On Thursday (16/10/08) I will be debating Mike Paget on the subject 'Which makes more sense; Atheism or Christianity?' The debate will be at 6PM in The Theatre Lounge, Level 3 Tower, UTS, Sydney. It is being presented by Credo, a campus-based religious group, so I am expecting the audience to be a bit slanted towards belief and it might be a tough crowd.
Mike is the Anglican chaplain for UTS and is also the assistant minister for St Barnabas Broadway. He also writes a blog.Then there's me, I simply haven't seen any convincing, objectively verifiable evidence to prove the existence of a god, hence I am an atheist. I am also ordained, so 'Reverend Alan vs Reverend Mike' might be an appropriate subtitle for the debate.
You can see the promotional material here, here and here.
There are a few points to make about the flyer though:
'Atheism and Christianity are both very prominent beliefs in our society today '
Atheism is not a 'belief', but a lack of belief. Atheism is to belief as bald is to hair colour
'Atheism, which denies the existence of a God, gods or the supernatural...'
Atheism doesn't deny their existence, just finds no evidence and therefore no reason to believe in them. I think these people equate atheism with antitheism. An atheist can deny the existance of a god, but is not required to. It is a much more solid position to say 'until there is reasonable evidence, I will retain the null hypothesis that belief in god is unnecessary.'
On top of that, most of the atheists that I've heard talk on the subject would be welcoming of any decent evidence for the existance of a god. If it were to be found, it would expand our view of the universe and all that is exponentially.
I think it is a rather outdated concept that an atheist is a grumpy old scholar that rants on and on about the impossibility of a god. Atheists today seem more interested in the reasons that people choose to believe in something with no decent evidence for doing so and we are more than happy to run comprehensive experiments on any testable claim made by proponants of religion. If an interactionalist god did exist, it should leave testable traces in the physical world. So far, none have been found. The universe appears exactly as would be expected if there were no god, so it is unnecdessary to propose the existancwe of one.
'the Christian Bible and its belief in one God has remained unchanged for 2000 years.'
What? WHAT? UNCHANGED???!!!!! That has to be one of the most ignorant sentences I've read from a christian. It's so wrong, I don't know where to start... ummm addition of Jesus as God; Judaism > Christainity; Umpteen reinterpretations and rewritings of the bible; Mistranslations leading to major plot twists (Mary went from being a young girl to a virgin... shhh, don't tell the Catholics!)
I look forward to the debate and I think it is going to be very stimulating and should get the audience thinking about the basis of their religious position.
If you're in the area, come along!
I hope to see you there.
If you would like more info you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Sydney Atheists Visit our website here.