I spent my Sunday morning, in my pajamas, watching this debate:
(part 1 of 11)
Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering?
Description: A panel discussion and debate on the meaning of evil and suffering from theists Dr. William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias, atheist Dr. Bernard Leikind (a plasma physicist and senior editor of Skeptic magazine), and Hindu Dr. Jitendra Mohanty (one of India’s most distinguished Hindu philosophers and professor at Emory University).
These are the kind of debates/discussions I enjoy the most — why waste time arguing over the existence of something unprovable, one way or another? It’s far more interesting to talk about the problem of evil. These kinds of discussions confirm for me why I rejected Christianity. In this debate, the explanations provided by Craig and Zacharias for the evils allowed (condoned?) by an omnibenevolent, omnipotent God fell FLAT. It basically boils down to “trust God to work things out in the end,” which doesn’t answer the question (not to mention it’s unsatisfying).
One thing interesting to note when watching this debate (and it’s a trait I’ve noticed when talking with believers) is how quickly Zacharias and Craig divert themselves away from specific examples/questions of evil or morality and rush back to the generalized platitudes of their faith. For example, in the debate above, when talking about absolute morality, at one point the naturalist asked the theists whether they thought divorce was immoral. Faster than you could bat an eyelash, Zacharias diverted away from the question into generalizations.
And I suppose I can’t blame ‘em, because the rhetorical power in saying you have absolute objective morality lies in being able to make the statement without having to provide specific examples to back it up.
A final lesson learned from the above debate: I think Ravi Zacharias is far more of a jerk than William Lane Craig (and this is saying a lot, because I am *not* a fan of Craig’s snarky delivery). In the debate, watch how Zacharias first responds to the naturalist (Dr. Leikind), and you’ll see why I award Zacharias the “asshole apologist” award.