The God Debate II

Harris-CraigI recently watched this video, called “The God Debate II: Is God Good?,” which was sponsored by the Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters in April.  The debate is between Sam Harris, whose book “Letter to a Christian Nation” I am currently reading (and will have a review of soon), and William Lane Craig.  Harris is trained as a neuroscientist and philosopher, and is also an author.  Craig is trained as a philosopher and theologian, and is a Christian apologist.

It’s a very good debate; if you have a chance (and 2 hours), you should watch it:

Questions: What did you think of the debate?  Who do you think won?  Which arguments did you think were particularly incisive?  You can leave your comments by clicking here.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen it before.

    Not even 3 minutes from “begin”, and Craig commits his first fallacy, specifically, offering up a false dichotomy

    Craig says, If God exists, then we have a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties.

    Here, even if we grant that there is a god and a subsequent “sound foundation for objective moral values”, Craig is assuming – and he evidently wants us to buy into his assumption – that this god’s idea of “morality” is something that we’d need and benefit from as a species.  What if this god thought that having more than 3 kids was “immoral”, and all families found having more than 3 kids must be dowsed with gasoline and burned alive? Well? Would that policy all of the sudden become the “moral” thing to do, simply because this entity created everything and goes by the name “God”? No, of course not. Sane, intelligent people would tell this god to get screwed, and rightfully so. 

    If Craig, or another Christian, would attempt to counter that with something like, “Well, that’s silly!….God would never command such evil things!”(or something similar), then there are evidently some things that are so despicably evil, that not even “God” would command them. That would prove that there is a standard of “good” and “bad” that exists independently of “God”, and that standard would be something that even “God” adheres to. 

    We do not get morality from “God”.

    • Anonymous

      The Code of Hammurabi is believed to date back to the 18th century B.C.E.  The code was created centuries before Mosaic Law was recorded.  Obviously, the scribes who drafted the Code of Hammurabi do not site YHWH as their source of inspiration.  Hammurabi claimed the source of inspiration was a “god” that Christians today certainly would not recognize as being real. Interestingly, Mosaic Law, which was drafted centuries later,  certainly bears resemblance to the Code of Hammurabi.  

      A stone monument containing Code of Hammurabi contents now resides in the Louvre.  Fragments of a clay tablet bearing cuneiform which parallels portions of the Code of Hammurabi have also been recovered recently.  These fragments date to the 18th century B.C.E.  It is amazing how not a single shred of original Bible manuscript (OT or NT) exists on Earth today, but we have the preserves of the Code of Hammurabi dating to the 18th century B.C.E. (centuries before any OT manuscript was recorded).  I guess it is all just part of the Great Mystery of God…

      http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138788

    • Barrett

      If you assume that a standard of “good” and “evil” exists independtly of “God”, how are humans able to come into contact with that standard?  Is it an innate capacity within humanity, i.e., consciousness?  If so, how do we avoid relativism and hold to objective morality knowing that divergent beliefs are pervasive among conscious people?  For the sake of argument, if we believe taking the life of an individual outside of war or capital punishment is an objective moral evil, how do we “prove” to those who desired to limit the number of children born due to something like population concerns (apart from any appeal to God or religous concerns) by killing those born (outside of the womb) beyond that number?  The argument could be that the worst possible misery for everyone would be over-population, so therefore taking the life of a child of those who went against the norm is morally justifiable.  Further, why should we limit the standard of morality to the worst possible misery (whatever that may be)?  Why not do as the Nazi’s and implement euthenasia of the elderly and infirmed?  Why not rid society of those who are genetically disabled (either mentally or physically) in order to create a supposed greatest possible good through the collective attempt to eliminate bad genes and/or those that deplete the resoures of the society?  Lastly, what is the nature of an assumed objective morality that exists apart from God?  Is it immaterial?  Atheistic naturalism cannot account for that which is immaterial; that which is immaterial is non-existent, i.e., God.  If it is immaterial then how do conscious beings come into contact with what is beyond them?  If it is material where do we see, taste, touch, hear, or smell it?  It seems that moral objectivity is contrary to atheistic assumptions.  Morality is better understood as an evolutionary development and therefore right and wrong are relative to time and place.  What follows then is that objective morality is impossible and “good” and “evil” changes depending on cultural ethos. 

      • Anonymous

        “If you assume that a standard of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ exists independtly of ‘God'[….]”

        Just to be clear—-I’m not arguing, nor have I ever argued, for moral objectivism. I’m merely saying that there is no objective morality found in the “Body of Christ”, as Christians claim there is. “Atheistic naturalism cannot account for that which is immaterial; that which is immaterial is non-existent, i.e., God”Atheistic naturalism is not obligated to account for such a “thing”, or more accurately, such a non-thing, or even better, nothing.“If it is immaterial then how do conscious beings come into contact with what is beyond them?”This is classic begging the question. What is presumably “beyond” us, is the very thing in question.  

        “Morality is better understood as an evolutionary development and therefore right and wrong are relative to time and place.  What follows then is that objective morality is impossible and ‘good’ and ‘evil’ changes depending on cultural ethos.”

        Precisely! For example, in our culture(group, society, etc) we decide that we don’t want things like  slavery and cannibalism, which are things that other cultures have decided they do want. IOW, a lot of it has to do with where one is born. Notwithstanding, if I like the rules of some other culture better than my own, I can always relocate.

  • Barrett

    I thought Positivism was dead.

  • Bleep Bloop

    Bleep Bloop

  • Truthhurts

    bleep bloop