16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
It was good.
, 10 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Lennox/Dawkins - the God Delusion Debate [DVD] (DVD)
"Well, ladies and gentleman, it has been an interesting discussion."
So begins John Lennox as he recites his final comments at the end of this near-two-hour-long 'debate' from the pre-written notes he religiously observes throughout the entire night. How he could have conceived a priori that the encounter would be 'interesting', one doesn't know, but as his celebrated adversary wraps up with his own closing comments, one certainly is left with a feeling that we weren't exactly treated to much of a 'discussion'.
Partly to do with Lennox's obedient subservience to his previously compiled arguments, partly to do with the poor format of the debate, unintelligently designed to forbid Dawkins from adequately responding to Lennox's empty refutations, the debate ultimately fails to live up to its billing.
That's not to say the debate isn't engrossing - it's just that the passionate exchanges between the two are, for the above reasons, few and far between.
Having glanced over previous reviews, I was looking forward to seeing Lennox offer a passionate riposte to Dawkins' brash form of 'new Atheism'; a man whose credentials and obvious intellect precede him, I eagerly anticipated hearing an informed rebuttal of non-belief. But in the end, I was let down. For all Lennox offered was well-articulated fluff.
When he managed to find the corresponding page to each respective topic the moderator would bring up, nothing he actually offered contained much substance. Delivered in his amiable way, witty at times, impassioned at others, it all sounded good. But it meant very little.
With one fell swoop eradicating from consideration any acts of violence ever committed directly because of whichever particular God was geographically in vogue at various points in history, Lennox seemed comfortable to then lament Atheism for its apparently direct influence in causing the likes of Pol Pot to murder the bi-lingual and bespectacled; a ridiculous, illogical and ahistorical conclusion usually confined to internet message boards, not the intellectual discourse of world-renowned scholars.
Not only that, Lennox on a number of occasions seemed happy to imply, by "only speaking for Christianity," that rival religions of today may be more worthy of Dawkins' wrath, his problem seemingly more to do with not wanting his own unsubstantiated beliefs to be mocked rather than any deeper issue with Atheism.
This was perfectly highlighted when Dawkins subsequently pointed out that Lennox is himself an 'atheist' when it comes to the likes of Thor and Zeus.
"But Zeus is a non-existent deity," offered Lennox, as the crowd laughed at this blatant act of religiously-necessary hypocrisy.
Such is the power of the religious bodies opposed to Dawkins' appeals to rationality and reason, there has developed in recent years a rather distorted perspective of the man, as evidenced in a previous reviewers shock that in this debate he comes off as a "gentleman"; this following on from the historic caricature of atheists as arrogant elitists (because 'I will pray that you change what you believe so that you don't go to hell' is in no way arrogant or elitist...) But in the end, Dawkins appears as neither arrogant nor elitist. Though on occasion he may stall as he attempts to find the right words to counter the verbose fluff Lennox recites from his notes, or becomes agitated at a nonsensical, hindering and increasingly-frustrating format, the South African-born professor does a great job in showing the human behind the heretic.
Though for the stated reasons it may have not been much of a 'discussion', I concur with John Lennox's notes that it was indeed interesting. Whether you're a believer or not, I recommend you watch this and, at the very least, make up your own mind about Richard Dawkins.
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