’The God Delusion Debate’ Between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox

If Christians are to be always ready to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is within us (I Pet. 3:15) and not have any fear or be troubled about reasons for unbelievers questions about the existence of God, the Creator (v 14) , then the DVD, “The God Delusion Debate” produced by the Fixed Point Foundation is one worth watching. If atheists want poignant responses to Christians' questions, then its worth owning. Indeed, I highly recommend it for both believers and non-believers. Oxford University Professor Richard Dawkins debates with fellow Oxford University Professor John Lennox, in an Evolution vs. Creation debate that answers the most perplexing issues between both sides.

Richard Dawkins’ best seller, “The God Delusion,” basically asserts that believers in God are fantasizing, but John Lennox asserts the veracity of the Bible and of Creation. This debate was recorded on Oct. 3, 2007, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to a sold-out auditorium and world-wide audience and was captured on DVD. This is perhaps the greatest debate ever between Evolution and Creation between, arguably, the two greatest scientific minds in the 21st Century. What is remarkable is that Professor Dawkins does not, as a rule, debate with Creationists over the existence of God and Him as Creator.

Even Professor Dawkins admits that the Fixed Point Foundation “has an honesty, and an integrity that belies its Christian heritage”. So after a thorough review of this DVD, I am presenting what I hope is an honest dialogue of the two men, with both perspectives with respect to their beliefs. This DVD is a thoughtful and civil discussion and not a heated debate and the auditorium audience seems split in its support of the men. The time given near the men’s remarks, e.g., (10 or 33:33), is in minutes and seconds and later on in hours, e.g., (1:12) and is an approximate area where their comments may be found.

To begin with, Professor Dawkins started with his own explanation for his belief in Evolution. He says that, “I found Darwin’s explanation for life” made sense (12). He says that religious ideas are outdates, a delusion and calls it the “dragon of religion”. He states that we don’t need religion or a “holy book” to teach us the virtue of “not understanding (20).

Professor Lennox began by saying that “God has revealed Himself in the universe and in Jesus Christ” and that religion “does not build a firewall against scientific knowledge”, quoting C.S. Lewis as either Jesus Christ is a liar, a maniac or is God Himself and telling the truth. There are no other options but the three (18).

Professor Dawkins then responds by saying that “The awesomeness of the universe’s beauty makes us naturally want to worship. Science is an emancipation from religion to nature itself. The supreme achievement is from natural causes (23:40).” Everything came from bacteria – we don’t know the process. Religion teaches us to be satisfied with not needing to know (25).

Professor Lennox then says to Professor Dawkins that “You have no evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” It is rational and there is evidence for God’s existence. Science is limited (27:45). Science can not decide moral, objective values. We know that strychnine added to your grandma’s tea will kill her. It can not tell you why it is wrong. It is because there is a Moral Lawgiver. In the 16th and 17th Centuries, scientific knowledge exploded. Newton’s Laws came about because he understood it increased praise of his God (30:33).

Professor Dawkins responded that it is “rationalism versus superstition.” “Faith is evidence?” he asks, looking at Professor Lennox (32). Professor Lennox says, while looking at Professor Dawkins, “You have faith in your wife. You have evidence for it, right (33)?” Professor Dawkins responds by saying, it is “naturalism versus superstition. Creationism in the classroom – that’s wrong (35); religion is about scientific claims about the universe – it’s scientific? (37)”

Professor Lennox says that “Atheism undermines science” and that life is supposed to have “evolved by unguided random events. If our mind is just random atom movements of our brain, then how can we believe in any science? (41)” Continuing, he said “accidents?” If the universe is not constant and exact or it can not support life. Then Professor Lennox mentions Astronomy. Atheism would have us believe that the universe came out of nothing. No, there is an “underlying cause – planned” its exact, precise. The Big Bang, coming to full fruition if scientific thought in the 1960s, “Shows a finite beginning of space, time and matter. There was a beginning (43).”

Professor Dawkins says that if miracles did occur, they are “to be judged by scientific methods. Science deals with reality, religion – everything else.” The question of ‘Who made God?’. Professor Dawkins sees it as “an infinite regress from which He can not escape – who designed the Designer (46)?”. About the origin of the universe, Professor Dawkins says, “We don’t know the Cosmology – Cosmology is waiting for its Darwin (46:40). Darwin can not explain the origin of the universe (51).”

