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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a salve, 19 May 2009
This review is from: Lennox/Dawkins - the God Delusion Debate [DVD] (DVD)
Dawkins is a world renowned scientist, and probably the leading proponent of "New Atheism"; John Lennox is a leading mathematician and Christian apologist (largely using the philosophy of science). Both are professors and fellows at Oxford University, and both are are intellectually unimpeachable. So to see them debate something as important as God (or "The God Delusion Debate", to give it its official title) is truly fascinating, in a culture where the debate has become horribly cruel, hateful and polemical.

As a Christian, I feel very wary of Dawkins: I am fully aware of the scorn he would pour upon me were we to meet, and I am aware of his (reputed) unwillingness to debate people of faith. But, in this debate, he comes across as a gentleman, and it was a lovely surprise. He slips in the odd barb, and there was a smattering of undeniable venom, but he was mostly respectful, and I was thrilled at the opportunity to listen to him expound on his opinions without its being so pejorative-laced and didactic.

The structure of the debate is a little frustrating - as Dawkins himself says, he rather wishes he were permitted to respond directly to Lennox, as opposed to taking turns in expressing their views. But, the debate covers 6 main points in Dawkins's The God Delusion, so while it's not comprehensive, it gives them both ample - and, importantly, equal - opportunity to talk. The 6 points of discussion, as plucked from the book, are:

~ faith is blind, and science is evidence-based

~ science - in particular, evolution - supports atheism, and not Christianity

~ who designed the Designer?

~ Christianity is dangerous

~ no-one needs God to be moral

~ Christian claims about the nature of Jesus are not true

I don't want to use this review as an opportunity to ram my own beliefs down anyone's throat, so I won't discuss the content of the actual debate, nor how persuasive I found it, as it's subjective and, within a review, irrelevant. Suffice it to say, in watching this, my faith was strengthened. By the same token, I think an avowed atheist will find their opinion strengthened, too. People in the middle, though, may find this immensely thought-provoking and, in places, surprising and it's really 50/50 as to which side of the debate will be found more persuasive.

Towards the end of the debate, the rigid structure causes it to stumble slightly, with both chaps becoming frustrated and losing their respective trails of thought. (Lennox, incidentally, discusses his side of the debate in his own book.) But it remains polite - if slightly more prickly than it began - and given how ugly the entire debate has become, it is a genuine relief, and a salve, and be you (rational) Christian, (rational) atheist, or somewhere in the middle, chances are you'll find this fascinating.
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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Jul 2009 21:15:55 BDT
Lark says:

~ faith is blind, and science is evidence-based

I could agree with that but I dont know that it has any point.

~ science - in particular, evolution - supports atheism, and not Christianity

I dont necessarily agree with that, I dont agree with either of the polarising elements in this debate, in so far as I believe that evolution, properly understood, is very flattering to God since it is something that no temporal invention or creation can rival.

~ who designed the Designer?

That's a good question, I'm not sure about its role in the debate but I dont subscribe to intelligent design so its kind of a dead end.

~ Christianity is dangerous

I think I would change the wording of that to "Christianity CAN BE dangerous" rather than is, it can, any temporal power or system of belief is liable to be corrupted by the world, equally so you could say that science is dangerous because of the crimes wrought in its name, such as the purges of religious communities and believers since the French Revolution until today or nuclear arms, the holocaust, genetic engineering, assisted suicide, late term abortions (or abortions per se depending upon the views on that topic). Mastery of humankind and the environment has far out stripped secular ethics or, I'd contend, the maturity of the species as a whole.

~ no-one needs God to be moral

I dont have a problem with that, people can be moral without God.

~ Christian claims about the nature of Jesus are not true

This is the point of my comment, what does this mean? It's the most interesting of all the points and would tempt me to buy the debate to see it, however I'm not sure I particularly want to because I tend to find that its a highly rankorous debate, in the main rivalled only by the discourses between RCs and protestants at the time of the reformation (and even since, sometimes), which doesnt have meaning or make sense to me personally.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2009 00:46:13 BDT
Anna says:
Hey, Lark :o) Interesting reading your thoughts. The debate is online, actually - really really good of them both, that.

I'll be away for 10 days from tomorrow, but let me know what you thought? Talk soon.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2009 20:25:55 BDT
Lark says:
Great, I'm always more likely to buy something if I'm able to sample it somehow to begin with.

