Friday, January 02, 2009

Christopher Hitchens vs William Lane Craig Debate

On April 4, 2009 William Lane Craig will debate Christopher Hitchens on the topic Does God Exist? Mark your calendars for this one.

Other debates on William Lane Craig's schedule can be found here, including Craig vs. Richard Carrier, Craig vs. Quentin Smith, and others.

WLC's comprehensive debate list here.

If you want audio of the debate, go HERE!

NEW: Craig's follow-up podcast on this debate is here.


mmcelhaney said...

Alright!!! I can't wait. I've been wanting Hitchens go against someone who can argue against his tirades against the accuracy of the Bible from the stand point of History and Archeology. To show that believing that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is reasonable, tenable, and the only honest response to the evidence we have.

Aaron said...

This would be like me debating my three year old. Good luck Mr. are going to need it.

JF said...


How did you hear about it? Where will it be hosted?

Craig just responded to Alex Byrne's ignorant piece in the Boston Review:

Brian said...

The debate list can be found here. It is at Biola University.

Information is there on locations of debates as well.

martin said...

Watch for WLC not falling for diversions, rhetoric in the guise of argument or Hitchens' intoxication as an excuse.

In one rejoinder Hitchens loads ad hominems, non-sequiters, and bawdy jokes and wraps it all up in what he mistakes as argument.

WLC will bring him back on task like a teacher and his student. WLC knows the audience deserves better.

If Hitchens doesn't drink so much before hand he might remember the walloping received and might be converted!

Brian said...

Your appraisal may be right in content, but personally I think Dr. Craig would object to Christians making such an ungracious assessment. Let us truly pray that this is a step not only in the conversion of Christopher Hitchens, but also for many who listen.

martin said...

Brian my post actually assumes WLC graciousness see Lee Stobel's "The Case for Christ" and his meeting with WLC. Thank you for making it explicit.

Having said that though there is good reason to believe Christopher Hitchens is acting in bad faith. That desire for $$$ swamps his desire for veritas. That clearly he is capable of writing a much better book, a fact almost universally accepted by theists and atheists alike. Consequently it is right that he be judged (not ultimately condemned) for the stumbling block he represents to the young and/or ignorant.

There is precedent in scripture for Jesus' bitter denunciation of, and snappy 'come backs' to, the Pharisees.

When a heart can't be changed talking will not do, a bitter defeat is required. General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Given WLC's brilliance its fair to hope that he will be a medium of the Grace, you'll read, I hoped would convert the man.

A gracious reading of my post would put this hope in the foreground.

Brian said...


My aim is to point out that Craig's gracious approach would not be to boast victory, much less in advance of the debate. I am suggesting that Christians that support Craig ought to reflect this same tone of "graciousness" and respect for the opponent before and after the debate.

I mistakenly read a wrong tone into your first post, and for that I apologize.

That behind us, I am looking forward to April 4th!

Chad said...

I look forward to WLC challenging "Hitch" to explain why atheism is a better explanation of the observable facts than Christianity.

I'm not sure Hitchens has been put in that type of position in prior debates and it seems that WLC almost always takes that type of stance when debating the atheist.

I would love to know how much Hitchens knows about WLC's track record in debates.

Anonymous said...

Craig will be hard pressed to explain how a god who occupies no time or space and is composed of no matter or energy is somehow able to "exist" without meeting any of the criterion we would apply to that word. His incredulity that the Universe emerged from nothing seems a little hypocritical when, if what he believes is true, his god also conjured the Universe from nothing (in as much as it is not formed of Yahweh's own rarefied substance), thus conceding that he believes spontaneous generation is conceivable, as long as you chalk it up to a deity.

The fact that another set of physical laws outside of our own, laws that the laws of the Universe are descended from, is just as likely as a deity continues to be the hurdle that apologists cannot surmount. Craig alleges that only a "persona;" god could begin the Universe, which denies the possibility that time may in fact be circular and not linear, thus offering a competing epistemology that apologists are fearful of acknowledging.

Unknown said...

Tickets for the debate are now on sale at

fallan said...

william craig will defend his belief in God and no doubt win the debate easily whether it will convince and convert such an aggressive atheist like Hitchens is another thing

Drew said...

ive seen craig debate. hitchens is brilliant. those who accuse him of using ad hominems are using them themselves. ive seen numerous hitchens debates. he clobbers everyone.

the burden of evidence falls squarely on the christian to explain why he has all the answers and everyone else is wrong.

craig wont be able to do that convincingly.
no one knows how the universe came to be, and no one ever will. the true question is if it is a personal, knowable god?

i dont think it is.

NAL said...

Belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is based on faith not reason. Belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is based on faith not evidence. If you need reason and evidence for your belief, you're on a path to atheism.

skyler said...

Belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is based on faith and reason. The Bible does not contradict itself. It speaks on subjects no other book ever did (it is original in its thought on many matters). It demands divine origin and thought as man could never conjure up such a book. Who is going to come up with Jonah in a big fish for 3 days and try and pass it off as fact? Thousands of people, including historians like Josephus, saw Jesus and hundreds saw him after his resurrection fulfill what his claim to rise from the dead. This is evidence and it supports the Christian faith and its claims. We do not have a blind faith.

Franck Barfety said...

In answer to deathray1's comment, Craig could use the argument from consciousness. If the universe at its core is consciousness and not matter, then a free agent is able to exert his will and produce energy. Considering E=MC² matter is simply frozen energy which comes from exertion of will. I heard JP speak about that and it seems pretty convincing. More so than matter coming from nothing anyhow.

Unknown said...

