“An Evaluation of the Debate, ‘Is Belief in God Reasonable?’”
CENTURION EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Dr. Andrew T. Knight
Should you be an atheist of a believer?
Andrew Thomas Knight
DMIN Luther Rice Seminary, 2014
MRE West Coast Baptist College, 2010
MBS Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004
BB Pensacola Christian College, 1994
October 7, 2017
TABLE OF CONTENTS
An Evaluation of Craig’s Line of Argumentation……………………. 2
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Craig’s Argumentations…………… 3
An Evaluation of Rosenberg’s Line of Argumentation………………… 4
The Final Assessment of the Craig vs. Rosenberg Debate …………….. 5
INITIAL SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY …………………………………….. 6
This paper revolves around the evaluation of the debate between William Lane
Craig and Alex Rosenberg. The debate material centers on the topic of the existence of God.
Craig comes at the question from an evidential apologetic approach, as a born again Christian.
Rosenberg on the other hand approaches the question of the existence of God’s existence from
a Jewish, agnostic perspective. The debate was held at Purdue University in Indiana, though the
debate was likely organized from Craig and Talbot School of Theology in California.
This writer will than evaluate the lines of argumentation of Craig’s for their strengths and
weaknesses. This writer will than continue with an evaluation of Rosenberg’s lines of
argumentation, including his weaknesses. This evaluation with conclude with an assessment of
which debater won the debate, including reasons for the final conclusion.
An Evaluation of Craig’s Line of Argumentation
William Lane Craig gave his opening statement which one might be considered in a
lecture format. This outlined format which Craig used was very easy to follow. His points were
clear and he explained each one, gave illustrations for each, and then reviewed the argument. He
than made a closing statement for each point that he presented. Craig employed a powerful set of
words for each argument, “God is the best explanation…” which he used as part of his
apologetic argument and is of course a teaching principle, (repetition).
Craig began with the transcendental argument for God. In his outlined format he listed
the progression of the argument and that closed that argument with a series of apologetic steps
that led to the conclusion that the Creator of the universe is a transcendental, personal Being. The
second answer he gave was very similar. The next argument was of interest as this writer
believes there is a lot of math equations in the Bible. Craig made the argument that equated math
with nature. The following argument dealt with the fine-tuning of universe. Most of the closing
apologetic arguments are a three step process which begins with a presupposition and ends with
the expected conclusion of the existence of God. The fifth argument was an interesting one as
Craig argued that if one has a consciousness of the world than God does exist. The thinking
maybe that we are made in His likeness. Craig used this to turn the tables on Rosenberg as
Rosenberg argued consciousness awareness. Craig made Rosenberg look silly on this point. The
sixth argument that Craig put forth is language that Christians would be comfortable with, which
is to say is the moral argument for God. Craig offers the seventh argument which is the historical
proofs for the Resurrection of Christ. Craig’s last argument he discussed how one can know
Jesus Christ in a personal way.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Craig’s Argumentations
The strengths of William Lane Craig’s debating style, first is that he is a consummate
professional. Craig held a godly and gracious testimony for the Lord throughout the entire event
and at every exchange with Rosenberg. Craig is very prepared for his debates. His use of outlines
and the PowerPoint on the overhead projector was helpful. This helped him make his case for the
existence of God, and to teach his audience. Craig consistently made clear and concise outlines
for his argumentation. The outlines had a clear progression of thought. Following the
argumentation were his apologetic bullet points that brought the reader or listener to a logical
conclusion. The final reason this writer thought Craig had such a good debate is because he was
likeable and that made him more acceptable to the unbelievers that watched the debate. Because
of the quality presentation that Craig put forth and his positive demeanor there were no
weaknesses that one could reasonably make in this debate.
An Evaluation of Rosenberg’s Line of Argumentation
Alex Rosenberg responded to William Lane Craig after Craig’s first argumentation. In
contrast to Craig’s very positive presentation Rosenberg got up and just began to rip into Craig in
a very negative and angry way. Rosenberg came off as very unlikable although he tried to tell a
joke or one-liners, but no one was laughing. Rosenberg had at least thirteen objections to
Craig’s argumentation. Rosenberg’s first objection was that be believed the burden of proof was
on Craig and not himself. Rosenberg’s second complaint is that Craig’s presentation was too
much like a lawyer in a court hearing. Third, Rosenberg suggested that the omnipresent of God
was inconsistent than God must not exist. Fourth Rosenberg attached the causation argument.
Rosenberg continued his rant against the fifth argument, the fine-tuning of the universe.
The sixth argument relative to God creating the universe out of nothing from Rosenberg seemed
to fall flat. The seventh argument was Rosenberg referencing Plato’s refutation of the moral
argument. Again this seemed to be more of a complaint than any kind of persuasive
argumentation. At one point Rosenberg was clearly calling Craig a liar. The retort that may have
been the most repugnant was Rosenberg arguing his thirtieth answer to Craig. Rosenberg argued
that all suffering must be removed if God really existed. In the middle of that argument he was
belittling the attributes of God. Than Rosenberg suggested that, “The problem of evil was the
theist problem from Hell.” This was the epitome cynicism and a basic lack of understanding of
the character and nature of God. The level of negativity that Rosenberg displayed in this debate
hurt his appeal to those that might be sympathetic to his position, but it also made Craig look
The Final Assessment of the Craig vs. Rosenberg Debate
This debate was an excellent teaching tool for evidential apologetics. Rosenberg was
necessary for this apologetic platform. Craig again put forth a positive argumentation and a
pleasant demeanor, which was a good testimony for Christ. The presentation that Craig offered
was professional, instructive, and persuasive. It would be this writers’ observation that Craig
presented himself is such a way that he earned the favor and respect of his listeners. The manner
in which Craig conducted himself made it very reasonable for any unbelieving listeners to
receive his logic and reasoning on their way to receiving Christ as their personal Saviour.
From this writer’s perspective it was clear that Craig was the clear winner of this debate.
Craig had the more professional presentation. Craig had well excepted, and well prepared
arguments for the existence for God. Craig also conducted himself in a gracious manner and
consistently treated Rosenberg with respect. Craig demonstrated that he was superior as an
educator. He not only had well prepared note, but also made them available on the big screen for
the audience and viewers to follow along.
INITIAL SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPGY
Craig, William Lane, and Alex Rosenberg. Debate: Is Faith in God Reasonable, West Lafayette, IN., Purdue University, 2013.