Professor Lennox then answers the question, ‘Who designed the Designer? Who created God?”. Well then, who created creation? No one believes in a created God. In John, Chapter One, ‘In the beginning was the Word. Darwin believes in something eternal, like the universe (53).” DNA carries meaning…the meaning of the message is not found in the message (56).” [entering the second hour]

Professor Dawkins was asked about his reference to John Lennon’s “Imagine” song, which describes a world without religion. “No suicide bombers, no 9/11, no Taliban. Even mild religion provides a climate of fanaticism. God still needs an explanation (1:01). Christianity [is] being dangerous to children – the evils of teaching them that faith is a virtue.” He acknowledges that its “only a minority” that do this. Professor Lennox interrupts saying, “That’s not said in your book though…”. Professor Dawkins continued, saying religion is “Convention – not to be questioned – and respected. Faith is a terrible weapon which justifies terrible acts (1:04).”

Professor Lennox responds saying, “DNA [is a] biological message from an Intelligent Designer, better than a ‘blind watchmaker’ (1:05). Jesus was put on trial as a dangerous radical religious leader, yet Pilot found Him guiltless.” Then he comments on “A world without atheism. No Pol Pot, no ‘killing fields’, no communistic murder of millions. Millions more died under atheism than Christianity in order to get rid of religions. Jews, Christian…any religious people“ (1:05). Continuing, Professor Lennox says, that “Religion is not an open invitation to fanaticism – Christ taught the opposite. (1:10)”

Professor Dawkins then concedes that all “religious people do not do bad things – Atheism…Marxism was bad. Atheism is not like religion – to drive me to be a fanatical killer (1:12). The 9/11 bombers were rational, logical people who thought [it was] Allah’s will and their heaven and paradise were guaranteed (1:13). You may not do terrible things because you are an atheist, but you might because you’re a religious fanatic (1:15). Professor Lennox adds, “Atheism is a faith…don’t you believe? You believe that all the universe is all there is. (1:15)”

Professor Dawkins then says, “you don’t need God to be moral…or you’re trying to suck up and get rewards. You need a book for that!? If they do, their morals are hideous! A universal moral acceptance ‘The Golden Rule’ is just common sense. Morals came from our evolutionary past. Good deeds allowed for sex. The Darwinian pressure for God is gone and contraceptives render good deeds not necessary. (1:17) Moral consensus has gone on. Every time you use contraceptives, you‘ve removed any imperatives” (1:22).

Professor Lennox responds by saying “The very fact that an atheist can be good is not possible without a foundation. You can not get ethics from science (1:24). You (pointing to Professor Dawkins) said that ‘there is no good or evil’ and why mention ‘universal moral acceptance if we are only ‘bouncing DNA‘? (1:25)” [referring to Professor Dawkins’ book] If we’re only dancing to our DNA, the how can morality or the ‘Golden Rule’ exist, as you called it (1:26)? You can’t go from facts to values. So morality is from raw nature?!” You have said in your book (p. 92) that ‘miracles violate the laws of natures’ (1:26). “Miracles are not violations of natural laws. Jesus’ resurrection is the basis of my faith and the historicity of His existence a fact” (1:38).

After closing remarks by both men, the audience provides a thunderous, standing ovation to both men, it would appear. One of the best debates I have ever seen in my life. I will not say who won or who lost. I know who presented the better arguments, and you might imagine who I believe best presented their case, but I will let you be the judge of that. I would recommend the DVD of “The God Delusion Debate.” It is thoroughly entertaining and both men intelligently respond…and with all due respect, I applaud them both.

6 Comments

  1. BathTubNZ said:

    I don’t think Dawkins is a great Debater. Not sure where he got reputation. Isn’t this the debate with the terrible structure where Dawkins discusses something from his book. Then Lennox then gets to cross examine Dawkins directly, and then Dawkins gets no official chance to respond to Lennox? He keeps wanting to and they keep moving on? Or was that another one? These are a few years old now they blur together.

    August 11, 2010
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  2. said:

    BathTubNZ, thank you for your comment. Each men were given 5 minute increments to respond about things from Professor Dawkins book, “The God Delusion”, made in 2007. There are other debates but I have not seen them all, as I don’t believe all of them are recorded. On the one that I plan on doing next, when time permits, it is Professor Dawkins that says (& its title is) “Had Science Buried God?” which I have not seen yet. There is an impartial moderator on the “God Delusion Debate” and each men are allowed equal time and if they do interupt, the other speaker is given adequate time and permitted to ask follow up questions of the other. As watching and reviewing it carefully, both men are, it appears, treated fairly and equally. The Moderator does a wonderful job and is impartial. I think you are right that Professor Dawkins’ strength is not in debating, but in his intelligence and philosophy. What I DID like is that each men never called the other names, it was not belittling the other and it was very civilized. Thanks BathTubNZ.

