?

    6. Hitchens is to be pitied. He comes across as a somewhat vulgar and miserable man full of anger and arrogance. (My observation, not critique)

    7. My suspicion, given Hitchens' continuous references in his writings and appearances, is that Hitchen's childhood serves as the greatest stubling block to his embracing God. He admits these issues disturbed him and set him on the path he's now on, but it's a better (not so much a different) framework that would lead him to better understanding, peace, and perhaps even belief. (My suspicion, not so much critique)