David Robertson Debate – Good Without God?

If you have never heard of David Robertson, you have missed out on a great voice in the evangelical fold. David, is an author and the minister of St. Peter’s Free Church. He is also the Editor of the Free Church of Scotland’s Monthly Record.

You can read how David Robertson started interacting on Richard Dawkins website in response to some of Dawkins’ writing in his book ‘The God Delusion’. As he interacted with [mostly] atheists in the comment sections, an atheist and Richard Dawkins’ follower, by the name of Richard Morgan, started interacting with David Robertson, and eventually became a Christian. READ THIS VERY INTERESTING ENCOUNTER here, in the Christian Post. This is when I started following David Robertson in the debate world, and have found him to be a tremendous source for arguments and apologetics, from a Biblical perspective, as well as basing his arguments on
reasoned logic.

The following debate took place in Jackson Mississippi, on Fe. 27, 2014 at the Milsaps College. Featuring: Dr. Ted Ammon and  Rev. David Robertson. VIDEO by SolasCPC

Legalizing Euthanasia Debate – David Robertson (author of the Dawkins letters & Pastor of the Free Church of Scotland vs. Paul Badham, Prof. of University of Wales

A UK debate for assisted suicide, law that was patterned after Oregon states U.S.A but has not passed in Scotland. This 4 part debate is very instructive in right to life apologetics.

Debate is from 2009 – Two Christians (plus a handful of other officials) debate  in Scotland-  David Robertson who is  Pastor of the  historic St.Peter’s Free Church of Scotland in Dundee and Prof. Paul Badham -Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Director of the Alistair Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre. As of May 17,2011 Scotland politicians are still fighting to pass assisted suicide legislation and are in great admiration of the Swiss for having passed the law already and for allowing foreigners to receive assisted suicide help there, as tourists.

Part1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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1st collector for Legalizing Euthanasia Debate – David Robertson …
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Theologians FOR Rev. David Robertson, Minister of St Peter’s Free Church of Dundee and author of The Dawkins Letters: challenging atheist myths AGAINST Professor Paul Badham, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Director of the Alistair Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre, patron of Dignity in Dying Chair Professor Martin Pippard, Professor of Haematology & Dean of Dundee Medical School. Background: In 2005, Jeremy Purvis MSP introduced a Private Members’ Bill into the Scottish Parliament, calling for a change in the law to allow Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) for those with a terminal illness. This attracted the support of six other MSPs. In January 2008 he tabled another motion calling for the legalization of PAS but could gain the support of only one other MSP. On 26 March 2008, Margo MacDonald, Independent MSP for Lothian, made an impassioned appeal for a change to the law on assisted dying. Ms MacDonald has Parkinson’s disease and ‘doesn’t want to burden any friend or doctor but wants to be able to end her life in case she has the worst form of Parkinson’s’. As a Christian, I have long been intrigued by how people’s belief frameworks give rise to their stance on a given issue. How do such frameworks hold up under scrutiny? Are they consistent with what the person perceives their framework to be? Are they internally and externally valid and reliable? What are the presuppositions and the logical outworkings? Since beginning my medical training this interest has inclined towards the application of these frameworks to patient care, and accordingly these questions have taken on an increased degree of importance. On this cerebral canvas, the move to legalize PAS in the United Kingdom was unlikely to escape my attention. The idea to do a debate on PAS was provoked following a long discussion with a colleague in February 2008. Our talk really opened my eyes to the immediacy of issue, the myths surrounding it and its implications for me as a Christian. Moreover, the reality that termination of life might become an accepted therapeutic option for people at the end of their life was personally disturbing. Accordingly, the impetus for organising such a large-scale debate was, firstly, that such an important subject which would have long-lasting and far-reaching implications for society deserved to be in the public sphere. Secondly, if PAS was legalized it would profoundly and permanently alter the practice of medicine in the UK. Would it be too much to say it would denature it? Thirdly, the subject deserved to be debated rigorously by experts from more than one discipline, so we had four speakers on each side of the house representing politics, medicine, ethics/law and theology. We sought to recruit the best speakers we could for each discipline. Fortunately, everyone we approached had experience of this issue before, with some even on the frontlines, and was delighted to participate (see above). Imperative to me, with such a sensitive and emotive subject, was to maintain the integrity of the event. I realised early on that I personally would be seen as being biased in my view on PAS, and this was subsequently pointed out to me by several ‘well-meaning’ supporters of PAS on the night of the debate, because I hold to a Christian worldview. But of course the belief that anyone is morally neutral is fallacious. Over 350 people attended and, contrary to what some have implied, they were of varying backgrounds and beliefs. The pre-debate vote showed that the overwhelming majority supported the motion. The post-debate vote was again overwhelmingly supportive of the motion. For a fuller account of the arguments presented readers are encouraged to watch the DVD recordings or are directed to Jack DW. A right to die? Monthly Record Magazine of the Free Church of Scotland; February 2009: pp.6-7. David W. Jack 18 November 2009 Disclaimer „This debate was organised by students from the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) student group at the University of Dundee Medical School. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of CMF or the University of Dundee. This debate was funded by: (i) anonymous donations (ii) group fundraising.”

