God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist

God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist

God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist

God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist

Synopsis

The question of whether or not God exists is endlessly fascinating and profoundly important. Now two articulate spokesmen--one a Christian, the other an atheist--duel over God's existence in a lively and illuminating battle of ideas. In God?, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. With none of the opaque discourse of academic logicians and divinity-school theologians, the authors make claims and comebacks that cut with precision. Their arguments are sharp and humorous, as each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. From arguments about the nature of infinity and the Big Bang, to religious experience and divine action, to the resurrection of Jesus and the problem of evil, the authors treat us to a remarkable display of intelligence and insight--a truly thought-provoking exploration of a classic issue that remains relevant to contemporary life.

Excerpt

The question of whether or not God exists has been debated vigorously for millennia. It's easy to see why so many people remain intensely interested in this issue. According to traditional believers, human existence finds its ultimate fulfillment only in relation to God. Moreover, in the minds of many, eternal life hangs in the balance. The effects of belief or disbelief in God can also be dramatic in this world. Beliefs about God often influence positions on important and controversial issues, such as sexual behavior, abortion, medical research using stem cells, and, of course, prayer in public schools and government support for religious schools and charities. Many decisions in daily life—not just on Sunday—also depend on belief or disbelief in God. Social action has often been motivated by belief in God. Friendships, communities, and political alliances frequently form or break down because of common or conflicting beliefs about God. We all need to decide where we stand on the issue of God's existence.

Despite the antiquity of this question, new aspects of this debate have arisen recently, partly because of developments in science and philosophy. Big Bang cosmology is the best-known example, but each year brings new results of research into the origins of life and of our universe. Novel philosophical theories of causation, knowledge, and morality also bear on the arguments for and against the existence of God. Ongoing psychological research and the quest for the historical Jesus by biblical scholars also introduce relevant considerations. That is why these debates must be renewed continually.

Unfortunately, many debates about God overlook such recent developments and degenerate into simplistic rhetoric or mutual misunderstanding. Other discussions of God's existence become so technical that only experts can follow them. Neither of these extremes . . .

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