For The God Delusion Debate, Gayathiri and Sandra chose to listen to Dr John Lennox because the two of us personally believe there is a God while Len Jin and Jerome chose to listen to Professor Richard Dawkins because the points brought forth by Dawkins has more relevance to them personally.
There were 6 main thesis that was being debated between Lennox and Dawkins:
1. Faith is blind and science is evident based
2. Science supports atheism, not Christianity
3. Design is dead otherwise one must explain who designed the Designer
4. Christianity is dangerous
5. No one needs God to be moral
6. Christian claims about the person Jesus were not true, alleged miracles violates the law of nature
The main points of Lennox are summarized as follows:
He believes that faith is supported by rational evidence. Science is limited but anything beyond science is not irrational. Religion is the driving force for science.
Atheism undermines science. Science is possible is because God is responsible for our mind. Scientist needs “faith” to believe in the rational intelligibility of the universe.
Darwinism does not explain life and the existence of replicator. God is not created because a created God is delusional. Simplicity is not the only criteria of truth.
Everything comes from the mind of the planner. Perpetrators disobeyed the explicit command of Christ. Atheism commits intellectual murder.
We cannot know the foundations of being good without God. If there is no good and evil, we cannot talk about the good of atheism. Morality obtained elsewhere is of no use.
History proves Christianity. Dawkins got his information from an anaesthesiologist and not a theologian. Laws of nature only describe what normally happens.
Human beings believed in the existence of science because science also believed in the existence of the universe.
From the debate, we think that Dr. John Lennox was an excellent debater based on a few reasons. Firstly, he respects the criticism Dawkins made about Christianity even though he is supporting theism, which is the belief that there is a God in the debate. He listens to all the points that Dawkins has against Christianity with a calm nature. He does not make facial expression that shows he is angry or disturbed even though the some of the comments made by Dawkins were indirectly insulting Christianity. Secondly, most of the points presented by Lennox was very strong, not only in because of how he phrased his points nor the words he use to put forth his points but the points he stated to support Christianity was very logical and is very reasonable. For instance, Lennox made mention that Dawkins denied the concept of good and evil. If what Dawkins believed in was true, there would not be justice and terrorists would escape from punishment! The third supporting statement would be that Dr. Lennox was very familiar with Dawkins literature because he was very confident with each and every argument values that he has given while Dawkins was blabbering to the overall conversation. Dr. Lennox also seemed very prepared with his opposing points toward atheist. Moreover, Dr. Lennox also agreed that science is based on faith at some point and that atheism undermines science. The world needs to believe in faith and religion in order to live morally as religion teaches us to live with moral values. Dr Lennox also gave an overview of both sides and a reasonable conclusion. The existence of the designer is also showed as evidence in the bible and also the creation of beautiful universe for the human beings to live in. And finally we must say that Lennox’s end speech was argumentative and as well as inspiring for the younger generation to have more faith in the existence of god. Dr Lennox gave an expressive and distinct speech on Christian faith.
As much as Dr. John Lennox was a good debater, we found a few weaknesses in him during his debate. Firstly, Lennox could not finish putting forth his points in the time given which was 5 minutes. From this we can say that Lennox did not do a very good job in making sure his points were straight to the point so he could make sure that everything he has to say will be able to be presented in the 5 minutes given to him. Secondly, Lennox used the time given for the particular thesis being debated at that time to continue debating in the previous thesis. These are seen as a weakness by us because Lennox has a little time management issue. Lennox also seemed to be going off from his points as he was very much interested in opposing Dawkins points. There were also lack of evidence in Lennox arguments and universe is not evidence due to its existence. Lennox could actually define faith in a more reasonable and elusive manner. In conclusion, Lennox’s statements are much more supported and reliable rather than it was opposed.
The main points of Dawkins are as follows:
Religion nulls the impulse to understand by putting everything in god’s hands. Science is the opposite by explaining how a lot of incidents happen based on hard evidence.
Science initially describes that reality is between rationalism and superstition of the existence of god. The idea of science and reality does not overlap with religion.
The speculation that god is the designer is flawed. If god was complex enough to design the universe, surely it would require an even more complex design in its own right.
Faith is evil as it requires no justification; people can just use faith to justify terrible acts. People should use rationality and common sense instead of blindly following faith.
It is unnecessary to distinguish good and evil from the bible, since we already know what is good and evil, and also we are making logical choices of our own.
Fundamental incompatibility between complex sciences and some deity that can simply bend the laws of physics at its will.
According to the video of debate, Dawkins say that God is merely an illusion and God does not exist. His theory was fully opposed by Lennox who has faith in God. Throughout his debate, the 1st strength that we think Dawkins had is the fact that he stated that sciences are based on evidence while faith is nothing but trust. He stated that “We are overwhelmed with beauty and the complexity of the world, and have a desire to worship something. Science emancipates us from this feeling.” This point of his is part of his strength because it is true that no one has ever seen nor touched God before. What is God? It is just our beliefs and what can God do if we do not intend to believe in him? During the ancient times, God may just be a highly intelligent being compared to the people then. He may be using the law of sciences to perform miracles. During that time, people would believe in him because people have not yet discovered science. Through the ages as science and technology keeps improving, people tend to ignore the existence of God because people now tend to be more civilized and more intelligent. According to the anthropology text book written by ember, God exist because of the fear of human being during the ancient time. They do not know why earthquakes or floods or any other natural disasters happen and hence they think that there is a God which is controlling all these things because God is angry.
