Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Video Debate: Did the Universe Begin to Exist? - William Lane Craig vs Alex Malpass


In this livestream discussion, hosted by Cameron Bertuzzi of Capturing Christianity, Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Alex Malpass discuss Dr. Craig's philosophical arguments in defense of the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (that the universe began to exist).

For a great introduction to the Kalam Cosmological Argument, go here.

To learn more about Capturing Christianity, see here

You can find more of Dr. Craig's work here.

And Dr. Malpass's work can be found here.

Enjoy and let us know what you thought of the debate in the comments!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Debate Video: Does the Christian God Exist? - Matt Dillahunty vs. Braxton Hunter


In this featured debate, atheist Matt Dillahunty and Christian Braxton Hunter debate the question, "Does the Christian God Exist?"  

This debate took place on February 22, 2019 at Baylor University as part of the Texas Baptist Unapologetics Conference.  

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Philosopher Ed Feser on Mathematics and God

"Mathematics appears to describe a realm of entities with quasi-­divine attributes. The series of natural numbers is infinite. That one and one equal two and two and two equal four could not have been otherwise. Such mathematical truths never begin being true or cease being true; they hold eternally and immutably. The lines, planes, and figures studied by the geometer have a kind of perfection that the objects of our ­experience lack. Mathematical objects seem ­immaterial and known by pure reason rather than through the senses. Given the centrality of mathematics to scientific explanation, it seems in some way to be a cause of the natural world and its order.

How can the mathematical realm be so apparently godlike? The traditional answer, originating in Neoplatonic philosophy and Augustinian theology, is that our knowledge of the mathematical realm is precisely knowledge, albeit inchoate, of the divine mind. Mathematical truths exhibit infinity, necessity, eternity, immutability, perfection, and immateriality because they are God’s thoughts, and they have such explanatory power in scientific theorizing because they are part of the blueprint implemented by God in creating the world. For some thinkers in this tradition, mathematics thus provides the starting point for an argument for the existence of God qua supreme intellect."1

For more of Feser's work, see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote
1. Edward Feser, Keep It Simple, April 2020.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Are All Christians Dumb?

A few weeks ago, I ran the following poll on Twitter:

What is the most persuasive argument against Christianity?  Those participated could choose from the following:

1. Divine Hiddenness

2. The Problem of Evil

3. Christian Behavior

4. Other (Please share!)

I was very happy with the participation (1,119 votes)!  And much of the feedback was helpful.  For example, one reader pointed out that the problem of Divine Hiddenness often falls under the umbrella of the Problem of Evil (POE).  And while I totally agree, they are often addressed separately in the literature.

However, I found some of the feedback to be most disappointing.  While I freely confess that the numerous comments demonstrated a noted amount of ignorance on both sides of the aisle, it was most troubling to see those who simply said that the best argument against Christianity is "common sense," "a functioning brain stem" or "someone with an IQ above 50."  From these comments, one can safely infer that these skeptics are claiming that those who believe Christianity are dumb.  They lack, "common sense," "a functioning brain stem" and "an IQ above 50."  Is that really a rational claim?  Are skeptics such as these really willing to say that the following individuals are dumb?

Richard Swinburne
Alvin Plantinga
Francis Collins
J.P. Moreland
William Lane Craig
Ed Feser
John Lennox
Peter van Inwagen

And I could name many more!  Skeptics typically pride themselves on arriving at conclusions and beliefs based upon rationality.  However, from my perspective, it seems that the only way to conclude that these men (and others like them) are dumb, one must deny the very rationality they claim to champion.  

For more on this topic, see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

4 Reasons Why William Lane Craig and Jeffrey Jay Lowder of the Secular Outpost Should Debate the Existence of God

Note to Readers: Mr. Lowder did not in any way solicit this post. 

I love watching debates.  I enjoy debates on various topics, but it should come as no surprise that my favorite debates deal with topics related to Christian theism- the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus and the problem of evil, just to name a few.

Since becoming a Christian, I have benefited greatly from the debates of Dr. William Lane Craig (WLC).  These debates have introduced me to challenging arguments, demonstrated how to properly organize and defend an argument and, frankly, they are just plain fun!  I get excited for a great debate in much the same way others get excited for an important sporting event.