    August 11, 2010
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  3. BathTubNZ said:

    That’s cool, I might give it a watch then, as I said there was a whole bunch done around that time and they all begin to blur together so the individual details of each debate are hard to separate.

    August 11, 2010
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  4. said:

    BathTubNZ, again I thank you for your gracious comments. I agree. Perhaps after I review the new DVD I have, “Has Science Buried God?”, I will post it here. I think the tables are turned this time on Professor John Lennox, as Professor Richard Dawkins questions Professor Lennox as to whether or not science has buried God. It may be this debate you might remember. This debate returns to the site of perhaps the heretofore, greatest evolutionary & creationist debate ever between Huxley (called Darwin’s bulldog) and Wilberforce (the man who was said to inspire the abolution of slavery). The BBC says this debate is “as fierce as ever”, yet remains civilized. I noticed that you being an evolutionist, have this same respect and dignity in responding to comments, for which I highly admire you for BathTubNZ. This debate between, arguably, the greatest thinkers of this day, goes back to the site of the Huxley and Wilberforce debate at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History. Oh…to have been at this, and particularly, the first debate. God day friend and again…thank you for your comment. We will see, shortly I hope, if this is the debate that you might have been thinking of, for I do not know at present. Take care BathTubNZ.

    August 11, 2010
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  5. weRstillNotFree said:

    the word Christian is Greek-so is Jesus, neither is Hebrew. U all correctly should be calling urselves Messiahn’s & Jesus Esu/Esa/ Yeshu/Yeshua etc (to many variations to type).The cross is an ancient symbol for the human body & made to symbolize eternal Life (what a coincidence) in Egyptian Mythology (Egypt being a Greek word as well). Jesus’ real name (Yashua/Joshua) means Yahweh is Savior NOT that he is savior! Sooo it looks like the Muslims are right, Esu(Jesus) isn’t the savior just a Rabbi/Prophet/Teacher/ Guru/Guide. And the upside down cross isn’t Anti-Christ/Anti-Messiaen-It’s Peter’s cross! And the word Lucifer isn’t an Angel or Fallen Angel it’s the Morning Glory-A Star! Satan comes from the name Satariel, having the El of the correct name of the Hebrew deity Elohim NOT God. God is a pagan term & pagan simply means villager. At the end this goes on for a very long time & is info from humans that have a record of being incorrect in maintaining their integrity! God(Goddess)/Elohim/Yahweh isn’t a loving idea! There’s so much horror that comes from babies who grow up to be adult’s unpredictable, bossy, egotistical etc & it’s connected with all this justifying flesh eating. Animals eating animals, people eating animals, people testing on animals – It’s hell! It’s unloving & ridiculous. And religion means to bind & cage. And that’s exactly what it has done to this existence! This is all from human adults & it is said ” A child shall save you.” Childrens’ wisdom is our salvation NOT AN ADULT’S….Esh! God killed the animals 1st before he made poor Cain jealous of poor Abel, provoking him in killing his brother…what the hell are you all worshiping?! This “God”(Elohim) rejects a vegetarian offering(Cain’s) & approves Abel’s flesh offering?! It sure isn’t anything loving! And I understood this as a child but my Mom a Native American South of the Border was raised Catholic enforced by the Spanish conquerors & Jesuit’s to follow. But only because she suffered so much pain as a child & as an adult she had the illusion she had nothing else to hold onto. And that’s how religion gets people, from a load of bad things happening to them. Sounds like this evil God/Elohim is making alot of trouble to get us to worship it….very suspicious stuff! And I am not atheist. I am a breathing feeling being! And God & religion is a horrible & unloving thing to teach children as truth! It’s written by MEN not women & the phenomena that comes from following & witnessing is a fraud from the very source it came from. This “God”(Elohim) is creepy, grotesque, frightening but most of all UNLOVING…!

    November 30, 2010
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  6. gary said:

    I wonder y u claim we are still not free. Based on the things you’ve written, it seems to me that you are not suspicious of Christianity but only expressing your hate towards it. Hate that is brought about not by the facts and doctrine of Christianity but by some personal experience. You mentioned the story of cain and abel in a very superficial way. God did not reject the “vegetables” that cain offered but He was not pleased with Cain himself. Obedience is better than any offerings.

    June 28, 2015
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