Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Craig spanks Hitchens, warmly received in Turkey

William Lane Craig debated the famous "new atheist," Christopher Hitchens, at Biola University in April. "Hitchens Debate at Biola" (Reasonable Faith Newsletter, May 2009):
The debate on April 4 was the largest ticketed event ever held at Biola University. The gymnasium where the debate was held was stunningly illuminated with a bright blue backdrop and equipped with a giant screen and packed with 4,000 people. High-definition television cables linked the gym to every other auditorium on campus. The debate was webcast live (as well as on delayed feeds) to 35 other states and even to four foreign countries! Bloggers in the gym were providing live, blow-by-blow coverage to people across the internet.

... Hitchens showed himself utterly incapable of interacting with the [philosophical] arguments in a substantive way. By his third speech he had reverted to his usual railing against God as a North Korean dictator who robs us of our freedom....

The reaction in the blogosphere was immediate and unanimous. Hitchens was uniformly denounced for his empty rhetoric and posturing and his failure to interact with the arguments. One atheist blogger summed it up: “Hitchens was rambling and incoherent, with the occasional rhetorical jab. Frankly, Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child.”
A little over a week later, Craig flew to Turkey where he was invited to speak, among other venues, to a closed session of the faculty and grad students of the Theology Department at the University of Ankara on "The Coherence of the Christian Doctrine of the Incarnation," and received throughout his speaking tour with amazing warmth and gratitude. After his Ankara presentation, he reports, 'one of the professors shook my hand and said with a big smile, “You are a better practitioner of kalam than our philosophers!'” ("Speaking Trip to Turkey," Reasonable Faith newsletter, May 2009).

[Hat tip to E.E.]

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