H/T to Wintery Knight.
Oregon State University (2010)
As a follow-on from the previous post, this get interesting. From Calvin Smith’s blog:
The RPP website has posted a link to a statement just issued by the Council of Christians and Jews critical of Stephen Sizer for linking to anti-Semitic websites from his blog. The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester and chair of CCJ, said.
The content and the delay in removing the link from Mr Sizer’s Facebook page was disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote. Members of the CCJ have described the website as ‘obscenely antisemitic.’
The full CCJ statement is available here. It is important to note that this statement is issued by a longstanding interfaith organisation and a Bishop of the Anglican Church. This is not (as some extremists will claim) a Zionist conspiracy.
Is Stephen Sizer anti-Semitic? It is a serious charge and not for me to say (others in the Anglican Church will now decide). I have sought to avoid some of the more extreme language in the current debate and avoid this term unless absolutely proven. In negotiations prior to our televised debate Stephen made clear he felt there was no place for discussing anti-Semitism (and other issues) in such a debate. I believe such a position is dangerous as it can be misconstrued, unfortunately it also meant we never had the opportunity to discuss this issue reasonably and openly.
But one thing is clear: when CCJ state, “We are conscious that The Revd Stephen Sizer’s contributions have caused widespread disquiet and hurt in both communities and led to confusion and polarization of views” they have identified a key aspect of this whole debate. Indeed I raised this very issue towards the end of my television debate with Stephen. The polemical and unnecessarily pejorative nature of the current debate is not helping anyone, and it’s certainly not contributing to a nuanced understanding of the complexities of the Middle East. For that Stephen must take his fair share of blame.
I do hope we can all, at some stage, get to a less emotive and more objective examination of the Middle East crisis and the relationship between the Church and Israel.
“Has the Church Replaced Israel?” A live debate between Calvin Smith and Stephen Sizer broadcast on Revelation TV 9th November 2011.
This 1h 30m debate is well worth a watch if you are interested in Israelology and Christian Zionism (small PDF).
Stephen Sizer has published a number of books dealing with this subject, and turned his PhD thesis into a book titled “Christian Zionism”.
Calvin Smith is the principal of King’s Evangelical Divinity School (UK).
Sizer’s polemical writings are offensive to many Christians (myself included), and Smith did well to highlight and condemn Sizer’s labeling of Christian Zionism as “deviant heresy” and “another gospel” (around 1:06 in the debate).
Other critiques of Sizer can be found here: seismic-shock.com
Even fellow Oxford professor Dr. Daniel Came has called Dawkins a coward for refusing to debate — see the video and links below…
A few links:
- The Coward in the UK Telegraph
- Dr. Daniel Came’s open letter to Dawkins
- BeThinking discussion
- More cowardice: Coward, fraud, and liar. Oh, and absurdly arrogant too.
- ID.Plus: More commentary and tickets link for Dr. Craig’s 2011 UK tour
P.S. I wonder what the “C” in A. C. Grayling stands for? Coward perhaps?
Source: premier.org.uk/craig and H/T to Apologetics315.
In October 2011, William Lane Craig, arguably the world’s leading Christian academic apologist, will once again visit the UK for a series of lectures and debates.
Following his highly successful Reasonable Faith Tour in 2007, Bill will again present the case for the truth of the Christian faith, responding both to Stephen Hawking’s recent book The Grand Design as well as to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, which will then have just seen its 5 year publication anniversary.
Richard Dawkins has thus far declined a debate, but the door is open to him defending his book The God Delusion on 25th October 2011 at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.
The details of the tour are still being arranged, and the schedule below will be updated as events are finalised.
17th October 2011 at 7.30pmWestminster Chapel, London
Premier Christian Radio Debate on the existence of God with a well-known atheist (TBA)
19th October 2011 at 7.30pm Cambridge
Public lecture on Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design
22nd October 2011 from 9.30am – 5.30pm Westminster Chapel, London
Bethinking National Apologetics Day Conference
Opening and closing lectures from William Lane Craig. Further lectures from Gary Habermas, John Lennox and Peter J. Williams
25th October 2011 at 7.30pm Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Lecture “Is God a Delusion?” A Critique of Dawkin’s The God Delusion
26th October 2011 at 7.30pm Manchester
Debate “Does God Exist?” with Dr Peter Atkins
“Why isn’t there more of this kind of thing being preached from church pulpits? If there were, I’d go more often and I’d stay awake during the sermon!”
— Comment from a self-confessed irregular churchgoer during the 2007 Reasonable Faith Tour.
Let’s just say that Krauss is not a happy chappy. Apparently he put on his nice face and gentle demeanour during the debate, but now the gloves are off. And what better place to shoot off than…
… Richard Dawkins’ website … but beware of the trolls on there — they really are most unpleasant and often quite irrational.
Incredibly Krauss begins his first paragraph with:
It sometimes surprises me, although it shouldn’t, how religious devotees feel the need to regularly reinforce their own convictions in groups of like-minded individuals. I suppose this is the purpose of regular Sunday church services, for example, to reinforce the community of belief in between the rest of the week…
What is so amazing about this first paragraph however is how blind Krauss is. He accuses Christians of self-reinforced group-think, but seems unable to recognize that this is exactly what he and his Darwinian cohorts do.
It sometimes surprises me, although it shouldn’t, how atheist devotees feel the need to regularly reinforce their own convictions in groups of like-minded individuals [e.g. www.RichardDawkins.net]. I suppose this is the purpose of regular scientism services, for example, to reinforce the community of belief in Darwinian creation myths, the fact-Fact-FACT of molecules to man evolution, and stories of how things magically appear from nothing — which is of course not the same as not-anything…
The thing that amazes me about the “new atheist” materials I have read, watched and listened to is the anger, the unwillingness to even consider another perspective, and the intolerance. At least Krauss actually bothered to look at some of Craig’s materials before debating him. I wonder if Sam Harris will bother?
