Final comments on the William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens debate

Information about how to get the audio and video of the debate will be posted here, later.

My written summary of the debate is here. It’s really a play-by-play of every statement made.

Doug Geivett’s review of the debate

Doug Geivett’s excellent summary of the debate is here. This is a comprehensive summary!

The Pugnacious Irishman

The Pugnacious Irishman has a super summary of the debate. (He attended it) In addition, he has some very welcome comments about the general task of apologetics.


As I’ve said before (third part of a three part series.  To get the whole of my presentation, you need to read the first two parts as well.), this is a gigantic red herring, and confuses epistemology with metaphysics/ontology.  Craig was asking, “how can an atheist ground his moral beliefs?” not “how can an atheist behave morally without believing in God?”  Those are two totally different questions.  In the absence of a good God that grounds morality, well, the atheist might think he’s behaving morally, but he’s just attaching words without meaning to his actions..actually, the same goes for the theist!  Without God, all anyone ever does is act in ways we call morality, but our words are meaningless.  The moral sense that we have (that Hitchens claims develops via evolution) is merely an illusion that aids our survival…that’s what you get if you follow the atheistic premises where they lead.

And towards the end of the post:

The highlight of the debate for me was when Craig made an evangelistic appeal to both Hitchens and the non believers in the audience.  Of course, Hitchens wasn’t just gonna bow the knee right there, but this underscores a proper view of apologetics: it is an evangelistic, missionary enterprise.

I frequently hear Christians dismiss apologetical ventures because “its all just arguing about words.  You can’t win anyone to Christ with an argument.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that.  It’s all head and no heart and is totally irrelevant to my life.”

First, I think anyone  watching tonight could see Craig’s character and fervent love for the Lord.  I’ve seen the same for many Christian philosophers and apologists on the intellectual front lines.  They are winsome and attractive ambassadors, as Koukl says.  This puts that last objection (it’s all head and no heart) in it’s place.

Secondly, *nothing* in isolation can win someone to Christ without the Spirit, not even love or acts of service.  But people are won over to Christ with arguments all the  time when they are used by the Holy Spirit.  With the Holy Spirit’s help, they are quite potent.

Third, it’s not just arguing about words.  It is rooted in care for the lost.  Paul did it.  Jesus did it.  The early church fathers did it.  Craig showed it tonight.

Of course, if someone doesn’t care for the lost, he won’t care about any of this either…but that’s another discussion.

I would like to see TPI post something about that “other discussion”!

Further study

Check out my analysis of the 11 arguments Hitchens made in his opening speech in his debate with Frank Turek. You can also watch or listen to a preview debate that was held in Dallas recently between Craig, Hitchens, Lee Strobel and some other people. Biola also officially live-blogged the debate here.

Some book reviews of Hitchens’ book by Melinda Penner and Doug Groothuis are here.

For more on the arguments used in the debate, see my index of arguments here.

UPDATE: Looks like this has been picked up by Breitbart here.

BY THE WAY: If you enjoyed Bill Craig’s performance in his debate, why not stop by his Reasonable Faith web site and leave him a donation? He won that debate through months and months of preparation. So, when you fund his research, you really are helping him to go out there and do his job well. Won’t you consider helping Bill in his work?

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