Apologetics Atheism Debate Nov 2011

Published on November 15th, 2011 | by Gary DeMar

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‘Would the World Be Better off Without Religion?’

Atheists and non-atheists are going to debate the topic ‘Would the World Be Better off Without Religion?’ this evening at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The debate will start at 6:45 p.m. and last until 8:30 p.m., November 15, 2011. Here are the debate participants:

British philosopher and professor A.C. Grayling, who has written more than 20 books on philosophy, religion and reason, will team up with Matthew Chapman, the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, to argue against religion. David Wolpe, Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, and Dinesh D’Souza, president of the King’s College in NYC, are set to oppose.

I have to say that I never would have agreed to the debate topic. First, it implies that atheism is not a religion. Atheism is a belief system. An atheist believes things about the origin of the universe and the meaning or non-meaning of life. All an atheist can say is what he believes. He does not know everything, so he can not say what that he knows enough to be dogmatic about his atheism.

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Second, an evolutionist cannot know if something or someone is ever “better off.” Better off implies a standard. “Better” assumes that something can be “worse.” There was a time in evolution’s past that the strong overpowered, killed, and many times ate the weaker competitor. It happens every day in the wild, as the saying goes, “Nature, red in tooth and claw.” Homo sapiens are the result of long ago superior animal ancestors forcing their will on inferior animals. We got here, say the evolutionists, because of millions of years of bloody struggle. Maybe someone like Adolf Hitler was ahead of his time, one of evolution’s “hopeful monsters” who was born out of evolutionary time. He did what he did because he believed in evolutionary necessity. How can an atheist say otherwise? How does he know the world is worse off because of what the Nazi’s did?

Third, and related to the second point, how does the evolutionist account for good and evil in a universe that had a material beginning? At best, good and evil are what the majority of people at a given time say good and evil are. There is no fixed ultimate standard. There is no one standing outside ourselves judging us. There are no cosmic rules or cosmic sanctions. All judging of what’s “good” and “evil” is socially determined. But one generation’s definition of good and evil is another generation’s evil and good. Who’s to say otherwise? The high priest of atheistic evolution Richard Dawkins says as much:

In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A. E. Houseman put it:

For nature, heartless, witless Nature

Will neither know nor care.

DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.(1)

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One has to wonder why Dawkins would ever write such nonsense even if he believes it. But he does believe it. He has to believe it. It’s his religion.

Fourth, for the two atheists, tonight’s debate hinges on Christianity being true. The two atheist-evolutionists will continually borrow from the worldview they deny to criticize that same worldview. Again, Dawkins makes the case for us: “Natural selection is a deeply nasty process. . . . Human super niceness is a perversion of Darwinism because, in a wild population, it would be removed by natural selection. . . . From a rational choice point of view, or from a Darwinian point of view, human super niceness is just plain dumb.” Even so, Dawkins’ life depends on the reality of “human super niceness.” The problem is, he and his fellow atheists can’t account for it given the operating assumptions of their materialistic worldview.

I hope those from the religion side understand and use these points. They are irrefutable. Even the reason the two atheists will use to debate this evening can’t be accounted for given the process of “something from nothing” evolutionary beginnings.

Endnotes:

  1. Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 133.()
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About the Author

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).



9 Responses to ‘Would the World Be Better off Without Religion?’

  1. MathGuy2 says:

    Gary, You make some good points–in particular, the need for men to have an outside judge, an absolute standard of good and evil. Otherwise, it just boils down to one version of good/evil against another version of good/evil. That’s all well and good. Unfortunately, God and religion don’t quite work either. It’s the same conundrum, just with God(s) and Good Books added as the outside force. It’s still human-based dogma. God or no, religion or no, good book(s) or no, it’s still a man or men declaring God’s existance, and then, having declared his existence, interpreting His meaning of life and compelling others to follow. The problem looks solved but it’s not really. Re the debate, I’m not sure religion mattered or matters. We’d still be dealing with the same problems of behavior and mysteries of life.
    Btw, I believe in mathematics. Is mathematics a religion? Am I “religious”?

  2. alex alexander says:

    Exactly right, Gary!
    My fellow countrymen (R Dawkins and AC Grayling) are wise… in their own eyes…
    but are blind.
    They will not (and cannot) see the simple, obvious, logical truth of what you adumbrate (illustrate).
    But, hopefully, there are AV readers whose minds and hearts are truly open and susceptible to argumentation and reason (Come, let us reason together, says the Lord).
    Alex A
    UK

  3. Tired Old Man says:

    I attended a debate between D’Souza amd Hitchens a little over a year ago. Part of D’Souza’s opening remarks were as follows: he was going to “defend Christianity without appealing to any Christian premises. In other words I’m not going to be citing the Bible. I’m not going to appeal to revelation. You can almost say I’m going to debate with one hand tied behind my back. I want to engage the secular critique on its own ground, on the ground of reason”.

    I went to the YouTube video and copied the quote verbatim.

    I remember thinking when I heard D’Souza make this statement that this debate is going to be about which school of atheistic thought is best. D’Souza yielded the whole debate and Hitchens was unable to see what his opponent had done. I don’t think D’Souza ever thought about what he had done either.

    • aCultureWarrior says:

      That would have been a great debate to have seen TOM. When I debate an atheist, I tell them that they can’t borrow Judeo/Christian principles to make their point (which leaves them speechless); I’ve never heard of a Christian doing so.

      Is there a link that you can attach so that I can see the debate you’re talking about?

      • aCultureWarrior says:

        Nevermind TOM. AV put yet another “post awaiting moderator approval” on my response to Gary DeMar defending Ron Paul.

        I’m done with this circus sideshow.

      • Tired Old Man says:

        CultWar,

        In case you change your mind here is the link. This is the first of about a dozen segments of the debate. It was held at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, MS.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIrf0khB2Bg

  4. seal da zeal says:

    Those two Sack’s of Neurons….LOL…. Why are they seeking anything better than what religion has to offer? Shouldn’t they not be seeking anything Better or Worst? Just running around randomlessly and knocking each other over from time to time…LOL…

  5. Matthew says:

    Any idea why these guys wouldn’t just want to co-opt religion in the same manner so many “goats” have done in history and continue to do so? Why would they attempt to destroy something so influential and powerful, even if they think its false? Why does truth matter? There must be some evolutionary benefit to this system of collective influence.

    • aCultureWarrior says:

      Atheists have HUGE ego’s Matt. They don’t want to acknowledge or admit that someone or something is smarter and more powerful than themselves.

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