Thursday, July 15, 2010

Alister McGrath vs. Christopher Hitchens: The Center vs. the Fringe – Pt.1

Back on October 11, 2007, one of my favorite Evangelical theologians debated the controversial atheist, Christopher Hitchens. The following video is the first in a series available via YouTube—ENJOY!!!


video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX_LM7WZc9A&feature=related



Grace and peace,

David

4 comments:

Chris said...

I am not at all an Alister McGrath fan, especially since reading his wrong-headed and deeply offensive response to John Hick in the book Four Views on Salvation. But I do think he does a fairly good job in this video, perhaps because he avoids bringing pseudo-postmodernism into it.

All the data I have seen suggest that religion is not a major cause of violence in the world today. I did a bunch of research on the causes of intrastate conflict last semester, and religious variables were almost always statistically insignificant. The most predictive variables were "opportunity" variables (such as weak government or mountainous geography) rather than "grievance" or "ideology" variables such as religious or ethnic fractionalization.

David Waltz said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks much for taking the time to respond; you wrote:

>>I am not at all an Alister McGrath fan, especially since reading his wrong-headed and deeply offensive response to John Hick in the book Four Views on Salvation. But I do think he does a fairly good job in this video, perhaps because he avoids bringing pseudo-postmodernism into it.>>

Me: I did not immediately recall that I had the above title in my library, but after some further reflection, I remembered a book on pluralism in which Hick and McGrath were two of the contributors—More Than One Way?. After a little online research, I discovered that Four Views on Salvation is the same book, reissued under a new title. It has been almost 15 years now since I read the book, so my recollection(s) are a bit hazy. I really need to reread the book before I comment…

Moving on, I thoroughly enjoyed McGrath’s Iustitia Dei (I own the 1st and 3rd editions), as well as his books on historical Christian theology (I have 3, but there may be more). As far as contemporary conservative Evangelical theologians go, I prefer McGrath over most; but I am willing to be educated in this matter.

>>All the data I have seen suggest that religion is not a major cause of violence in the world today. I did a bunch of research on the causes of intrastate conflict last semester, and religious variables were almost always statistically insignificant. The most predictive variables were "opportunity" variables (such as weak government or mountainous geography) rather than "grievance" or "ideology" variables such as religious or ethnic fractionalization.>>

Me: I have little doubt that your recent studies have a lot of truth to them. I would add that for most power seekers (political and/or ecclesiastical), religion is used as a means to their real passion—power.


Grace and peace,

David

Darlene said...

Thank you, Dave. I'm looking forward to the next installment. Have you ever seen the debate between McGrath and Dawkins?

Mr. McGrath is very much a gentleman, a breed which is difficult to find in our day and age.

David Waltz said...

Hi Darlene,

So glad you liked the video. I was not planning to post the rest of McGrath vs. Hitchens debate series, for if you go to the link under the video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX_LM7WZc9A&feature=related

…all the rest are linked to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VVYtJhbJHI&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EuDYGnWMiQ&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1srYx6L3-tk&feature=related

etc.

As for the McGrath vs. Dawkins debate, I was not aware of it, but it too appears to be linked to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxc0NpTZE18&feature=related

Is the above the one you were thinking of?


Grace and peace,

David