The Hitchens/Turek Debate On The Existence of God: On 5/07/07, atheist journalist Christopher Hitchens debated the Rev. (?) Al Sharpton on the existence of God. The event was more of a publicity stunt rather than a real debate due in no small part to Sharpton's refusal or inability to argue from the Scriptures. Even Hitchens sounded astonished at Sharpton's poor performance. However, Hitchens debated the topic again on 09/09/08 which Christian Apologetics speaker Frank Turek, and this time, it was a real debate. Turek was allowed to speak first and he laid down eight challenges to the materialist world view which Hitchens barely addressed. The thrust of Hitchen's argument was that much of the wrong the Church did in history is proof that belief in God leads to tyranny. Turek pointed out that without a personal God, there is no standard for right and wrong, which Hitchens tried to counter by claiming falsely that Turek believes only Christians are capable of moral action. Much of Hitchen's argument hinged on negative stereotypes of people of faith (mainly Christians) which have their roots in propaganda against the Church or from deviations of the Church from the Gospel. A default position of Hitchen's argument is that the Catholic Church is synonymous with the Church Universal and so much of his rhetoric is aimed at Catholic doctrine and history. (Turek is not a Catholic.) A question from the audience for Hitchens asked him to explain how something came from nothing. He dodged the question by asking if Socrates knew of DNA, after all, he rationalized, these questions have been around long before the discovery of DNA. What that has to do with anything, I don't know. The debate lasted two hours.
Christian Evangelism of Jews: Here is a conversation between Christian Stan Guthrie and Rabbi Yeheil Poupko concerning Christians witnessing to Jews. Both men are friends and the debate is friendly. Still Yehil Poupko resents such Christian activity while Stan Guthrie defends it while acknowledging past persecution of the Jews by the Church. The whole conversation lasts a little more than thirteen minutes.
Os Guinness: This lecture, given at Dallas Theological Seminary on 11/24/08, is entitled "The Survival of The Fastest." It is just over an hour. This is the first time I have ever listened to Guinness speak. Despite the fact that he expresses some political opinions that I strongly disagree with, there is enough in the speech's content that is still worth bringing to your attention. Guinness not only questions the wisdom of the secular principle that speed is the optimum value of any enterprise, but he laments the adoption of this principle by the Church. Four points for Christians stand out. First, he makes the point that change just for the sake of change is really a form of nihilism since the proponents of this view offer no objective standard to evaluate whether the change is good or bad. Second, he contrasts modern speed with the Christain view of presence. In particular, cell phones can keep two people from mutually engaging with one another, even if they are together. Also, cell phones can distract us from the worship of God. Third, Guinness takes issue with the view that the world is so chaotic that the most spiritual response would be a withdrawal from the world along the lines of Monasticism. Guinness points out the the world that Jesus ministered in was just as chaotic, yet he did not respond like a monk. Instead, Jesus lived in a pattern of engagement and withdrawal, much like what is advocated by Dallas Willard in "The Spirit of the Disciplines." Fourthly, Guinness repeats Francis Schaeffer's critic of modern Christianity's attempts to link current events to specific Biblical eras. This approach, which Schaeffer labeled "this and that," is not a way to approach prophecy.
Assisted Suicide: Steven Drake, who blogs for the organization "Not Dead Yet" was recently interviewed on radio concerning the group "Final Exit." If you have been following the news lately, then you would heard of "Final Exit," which is a group who assists people who wish to commit suicide. An undercover investigation has led to the arrest of some of the group's leadership. According to Drake, not all those who were "aided" in dying were actually suffering from terminal conditions. The interview is a little over ten minutes. I do not know what the title of Drake's position is in "Not Dead Yet's" organization. Earlier this year, this blog linked to "Not Dead Yet", an organization dedicated to opposing and exposing the Assisted Suicide movement for what it is, a movement to remove from society those persons with disabilities which they see as being a drain on society's limited resources.