Cheers :)

Posted on 28 Sep 2009 09:09:26 BDT
Diziet says:
Hello Anna -

Have you come across this? The Lennox Hitchens Debate - Can Atheism Save Europe? [DVD]

You can get 10 minute 'tasters' on YouTube:

Hope you're well, chuck.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2009 15:59:51 BDT
Anna says:
Hullo, Diziduck! Tis nice to see you :o)

Aye, the only problem is, Hitchens sort of hurts my feelings. Sorry if that sounds really lame. He's so entitled to hold the views he does and I'd never be mean about him, but I find much of what he says really hurtful so now I just sort of avoid him. He's very witty, and I quite like him in that respect, but humm...

Thank you, though, for the recommendation. You know, I think we should go on the road and show chaps that people who believe as differently as we do can still get on as well as we do :o) It could involve outfits!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2009 08:35:44 BDT
Diziet says:
I'm really sorry Hitchens has that effect on you - he's kind of one of my heroes.

Outfits sound cool! The D&A Road Show. (Or A&D :-) ). (But not DoA).

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2009 12:43:59 BDT
Norcs says:
There is no god. Of any sort in any religion. It's all just a form of shepherding, which you have fallen for.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2009 14:26:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Sep 2009 14:32:55 BDT
Diziet says:

To start with, I'm not a theist.

And secondly, if I was a theist, I don't think your comments would have done much to change my mind.

If your comments were not directed at me, they are still pointless as I really don't think merely suggesting that all belief in gods is a form of 'shepherding' is a sufficiently effective or penetrating analysis to change the mind of anyone who has had the wit and intelligence to show an interest in the Dawkins/Lennox debate.

(P.S. I really like the Beatles too).

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2009 15:07:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Sep 2009 15:09:35 BDT
Hello God's Quadrant,

I am interested in the proliferation throughout many civilisations of the need to blame/worship an unseen force of supernature as the great architect of existence. The folly of worshipping the nonsense filtered down from Babylonic social control ie Christianity, Judaism and Islam, is gradually losing its grip as people begin to realise that if one spends even a modicum of time just thinking about it, logically, there is less likely to be a god than there being an actual god at all.

One of the reasons for this is the breakdown of organised religion's fanciful tales, both from the B and Q, which really stretch credulity to even the most childlike brain. Even if one takes the stories at a symbolic level, they are basic and have overlaps into other religious systems. Look at the similarities between Horus and Jesus. They are too similar for this fact to be ignored. I find religion a club where the 'good' sinners can find peace amongst similar minded people, but the fact that there is opposing viewpoints about something as important as a creator of the universe doesn't fit into any kind of logic.

Which one is right? If you are a christian and acknowledge the right for an Islamic worshipper to practice their faith, does that not contradict faith in your own beliefs? If you are using christianity as a framework for a good outlook on life, good for you. The wishy washy nature of those that 'have an open mind' about deities are neither here nor there. I just find it hard to believe that anyone who can totally put their faith into an explantion for life that has holes so big that they have to be ignored, should find it hard to defend their faith to those that have a genuine concern for its credibility.

If there is a judgement day I will of course repent, but, I will bet a spiritual fortune though that there is nothing after the cloak of permanent night has swallowed my bioelectric murmur to be heard no more.

Censorship of criticism or any kind of questions about the authenticity of religion is a step backwards.

No offence intended, equal rights to those not afflicted with the need for spiritual blankets!

RamSey TUppEr

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2009 17:22:40 BDT
Norcs says:
<guffawing sigh>

The comments weren't directed to you specifically, but thanks for thinking they were. You were special to me, once upon a time!!

How can they be pointless?? I mean, religion isn't my strong point, but I'm damn sure I can make up my own mind about that and all other religions too. IE, they exist, but only in your head. Football is the new religion and each ground is the new church. Fact. More people go there to worship their idols every week than they do to church.

Religion is shepherding and controlling and doesn't allow free thinking. God??? Pah, don't make me laugh. Jesus?? Hell no, what a load of poppycock!!

Dawkins, wasn't he that bloke out of The Darkness? What's he doing fighting Lennox lewis, he'll get a pasting!?!?!?!

(P.S. I couldn't give a monkeys chuff if you reeeeeeeally reeeeeeeally like The Beatless, they're still dire!!! Thanks for looking at my reviews though!!)
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