Is God a Figment of our Imagination? The debate is coming…

So far, it is Alister McGrath: 2, Michael Shermer: 1. That’s not actually a score, it’s my book tally as I prepare to moderate a September 15th “Is God a Figment of our Imagination?”debate at the University of Toronto.

In the last month, I’ve read McGrath’s Inventing the Universe and The Passionate Intellect, and I  finished The Believing Brain by Shermer. Now I’m reading Shermer’s The Moral Arc. And it’s a very big book.

Join us in person if you are in Toronto, or live stream anywhere around the world.

What have I learned so far? That my book tally will be the only real score kept surrounding this event. Both of these authors and thinkers are leaders in their field. And they are both very respectful of those with whom they disagree. I think this will be less of a debate and more of a deep dialogue.

As I picture Convocation Hall filling up on that night, and groups around the world live-streaming the evening and then launching into discussions, I think that everyone – whether Christian, a person of another faith, or a person with no faith at all – will be challenged. I know we will all learn something new and have to rethink something old. I have already just through my reading.

It is such a privilege we have in our society to disagree openly, to debate loudly, to interact and exchange ideas with those with whom we share the most important and fundamental beliefs about ourselves and the universe, and with those with whom we do not. So, come to this event if you live in the area. Or live-stream it with a rowdy group of friends. Engage in this conversation.

As for my own role, I’m hoping to not have to do much at all on the actual evening except sit there and listen and learn from my super seat on the stage. What we all hope you will do, if you’re planning on attending or live-streaming, is send in your questions for Alister McGrath and Michael Shermer. Because even though I have been power-reading my way through the summer, and will be burning the midnight oil from now till the 15th, I know I won’t be the only one with questions.

This evening of dialogue is part of the Religion and Society Series held at the University of Toronto. The series seeks to generate critical conversations on matters of faith, society and public interest, through events like this one. The website of Wycliffe College (the evangelical Anglican graduate school at the University of Toronto), describes the series this way: “The purpose of the series is to play a catalytic role in helping shape discourse around topics that deeply matter to individuals and society.” Faith Today is one of the sponsors of the series.

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today, Canada’s Christian magazine — a publication that always tries to shape discourse around topics that deeply matter. Subscribe today. (There’s a two for one gift deal on right now)

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