Atheist Richard Dawkins Loses Religion Debate with Rowan Williams

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Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams defeated renowned atheist Richard Dawkins in a debate at the University of Cambridge about religion in the 21st century.

According to an article in The Christian Post, atheist professor Richard Dawkins was defeated by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams in a debate about the need for religion in the 21st century. The debate was held at the University of Cambridge on Thursday, January 31st in front of an audience of about 800, made up primarily of students. Williams won the debate by 324 to 136 votes.

During the debate, Dawkins described religion as a “cop-out,” calling it “a betrayal of all that’s best about what makes us human.”

“(Religion) peddles false explanations where real explanations could have been offered, false explanations that get in the way of the enterprise of discovering real explanations,” Dawkins told the audience.

In his address, Williams pointed out that religion has always been a matter of community, “a matter of building relations of compassion, fellow-feeling, and inclusion.”

“The notion that religious commitment can be purely a private matter is one that runs against the grain of religious history,” Williams said.

Watch video of the debate here.

Dawkins currently serves as an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford and the vice president of the British Humanist Association. Williams left his role as the Archbishop of Canterbury on December 31st of last year and is currently Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge.


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  • transitionpete

    it’s unfortunate that the video is no longer available.

  • pjsr

    ‘Video not available’

  • Rev Raul Shively EdD

    I love being in debates such as this. I’ve never had an Atheist that could disprove the exiistence of God or prove that religion was simply made up by the church.

    • Dalia

      And I love listening to debaters. Music to my ears.

    • AtheistAnnie

      Have you ever been able to prove the existence of god, though? If anyone has ever been able too, I’m sure there wouldn’t be a such thing as “atheism”.
      Don’t you find it a big odd that a being that possesses a great deal of power can’t just lie these debates to rest by simply revealing himself worldwide, on a grand scale, for the entire world to see all at the same time? Hmmm…

      • Daniel Anakwa

        In Christ you believe before you see. Waiting to see before believing is not the way of our God

  • chris

    video no available. God is in control and always will be. Amen.

  • wordbased

    I happened to see the video on another site. Mr. Dawkins lost that debate because he was not interested in winning it. His concern was that the debate gave him a forum to express what could only be hate-speech against Christians and the Christian God. The debate question had to do with if there was a place in the 21st Century for organized religion. While others put “religion” in a large catch-all. Dawkins only spoke about how wakeful Christianity is.

  • paifamily

    He should have been that forceful and straight as the archbishop. God bless him and strengthen him and increase wisdom in him that he could contribute more this way to the world to establish the true faith on Jesus the saviour of mankind and the world.

    • foreverinchrist

      I understand your point but a man cannot confess Christ to anyone until he has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. His hatred for christians show his heart has been hardened to the things of God. The Scripture’s tell us: The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor.2:14 KJV).

      But for those who know Christ have not recieved the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in word which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Cor. 2:12-13 KJV).
      So what you desire Mr. Dawkins to do he cannot because he does not know God. There is nothing for him to contribute from a christian perspective.

  • More sense

    Debate had Ben pull because of copyright claim of Csmbrige … More like Dawkinx’ sour grapex

  • Olubunmi Akinjolire

    In the beginning was the Word, … And the Word was God.

  • Pastor Tom

    I found the debate on YouTube. It is actually several speakers on both sides of the debate, Williams is the only Christian.