A Debate on God’s Existence at University of Chicago

There’s a debate on whether there are good reasons to believe in god’s existence taking place at the University of Chicago Monday night, April 2nd at 7:00p in Stuart 105. If you’re in the area, consider checking it out! The last debate the groups put on was standing room only and the organizers have said there will be ample time for audience questions this time around.

Steven Philp, president of the UC Spiritual Life Council will moderate a debate featuring atheists Josh Oxley and Ben Zalisko and Christians Junyi Li and Pastor Brad Beier on reasons to believe in a god.

We can declare victory already, right?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bluebury

    Are you going, Hemant?  
    I may drop by…but UIC is also closer to Indiana than my apartment.  It would be quite a hike for a Monday night, but possibly worth it!

    • Guest

       University of Chicago, not the University of Illinois at Chicago. Don’t want you to be showing up to the wrong school.

      • Bluebury

        Meh, I had it right in my Google maps, which is good enough for me.  Thanks for the heads up though!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I have grad school so wont be able to :(

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Unless you believe in a god that sends you to hell, then it seems pretty simple.  Any good that you can derive for believing in a god can be derived without a belief in any gods.  So in a reversal of Pascal’s wager, why bother to believe?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    “Are There Good Reasons to Believe in a God?”

    Hmm. So the debate won’t be about a god, but about belief in a god, and not exactly that, but reasons to believe in a god, and still not exactly that, but whether or not those reasons are good reasons.

    So it’s a question about a belief in the goodness of a reason for a belief in a god.

    A “good” reason means, what?  It’s logically sound? Rational?  Reasonable? Or might a “good” reason be considered one that serves a desirable purpose, or results in a desirable outcome?

    If it boils down, as so often it does, to “Believing gives me a warm, happy feeling in my tummy, so that’s a good reason,” then those who came in with warm, happy tummies, and those who came in with regular tummies will walk out with their tummies unchanged, and everyone will think their side “won.” Only those few who might have been precariously teetering on the fence will experience a slight change in their gastronomic sensations.

    I’m glad at least that the “a” precedes the word “God,” so that hopefully the Judaeo-Christian deity is not presumed as the only one being considered.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, I came to say exactly this.   The wording of the topic is a gift to the thesists who won’t have to prove existence, just that there are good reasons to believe that there are good reasons.

  • Anonymous

    I hope that somebody involved in this makes the distinction between epistemic reasons and pragmatic reasons.  When someone gives pragmatic reasons for holding a belief or making a claim, they’re giving the wrong sort of reason.  Sam Harris has explained the difference by talking about someone believing that he has a giant diamond buried in his backyard.  Maybe it makes him feel good to believe that there is a giant diamond buried in his backyard and maybe his family gets together for lovely family diamond digs that they enjoy.  But none of that provides (epistemic) reasons for the belief that there is a giant diamond buried in his backyard.  What would provide such epistemic reasons would be evidence.  The religious play on this ambiguity in the term “reasons” all the time and I hope that Messrs. Oxley and Zalisko don’t let them get away with it.

  • Rieux

    “UC”?

    Back when I was a student there, we all called it the “U of C.” WTF are students these days doing?!?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15608799 Joshua Oxley

      Definitely was a mistake in the flyer design, I assure you. UofC is alive and well.

  • Georgina

    Difficult to see how this can be a debate:

    Theist: Are There Good Reasons to Believe in a God? Oh yes, these reasons include …. bla bla …. bla bla bla …. {much later} and of course, no proof means no reason not to believe.

    Atheist: Are There Good Reasons to Believe in a God? Nope.

  • Anonymous

    Only in America could there be a “church on campus”


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