Principles of Debate

Monergism has assembled a collection of links to a plethora of resources about how Christians should exercise civility and care in debates, arguments, and social media engagement. While there are no audio resources here (just a few videos), the information provided is greatly needed by the church in our connected age if we are to follow Paul’s admonition in his second letter to Timothy.

“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.”

2 Timothy 2:24-25

Principles of Debate >>>

D’Souza Debates Loftus

Dinesh D’Souza and John Loftus debate the questions “Does the Christian God Exist?” This was held in 2010.

John Loftus is an interesting figure who was a pastor before rejecting the faith to become an atheist.  He holds numerous degrees in theology and philopsophy of religion, including one from Th.M. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he studied under Dr. William Lane Craig. He has become a strong voice for atheism (which he tends to downgrade to an atheist-leaning agnosticism).

Dinesh D’Souza is an evangelical Christian who was and advisor to the Reagan White House, and is now a research fellow at Stanford and President of King’s College in New York. He is the author of numerous books including the NY Times Bestseller What’s So Great About Christianity which was a response to Christopher Hitchens’ book “God is Not Great.”

This was a very interesting debate which ultimately left Dinesh as the clear winner.  Many atheists felt like one who said he “left with his tail between his legs.” The discussion following the debate among atheists focused on whether Loftus was capable of continuing to be their representative voice. However, the real discussion should be whether they will learn the lesson that was clearly demonstrated: Atheism’s arguments against God are irrational.

One phrase Loftus repeated over and over in discussing the scientific data that supposedly provides some reasonable demonstration that God is not needed for the creation of the Universe is, “We don’t know, but scientists are studying this.”  It strikes me how double-minded the atheist position is in needing to assert “We don’t know” while at the same time saying with certainty that they do know “God doesn’t exist.”

Here is the debate:

Does the Christian God Exist? A Debate >>>

Here is a follow up interview with D’Souza about the debate and the fall out for Loftus and the atheists:

D’Souza Interview >>>

Al Mohler: Atheism Remix

In February of last year Al Mohler delivered 4 lectures on the New Atheism movement.  Later that year those lectures became the basis for a book called Atheism Remix.

This past month I immersed myself in the spit and vinegar arguments of the chiefs of the New Atheists, the four horsemen: Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, and the Devil’s Chaplain himself, Richard Dawkins (all self-referential titles).  I watched them online (YouTube, Vimeo) in interviews, lectures, debates (with Craig, Lennox, Wilson, and McGrath), I’ve been reading their books…all this to say that, in spite of the apparent weaknesses of their arguments, these guys have a huge following and are growing in influence and shaping the way the average person thinks about religion and life.

I just finished reading Mohler’s book (based on these lectures) and I have to say this is probably the best book available to give anyone fresh to this phenomenon a clear picture of what is happening on both sides of the spectrum.

In The End Game of Secularism Mohler looks at this growing phenomenon and explains why we cannot overlook what is happening in western culture.  9/11 changed our worldview, and one of the fallouts is the New Atheism.  Mohler also looks at how the intelligentsia has changed from theism, to deism, and now to atheism.  We live in a world where it is unthinkable to be an intellectual and believe in God at the same time, particularly the God of Scripture.

In The Assault on Theism Mohler gives us pictures of the prime militant movers of the New Atheism, the four horsemen listed above, and he provides for us a summary of their main arguments and contributions to this battle.

In The Defense of Theism Mohler looks at the main defenders of theism who have directly engaged the New Atheists: Alister McGrath and Alvin Plantinga.  I would have liked to have seen Mohler include some other defenders such as John Lennox and David Robertson, but they may have only begun the battle when Al was preparing his messages.  I would like to see an updated version of Atheism Remix soon.

Mohler points out a troubling feature to many of the defenders of theism, and that is their embrace of evolutionary theory.  Both McGrath and Plantinga have made this mistake, which even Richard Dawkins  and Chris Hitchens have recognized as being problematic and inconsistent with Scripture.

In The Future of Christianity Mohler looks at other voices in the debate such as Tina Beattie and John F. Haught who believe the debate has been too focused on an attack of Christianity as perceived through a conservative theological lens, which, in their view, is outmoded.  While many of the arguments of the liberals against the New Atheists are insightful, they hold a position of confusion for the New Atheists.  Just as Carl Sagan was confused by Paul Tillich’s theology, the New Atheists see the liberal position as a contradictory non-issue that only makes it harder for them to get to the heart of what they don’t like about Christianity.

Don’t be caught off guard.  You should at least be familiar with what is happening in the New Atheism because if you are engaged in evangelism you will see these issues raised.  The question is, will you be prepared for a defense.  Welcome to the world, post 9/11. You are on the chopping block.

Listen to the lectures. Get the book.

The New Atheism Lectures >>>

Keller: The Trouble with Christianity; Why is it so hard to believe?

Tim Keller has written a new book called ‘The Reason for God’.  On the book’s website is a series of sermons Keller gave at his church Redeemer that form the basis for the book.  I have not read the book yet, but I have listened to these messages and must say there is some really good stuff here.  Keller is great at engaging secular presuppositions and skeptical assumptions.  This is a great series of sermons and I look forward to reading his book.

The messages are:

Exclusivity: How can there only be one true religion?
Suffering: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?
Absolutism: Don’t we all have to find truth for ourselves?
Injustice: Hasn’t Christianity been an instrument for oppression?
Hell: Isn’t the God of the Christianity an angry judge?
Doubt: What should I do with my doubts?
Liberalism: Isn’t theBible historically unreliable and regressive?

The Trouble with Christianity >>>

Ligonier Contending for the Truth 2007 Conference

contendingforthetruth.jpgSproul, MacArthur, Mohler, Piper and Zacharias put on a great conference which looked at the problem of postmodernism and the attacks being made against orthodox Christianity today.  The 14 sessions in MP3 are available for download for $45.

  • Postmodernism and Philosophy (Zacharias)
  • Postmodernism and Society (Mohler)
  • Postmodernism and Christianity (Sproul Jr)
  • Questions and Answers
  • The Task of Apologetics (Sproul)
  • Faith and Reason (Piper) free at Desiring God>>>
  • The Challenge of Science (MacArthur)
  • The Challenge of Relativism (Piper) free at Desiring God>>>
  • The Problem of Evil (MacArthur)
  • The Existence of God (Zacharias)
  • The Authority of Scripture (Mohler)
  • The Holy Spirit and Apologetics (Mohler)
  • Questions and Answers #2
  • The Resurrection of Christ (Sproul)
  • Contending for the Truth mp3 collection page >>>