For the second strength, Dawkins stated that “If God made everything, who made God?” A designer god cannot be used to explain organized complexity because any god complex enough to design anything would require a complex design in his own right. Or could it be other things that created us rather than God? As stated above, God exist because we are uneducated. When science comes alive, everything just seems to have a way. Everything needs proof and evidence. What is the Galaxy? Has anyone even experience it? Somehow science came out with the width of the Milky Way but still they are not 100% sure because it’s just one of a theory. Apparently everyone refers God to a human being. Why? God could be in various forms. God could look like a handicap person. Who knows? And when they ask who made God? It means that everyone refers that God is also merely a creature being created. And if he is created, is he still God?
For the 3rd strength, Dawkins states that we don’t need religion to be good or ethical. How do you define good and ethical? Every culture is different. Hence the teachings will not be the same. Since young, we have been taught not to kill. We then get the mindset and if we practice that, we will be punished badly. But for some other culture, killing is a way to show their bravery. Hence, killing is ethical for them. If there is a God who created this world, why does the teaching of different places not the same? What our ethical means depends on our culture. We may think that it is impolite for people to burp after a meal but for the Arabians, burp after meals means they think that the food is nice. Rather than religion, there are still laws and rules to follow so that people would be as they call ethical. Hence, religion is not required to shape a good being.
However, Dawkins states that religions are dangerous. He says that if there is no religion, there will be no suicide bombers killing for the sake of God, and there will be no 9/11. I think that this point is his weakness because the terrorist are just misusing these faithful people to bomb themselves. They claimed that after the suicide bombing, they get to have 72 virgins in heaven according to the Quran. Did they die just because of the virgins or do they have faith? Hence this is not the matter where religions are dangerous. It is the same where the Israelites having war with the Palestinians because they claim that they will fight for their sacred place. However, will God want them to fight? Although God maybe a delusion but think of it. War is not a joke you can practice. It makes people suffers. Not to say God, even anyone of us would not want that to happen right?
We think Dawkins showed his weakness during the time where he was questioned by Lennox. Do you have faith in your wife? His whole face was red and the audience was laughing. He could not control his emotion and this shows he is angry. Hence he showed that Lennox had said something good to step on him.
So, who won the debate?
After considering both the strength and weaknesses of the two debaters, Dr John Lennox and Professor Richard Dawkins, we have come to an agreement that both the debaters Lennox and Dawkins won the argument in a fair manner based on several reasons.
Lennox was supporting theism in the debate and we agreed that he has won the argument is because firstly the way he spoke about faith in our opinion is very strong and convincing in supporting Christianity. This can be seen in the debate when Lennox stated that faith is not blind because faith itself carries with it the ideas of believe, trust and commitment and is therefore only as rebus as the evidence for it. He also states that faith, in relativity theory is not blind because there is evidence supporting it. Faith in Christianity according to Lennox is rational and evident based, part of the evidence is objective, some of it comes from science, some comes from history and some of it is subjective coming from experience.
Besides that, we think Lennox won the argument because of the way he presented his debate. He not only made the crowd laughed a couple of times, he also managed to refute Dawkins in a manner whereby Dawkins seemed as though he was speechless. This shows that the points that Lennox put forth was so strong until Dawkins could not come up with anything to defend his beliefs.
The whole group also thinks that Lennox won the debate because he refuted Dawkins’s claim about “Christianity is dangerous” really well. First and foremost, Lennox performed very well by being honest in admitting that he is ashamed of Christianity personally because of all the happenings that were caused by the crusades and so on. However, Lennox explained further by stating that the perpetrators were not followers of Christ because Christ explicitly commands us not to use physical weapons because Christ’s kingdom is not of this world.
Lennox theory could also be supported because even though there are many types of different religion or also known as cultures that tend to have variety of beliefs, we still have the same teachings. We are trying to say that each and every religion teaches us to live with moral values and to be away from sin and it has a great impact in our lives. Thus, even though the followers are different but they tend to practice the same following. In conclusion, each and every human beings need to have faith in their god and practice their religion in order to live with compatible moral values because science can only teach us not to do certain event but it is unable to explain the reason behind it.
However, we also agreed that Dawkins was a fair and evenly matched contender to Lennox as he also made many strong points in the discussion. He backed up his thesis with solid and scientific proof that has been extensively and thoroughly studied. Take for example, the renowned scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Even though Darwin was not able to explain the origin of life, he was at least able to link the gap of evolution between different variations of animals of the same genre, in contrast to Lennox who was basing most of his thesis from the bible, which does not have much, if any at all, certified or standing proof.
Among the other points that Dawkins was delivering, another one that came to us quite strongly is that religion and faith is still a manmade entity, not a perfect being such as god. Hence it must have its flaws, because it was not made by a perfect being. Though the ideals promoted by the writers of the holy books are intended to be righteous, others may force us to believe in something that does not make sense, or conflicts one another. For example, the Christian and Islamic religions state that people who do not embrace their god will be sent to hell. There are many other religions out there with different gods and deities. Does this mean that hell waits for people who are not Christians even though they did not commit any “sin”? It would be illogical and unreasonable, attributes a good god would not have.
Lastly, Dawkins also argues that the problem with religion is because religions were created during the olden days, people then did not know much or anything about science. Back then, gods could have been used as a simple and easy means of explanation for many natural occurrences which can be explained through sciences. Back then, god might have been a reality for them as religion gave them something to hold on to by giving them some sort of an explanation to the unknown. Before any advance in scientific knowledge, when lightning occurred, the average god fearing individual would think that God was angry at the people for their sins, and they feel scared so they worshipped god. However, that theory is no longer applicable as we already have a logical, scientific, and rational explanation for it.
Based on all the reasons stated above, once again we would like to state that we think both the debaters won the argument fairly because presented their stand point of views in two distinctive manner but both are strong and convincing.