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Theistic Arguments: Debates

These are formal debates between theists and nontheists on topics relating to the theistic arguments:
Scripture,
Miracles,
Design,
Cosmological,
Moral,
Transcendental, and
Other.

To purchase related reading, go to the Secular Web Book Store.

See also Atheism: Debates

Argument from Holy Scripture:

The Barker-Horner Debate: Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead? (1996)

Affirming the resurrection in this debate is Michael Horner, member of the Society of Christian Philosophers and Campus Crusade For Christ. Arguing against the resurrection is Dan Barker, staff member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The Carr-Motyer Debate on the Reliability of the New Testament (1998) (Off Site) [ Index ]

Dr. Stephen Motyer is a lecturer in New Testament at the London Bible College. He has a First in Classics and Theology from the University of Cambridge and has studied at Tuebingen and Bristol Universities. He has a doctorate from London University for a thesis on the Jews in John's Gospel.

The Craig-Lüdemann Debate (1997) by Michael Martin and Tyler Wunder

A summary of Craig's debate with Gerd Lüdemann on the Resurrection.

The Geisler-Till Debate (1994) [ Index ]

The proposition, "Jesus of Nazareth died and rose bodily from the grave," argued in the affirmative by Norman L. Geisler (Dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, NC), and challenged by Farrell Till (editor of The Skeptical Review).

Horner-Till Debate (1995) [ Index ]

"Did Jesus Rise Bodily from the Dead?" Transcript of debate between Micheal Horner of Campus Crusade for Christ of Canada, and Farrell Till, ex-missionary and ex-minister who is the editor of The Skeptical Review.

The Price-Rankin Debate: Jesus: Fact or Fiction? [ Index ] transcribed by Pieter Crow

This 1997 debate between Dr. Robert M. Price, Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Drew University, and Rev. John C. Rankin, president and founder of the Theological Education Institute (TEI), confronts the question: Was Jesus a product of fiction?

The Question of Noah's Flood (Morris-Zindler debate) (1989) [ Index ] transcribed by Frank Zindler

Debate on the historicity of the Noah's Flood myth between John D. Morris, of the Institute for Creation Research, and Frank Zindler of American Atheists.

Review of On the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (2005) by Edward Tabash

In this review of a debate between atheist historian Richard Carrier and fundamentalist Christian historian Michael Licona on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Tabash summarizes the arguments offered by both sides and offers a critique of their arguments. He also points out areas where Carrier could have stressed significant points more emphatically than he in fact did.

A Resurrection Debate: The New Testament Evidence in Evangelical and in Critical Perspective" (2000) by G. A. Wells

Professor Wells' commentary on the debate between Gary Habermas and Antony Flew on the resurrection of Jesus.

Turkel and the Trilemma (2002) by Brian Holtz

This essay summarizes a long debate between would-be apologist Robert Turkel, aka James Patrick (or. J. P.) Holding, and Brian Holtz regarding the Trilemma (that Jesus was either liar, lunatic, or lord). Holtz categories and enumerates Turkel/Holding's many polemical blunders, thus providing good material with which to rebut the Trilemma argument.

 

Argument from Miracles:

The Barker-Horner Debate: Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead? (1996)

Affirming the Resurrection is Michael Horner, a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers and Campus Crusade For Christ. Arguing against the Resurrection is Dan Barker, member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a former ordained minister who announced his atheism publicly in the 1980s.

Geisler-Till Debate (1994) [ Index ]

Dr. Norman L. Geisler (author, educator, and Dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, NC) and Mr. Farrell Till (editor of The Skeptical Review and English teacher at Spoon River College, Canton, IL) debate the proposition, "Jesus of Nazareth died and rose bodily from the grave." Geisler argues in the affirmative, Till argues against.

Horner-Till Debate (1995) [ Index ]

Transcript of the debate between Michael Horner, member of Campus Crusade for Christ, and Farrell Till, ex-missionary and ex-minister who is the editor of The Skeptical Review, on the historicity of the Resurrection.

Is There Scientific Evidence that Intercessory Prayer Speeds Medical Recovery? A Debate (2001) (Off Site)

Transcript of the March 13th, 2001, debate between William Harris, PhD, Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO, and Irwin Tessman, PhD, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, provided by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and the Campus Freethought Alliance.

Review of On the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (2005) by Edward Tabash

In this review of a debate between atheist historian Richard Carrier and fundamentalist Christian historian Michael Licona on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Tabash summarizes the arguments offered by both sides and offers a critique of their arguments. He also points out areas where Carrier could have stressed significant points more emphatically than he in fact did.

 

Argument to Design:

Creationist Debates [ Index ]

Debates beetween Saladin and Gish, Johnson and Miller, others.

Debate between Richard Milton and Jim Foley (Off Site) [ Index ]

Email debate between Jim Foley, editor of the Fossil Hominids pages at Talk.Origins, and Richard Milton, author of Shattering the Myths of Darwinism (1997).

 

Cosmological Arguments:

The Craig-Smith Debate: Does the Universe Have a Divine Cause? (1996) (Off Site) [ Index ]

In this March 1996 debate, Quentin Smith challenges William Lane Craig on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

E-mail Conversation with a Creationist (Alan Hale vs. Anonymous) (1997) by Alan Hale

Hale is contacted by a creationist who interrogates him on the age of the universe, the Big Bang, etc. In the "spirit of honest inquiry" Hale answers his questions in this back-and-forth email debate.

 

Moral Argument/Divine Command Theory:

The Deaver-Till Debate (1991)

Farrell Till's account of his debate against Church-of-Christ preacher Mac Deaver on Bible morality.

The Craig-Taylor Debate: Is The Basis Of Morality Natural Or Supernatural? (1993) (Off Site) [ Index ]

Drs. William Lane Craig (pro) and Richard Taylor (con) debate the question, "Can we be good without God?"

