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June 24, 2014

Does God Exist? Debates on Video

Recent years have seen an upswell of debate between theologians and prominent voices in the scientific community over the existence of God. With this selection, LearnOutLoud has brought together a series of debates on audio & video asking "Does God Exist?" Below you'll find key figures in the new atheism movement, such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins as they square off against defenders from the spiritual side of the table, such as Deepak Chopra, Al Sharpton, and more. Though sometimes contentious, the debates provided here offer useful food for thought for anyone that is questioning a secular vs. spiritual worldview. Get started by clicking any the links below:

1. Science Refutes God: PBS Intelligence Squared U.S.

In this lively debate from Intelligence Squared U.S., atheists Lawrence Krauss and Michael Shermer take on Christians Ian Hutchinson and Dinesh D'Souza over whether "Science Refutes God". Krauss and Shermer look at the achievements of modern science and see no evidence for God. Hutchinson and D'Souza argue the limitations of science in determining morality and look to religion as the source for many truths. Topics discussed include miracles, the Big Bang, and much more. At then end both sides take some questions from the audience, and then they give the debate results.

2. Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens Debate

Listen to a stimulating debate between the Reverend Al Sharpton and God Is Not Great author Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens provides many arguments against religion, arguing against religious texts, dogmatic beliefs, and a creator God. Al Sharpton contends that Hitchens cannot prove the non-existence of God and argues that if immoral acts are performed in the name of God that they have no relation to the great character of God. They both reflect on the modern implications of a belief in God, as Hitchens denounces the intrusion of religion into politics and culture (particularly in the Middle East) and Sharpton emphasizes the role of religion in positive social change such as in the American Civil Rights Movement. The whole debate is handled with good humor, even if neither Sharpton nor Hitchens are able to change one another's minds. This debate was held at the New York Public Library and is available on streaming video from FORA.tv.

3. Deepak Chopra vs. Leonard Mlodinow: War of the Worldviews

Start your week with this stimulating debate between spiritual author Deepak Chopra and physicist Leonard Mlodinow on spirituality and science in the contemporary world. Chopra starts the debate by pointing to the mystery of consciousness as proof that God's design of our universe is beyond scientific comprehension. Mlodinow contends that we may understand a great deal more about consciousness in the future and that religion is often there to explain what science can't explain yet. Chopra aruges that with our great gains in science, we have also created some of the greatest threats to life on Earth including nuclear war and global warming, and that we need to emphasize global spiritual development in order to create a sustainable future. Mlodinow agrees that we need spirituality and that science can't answer all questions, but he still doesn't see the need for God and religion in order to explain our universe. Watch this excellent 50 minute debate from FORA.tv.

4. The God Debate: Christopher Hitchens vs. Dinesh D'Souza

Christopher Hitchens debates conservative author and Christian apologist Dinesh D'Souza in this debate from the University of Notre Dame. D'Souza argues on the grounds of reason that God is best explanation for the origins of life, the human moral compass, and our capacity of good and evil. Hitchens argues that the universe isn't as ordered as D'Souza would like to believe and that science can prove how the universe came from nothing without the need of a Creator or intelligent design. This debates is available on for free on streaming video on YouTube.

5. The God Debate II: Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig

In this video debate provided by Notre Dame, Christian apologist William Lane Craig debates with best-selling atheist author Sam Harris on whether or not God should be the basis of human morality. Craig frames the debate with the question of whether or not human beings can formulate a solid moral foundation without the existence of God, refuting the claim made by Harris and others that morality is an evolutionary process designed to help humans flourish together in harmony. Harris counters by arguing scientists can come to the question of morality unclouded by religious bias and therefore rely on clear reasoning to help guide humanity to a better future that does not require the sanction of a divine lawgiver. Lively, intelligent, and friendly, Craig and Harris hold their debate on common, respectful grounds before describing where there thinking diverges.

6. Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens Debate Religion

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens debate "Is Religion a Force for Good in the World?". Blair, who recently converted to Catholicism, uses his oratory skills to passionately argue that religion motivates a great deal of good in the modern world, and that a world without religion would be worse off for many reasons. Blair concedes that a great deal of harm has been committed by religious fanatics throughout history, but that this is not a reason to get rid of religion anymore than bad politicians are a valid reason to get rid of politics. Hitchens agrees that religion is not going away, but counters that the world would be better with a great deal more secularism and less religion. He focuses on problems which are compounded when religion intrudes such as poverty and its relation to the subjugation of women. They field over an hour of questions from the audience. It's an excellent debate from two very talented rhetoricians. It is available on streaming video from the C-SPAN video library.

7. Debate: The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion

In this lively debate from Intelligence Squared U.S., four speakers argue whether or not the World would be better without religion. On the faith-based side of the aisle, Dinesh D'Souza and Rabbi David Wolpe point out several strong cases for how religion has provided human beings with a framework for moral action and meaning. Countering these claims are Matthew Chapman and A.C. Grayling, both of whom enumerate on the historically negative social influence of religious belief and do not necessarily agree that faith is synonymous with ethical living.

8. Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham at the Creation Museum

It's not every week that a public debate video gets over 2 million views on YouTube. Yet Bill Nye's recent debate with Ken Ham over evolution and creationism has gained that many views. Ken Ham is a young-Earth creationist who advocates a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. He is also the president of the Creation Museum where this debate is held. Bill Nye is an American science educator who argues that creationism is not a viable model of origins in light of the evidence for Darwinian evolution. They each have a slide show and demonstration for their case which they each present in 30 minutes and then go back and forth in this 3-hour debate. Watch one of the most popular videos on YouTube.

9. Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe: The Great God Debate

In this debate Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe take a look at many aspects of religion starting with answering "What is God?" and then arguing the various merits of the religious and secular worldviews. Rabbi Wolpe argues that religious belief leads to more basic goodness for the individual and for society as a whole as believers are more charitable and do more good works than non-believers. Hitchens argues that much of religious practice is wicked such as missionaries who prosthelytize to those who are weak and vulnerable. It's a very well conducted debate with both sides contributing strong arguments. This debate is available on streaming video from the Forum Network.