Book reproduces debate on suffering, morality and existence of God

VIENNA, W.V. (BNC) by Ron Thomas — The debate held between Ralph Gilmore and Alexander Rosenberg Sept. 27, 2016, on the Ohio State University campus was published this year by the Warren Christian Apologetics Center. The title is Gilmore-Rosenberg Debate: Suffering, Morality and the Existence of God.

Ralph Gilmore holds a PhD from the University of Tennessee and is Professor of Bible and Philosophy at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, TN.

Alexander Rosenberg holds a PhD from John Hopkins University and is Professor of Philosophy at Duke University in Durham, NC.

Though I did not attend the debate, I have read the debate three times. The participants, identified above, had three affirmative speeches to make their case, then three negative replies to respond to the other as each case was presented, for a total of 6 speeches of varying lengths.

In Professor Rosenberg’s first presentation, he argued that suffering prevents one from believing in God. He set forth his understanding of how he understands the term “God” in this debate, that he is all-powerful, all-knowing, fully-benevolent and always present everywhere.

This traditional understanding of God is incompatible with the existence of evil. In his definition of suffering, he does not narrowly focus what he means, but he does speak of inflicting suffering as a moral wrong. “Though I hope for your sake, that you think it [inflicting suffering] is morally wrong” (9). He never, however, offered one argument with premises that warranted the conclusion, “Therefore, God does not exist.”

Ralph Gilmore was afforded to opportunity to make his case that God exists, and he did so via the objective nature of morality. He not only offered a logical argument that concludes “Therefore, God exists,” but he did this with a number of deductive arguments that warranted the conclusion, “Therefore, God exists.”

The exchange of ideas between the two men was fascinating, and more discussions along this line need to be pursued.

A fuller description of the speeches is given on the website etsop95.com.

The paperback book contains fewer than 100 pages and is available for $19.95.

Ron works with the Sunrush congregation in Chillicothe, OH.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

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