The Great Debate


William Lane Craig and Kai Nielsen
with annotations by William Lane Craig
February 1991, University of Western Ontario


This debate is presented on the Internet as a project of Leadership University. Leadership University is dedicated to providing the best information in the world informed by a biblical worldview.


Catholicism is not simply a system of beliefs; it is also a life to be lived: a life of worship, shaped by the Eucharist and the other sacraments, and a life of moral commitment and behaviour, shaped by moral values rooted in the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Catholic schools foster this way of life grounded in the love of God and values of the Reign of God proclaimed in the gospels.

Spirituality in Catholic schools consists in letting God be present in each moment of the day, becoming attuned to God”s presence in the ups and downs of the life journey of the school community. Prayer and a commitment to the moral and ethical values of the gospel provide the opening to God’s presence. The Catholic school, therefore, is a place of prayer, a place where the principals of Christian morality find expression in the interactions that take place there.

Catholic schools invite all members of the learning community into that place of prayer and moral living by modelling a prayer life in the school and by providing a learning environment characterized by relationships that are caring and nurturing.

Strategies for nurturing Spirituality in Catholic Schools:

  • Make resources for spirituality available to all members of the community
  • Provide opportunities for retreat and reflection days
  • Participate in faith development activities
  • Structure prayer into the life of the school on a daily basis
  • Celebrate Catholic identity through prayer, liturgy, and worship
  • Celebrate school events, the various passages and seasons of the year with religious rituals
  • Celebrate school patron saints, school feasts

How do Catholic schools integrate spirituality into the learning environment?

Organ Donors

picture-11Consider the following  scenario.

A hospital has several patients on their waiting list (article on worldwide kidney organ shortage) who will die if they don’t receive organ donations. Canada (read article for details) has a organ shortage like all others nations of the world.  Some need replacement kidneys, others need a replacement heart, and others need new lungs. Today,  supplies of these organs are in very short supply. There is, however, a way to get these much needed organs, and that is to harvest organs from deceased patients without explicit consent. (This article gives the details to proposed legislation in U.K.).  Currently , in Canada, people have to sign a donor card and then the family must also agree before organs or tissue can be harvested. The hospital argues that the number of families offended by harvesting organs from a dead relative is a small price to pay when compared to the number of lives that can be saved by following such as practice.  Should hospitals be allowed to take organs from dead patients without explicit consent? Here is another interesting proposal. Ontario has proposed withholding drivers license if donor cards are not signed.  (See MPP for details)

Answer the question from an utilitarianist perspective.  Then answer the question from an altruist perspective. Be sure to clearly show the difference between the two points of view.

Reflection Rubric