The Cambridge debate between Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams

The Christian Post reports on the debate:

Brian made this picture while Rowan Williams, ...

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, defeated prominent atheist professor, Richard Dawkins, in a debate at the University of Cambridge in England on Thursday night, as a vote taken at the conclusion of the debate ruled that religion does have a place in the 21st century.

The debate motion that „religion has no place in the 21st Century” was well-defeated at the event held in front of an audience of about 800 people, mostly students, at the Cambridge Union Society’s chambers, according to the U.K.’s Independent newspaper.

Dawkins lost the debate by 324 votes to 136, as he failed to convince the house that religion has no place.

„Religion has always been a matter of community building, a matter of building relations of compassion, fellow-feeling and, dare I say it, inclusion,” Williams, who stepped down as the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion on Dec. 31, said in his address. „The notion that religious commitment can be purely a private matter is one that runs against the grain of religious history.”

Williams pointed out that respect for human life and equality was inherent in all organized religion. „The very concept of human rights has profound religious roots… The convention of human rights would not be what it is were it not for the history of philosophical religious debate.”


5 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. gabebogdan
    feb. 08, 2013 @ 22:57:03

    Williams pointed out that respect for human life and equality was inherent in all organized religion. “

    Has he checked what the other main organized religion does with the human life that opposes them?

    • rodi
      feb. 08, 2013 @ 23:15:07

      You’re right, that makes no sense. And it’s not truthful. I assume he takes the liberal position, that Islam is really a peaceful religion, but gets perverted by some people. Tony Blair seems to believe it, and now that you pointed that out, I would assume Williams probably does too.

  2. gabebogdan
    feb. 09, 2013 @ 09:32:41

    I don’t agree with his argument…if Jesus did not rise from the dead let’s eat, drink and be merry… now any religion is better that no religion? Is a false religion better than no religion? Most people have no issue with religion…the problem comes when you declare the exclusivity of Jesus…that is where people get offended…

    • rodi
      feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:06:45

      Remember that Williams was head of the Anglican Church in the UK, and in the little I have read about him (mostly from the Christian post) he is not of the go by the scriptures kind. Even on the issue of gay marriage in the Uk, which he was against initially, and then he makes this statement: the church is scratching its head and trying to work out where it is on all that, and what to think about it.

      If the church is scratching its head and trying to figure it out, then it makes sense that the Uk has closed down many churches.

      And notice that this study actually says that the most liberal churches are the ones that have declines the worst. The Methodists with a whopping 43% decline:

      The strong decline in the number of Methodist and Presbyterian churches points to a theology and practice that is failing. Given that these denominations are those with the most liberal approach to both, many will conclude that this is in fact the cause of their decline. The results for the Anglican Church would seem to indicate that while they lag behind the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches they are on the same path. source here

      and here’s another one:
      The [U.K.] Times Online reported on February 10, 2007:

      Thousands of churches face closure, demolition or conversion in the next decade, leading to the demise of some branches of Christianity in Europe, according to experts.

      In some parts of the country, former churches are being turned into centres of worship for other faiths. A disused Methodist chapel in Clitheroe on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is the latest, destined to become a mosque for the town’s 300 Muslims.source

      honestly in debates like this, I tend to pay more attention to the other side (in this case Dawkins), because you can be sure whatever new argument he/they come up with is what is going to impact the young generation, and then I go to Ravi Zacharias, Lennox, Robertson and the other that are evangelical for reasoning, although I know the biblical answers to their objections. However, I have met some people (atheist) who wanted additional answers from reasoning before they would accept backup from the Bible (Kind of the way Paul reasoned on Mars Hill, to get them to listen to the Gospel in the end).

      So, you take what you can get from each debate.

    • rodi
      feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:12:51

      by the way I don’t like that argument either, and I’ve heard one of my favorite preachers Russell Moore use it in talking to someone who was having doubts, and the person said to Dr. Moore – if they found Jesus’s bones in a box, I am so out of here (meaning he would totally abandon his faith) and Dr. Moore said, „So would I”.

      What it does, is it leaves open the possibility that this could happen, instead why didn’t he just cut the person off in saying, „This could never happen, because we know, because there were over 500 eyewitness to the resurrection and the Bible has been documented time and time again to be a historical piece of evidence.”

      So, I don’t know what to say about that. I think he gave a pretty disappointing response. Maybe he was trying to reassure that person, but the last thing you want to reassure them of is that there a chance that everything they rested their faith in could turn out false in the foreseeable future.

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