DANIEL ADAMS VS. SHANDON GUTHRIE: Does God Exist?
Recently, atheist Daniel Adams mailed out several e-mail letters asking for an able theist to defend his or her position on the existence of God. I would like to think that, in essence, Adams has "picked a fight." As a result, I have agreed to debate Mr. Adams on this subject. This debate focuses on the issue of God's existence and is being transacted via e-mail. In compliance with the ground rules Adams has laid out, each of us are to continue granting responses and posting them on our respective web sites within one week of receiving them. The result is the exchange posted here.
A RISING INTEREST IN DEBATES LIKE THESE
I have received numerous e-mail letters about other materials I have written as well as e-mails asking questions about atheist objections. I find that more people struggle with the issues about the so-called "Problem of Evil." In this debate, I have faced Adams head-on with the problem of evil and those issues that surround this topic. To see my paper entitled "Assessing the Problem of Evil and the Existence of God", just click here. I have noticed that many people are concerned about how to defend their belief in God and how to explain to their non-believing friends how belief in God can be rational. Now, I know that we as Christians can never talk anyone into the kingdom of God. But I believe that God uses those arguments to compel and enlighten non-believers to the saving knowledge of God's special revelation in Jesus. I hope that with a heart attitude to learn and a belief in God that He will use this debate to draw others into fellowship with Him, we will see the Great Commission continuing to be fulfilled in events such as this one.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Debates tend to function as opportunities to see each side represented. Christians usually excite over the opportunity to see their fellow brother or sister defeat the wiles of atheism with keen philosophical acumen of biblical proportions. Atheists, on the other hand, desire to see Christianity fall as a long-since-debunked system of old fashioned rights and wrongs. Debates rarely resolve the issue debated. However, I think that debates open doors for opportunities other than the ones mentioned here. I think that debates give each side an opportunity to observe the audience they hope to reach in an attempt at (i) understanding the issue(s) they defend, and (ii) to see how more sophisticated and nuanced an issue really is. Christians have frequently made the mistake of calling atheists "devils" or "Satan worshipers" and atheists have mistakenly called Christians "fairy-tale believers" and "believers in irrational and unscientific entities." We are in an era that so desperately seeks truth. If we are to make any headway with the truth of Christianity, we ought not continue the rock throwing that so frequently leads to turned heads and stereotypical assurance. We need to make the world understand that Christianity is the better world view and gives meaning and purpose to those unanswered questions about life. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6) and if we are to maintain a level of assurance in this message, then we need to "study to show yourself approved unto God . . . rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Where do we go from here? We need to pray that God will enlighten those who are critical of Christianity and hope that God's revelation of love and grace will become a living reality in their lives.
-Shandon L. Guthrie
November 23, 1997