Two philosophers debated the existence of God and whether or not one should believe in him in front of a live audience at APSU.
On Sunday, March 19, Matt Dillahunty, from “the Atheist Experience,” and Phillip Christie, a Christian philosopher, reasoned for and against the existence of God in the Clement auditorium. APSU’s Philosophy club and Students for Secular Humanism hosted “Should One Believe in God?” which was free and open the public as well as APSU students and faculty.
“Many people ask these questions on a regular basis, but few explore them,” junior philosophy major and philosophy club president Connor Gorman said.
Each contender had 15 minutes to introduce themselves and their argument to the audience.
Dillahunty is a public speaker, and an active member in the atheist community. According to his introduction, he travels around debating a variety of topics from an atheist viewpoint. He was invited to APSU after recently being a keynote speaker at a conference for the Nashville Nones, a secular organization.
“Perhaps there is more to whether or not we are in a reasonable position to and should believe in a God than what our limited minds have assessed so far,” Dillahunty said.
Christie, according to his introduction, is a former graduate and philosophy student at APSU. He is currently working on his dissertation for his doctorate in philosophy.
“The historical evidence we have of Jesus does not prove the existence of God, but it does mean that something happened in the early church and to the earliest followers that caused them to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Most of them were tortured for that belief,” Christie said.
After their introductions, they had one hour to debate whether or not one should believe in the existence of God.
They debated a variety of topics and asked each other questions about their arguments and got a chance to give more details about their beliefs.
“My understanding of the presented arguments was more in depth than previous debates. It felt like they were going back and forth on the same logical systems,” junior computer science major Dominic Volavong said.
The debaters made sure the audience could follow along comfortably. Since they approached the argument from a philosophical standpoint, they made sure to pause and explain their terminology and reasoning to the audience.
They debated topics such as the kind of evidence needed to convince one to believe in God, the necessity of a perfect being and the reason and general existence of the universe.
“I think this was a good civil debate. No matter which side you are on, you can learn how to give professional arguments on sometimes sensitive subjects,” freshmen education major Mikaela Slighter said.
After the debate the audience had the opportunity to vote on the winner, with their donations to the sponsoring clubs. The point of the argument, for both of the philosophers, was to inspire the audience to know what they believe and how to gather evidence to defend it.
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