Summary of the Kurtz-Craig Debate (2001) by Jeffery Jay Lowder

A summary of the 2001 debate between Paul Kurtz and William Lane Craig on ethics without God.

Wilson-Till Debate (1995) [ Index ]

Whenever we object to something, we always assume some standard or rule that the thing violates. Similarly, when non-Christians object to the Christian faith, they assume some standard that Christianity violates. But can non-Christians justify these standards that they so readily use? In the following interchange, the editor of Credenda/Agenda, Douglas Wilson and Farrell Till, editor of The Skeptical Review, discuss the topic of justifying non-Christian standards of ethics and reason.

 

Transcendental Argument:

The Drange-Wilson Debate (1999) [ Index ]

An Internet exchange between Theodore Drange (philosophy professor at West Virginia University) and Douglas Wilson, in which the two debate the topic, "The Arguments from Nonbelief and Confusion for the Nonexistence of God vs. The Transcendental Argument for God's Existence."

The Jones-Parsons-Martin Debate: Is Non-Christian Thought Justifiable? (1991) [ Index ]

A written debate originally published in Antithesis magazine on the Transcendental Argument for the existence of God (TAG). Christian apologist Douglas Jones defends TAG; atheist philosophers Keith Parsons and Michael Martin respond.

The Martin-Frame Debate on the Transcendental Argument for the Non Existence of God (1996) [ Index ]

A written debate conducted exclusively over the Internet, the exchange between atheist philosopher Michael Martin and Christian philosopher John Frame over Martin's Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God (TANG), which argues that logic, ethics, and science presuppose the nonexistence of God.

 

Other Theistic Arguments:

The Craig-Atkins Debate: Evidence For/Against the Existence of God? (1998) (Off Site) [ Index ]

Originally held in the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Available in audio and video formats. From the Christian Leadership Ministries' Leadership U site.

The Craig-Smith Debate (1996) by Quentin Smith and William Lane Craig

Actually, the title of this article should be called, "A Craig-Smith Debate," for Craig and Smith have debated more than once. This article contains, in their own words, Craig's and Smith's accounts of the debate.

The Craig-Tooley Debate: Does God Exist? (1994) (Off Site) [ Index ]

At the invitation of Campus Crusade for Christ, Dr. Michael Tooley and Dr. William Lane Craig discussed the evidence for and against the existence of God, presenting some of the most current thinking on the issues. The speakers followed a diverse range of materials, from the most recent scientific findings and theories to the most ancient philosophical arguments to some of the most novel insights imaginable.

The Craig-Washington Debate: Does God Exist? (1995) [ Index ]

An annotated transcript of an oral debate held at the University of Washington in 1995 on the existence of God. Craig's case for theism included the argument from abstract objects, the kalam cosmological argument, the argument to the fine-tuning of the universe, the moral argument, the resurrection of Jesus, and religious experience. Washington cited abstract objects and harm (read: evil) as evidence for the nonexistence of God.

Does God Exist?: A Debate Between John Koster and Frank Zindler (1989) [ Index ]

Debate with Frank R. Zindler, an Atheist, and John P. Koster, a Christian, aired on a Detroit Christian radio program.

The Fernandes-Martin Debate on the Existence of God (1997) [ Index ]

An Internet debate between Christian philosopher Phil Fernandes and atheist philosopher Michael Martin on the existence of God. Fernandes presents his cumulative case for the existence of God in support of his thesis that "it is more reasonable to be a theist than it is to be an atheist." Martin's case for atheism is based upon the argument from incoherence, the argument from evil, and the argument from nonbelief.

God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence (2007) [ Index ] edited by Paul Draper

The Great Debate, God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence, aims to bring together nine distinguished philosophers in a series of four debates, each with a different focus on evidence for and against naturalism and theism. The first debate addresses evidence concerning the nature of the mind and the will as it relates to the truth of naturalism and theism. The second debate introduces an argument from evil informed by evolutionary biology and considers whether evolutionary naturalism is self-defeating. The third debate appeals to the physical sciences, alternatively providing a cosmological argument against theism on the one hand and considering design arguments against naturalism on the other. The final debate revolves around why, if God exists, he remains hidden from so many people, and whether we should believe in God for practical reasons even in the absence of compelling evidence for his existence.

The Jesseph-Craig Debate (1996) [ Index ]

A transcript of the debate held in 1996 at North Carolina State University between atheist philosopher Doug Jesseph and Christian philosopher William Lane Craig. Jesseph defends the nonexistence of God on the basis of three arguments: the principle of conservatism, the inconsistency of believers in accepting their god but rejecting all others, and the argument from evil. Craig's case for theism included the kalam cosmological argument, the argument to the fine-tuning of the universe, the moral argument, and religious experience. Jesseph's performance in this debate is arguably one of the strongest recent performances by an atheist in an oral debate.

Summary and Assessment of the Craig-Jesseph Debate (1998) by Jeffery Jay Lowder

A summary and assessment of the 1997 debate on the existence of God between William Lane Craig and Doug Jesseph. Lowder concludes that the overall debate was a draw (in terms of quality of argument), but that Craig won as far as the effectiveness of presentation was concerned.

Naturalism vs. Theism: The Carrier-Wanchick Debate (2006) [ Index ]

In this online debate between Richard Carrier and Tom Wanchick, Carrier opens with a discussion of method followed by 5 arguments for naturalism and 2 arguments against theism, while Wanchick opens with 9 arguments for theism. In the first rebuttals, each debater criticizes the arguments offered by the other in the opening statements. In the second rebuttals, each debater defends their opening arguments against the criticisms of the other in the first rebuttals. Both closing statements focus on the purported deficiencies of the other debater's overall case.



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