New Video of yesterday’s Oxford debate between Dawkins and Archbishop of Canterbury

If you haven’t heard; last night Richard Dawkins admitted that he can’t be sure that God does not exist. You can read more in my previous post here.

Someone has already uploaded the full debate here:

11 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. T. Tatsumoto
    mart. 01, 2012 @ 22:24:00

    I wouldn’t read too much into Prof. Dawkings’ statement here that he can’t be sure God does not exist. He can’t and doesn’t have the definitive evidence that God does not exist. For him, or anybody for that matter, to say that God does not exist, cannot escape from certain elements of belief and faith that such a statement embodies in itself. This is what Prof. Dawkings wanted to avoid, I believe. I think this is true to a scientific mind that explores the notion of God scientifically and he wishes to avoid being an „atheist believer.”

    • rodi
      mart. 01, 2012 @ 23:38:00

      „For him, or anybody for that matter, to say that God does not exist, cannot escape from certain elements of belief and faith that such a statement embodies in itself.”

      You make a great point here, one which atheists do not want to concede.

      And what of Dawkins slight defensiveness, and what about the timing to break the news to us? Why now, after he has acquired „the most famous atheist” label (esp. with Hitchens gone)?

      Atheists will continue mocking theists, demanding scientific or naturalistic evidence to support belief in „God”, yet I predict they will NOT do so with the new Dawkins. The reason is, I believe, because they really are not interested in an answer so much as they want to reassure themselves that they are the ones possessing the Truth.

      Thanks for adding some great insights to this story. I appreciate your comment!
      Rodica

  2. Costin
    iun. 09, 2012 @ 07:35:16

    „last night Richard Dawkins admitted that he can’t be sure that God does not exist”

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not news. RD has always stated that God’s existence is not impossible, but it is unproved and highly improbable. He goes into depth with this in his book, „The God Delusion”, that saying without a doubt that God doesn’t exist is no different than saying without a doubt that God exists. What he is against is believing something to be true, without any verifiable proof.

    He also says he can’t be sure that unicorns and fairies don’t exist, but because the lack of evidence for them, their existence is highly improbable.

    Don’t pick on every sentence taken out of context, and look at what he’s actually saying.

    But anyway, keep an open mind, especially when debating, it’s not about possessing the Truth, it’s more about not being forced to live a life by some rules that defy logic (when politics mixes with religion, for example). As an example to the open mindedness I’m talking about, I really liked what this Catholic priest had to say in an interview with Richard Dawkins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po0ZMfkSNxc&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=SP965C53D2B4BCCCF5

    • rodi
      iun. 09, 2012 @ 11:13:54

      Costin,
      although atheists may have known Dawkins stance, most of the regular folks did not, hence it made the major newspapers in the UK. And articulating something tucked away in his book just amplifies and solidifies the fact that he truly believes it.

      When you ask for an open mind – which I define as Eric Ludy does: A mind that is reasonable and judicious with facts, desirous to learn, accepting of all, ever-ready to consider new and novel thoughts, a mind hospitable to all notions whether true or false. A mind open to anything and everything, eager to chew on ideas never before considered.

      It is one thing to consider what someone has to say, and quite another to take on their theory and srcap yours. And it all boils down to the historicity of Jesus Christ. Everything else is a straw man. If Jesus Christ did not exist and did not do the things the Bible says He did, we have no faith to follow. However, that cannot be disproven. There is plenty of evidence, so the other subjects are interesting to us Christians because it is the same objection, just veiled from a different angle.

      Having said all that, I do understand that for someone who does not know the Bible, they can never understand or believe any of it. And, it is God that gives understanding, so as a Christian I do not need to be a belligerent defender of anything. All I want to be is a humble, loving pointer to the God of my salvation and the life that one can live with faith in God and Christ.

  3. Costin
    iun. 09, 2012 @ 12:22:48

    Thanks for the well thought reply. That is more or less the meaning I was thinking of when talking about an open mind. Not talking about taking on a new theory and completely scrapping yours. What I get from following these kind of discussions are two or more different points of view, and only by contrasting them we can see the good points or problems that might appear in each of them.

    What I am saying is that usually very religious people do not even want to consider new ideas if those ideas contradict in any way the Bible or their traditions. By watching the debate between Dawkins and the Archbishop we see that not all is black and white, Dawkins agrees he can’t be 100% sure of God’s non-existence, only His improbability, while the Archbishop also agrees that the creation story in the Bible should not be taken literally.

    I think this particular video was a very good example of a civilized debate, where both participants agree to some drawbacks to their views. I have yet to watch it all, but I will soon take my time and do that.

    Personally, I don’t completely agree with RD’s opinions, I much more like Sam Harris’s stance on religion, in which he still believes in a form of spirituality. I think the real world can be much more fascinating and that we can acknowledge and consider many more things as possible from science’s point of view than from the limiting dogmas of any one religion. We can contemplate on the existence of alien life, multiple universes and dimensions, even godlike beings, we can also take into account the existence of a life after death, no problem. But these are all hypotheses and until we have any verified proof for any of that, we don’t blindly consider them as true. The beauty of science is that it’s not something fixed, scientists make mistakes all the time, but this is how it progresses, while religion is well known to be against the idea of change.

    All in all, I don’t think it should matter what we believe personally, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. It is only when those personal beliefs have an effect on other people, on society, by mixing them with politics and laws, that people feel the need to explicitly oppose the beliefs that make no sense to them. And we can clearly see the effects of mixing literal interpretations of religion with politics in Muslim societies. Think how it would be if we would live by all the laws of the Old Testament.