I recall many Christians thinking Allister Mcgrath was going to topple Hitchens leading up to their debate, and Mcgrath ended up getting demolished.

I'm not sure how anyone with meat between their ears can think belief without evidence in a magical super-being is an intellectually sound idea.

Brian said...

There's a big difference between McGrath as a debater and Craig as a debater.

With Craig you have one of the best debaters in the world and with Hitchens you have one of the most powerful rhetoricians. That is why it is going to be a phenomenal debate -- whoever one thinks is the "winner."

Have you heard the debates between Hitchens and Lennox?

Are you implying that Craig, McGrath, and Lennox believe without evidence in magical super-beings? Could you explain what you mean there?

Jay44 said...

Did you purchase the live feed of the debate Brian?

I agree there's a HUGEEEE difference between McGrath and Craig. McGrath is very soft spoken and somewhat wishy washy on his position whereas Craig is not and instead methodologically makes his case and refutes his opponent's. I also find McGrath doesn't present much of a case for his position, nor does he really take the time to respond adequately to his opponent's argument whereas Craig does both very effectively.

I can't wait for the Hitchens debate!!!! Two days

Brian said...


Unfortunately, I have not purchased the live feed. I am open to sponsors, though!

Anonymous said...

I believe it to be truly sad when very Logical and Intelligent Adults fail to understand and learn about History. The concept of Religion was a void filling answer to Phenomenon unexplainable at the time. When you take the time to Delve even deeper it is easy to recognize the "control factor" religion had over people by those with "divine right" such as KINGS used to control and hinder society.

I ask that you Pick a book up that hasn't been modernized to fix its' ancient flaws. Preferably one that was written and composed this century...

Jay44 said...

I would sponsor, but the deadline is now passed, unfortunately. Don't worry though, it'll be available shortly after I'm sure.

Brian said...

Why thanks! Either way I know it will be one great debate. I will try to do my best to post the audio as soon as I hear of a link. For those who have any inside info, please let me know at apologetics315 (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to commend this site for having a lot of good information posted in regards to both opposing view points as well as supportive ideas.

I was really intrigued by some of the more modern ways of looking at the universe in terms of Consciousness and there being Frozen Energy as well.

My question then becomes, if the bible is the word of God, Why weren't these ideas and theories explained in the bible?

And again, if the bible was the word of god, why are we all waiting to be recruited by Gods Army to eventually fight agaist the Devils' during Armageddon;If Gods' will is at play here? why not just skip the formalities and use the will to avoid the entire situation of good vs. evil and sin altogether?

Again great job on this site. I am enjoying my visits

Royal Son said...

Skyler: you said "Thousands of people, including historians like Josephus, saw Jesus and hundreds saw him after his resurrection fulfill what his claim to rise from the dead"

With no disrespect at all toward you brother, as I am a Christian also, I just wanted to correct this mention about Josephus.

Josephus in fact never met Jesus. He never claimed to have met Jesus. He was however a very well respected non-Christian historian who was able to verify several things about Christianity, such as that Christians worshiped Jesus, and that Jesus was crucified.

I'm looking forward to the debate.

God bless you,
Royal Son.

Brian said...

I am glad you have found the blog helpful. Thanks for the feedback, and I hope you continue to find helpful resources.

As for conciousness and frozen energy, I guess I would want to ask you why you think they should have been explained in the Bible. Also, what do you think is the overall message of the Bible?

In regards to your comments on fighting devils during Armageddon, I don't think I understand what you are talking about. I suppose we would need to sort out other more foundational matters (existence of God, the resurrection, the Bible's primary message) a little better before moving on to speculative future events. Wouldn't you agree?

Thanks again. Take care.

Brian said...

Audio is here, albeit poor quality.

Brian said...

Craig's follow-up audio podcast on this debate has been added to this post. Check it out.

The Venus Project said...

as an atheist i like WLC in debate, he seems to believe all of it very sincerely and spars well with Hitchens. nice piece!

Unknown said...

Someone of 'Hitchens' intellect does not need to resort to ad hominens; nor does he throughout the debate. He argued his case, in my opinion, far better that WLC in terms of eloquence, command of the English language and logic. This does not make him right, granted, but to imply or state that he resorts to personal attacks on those he disagrees with - is unwarranted.

Let's cut the nonsense, one either believes in God or one does not. There is no middle ground with respect to this question. To even acknowledge the possibility of there being a God - one is still essentially grounding one's argument in the doubt that it stems from.

When asked 'Do I believe in God?'; my response - 'I don't know and can't know'. I can certainly seek patterns in both the universe and religious texts and then try to convince myself in due course, but I cannot be truly objective on this question and still manage to arrive at the same conclusion.

Both 'WLC' and 'CH' are highly intelligent individuals with differing views on the issue of religion and both should be listened to for this reason. They can effectively communicate their respective cases to any given audience.

Personally, I do not reject God because I cannot disprove that God exists, but I fully reject religion on all fronts. I once heard a saying: 'If God exists, let him tell me, not you'. To date, nothing to report ladies and gentleman.

Unknown said...

I've never quite been able to understand the religious mindset. It seems so full of hypocrisy and contradiction. For example, the religious will tell you that you cannot get something from nothing and therefore this proves that God exists.

But when I ask them to explain 'where did God come from then'? they simply say that God has always existed. This makes no sense at all.

God clearly represents 'something'. So where did that 'something' come from?

On the one hand, the religious are saying that something cannot come from nothing whilst on the other hand - they are also saying that something CAN COME FROM NOTHING in the case of God. To reason in this way just seems like cherry-picking conclusions to support one's own case.

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