And while WLC has had some outstanding debates in the past (see he clashes with Sean Carroll, Erik J. Wielenberg, Paul Draper and Bart Ehrman, just to name a few!), some have been real stinkers.  Often, WLC's opponents either seem completely unfamiliar with theistic arguments or treat them with utter disdain.  And admittedly, some of those debates have been painful to watch.  In some cases, I actually felt sorry for the person debating WLC.  I was embarrassed for them!  Some examples that come to mind are Frank Zindler, Alex Rosenberg and Louis Wolpert.  These men either presented arguments with Philosophy 101-type errors in them, argued against propositions WLC was not defending or simply hand-waved his arguments as if ridiculous.

To be sure, the list of people that WLC has debated is impressive.  He clearly doesn't avoid the tough opponents.  However, I believe there is one person in particular that WLC should debate.  Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995.  He is also the co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.  His work can currently be found at Patheos

Below are 4 reasons I why I believe WLC should seriously consider debating Jeffrey Jay Lowder.

1. Lowder has written extensively on WLC's arguments.

As I mentioned above, sometimes those who debate WLC are completely unprepared to deal with his arguments.  This would not be the case with Lowder.  He has written extensively on WLC's arguments and demonstrates that he understands them better than most.  One only needs to survey his work to testify to this fact.  Examples can be found here and here.

2. Lowder is a gentlemen and takes theistic arguments seriously.

As evident in his work, Lowder seeks to read all arguments charitably and even admits that there is some evidence that is more probable on theism.  Moreover, absent are the common character attacks and ridiculing that some in the atheist community part take in.1  Lowder treats his opponent, and the arguments they offer, with respect and charity.  For evidence of this fact, see this post in which Lowder actually defends Craig.

3. Lowder is an accomplished debater.

Here, I would simply refer readers to Lowder's past debate with Dr. Frank Turek.  It should be evident to any sincere inquirer that Lowder's debating skills are formidable.

4. Both the skeptical community and the believing community would benefit.

This is perhaps the best reason of all.  A debate between WLC and Lowder would result in a substantive exchange focused on arguments about (what I would argue) is the most important question of existence- "Does God exist?"  In other words, every one wins!

A Possible Objection 

I suppose some could object to the idea of WLC debating Lowder because Lowder is not a professional philosopher; however, I would simply respond by saying Craig famously debated the late Christopher Hitchens in 2009 at Biola University and Hitchens was a journalist with a mere bachelor's degree.  Sure, Lowder doesn't have a Ph.D., but as stated above, his work demonstrates an understanding of Craig's arguments that far surpasses that of Hitchens.  I realize WLC has stated that he was persuaded to debate Hitchens (although he was reluctant) based upon his growing influence, but I believe I could argue that Lowder's influence in the online skeptical community is also significant.  I am not trying to say it rivals that of "Hitch," but his reputation in the skeptical community is influential and should not be dismissed.

Conclusion

I am a Christian theist and have benefitted greatly from WLC's work.  And, I think the arguments Craig offers are more plausible than not.2  In other words, I think they are good arguments.  However, I have also benefitted from reading the work of Jeffrey Jay Lowder and believe it would be profitable for everyone if they debated the question of God's existence.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. This is not to say that Lowder is infallible or perfect.  I'm sure someone could point to a comment he has made and try to make the case that he has been insulting.  This is not my point.  I am simply saying that generally, he is a gentlemen and strives to be fair-minded.
2. This is not to imply that I agree with every jot and tittle that the man argues.  For example, I am still considering the strength of the  moral argument as presented by Craig.  I just think that his arguments, for the most part, are generally plausible.

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Monday, March 09, 2020

Video: Is It Rational to be a Christian? Stephen Woodford vs. Justin Brierley


I finally got around to watching this debate between Stephen Woodford of Rationality Rules and Justin Brierley of Unbelievable?  I am excited to report that both men did an excellent job!  This talk could serve as a model for both atheists and theists on how to have a respectful, thoughtful and challenging dialogue.  

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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