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Thanks, Eric, for keeping me up until 2 a.m. when I was going to go to bed 3 hours ago.Turek definitely was not the best person to go up against Hitchens. I don't just mean he lost the arguments--there were some that Hitchens definitely dodged, specifically, I think, the moral argument, i.e., he never conceded his moral relativity--but he lost the battle of the hearts of the people. He came across as a blustery, flustered, school marm, redundant and repetative with little original or genuine to say. Hitchens on the other hand was simply fabulous in making his case and taking Turek out of his game.Ultimately, what I think has happened, is that Christian apologetics and humanistic apologetics have switched places. Whereas Christians used to argue on the basis of morality and love (at least to an extent), now it's trying to argue based on data--data which doesn't definitively lead to anything close to proof. Humanism used to lean on data which could not be proven (or on data which disproved "faith"), and now leans toward arguing based on the morality of its position (or immorality of Christianity's).I'd love to hear your thoughts.
My first thoughts were that Turek was a bit "goofy" in his attempts at humor. Hitches derisively called it "spirited." Turek seemed excited or angry or something. He was passionate, but it didn't come off well. Hitchens was calm and cool.I think there is a place for apologetics...I am not sure that place is in a formal debate. I am sure that has to be done, but not as often as we take it there. As most of us know, no one has ever been argued into the faith. The debate, as you point out, is not necessarily about correctness of the argument or someone coming out a "winner," but rather through the winning of a crowd...that is done with presentation (Turek is "spirited") and heart persuasion. Hitchens uses story amazingly well.Is the best place for "defending" the faith in our actual practice and in our one-on-one interaction with people? I would rather see us stop defending the existence of God in debate and start defending His existence with our actions. Hitchens uses our failure to act morally as his primary argument...and it is a heart argument that rings true.
Barb and I were talking some more about this last night (Hitchens really threw me some curve balls) and one question she brougt up that I would like to pose to Hitchens is how does He respond to the observation (which Turek does make in his concluding remarks--albeit in a snarky, defensive, wounded-dog sort of way) that Hitchens has simply replaced a supernatural God with himself. Isn't that at least as equally dangerous to make oneself the locus of all right and wrong? Perhaps Hitchens would say that is his point exactly, since he seemed to be bent out of shape over the idea of servitude.What do you think?
If you want to listen to someone go toe to toe with Hitchens catch the debate that was on c-span's Book tv between him and Dinesh D'Souza.http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?programid=8788§ionname=&playmedia=noCheers,Scott
Andy, I think that Hitchens is saying that the standard for morality comes from within...but that "within" seems to be decided by community, law, etc. He doesn't seem to discourage the concept of conscience...in fact, he agrees that everyone has a conscience. For Hitchens, however, this seems to come not from God, and he doesn't seem to feel it his responsibility to explain where it comes from.Scott,I will have to watch that video.
Thanks, Scott. The debate between Hitchens and Dinesh was much more informative. I still wish we could get them to answer each other's questions directly. Kudos to Dinesh for holding his own, even throwing Hitchens off of his game. As a believer, I confess I need people like Dinesh to help me think about the bigger picture in ways I'm unable to--even though I like to think of myself as somewhat educated and intellectual. There's so much I don't know and struggle to even apprehend. I came away from that debate much less tentative about the strength of grounds for believing in Christianity.