When we talk about religion around here, we often end up talking about something that falls between agnosticism and atheism. That’s because public intellectuals who comment on religion frequently fall into those camps. Here and there, theists politely call us on it. They ask us to consider showing The Four Horsemen (Hitchens/Dawkins/Dennett/Harris) in meaningful conversation with religious thinkers. It would be a step toward creating some balance, they say. We’ve done some of that before. But it has been a while. So we’re bringing you today the 2009 debate between Hitchens and William Lane Craig, a Christian philosopher. It was held at Biola College, a school that offers a “Biblically Centered Education,” which puts Craig on the home court.
The basic question framing the debate is “Does God Exist?,” and the answers are all grounded in philosophy, though that didn’t stop the conversation from veering into biology, physics, cosmology, and moral theory. You might be surprised that Hitchens doesn’t take the strident atheist position that would have let more sparks fly. No, he ends up in a more agnostic place, and there’s a kind of a humility to his position, an acceptance that we just can’t know the answers to the big questions, at least not yet. That speaks to me intellectually. But I’m sure others will see things differently.
If you’re hungering for more, you can watch Craig debate Sam Harris here. We thank Taylor for sending these videos along.