Monday, September 3, 2012

Peter Kreeft and Keith Korcz debate the existence of God

The video of this debate is split into eight parts, all of which can be found below. I also have some comments on the debate below, after the videos.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

This was a good debate, and it was nice to see that Dr. Kreeft and Dr. Korcz were respectful of each other. However, I thought that Dr. Korcz's arguments were often weak and sometimes fallacious. For example:

  • Dr. Korcz argues that a loving God would not allow evil to take place, including physical evils such as natural disasters. But he does not take into account that natural disasters may be a logical necessity based on the way that our universe and our planet must work in order to support life.  He also does not take into account that a Christian who believes in eternal life obviously will not see temporary suffering in this life as nearly as grave an evil as an atheist would see such suffering.
  • He argues that a person must have explicitly heard of God (perhaps even the Christian understanding of God) in order to have a relationship with God.  However, I do not understand why this must be true.  I can imagine ways in which God could establish a relationship with a person who has little understanding of who God truly is, and there are probably even ways it can happen that I can't imagine.
  • He also argues that God cannot do evil, and therefore God is not omnipotent.  This seems to me simply a variation on the argument which says, "Can God create a rock so big that he can't lift it? Whether the answer is yes or no, then he is not omnipotent, because we have demonstrated one thing that he cannot do." I think that Dr. Korcz fundamentally misunderstands the Christian concept of God, as well as the Christian theological and philosophical understanding of what it means that God is omnipotent.  Korcz seems to imagine God as being just like a person, but bigger, better, smarter, stronger, more loving, etc.  In other words, he seems to see God as made in our image, rather than seeing us as made in God's image.
  • Dr. Korcz argues that God's foreknowledge of our actions negates free will.  However, this argument implicitly assumes that God is inside of time, whereas the orthodox Christian view is that God is outside of time.
  • And overall, many of Dr. Korcz's arguments seem to boil down to his assumption that he knows what God would do if God existed.  But I don't think that any finite being can claim to know what God would do in every situation, or what God's reasons are, in every situation.

And of course, Dr. Kreeft answers Dr. Korcz's points better than I have done here, so watch the debate! :-)

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