Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cave vs Robertson at Gunnersbury Baptist (UK)
(Scroll down to 13 June 2009)

Peter Cave characterizes humanism as he sees it and tries to give us reasons to believe that life isn't completely pointless even in the absence of a supervening intelligence who ultimately controls all events and severely punishes every soul who doesn’t precisely follow his plans, whatever they may be.

David Robertson, for his part, colours humanism in several and various ways, and somehow manages to mischaracterize someone or some idea at each and every point, but he does this quite smoothly and confidently. He also pulls out the Atheism = Maoism/Stalinism/Kimism idea, an old canard one which invariably triggers my gag reflex. He tops this absurdity by calling the Scandinavian nations thoroughly Christian, despite their noteworthy competitiveness for the title of most godless and secular nations on the planet, at least according to the professional demographers of religion.

They then go back and forth for awhile, in a friendly and lighthearted manner, using a direct cross-examination format (my personal favorite). Cave asks some tough questions, although not quite the right ones, and Robertson stalwartly and expertly defends his faith.

Overall, both men did just fine, however, they don’t quite drill down into the fundamental differences between faith-based and reason-based modes of thinking, not even during the protracted Q&A.

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