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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Christopher Hitchen Vs Dr John Lennox

This morning i had the pleasure of attending a debate between the uncompromising Christopher Hitchens and Dr John Lennox.

Im sure most people aware of Christoper Hitchens and his outspoken commentary on religion, however i was not so familiar with Dr Lennox. For more information visit

The debate was titled "The New Europe Should Prefer The New Atheism", which i found not particularly inspiring. The debate was organised by "The Trinity Forum" and "The Fixed Point Forum" so i assume that they chose the debate title.

The debate was filmed and will be broadcast, possibly on the BBC later this year, and so will inevitably find its way onto the web.

In brief, here are some of the arguements proposed by Lennox:

  • Intelligent Design should be considered as a viable scientific theory
  • Atheism leads to communism
  • The resurection was not a miracle, therefore Hume was wrong.
  • The evidence for Jesus Christ being god in human form is overwhelming (Lennox did forget to provide said evidence)
I will post a link to the video of the debate when it becomes available.


  1. Sounds like an interesting night. It's interesting to hear about Lennox, as we'll be seeing him when he debates Vic Stenger and Michael Shermer later this month.
    I've gotta say that I'm much more excited to see Stenger and Shermer than I am to see Lennox.

  2. Sounds like it was great! Oh how I'd love to see Hitchens debate in person. Really looking forward to seeing the video :)

  3. I, too, was at this debate and it was, as you said, a pleasure to be there. But I saw a very different debate than the one you saw. The proposition, "The New Europe Should Prefer the New Atheism", was CH's to prove. He did nothing of the sort. Instead, he essentially said, "Look at all of the terrible things done in the name of religion. Let's get rid of religion. It's poison." But he did not make a positive argument about why a secular Europe was preferable to a religious one. I am not saying that such an argument cannot be made, only that CH did not make it. He is, to be sure, witty and has a powerful presence. But he relies too much on clever remarks and insult than on sustained, linear, logical argument. Interrupting his opponents to insult them may be 'red meat' to his fans, but it does little to persuade people on the fence, and if you doubt this, one only has to consider the results. Prior to the debate the crowd was almost evenly split, with only a slim majority being against the proposition and a good 10%-15% being undecided. By the end, the undecided vote was greatly reduced and clearly went to Lennox's side. Hitchens himself acknowledged his own defeat. Lennox is formidable and should not be underestimated. It would be better if this one never made it to the internet.

  4. I think it's fair to point out that a large number of the audience had been pulled in from Charlotte Baptist Church, which I imagine reduced the 'maybe' crowd somewhat...

  5. There are some significant problems with deciding the outcome of the debate by way of an (estimated) audience poll, and by that measure, Hitchens did accept defeat.

    The debate proposition was poorly defined; atheist is not a synonym for secular. As an atheist, i would not have supported the main contention, the proposition may have been better worded "The New Europe Should Prefer Secularism"

    I found that Hitchens built a highly convincing case for a secularism in Europe, while Dr Lennox on the other hand provided a masterclass in the use of logical fallacies.