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Richard Dawkins To Debate Rowan Williams In Cambridge Tomorrow, Thursday

Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams

BBC News reports,

Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams will discuss religion on Thursday

Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams are to discuss the role of religion at a Cambridge Union debate.

Prominent atheist Prof Dawkins and the former Archbishop of Canterbury will discuss whether “religion has no place in the 21st Century” on Thursday.

They were involved in a public discussion at Oxford University last year.

Ben Kentish, president of the union, said it should be a highlight of the debating society’s 200-year history.

“Our speakers are the most renowned commentators on this subject,” he said.

In Cambridge, about 1,000 students will be in the audience.

“The prospect of seeing Professor Dawkins and the former Archbishop of Canterbury debate the subject is particularly exciting for our members,” Mr Kentish said.

“It has all the makings of an excellent debate.”

Professor Tariq Ramadan, Andrew Copson, the chief executive of the British Humanist Association, and Douglas Murray, founder of the Centre for Social Cohesion, will also take part.

The debate will be filmed and made available soon after on the union’s website.

Previous speakers at the debating society include Sir Winston Churchill, Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

Let’s hope that this week’s discussion is just as stimulating as the last one was (video embedded below). Also be sure to check out the Christian Post report.

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10 Responses to Richard Dawkins To Debate Rowan Williams In Cambridge Tomorrow, Thursday

  1. Rowan Williams should forcefully argue the point that every belief system or worldview is a religion including so-called scientific worldviews.

  2. A debate with Mr. Bean would probably be more entertaining.

  3. Why not William Lane Craig instead?

  4. Because William Lane Craig is odious.

  5. There is also a William Lane Craig debate Friday night that you can register for and watch for free:

    You can register here:

    http://www.biola.edu/debate

    Is Faith in God Reasonable?
    Debate: Alex Rosenberg vs. William Lane Craig
    February 1, 2013 — 7:00-9:30 pm EST LIVE — Purdue University
    And: 7:00-9:30 pm PST West Coast Delayed Feed

    ABOUT THE DEBATE

    What hath Jerusalem to do with Athens? Or what hath faith to do with reason? Drs. William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg will debate this all important and pervasive question concerning the reasonableness of faith in God. The nature of the question in this debate is no mere academic matter. The question of God is the most important question. One’s answer to it will impact nearly all other beliefs one holds from common notions of morality to politics and from our interest and investigation of our world to what we take to be our purpose(s) in life. Is “faith” foolish? By this, should it be understood to be blind? Or is it reasonable and, if so, by what measure and to whom is it foolishness?

    For many, Mark Twain is right on the mark when he said that “Faith is believing something you know ain’t true.” Yet the great thinkers of Judaism and Christianity like Philo, Moses Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, and John Calvin considered faith to be an extraordinarily important virtue (moral and/or intellectual)! Indeed, it is not only the condition by which salvation is appropriated in these Abrahamic faith traditions (which are taken by insiders to actually be knowledge traditions), but it is the basis for movements from Mother Teresa’s compassion and our concern for the poor to Isaac Newton’s inspiration in science in light of God’s creation of the world and man being made in God’s image. Is faith in God reasonable? Ought we to have faith in God?

  6. Someone ought to photoshop some crosses onto Dawkins’ tie. :)

  7. Folks,

    Pardon, but I cannot but think the whole focus of the debate/discussion is miscast, even beyond the studied vagueness of “religion,” which already hints strongly of an underlying attitude of scientism- by- default.

    The pivotal issue is what is true on how we and our world came to be, so also our duty of care regarding the truth, the fair and the right. From such, everything else follows.

    Thence, we see the importance of worldviews grounding that — depending on the view — give or fail to give objective meaning, inter alia, to ethical frames; including the question of our having rights beyond “might and manipulation make ‘right’ . . .” which points straight to the challenge to materialism laid on the table 2350 years ago by Plato in The Laws, Bk X:

    Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that . . . the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors: (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny. )] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

    There are serious issues at stake here and evolutionary materialist scientism and linked radically relativist secularism or even outright nihilism should not be allowed to go about as if it is to be taken as true by default.

    KF

  8. I guess they couldnt get a rational Christian of at least average intelligence, who can speak the English language. So they had to settle for Archbishop Williams.

  9. Agree with KF.

    High priest Dawkins and his belief system should NOT be taken as default.

  10. ““The prospect of seeing Professor Dawkins and the former Archbishop of Canterbury debate the subject is particularly EXHAUSTING for our members,”

    MUNG – Mr Bean! right – You kill me – Big Hug

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