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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hitchens on Wilson

Following up on my two earlier posts against Bob, the atheist...

I am not a big Doug Wilson fan. He does have the gift of being an amusing writer at times, but I tend to like him more when he is quoting P.G. Wodehouse rather than discussing his personal brand of covenant theology.

That said, I will say the one area where Wilson can shine is engaging atheism. His book, Letter from a Christian Citizen, which was originally a series of blog articles I had the good sense to print out before they were taken down after the book was published, written against pretty boy atheist, Sam Harris, is a good example. Wilson's apologetic approach was an eviscerating autopsy exposing the absurdity of Harris's criticisms against Christianity. Wilson followed that series of blog articles with another review of Chris Hitchen's anti-theistic book, God in not Great. Those articles ran along the same line as the ones he had written against Harris, but fitted more to Hitchen's style.

A couple of years ago, Hitchens and Wilson, along with a posse of film makers, did three debates in New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The road trip was documented by the film producers and is now available as a film to see in limited release at those weird artsy movie houses down in L.A. known for only showing foreign sex films, or a DVD you can purchase at various outlets. I would go with getting the DVD.

At any rate, Hitchen's recently plug his new film venture at Slate,

What I have learned from debating religious people from around the world.

He says this about Wilson,

Wilson isn't one of those evasive Christians who mumble apologetically about how some of the Bible stories are really just "metaphors." He is willing to maintain very staunchly that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that his sacrifice redeems our state of sin, which in turn is the outcome of our rebellion against God. He doesn't waffle when asked why God allows so much evil and suffering—of course he "allows" it since it is the inescapable state of rebellious sinners. I much prefer this sincerity to the vague and Python-esque witterings of the interfaith and ecumenical groups who barely respect their own traditions and who look upon faith as just another word for community organizing. (Incidentally, just when is President Barack Obama going to decide which church he attends?)

I like how he comments upon Wilson's respect of his own traditions. Meaning, Wilson actually grounds his arguments in the Christian faith. The reason that comment struck me is that I see the spreading influence of the pop-apologetic method of such people as William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Hank Hanegraaff, and Roman Catholic, Dinesh D' Souza having deep impact upon the minds of supposed evangelical Christians who are duped into thinking these guys are giving a meaningful Christian response to atheists like Hitchens. More than the ecumenical liberals. It's these guys who give vague, python-esque witterings to hard questions put to the Christian faith. They go out of their way many times to not talk about the Bible. Craig speaks of the "possibility of God's existence" and D' Souza, (did I mention he's a Roman Catholic?), refuses to even open a Bible when he presents his case for Christianity.

These guys are an embarrassment to the faith and I am glad see that even Hitchen's recognizes as such.

There's a website for the documentary: Collision

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7 Comments:

Blogger MSC said...

It seems to me that this is because Evidentialism deals in probabilities while Presuppositionalism deals with certainties.

7:43 AM, October 28, 2009  
Blogger donsands said...

I saw D' Souza debating Hitchens, or was it Dawkins?
Anyhow, he was bad. It was sad.

Thanks for the post. I borrowed Christopher's quote, if you don't mind.

Have a Christ-focused evening.

3:28 PM, October 28, 2009  
Blogger Siarlys Jenkins said...

Hi Fred. Hopefully we can talk here without five reams of Boris getting in the way. I'm working on a sequel called "Christopher Hitchens Is Not Good," but I'm not sure its worth the time to finish writing a whole book. The title says it all. I wouldn't say that the Bible is full of "metaphors." I would say that when a mortal man has seen a terrifying vision of the divine, they tried to express the inexpressible in highly poetic language. We should beware of watering the vision down by reducing isolated phrases to some kind of banal literalism based on our experience in the material world. Most chapters in the Bible have more layers of meaning than I could ever comprehend in a lifetime.

On the side, what business is it of mine or yours what church Barack Obama attends? That's between him and God. I understand it is a bit disruptive to have any president attend a church, because all the secret service action really disrupts things for everyone else. A lot of presidents end up relying on the service at Camp David, where there is a chaplain on duty, whether the ACLU likes it or not.

7:46 PM, October 28, 2009  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I'm working on a sequel called "Christopher Hitchens Is Not Good," but I'm not sure its worth the time to finish writing a whole book.

You may appreciate Paul Manata's story Good is not Great: How Morality Poisons Everything.

what business is it of mine or yours what church Barack Obama attends?

Ummm... I am not sure how this relates to this post, but where any president attended church, especially Obama, reveals to us a lot about how he thinks, what he believes, and values. He attended a radical leftist church when he was in Chicago for 20 years pastored by a racist. That tells us a lot about who Obama is.

5:30 AM, October 29, 2009  
Blogger Mike Felker said...

If one's apologetic methodology is not gospel-driven, then you don't have a meaningful apologetic. I'm so very thankful that Wilson has been given a platform to speak in hopes that more Christians will start defending their faith as Christians as opposed to "theists."

6:55 AM, October 29, 2009  
Blogger Siarlys Jenkins said...

Paul Manata seems to ramble forever. I can't even tell what side of which morality he is on, whether he is serious of presenting a parody. Too deep in the web of his own weaving to be edifying.

Now I don't wish to get into tit for tat on your site, but the article I'm responding to contains the parenthetical question "(Incidentally, just when is President Barack Obama going to decide which church he attends?)" So I responded to it.

You may be right that a president's choice of church tells us something about him or her. But, ultimately, choice of church is a personal matter, not a public property. I would hate to think he would choose a church in order to make a political point, with you, me, or anyone else.

6:41 PM, October 29, 2009  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Now I don't wish to get into tit for tat on your site, but the article I'm responding to contains the parenthetical question "(Incidentally, just when is President Barack Obama going to decide which church he attends?)" So I responded to it.

Though I think it is a bit important as to where a president has his spiritual roots, so to speak, because they are not afforded the same level of privacy as a regular citizen, do keep in mind that comment was Hitchen's snarky atheist musings. I am not entirely sure what he had in mind when he made it.

8:59 AM, October 30, 2009  

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