The link to Krauss’ “Dealing with William Lane Craig” is here:
PS. Professor John Lennox who debated Dawkins twice is apparently debating Leonard Mlodinow who co-write with Stephen Hawking. Anyone have any news on this?
- Review of the Krauss’ response by Bnonn at Thinking Matters here.
Debate with Lawrence Krauss (link)
North Carolina State University
Topic: “Has Science Eliminated the Need for God?”
Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
Debate with Sam Harris (link)
University of Notre Dame
Topic: “Is the Foundation of Moral Values Natural or Supernatural?”
Thursday, April 7, 2011.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY — BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2010
Click to buy on Amazon.
See also these podcasts from William Lane Craig…
Jerry Coyne of Faith and Religion (13:10 min; MP3 link)
Response to Hawking and Mlodinow (20:36 min; MP3 link)
Lawrence Krauss on Creation Out of Nothing (8:53 min; MP3 link)
Questions for Stephen Hawking (13:56 min; MP3 link)
Available in paperback or Kindle here (or download the free chapter):
Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist
Cruising for a bruising? You have come to the right book. This delightful read hits the “new” atheists where it hurts. In the first chapter (below) new atheist Christopher Hitchens is sliced and diced and then put through the mincer as his circular and inconsistent thinking is exposed.
Introduction to Modern Atheism 101
BORDERS Book Store – N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Ill.
In June 2007, I had just returned to the United States after having resided in Jerusalem for the previous fourteen years. Standing in a BORDERS book store was a brand new experience, as this particular icon of corporateAmerica had not yet reached Israel. As I looked around the store for the first time, something rather peculiar began to happen. Despite being an Orthodox Rabbi, I found myself gripped by an irresistible fascination with the seemingly endless parade of atheist manifestos displayed in strategic locations throughout: Books with titles such as The God Delusion, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, The End of Faith, and God: The Failed Hypothesis. I confess! When I saw these titles for the first time I experienced an anticipatory thrill.
The thrill that I felt was similar to the sensation that I imagine a WW I pilot (an era when there still was a sense of chivalry between warring opponents) in his Sopwith Camel biplane might have felt as he engaged a worthy opponent in a dogfight; relishing the opportunity to do battle with a skillful foe, yet brimming with confidence that he would emerge victorious. There are few things I enjoy more than a vigorous and honest battle of intellect versus intellect, worldview versus worldview, idea versus idea. I soon became acclimated to my new surroundings and thoroughly enjoyed the simple pleasure of sitting in a comfortable chair, drinking coffee, and reading and reading.
I have taught Jewish theology and philosophy for nearly 30 years and I lost track long ago of the countless hours I have spent with thousands of students of all ages; teaching, discussing, arguing, debating the existence (or non-existence) of God, spirituality, the ultimate purpose of our lives… From that day in June 2007, until mid-August of the same year, I spent day after day, hour after hour, wading through the combined onslaught of the 21st century’s most popular atheistic ideologues. However, my initial excitement quickly dissipated and finally faded away. To paraphrase the great blues singer B.B. King, “the thrill was gone.”
Was a little bit of intellectual honesty too much to hope for?
I had hoped to find in these manifestos at least a little bit of cutting-edge intellectual searching and honesty. I was sorely disappointed. While Richard Dawkins’ pronouncement in The God Delusion, that “the God of the Old Testament is…petty, unjust, vindictive, bloodthirsty, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal,etc.,” may, for some, have an irreverently bold and strident ring, it is more the proclamation of a stance than it is the outcome of intellectual inquiry. Can an intellectually honest and open minded person ignore the fact that this same deity commands the Israelites not to take revenge or bear a grudge, to view the use of inaccurate weights in business as an abomination, to view all human beings as created in the image of God, to open our hands wide to those in poverty, not to oppress the stranger who lives among us, to leave a portion of every field unharvested for the poor, never go to war against an enemy without first offering peace, that “justice, justice shall your pursue”, to “love your neighbor as yourself”?
Jewish Scripture is the single most influential piece of literature in the history of mankind. Is Dawkins obligated to agree with distinguished historian Paul Johnson who writes in his monumental historical treatise, A History of the Jews, “to them [the Jews and their Scripture], we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person; of the individual conscience and so of personal redemption…of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the moral furniture of the human mind”? Perhaps not; but even if Dawkins has decided to completely reject the biblical worldview, it stands to reason that a slightly more nuanced evaluation would have been in order. It’s clear to me that the chain of venomous one-dimensional invective cited above, offers us much more insight into the inner workings of the soul of Richard Dawkins than it offers us any meaningful insight into understanding the biblical narrative or the concept of the One God who is at the center of it all.
While I have never been particularly impressed by the intellectual firepower brought to bear by skeptics, atheists, and freethinkers in their attacks on belief in God, I have striven to respond seriously to their expressed views. I wish the same could be said for our new breed of militant skeptics. Bombastic titles like God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, (Everything?!), ranting about people who profess religious faith, (“When their beliefs are…common we call them “religious;” otherwise they are…called “mad,” “psychotic,” or “delusional.”), and the rehashing of philosophical parlor tricks like, “Can God create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift?,” do not, in my opinion, contribute to the expansion of our intellectual or spiritual horizons. Perhaps GREENPEACE activists could have been galvanized to stage one of their publicity-stunt protests; after all, entire forests were cut down to print these atheist books. Wouldn’t it have been simpler to reprint Bertrand Russell’s succinct essay, “Why I Am Not Theist,” ** and have been done with it? [Read more…]