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  • [soft music]

  • [audience cheering]

  • >> Good evening and welcome to Biola University.

  • My name is Craig Hazen, and I'm the director

  • the the Master of Arts program in Christan Apologetics here

  • and I'm honored to be the host tonight

  • to get things started.

  • Although the gym is packed with nearly 3,000 people

  • and it looks like you're stuffed in here pretty well,

  • and my condolences to those of you who

  • have already been sitting an hour and have another

  • couple of hours to go, hang in there.

  • Hang in there.

  • But you're not the only ones watching.

  • There are thousands of people in other venues

  • on this campus.

  • Not only that, there are people in overflow sites,

  • really across the country and around the world.

  • We have people in 30 states and four different countries

  • watching this and a special greeting to all of you who

  • are watching across campus and in places such as

  • Stockholm and Sri Lanka.

  • I hope you really enjoy this. [audience cheering]

  • A special greeting to some distinguished guests tonight.

  • William Lane Craig's wife, Jan, is here.

  • Jan, it's good to see you.

  • Betsey Hewitt is here. [audience applause]

  • My wife, Karen Hazen, is here.

  • Dr. Barry Corey, the university president, is here.

  • [audience cheering] [applause]

  • Yeah, we've got distinguished philosophers

  • all over the place.

  • Doug Given, JP Morton, hi-ho.

  • All right.

  • We're thrilled all of you could come.

  • Well this event was initiated by

  • the Associated Students of Biola University,

  • and it makes sense that AS President Eric Weaver

  • should give a quick welcome on behalf

  • of the student body.

  • Eric, come on up. [audience applause]

  • >> Good evening, everyone.

  • Biola is a 100 year old Christian un&iversity,

  • which desires to wrestle with big questions

  • in an honest and open way.

  • In my senior year, my AS colleague, Mark Keith, and I,

  • thought we should sponsor a blockbuster event

  • that pursues the biggest question of all:

  • it is reasonable to believe that God exists?

  • A proposal was presented to the Senate

  • and the student body heartily agreed.

  • So we invited two acclaimed academic leaders

  • in this area, William Lane Craig, and Christopher Hitchens,

  • and along with the wonderful people from the

  • Apologetics program, we are thrilled to see it

  • on display tonight.

  • On behalf of the students at Biola, I hope you really

  • enjoy this event.

  • Thank you. [audience applause]

  • >> Thank you for representing the students, Eric.

  • You're a senior.

  • How's that job search going in this economy?

  • Is that going well? [audience laughing]

  • We'll give you some help.

  • Oh no, our career services on Biola, first rank.

  • Thank you.

  • Well, the students got this going,

  • but there is one other important sponsor,

  • and that is the program that I direct,

  • the Master of Arts Program in Christian Apologetics.

  • If you like wrestling with the big questions,

  • the existence of God, evidence for the resurrection,

  • and the problem of evil, the historical reliability

  • of the Bible reconciling science and faith,

  • this really is a degree program for you.

  • And if you're watching at a distance and you're

  • thinking, "I can't do it 'cause I don't live

  • "in Southern California," that's not the case.

  • We have this amazing distance learning program

  • and it's really open to anybody and you don't need

  • to relocate to Southern California,

  • although it was a very nice day today.

  • You might want to consider it.

  • Although, they've just taxed us into oblivion,

  • so you may wanna reconsider that.

  • If you want to find out about these programs,

  • check out Biola.edu, B-I-O-L-A.edu,

  • and go to the Christian Apologetics page on that site.

  • Well.

  • How is this all gonna work tonight?

  • It's pretty straight forward.

  • In fact, your hand dandy program will tell you what's

  • going on, right up at the top, inside panel,

  • the program numbers one through eight.

  • It'll guide you through what's taking place

  • every step of the way during the debate.

  • So take a look at that.

  • Toward the end, we will have some time for questions,

  • but as you notice there's no mics

  • sitting up in the aisles.

  • We are going to throw it open to the students.

  • We have a student section up there, bravo.

  • [audience cheering]

  • Students of all stripes.

  • Now it's your job tonight to think up

  • some tough questions, and I expect you to actually vet them.

  • That is, you may have learn in school that there is

  • no such thing as a dumb question.

  • That is not true, okay? [audience laughing]

  • Not to intimidate you, but, check it out.

  • Do a peer review.

  • If you come with a question, run it by the person

  • next to you or on either side,

  • and let's see how it goes.

  • So we'll throw it open for some Q and A time

  • and our thoughtful moderator will make sure it goes well.

  • All right.

  • Well when we're done tonight,

  • there's one other thing you need to be considering,

  • and that is getting outside of this building

  • to the pavilion right outside here

  • and several places along the walk way

  • to pick up the featured books tonight.

  • One is God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens,

  • and another one is Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig.

  • These are the featured books. [audience cheering]

  • Pick them up, and you can actually have them signed.

  • To have them signed, just walk out these building,

  • look for all the lights, and there's some tables

  • out there and our distinguished debaters will be out

  • there signing books and answering your toughest questions

  • right there at the table, I'm sure.