    This post has been very long, sorry if I stopped making sense at some point 😀

    • rodi
      iun. 09, 2012 @ 12:40:47

      You are right that some people are very rigid in sticking by their beliefs, but I don’t blame them. You and I have more information at our disposal to read through and contemplate than the previous generations had. Therefore we can engage in meaningful discussions and learn from each other. At the end of the day both sides need to learn to respect each other.

      I can also understand my side of it, those folks that feel assaulted by the public debate and the militant actions in many cities to strip any reference to God or the Bible from the public square, while replacing it with naturalistic and atheistic religion. (Such as imposing evolution; some would like to impose it (legislatively) in Christian and Muslim schools).

      I do have to point out something though. When the archbishop of Canterbury denies creation, he strikes at the very core of the historicity of Jesus because Jesus stated that God made Adam and Eve, Jesus was the Son of God (He does not lie as He was the only human to live a sinless life) and although I would not go so far as some others to say the archbishop is not a Christian because he has changed on one major orthodox belief, however, then you have RD debating someone who has lost part of his faith due to entertaining the theory of evolution.

      What I have referenced in this comment, of course, stems form my belief that God is omnipotent, that even though ancient men wrote the books of the Bible, God is not impotent to allow false things to be written down, or HE wasn’t negligent in that he forgot to think of the future and how it would be interpreted. He guided what was written and it very well applies to us today.

      People’s unseats objection to the Bible is that they think they will be giving up pleasures of sin if they were to believe the Bible, the truth is that once you know God (through the Bible) you realize that the earthly pleasures pale in comparison to the pleasure of having fellowship with God in prayer and reading His word and with other Christians.

      If you have time this week, maybe you might try giving this a read or watch it- https://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/betrayed-with-a-kiss-the-conspiracy-of-the-modern-prophet-by-eric-ludy/

      It will give you insight into the beliefs of Christians who believe the Bible to be the very words of God anad discusses the open mind vs closed mind options and why Christians choose to stand firm on some points.

      Oh, and long comments are not unwelcome here 🙂 This blogger is famous for them

  4. Costin
    iun. 10, 2012 @ 05:21:51

    Hi, I will definitely watch that video, thanks. I will make time for it one of the following days.

    So, you say that the Archbishop of Canterbury strikes at the historicity of Jesus when he denies creation. He doesn’t really deny creation, he just says that it shouldn’t be taken literally. I don’t see how that contradicts Jesus though. If it was all a metaphor then Jesus was just using the same metaphor, since He was God.

    For that matter, Pope John Paul II said he agreed with the theory of evolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II#Evolution), and that comes from a man who is considered to be holy in the Catholic world. And also Pope Benedict XVI partially agrees with evolution (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-447930/Pope-Benedict-believes-evolution.html and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/ns/world_news-europe/t/pope-creation-vs-evolution-clash-absurdity/#.T9RtNLAthD0).

    And about false things in the Bible, you say God wouldn’t be negligent, but then why are there so many contradictions in the Bible? http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

  5. Costin
    iun. 18, 2012 @ 08:50:35

    Hi, I just noticed on that site with the contradictions that under each contradiction they have links with „Christian responses”. I’ll have to check those out.

    I’ve read the articles with Adam and Christ as the second Adam, although the second article seems more like an interpretation than what is actually saying in the Bible. And we all know how interpretations are very subjective, that’s why we have many confession within Christianity.

    Best regards,
    Costin

    • rodi
      iun. 18, 2012 @ 09:16:40

      Interestingly, it is all about one’s own interpretation of the Bible that shapes their own beliefs. I was listening to a panel discussion on „inerrancy” this weekend (I will be posting it later today) and a couple of points made by the panelists struck me:

      1) one of the things Christopher Hitchens did very well for us was to say, „He can understand theists who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and he can understand atheists who don’t believe it’s possible, what he didn’t understand were people who tried to pose in the middle.

      2)Dr Simon Gathercole – The central plank for me in the doctrine of inerrancy, and that is that it was Jesus’ view of Scripture and I think the 2 other points that were mentioned are really significant. The sort of dogmatic logic of what Scripture says, God says and therefore because of the character of God, Scripture is without error. Also, it’s the continuous testimony of the Church. But, if you just look at the way Jesus treats Scripture, what He says about Scripture, „Your word is truth„, „Scripture cannot be broken„, the way He refers to Adam, the way He refers to Elijah and Elisha, all the figures of the Old Testament, the way He responds to Satan: „It’s written, and every word is proceeding from the mouth of God.” That has to be the real cornerstone for our doctrine of inerrancy and it means that it’s an imperative of discipleship for us, that it’s a matter of following Jesus.

      I think the discussion encompasses the beliefs of those of us with a high view of Scripture very, very well.

      The link of Bible contradictions is very useful for me as well. It gives me a better understanding of how someone without faith in the inerrancy of the Bible (because after all faith plays a big part) may struggle to reconcile the contradictions (although from glancing over a few of them any scholar can see that many are not contradictions at all. For example the one on lifespans gives 3 different verses with different life spans. Any anthropologist knows that in antiquity lifespans varied by century, and geological location and conditions of said geological location which means there were different life spans during different centuries and geographical locations) However, some others require a bit of work and study, both biblical and historical.

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