Does Satan Exist?

Last week Mars Hill Church in Seattle hosted a Nightline Faceoff where four panelists (philosopher Deepak Chopra & Bishop Carlton Pearson against Pastor Mark Driscoll & Annie Lobert, founder of the Christian ministry “Hookers for Jesus” ). You can see the debate here.

Considering the variety of viewpoints, it was surprising how much progress was made in the discussion. Pearson is a liberal bishop still in the ministry but rethinking the Christian message now that he is decidedly against the existence of Satan. Deepak Chopra is a new age philosopher essentially embracing the idea that everything is one, good and evil are both parts of us existing in the soul where we must understand it and move on. Driscoll and Lobert are Christians who hold to the separation between creator and creation, believing that Adam and Eve sinned through the influence of Satan though all people are responsible for their own sinful actions.

The discussion was well moderated (and finally edited) by Nightline. This is a good example of what it’s like to watch postmoderns try to stand up for what they believe, insist that religion is primitive and evolution contradicts biblical conviction, and yet still say that something can be true in someone’s experience and ought not to be contradicted. Apparently making the Oprah book club doesn’t guarantee you can think straight. This schizophrenia of insisting on being right and saying there is no one path came out wonderfully when an audience member rephrased something that Chopra or Pearson had said: “You said all belief is a cover up for insecurity: do you believe that?” I think Chopra and Pearson answer “Yes” without irony. All beliefs except theirs.

Driscoll does a good job of pointing out the pretensiousness of labeling some beliefs primitive while holding to a higher consciousness. Deepak would like to be detached and sagely sure of himself, but his inability to account for evil (and therefore disprove Satan) and the faux-humility of his way of thinking come out clear. Before hearing this, my hunch was that with so many people and not much time, the argument wouldn’t go anywhere or at least not far enough to convince anyone who wasn’t convinced already. But I’m encouraged. There are a couple of revealing moments that really ought to shake any new ager or moral relativist. Most importantly, the name and work of Jesus are exalted.

3 Comments Does Satan Exist?

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  2. Brett Edwards

    I agree that the exchange was encouraging. I thought the pretentious remark by Driscoll effectively revealed the arrogance of Chopra. I think the time constraint made it difficult to really build an argument or case either way.

    I wanted to say a few things regarding the panel discussion at the Christian Book Expo with Hitchens, Wilson and friends and was curious of any further thoughts you had. I thought the moderator was a bit obnoxious and sentimental and could not understand who thought he had the qualifications to be a good moderator. Wilson did well in the discussion. William Lane Craig came off as arrogant and unlikeable. Hitchens, per usual, came off as arrogant and likeable. I think if any two people give a real life application of Chesterton’s characters MacIan and Turnbull in The Ball and the Cross, it would be Hitchens and Wilson. That said, would you agree that what makes Hitchens an effective debater is his ability to duck a question all the while not making it look like he is doing so? I’ve watched Wilson corner him several times now and he slips out of the corner swinging. Any attempts to answer Wilson’s transcendental argument for God are abandoned quickly by Hitchens. People, Christians and non-Christians, continue to admire his abilities to debate but I think its simply his friendly arrogance and confidence. It’s times like these that you wish Bahnsen could’ve tackled Hitchens in a debate.

  3. jwowen

    I haven’t been able to watch that panel discussion yet but what I’ve seen of Hitchens makes me agree with you. Hitchens and Wilson as MacIan and Hitchens works nicely! Hitchens does slip away only to throw something out to change the subject. He certainly is copious and eloquent which makes him fun to listen to. I can’t tell if he is simply trying to run from arguments that pin him or if doesn’t simply doesn’t understand them; arrogance often makes one stupid. Bahnsen had a “go for the jugular” approach to debate which was effective with slippery people for sticking to and winning the argument. I also think he did it a bit ruthlessly which made him win the argument and not the person or the audience. Now you really have me motivated to carve out the time to see the panel.

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