Earlier this year, Douglas Wilson (Christian) and Christopher Hitchens (Atheist) exchanged responses to one another in Christianity Today under this question: Is Christianity Good for the World?
If you are up to reading this six-part exchange, none of which is too long (I read it all in one sitting), here are a few observations I made you can look for.
- Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson know their material and represent their various perspectives well. This isn't a mismatched dialog, like we have seen in recent debates with 'new' atheists.
- Hitchens is promoting the 'new' atheism on the block with his recently released and bestselling book, God is Not Great. I find it interesting that 'new' atheism is using the same arguments and assumptions as 'old' atheism (empiricism and a strict atomic story).
- Hitchens often dodges the point until his position becomes so weakened that he must address it. And in addressing it, he simply announces it ad hoc (that is, the world is just so without a need to give a reason).
- Hitchens, by the end, leaves the reader with a good perspective on 'new' atheism to wrestle with.
- Even though many atheists are telling us the 'argument from morality' for God's existence isn't a good argument, Wilson uses it first and Hitchens has a hard time with it. Then Wilson moves to the 'argument from reason' and again advances the Christian side as being more reasonable as Hitchens cannot offer a solid reply.
- Douglas Wilson gives a fine example of whimsical and thoughtful replies to the opposition. While I could have thought of a few philosophers who could have replied Hitchens much more exactingly, Wilson brings in a breath of fresh imagination into such a dialog which many apologists would do well to note.
- Wilson brings to the table a reformed theological perspective which, sometimes, weakens his argument. His closing remarks in part 6, though nicely written, feel forced and unnecessary. It is so poetically written, it loses accuracy and impact. But you'll have to decide that yourself as reader.