Friday, November 02, 2007

religion vs atheism

I stumbled upon this video link last week sometime and have been trying to find the time and right mindset to watch it since. Well, tonight I was able to (although I was interrupted by the daily show, but that's beside the point).
In this corner... weighing in at 165lbs dressed in a dapper brown suit jacket with graying hair, standing up for all atheists everywhere is Richard Dawkins! [crowd applause]
And in this corner... with a nice politician haircut and his holy baige suit jacket, standing in for all God fearin folks is Alister McGrath! [Crowd applause]
Leetsss get readddyyy to Rummblblleeeee...
Ok, no really this is some heavy duty stuff being debated here by two heavy weights. I've never actually read anything by Richard Dawkins, but I've seen him talk a few times on both the internet and tv. I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but intellectually I respect his viewpoints and do occasionally find some of his questions and points valid.
As to this Alister McGrath... I'm afraid to admit, I've never heard of him (sorry Al). The brief introduction to the video says that he is a Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University, so I'm guessing he knows a thing or two about a thing or two.
It's a bit strange watching this video because it's obvious that it is being filmed on a low budget with what I assume will be edited together for a more compact piece later. (why they didn't spring for two cameramen is beyond me).
It's also FANTASTIC to see a debate on religion held with such civility! I'm so used to reading religious debates online and 99.99% of the time it spirals out of control into name calling on either one or both sides.
I don't think anything was solved here, Richard I'm sure is still an atheist, and Alister is still probably going to go to church this Sunday, but it's good to see a debate like this.
Wouldn't it be great if there were a show on TV that covered this sort of stuff on a regular basis? It wouldn't have to be on nightly, but at least once a month to show two well educated people sitting down (or in this case standing for over an hour!?) and just having a civil discussion/debate? The world needs more of this.
So for those of you with a touch of A.D.D. (I think we all have that), this video comes in at about 1 hour and 10 minutes, but it's really interesting. I highly encourage you to set aside this time, grab a cup of tea, and sit back a listen to this debate.
I won't embed the video, simply click here to go to the open culture website and watch it there. Good stuff.
PS> I couldn't help to giggle to myself as I just pictured both of these guys snapping and just start swinging at each other. Thus the boxing introduction :)

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