From Church of Dundee – Motion: “This house believes that Physician Assisted Suicide should not be legalised in Scotland” 27 October 2008, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee – Theologians

David Robertson on the state of the Church in Scotland and Europe and ‘The Dawkins letters’ a response to Richard Dawkins

David Robertson - Free Church of Scotland

At the bottom of this post, is an article from the Christian post, about a man named Richard Morgan, who became an atheist through the writing of Richard Dawkins and then found his faith in God again after interacting with David Robertson on the Dawkins website where he eventually printed out over fifty pages of Robertson’s posts. Morgan read through all the posts again and found no lies, as the atheists were charging Robertson. What he discovered instead was humility, intelligence, sensitivity, and several references to the Bible. At one moment in his reading of the printout,  Morgan’s instinctive response conjured up to his memory,  the verse, “We love because he first loved us.” And in that instant, Morgan understood the expression “amazing grace.” “I was certain without having any rational explanation that God existed, that he loved me without waiting for me to love him, that he loved me unconditionally without waiting for me to deserve it.”

This is a story of hope for folks struggling with their beliefs or looking for answers, and I highly encourage you to read it.  Find a church that loves God and preaches Christ and by all means, don’t give up! This life is not all there is! This is the only aspect of life that we cannot be wrong on-Our eternal destiny!

But now, back to a little intro: I have been enjoying lectures and sermons by David Robertson for a few years now (online of course).  He is the Pastor of the historic St. Peter’s Free Church of Scotland, in Dundee, which was once pastored by Robert Murray McCheyne, who took charge of it in November 1836 and the church eventually grew to seat 1,100 parishioners. However, the Scotland that was once a hub of the Reformation is in a different state today.

David Robertson on the Church in Scotland –

Scotland was once the most ‘Reformed’ nation of the Reformation. The Scottish Reformation of Knox and his colleagues was through and revolutionary. Much of modern Scotland, the law,

education and the church owe their origins to this time. Sadly the Scottish nation and people have to a large extent neglected and abandoned the heritage of our fathers. Today the Church in Scotland is in a weak state. 90% of Scotland’s population seldom if ever darken any kind of church door.

David Robertson wrote a response to Richard Dawkins book ‘The God delusion‘ in 2007, which Dawkins posted on his personal website, and atheists bombarded Robertson’s own site with comments and diatribes, soon after. Robertson’s responses were subsequently published in a book titled ‘The Dawkins Letters – Challenging atheist myths’.

and here is the new year’s stance (2011) that David Robertson puts forth through a post from his Chairman of his organization Solas (Centre for Public Christianity) – Gordon Wilson:

A NEW YEAR RESOLUTION FOR US ALL – END THE RETREAT!

