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Does God Exist? Review by Kathy Gelzer

Kathy Gelzer
La Mirada Films and Biola University
13800 Biola Avenue
La Mirada, CA 90639

Does God Exist? is a video of a live debate between noted atheist author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who died in December of 2011, and philosopher and Christian apologist William Lane Craig. This debate was held at Biola University on April 4th, 2009.

The intro is well done and very exciting. It helps build up anticipation for the actual debate. However, I wish more biographical material on the two debaters had been provided in the introduction.

This was a structured, classical debate with a specific format. Each opponent had a twenty minute opening statement. Craig had a five point argument for God's existence: cosmological, teleological, moral, historical, and experiential. He also argued that there is no good argument that atheism is true, whereas there are good arguments that theism is true. Hitchens' main point was that "atheism is true" is not the point to be proved. After the opening speeches, each speaker had a rebuttal, then a cross-examination, responses, and closing arguments. Christopher Hitchens opted not to give a closing argument.

Two discs are included. The first is 105 minutes long and contains the actual debate. The second contains 73 minutes of bonus features:   a separate question and answer session with each of the gentlemen, a pre-debate press conference, a post-debate interview with Craig, and information about the Biola Christian Apologetics Program. I would recommend viewing the bonus material first to help you listen to specific points and appreciate the debate more. Although the video case boasts ten camera perspectives, our family found this distracting and would have preferred fewer camera shots. I also think it would have been helpful to include a hard-copy outline of the main points of each speaker.

The debate was most interesting, but difficult to follow if you were not at least a high school student. Knowing some basic theological terminology would be helpful in following the conversation. I thought Christopher Hitchens brought up some interesting points for which someone studying apologetics should have some ready answers. Debate students, of course, would enjoy and benefit from viewing this debate. William Lane Craig shared some of his debate strategy. I also recommend this debate for high school students heading for college, as it gives them a taste of what they might encounter in a college setting as far as opposition to Christianity.

Product Review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2012