  • If you've got a lot of books at home,

  • and in fact you own a book so you don't need another one,

  • perhaps you can buy some DVDs or CDs of some

  • dynamite debates and lectures that Bill Craig

  • has done around the world.

  • These are first rate materials and our

  • Apologetics program is actually the center point

  • for getting all of these, so if you wanna get

  • them tonight, they've got wonderful, special deals.

  • Check out the red flyer in your brochure

  • and that will tell you the scoop.

  • You can even pre-order tonight's debate.

  • If you'd like to get a copy of it,

  • it's something you want to share with a lot of people,

  • you can pre-order it tonight, fill out the form,

  • take it to the table, and they'll move you right through.

  • Well we're delighted to have Mr. Hitchens here

  • on campus be we realize that we theists certainly

  • have the home court advantage, I mean being in

  • a basketball court, that makes a lot of sense.

  • After all, it's a Christian university

  • and it even says, "All glory to God"

  • or something above the bleachers there,

  • so clearly this is a home court advantage for the theists.

  • And I imagine that the crowd here is over

  • two thirds Evangelical Christian,

  • although I'm thrilled to see some of the atheist

  • and agnostic community turn out wearing t-shirts.

  • I love that.

  • Yeah, absolutely, yeah. [audience applause]

  • I was lecturing at the University of South Florida

  • a few weeks ago and the entire atheist club

  • came out wearing t-shirts and we had the best time ever

  • so I expect the same tonight.

  • Well.

  • Since we have the home court advantage,

  • those of you who are theists, believers in God,

  • please, let's be polite to Christopher Hitchens.

  • He's known to say a provocative thing or two

  • so if you can practice your polite, golf clap.

  • [audience laughing] All right?

  • Let's practice that.

  • Practice that.

  • No shouting, no hooting.

  • There will be plenty of opportunity for it,

  • but let's restrain ourselves.

  • And those of you who are from the atheist

  • and agonistic community, again, no shouting,

  • no hooting, no hollering.

  • In fact, Mr. Hitchens, I can guarantee you,

  • doesn't really need a lot of help.

  • I just saw a video of him debating like four

  • prominent Evangelical Theists in Dallas,

  • and it really wasn't fair.

  • We needed more theists on the panel,

  • so I think he will do just fine,

  • but we're grateful for him to come to sort of

  • the pit of opposition at Biola University.

  • But we're grateful to really open up the doors

  • and run through these big, important questions,

  • and if the debate is not resolved at the end,

  • this is a basketball court for goodness sakes,

  • we'll lower the hoops, we'll turn up the lights,

  • and we'll let 'em go one on one.

  • [audience applause]

  • Yeah.

  • I hear Chris has game, so we'll see how that goes.

  • Well let's get to it.

  • It's my pleasure to introduce our moderator

  • of the debate tonight, and he'll get this party started.

  • Hugh Hewitt.

  • Yes, Hugh Hewitt. [audience applause]

  • Hugh is a law professor and broadcast journalist

  • whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard

  • in more than 120 cities across the United States

  • every week day by more than two million listeners.

  • By the way locally this program is heard on KRLA

  • which is 870 am.

  • I think it goes from like three to six.

  • Great program, in fact, I think it's one of the most

  • important, smartest, fast paced news and issues

  • program on the airwaves today.

  • So, check that out.

  • If you live in outlying regions, check HughHewitt.com

  • to find out where's he's broadcasting, or podcasting.

  • Professor Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College

  • and the University of Michigan Law School.

  • He has been teaching constitutional law at

  • Chapman University Law School since it opened in 1995.

  • Hugh is a frequent guest on all the big

  • cable news networks and had written for the most important

  • newspapers in the country.

  • He's received three Emmys for his groundbreaking

  • television work and is the author of eight books

  • including two best sellers.

  • Professor Hewitt served for nearly six years

  • in the Reagan Administration in a variety of posts,

  • including assistant council in the White House

  • and special assistant to attorney's general.

  • Don't miss his daily blog at HughHewitt.com.

  • He's always been so very generous with his time

  • toward events like these at Biola,

  • and we are deeply grateful for his help here tonight.

  • Join me in welcoming our moderator, Professor Hugh Hewitt.

  • [audience applause]

  • >> Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

  • Number one, please turn off your cell phones.

  • I repeat, please turn off your cell phones.

  • Number two, gentlemen, to the extent that any of you have

  • jackets that are still on, please,

  • as Ronald Reagan once used to say,

  • feel free to just throw them on the floor.

  • It is a little bit warm in here.

  • Our guests, by virtue of this crowd,

  • it is obvious, need no introduction.

  • I am not going to waste time, then,

  • on elaborate introductions.

  • I just wish to thank them both for being willing

  • to participate in this most important of conversations.

  • It is the best of times, it is the best of times,

  • for those who like to argue about God in the public square.

  • Largely because of the rise of new atheists,

  • such as Mr. Hitchens, Richard Dawkins,

  • my friend William Lobdell, and others,

  • who have once again put at the center of the public stage,

  • the question of whether or not God does exist

  • and whether or not Jesus Christ is his son.

  • And it is up to people like William Lane Craig,