January 12, 2011
The Lord Jesus Christ never offered us fame or glory or for that matter an easy life if we followed Him and His teachings. Take up my Cross, He said, and follow me. And so it was for the apostles, other disciples and saints in the early life of the Christian church. Through the ages, men and women have suffered for their faith.
It is happening today. In Pakistan, Egypt, Christian churches are being bombed and worshippers killed. In Iraq, the community of Christians there for millennia are being hunted by Al Quaeda. Now these believers are forced to become refugees for their faith. In Khartoum, hundreds of thousands of Christians from the south of Sudan face a pogrom if they are marooned there as a consequence of a move towards independence by South Sudan in the referendum.
All this puts into perspective, the depression that many in Scotland and Europe feel about the closure of Christian churches and the flight of members, under the pressures of a secular society. We have seen 50 years of decline, first gradually and then a torrent as life ebbed away. We have to face the reality that Europe, which so long gave the lead is now in apostasy as a consequence of movements within society and the advance of materialism and individualism, polite words for greed and selfishness.
We forget at our peril that in this World, all changes and little remains the same. Just as the Soviet Union crashed and America begins its long slide from world domination, so already there is change at work. When Christianity failed to be exciting and to keep the teachings of the Lord, it suckled apathy so that members just gave up and the general population was not stirred. Now we are no longer in that world of apathy. Our faith is being harassed by militant, intolerant secularists who wish to destroy all religious faiths – not just ours although we are currently a soft target. The challenge is to use this hostility to make more Christians active and to train them so that they can have confidence in their ability to take on the ‘sneerers’ and doubters. Fighting aggression is much easier than battling apathy. And out there, are many who have spiritual needs but have no knowledge of what Jesus can offer them.
Will we begin to turn the tide in 2011. It must start some time, some place. Why not Scotland this year?

Gordon Wilson Chairman
There is a related story in the Christian post that might be of interest to my readers. Richard Morgan turned atheist through Richard Dawkins and then found faith in God again during the time he interacted with David Robertson through Dawkins’ site:

Former Dawkins Atheist Richard Morgan Continues to Praise God

Three years later and still going strong, one man continues to prove to atheists that his conversion was not a “temporary brain infarction.”

Nominal Christian, Mormon missionary, atheist, and now a born-again Christian, Richard Morgan recently spoke to Apologetics315 about his life-changing, or saving, experience on none other than Richard Dawkins’ infamous website.

Having been through his share of religious inquiry at a young age, Morgan realized that he was constantly in search of something, whether it be spiritual or not.

Embracing answers in whatever shape they took, he found himself a Mormon at one point in his life after meeting two Mormon missionaries. But after becoming a missionary, he began to have some serious doubts about his beliefs, which later caused him to abandon that religion altogether.

Blindly searching still for something to hold on to, Morgan shared in his interview, “I was aware that probably much more than seeking God I was seeking a social context where I would be accepted. I think basically all of us deep down, we’re all looking to be accepted in some way or another.”

Having grown out of the need for that kind of moral support however as he aged, Morgan one day began to read Dawkins’ book, The Blind Watchmaker which revolutionized his life and made sense of everything he had been experiencing.

The book made one thing clear: There was nothing to look for, so stop looking and get on with your life.

“This was a real epiphany experience… to realize of course all those years of searching for something spiritual or God-like were bound to be completely frustrating because God didn’t exist.

“I didn’t feel like I became an atheist, the feeling was more that I realized I always had been,” expressed Morgan. “I had a feeling that I never actually believed in God but I was looking for some unhealthy psychological reason [to believe]… coming out as an atheist was really a hallelujah experience for me.”

Morgan’s interest in evolution increased dramatically after reading the book, redirecting his attention towards understanding the nature of living things around him more than trying to understand things that were above.

More than the religious debate, it was his interest in evolution that led him to follow Richard Dawkins. Upon finding the author’s actual website, Morgan was excited to communicate with scientists and philosophers who could offer more insight into evolution.

But rather than discussing the nature of evolution in the “oasis of clear thinking,” Morgan was horrified to discover in his first forum that more than half of the people devoted their time saying rude things about believers using extremely foul language.

Click here to read the rest of the story from the Christian Post.

And here is a 47 minute video of David Robertson talking about his book to a group of people at a Border’s bookstore in Edinburgh, afterwards he fields some questions.

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1st collector for Challenging_Atheist_Myths, David Robertson
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