Leading Christian Apologist Draws Thousands in Major Debate Win

Talbot professor William Lane Craig argues for reasonable faith against prominent atheist

Feb. 15, 2013 By Jessica Airey

More than 4,000 people attended a significant debate on Friday, Feb 1 between noted Christian theologian and Biola Talbot School of Theology professor William Lane Craig and atheist philosopher Alex Rosenberg. In addition to the audience present at Purdue University in Indiana, 9,594 online viewers tuned in via live and delayed streams from their own personal computers and at group events.

Craig presented a methodical defense for the positive in answer to the question, “Is Faith in God Reasonable?” while Rosenberg argued against this premise, making many references to theories outlined in his book, “The Atheist’s Guide to Reality.” Craig came prepared with a presentation that rationalized his claim that the Christian God is the best explanation for evidence of objective morality, states of consciousness, fine-tuning, order present in nature and the historicity of Jesus. Rosenberg’s response questioned the basis and empirical data used to support these assertions and appealed to several scientific findings he believed to contradict religious thinking.

At one point in the debate, Rosenberg skeptically proposed a challenge when he said, “In all honesty, if Dr. Craig could provide me with any kind of logical, coherent account that could reconcile the evident fact of the horrors of humanity and infer human life on this planet over this planet over the last 3.5 billion years with the existence of a benevolent, omnipotent agent, then I will turn Christian.”

Craig responded during the second rebuttal period that he was excited about the possibility of his opponent converting.

“The problem here is that we are assuming that God’s purpose is just to make us happy in this life, but on the Christian view that’s false,” Craig said. “The purpose of life is not worldly happiness as such, but rather the knowledge of God. There may be many evils that occur in this lifetime that are utterly pointless with respect to producing worldly happiness, but they may not be pointless with respect to producing the knowledge of God and salvation and eternal life.”

The crowd applauded this exchange and the social media world witnessed an influx of discussion surrounding the debate. Thousands of tweets commented on the topic coming from more than 600 user accounts using the designated hashtag #GODdebate. At the conclusion, voting results from a formal panel of judges, live audience feedback and online viewers all declared Craig the winner of the debate with a substantial lead of 4-2, 1390-303 and 734-59 respectively.

Watch the debate on Biola University’s free online educational site Open Biola.

Read Christian Post's article, "Atheist Says He'll 'Turn Christian' if Evil is Explained During Major Debate."

Written by Jessica Airey, Media Relations Intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.


  • Scott Cannon Feb. 21, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    When is the next debate with Dr Craig and where?? (Southern cal) Thx

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