April 8th, 2009 at 4:20 pm
DALLAS – Baptist General Convention of Texas Theologian-in-Residence Jim Denison and other Christian apologists debated renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens recently during the first Christian Book Expo.
Denison and Hitchens were joined by Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ; William Lane Craig, research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in California; and Douglas Wilson, a senior fellow of theology at New Saint Andrews College in Idaho.
The quintet debated whether the God of Christianity exists, and what difference it makes. While Strobel and Craig tried to deduce the existence of God starting with evidence from the natural realm, Wilson argued for Christianity on the basis that it is needed for a philosophical framework.
Denison and Hitchens may have tangled most directly as Denison noted that logic can only take a person so far toward believing in God. Part of that journey must be taken on faith, helped in part by what a person experiences.
“Faith in God is a relationship,” he said. “All relationships require a commitment which transcends the evidence and becomes self-validating.”
Hitchens questioned Denison’s assertion, believing the God is Christianity is one of cruel control, watching people on earth treating each other horrendously. God watches everything people to do to the point that even what they think can be considered a “crime.”
Dension countered that God “grieves” for the pain people suffer and “redeems all that He allows.” He wants a relationship with each person to the point that he gives each of them the choice of whether to connect with him.
“It’s is God’s sovereign choice to give us freedom,” he said.
Hitchens criticized Denison for seemingly speaking for God. “So you know the mind of God?”
Denison retorted: “I know what God has revealed of His mind.”