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Central London Humanists Message Board Meetings › God on Trial: A series of 6 Sunday Debates with Christians

God on Trial: A series of 6 Sunday Debates with Christians

Clive A.
user 48030052
London, GB
Post #: 34
The debate started with a long speech by a member of the church outlining the arguments why there is a god. It was not very rigorous and they were the sort of arguments that have been made and refuted countless times. The fine tuning argument, the fallacious argument that the universe is fine tuned for life when in fact most of the universe would kill living creatures in an instant. Another argument put was that there is beauty and love in the world, therefore god exists. There is no logical step from one statement to the other. After about fifteen minutes of this monologue some of us had heard enough and challenged him to provide some evidence for his assertions. The other church members thought it was very rude to interrupt.

After the speech ended people gathered around tables in small groups for discussions on the existence of god, what happens when you die etc. It was good to be given a chance to put evidence based arguments to religious people. But I must say it was like talking to a brick wall. If they understood the logical arguments put to them and realised that their position was illogical, they fell back on saying things like "it is true for me", or "I feel strongly about it so it must be true". Is it worth promoting? Yes. It might just make one or two of the religious folk think again about the things they believe so uncritically.
A former member
Post #: 6
Hello Clive, I was uncertain of the benefits of going to an event like this so find your feedback interesting. I did not go in the end as it sounded like a event designed to preach. Was that the case?
Should humanists really be advertising religious meetings such as this? Why not the Alpha course?
Lorna M.
user 14006726
Billericay, GB
Post #: 45
Is anyone planning to go to any more of the meetings? I am quite interested - from a research perspective - in hearing these sort of debates but Sunday evenings are not usually a good time for me. I can probably go along to the one on the 3rd - is anyone thinking of going then?
Steve C.
SteveClapman
London, GB
Post #: 3
This reply from Jeremy the organiser of Connected, last Sunday

Hi Steve, I just wanted to say thanks again for advertising the first Connected event last Sunday. We thought it was overall a really good evening, and the feedback from many of the guests was positive too. We’d be delighted if you were to advertise later events in the series as well, and info can be found here: http://www.meetup.com...­
I just wanted to re-emphasise that the format for Connected isn’t that of a traditional debate with e.g. two speakers at the front arguing against each other. As I mentioned in an earlier email, there is one speaker, who is a Christian, and the evening involves some parts where the speaker talks and then the other parts involve group discussions which relate to this talk. All opinions are welcome in the group discussion - people may agree or disagree as they wish. I can understand if some people are disappointed with this format and would prefer for a more traditional debate format with another speaker at the front presenting an alternative view. If this is the case, we would certainly be interested in arranging events like this, but at least the current series of Connected isn’t set up that way, and we want to make sure that people are aware of this before coming along. One or two of our guests last week (not necessarily from your meetup group) seemed to be expecting more of a hostile debate and took to shouting out during the talk and interrupting others during the whole-group discussion. This isn’t the kind of atmosphere we were going for, as we instead hope to create a friendly community in which ideas can be discussed without hostility. We’re all for rigorous intellectual discussion, but done in a manner that is not aggressive and allows others to make their point without interruption. We did have quite a lot of this on Sunday, particularly within small-group discussions. Personally, I had a number of really interesting conversations with people who were very friendly and who engaged well in the discussion, and I know many others did too. The comments above only really apply to a small number of the guests who came.
As long as people are aware of the format and what to expect, we’d be delighted to see people again on Sunday and hope that others will come for the first time as well. Again, do let me know if setting up an event in a different format is of interest.
Thanks,
Jeremy
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