Do we need to study religious
books to determine how to be good?
Topic: Do you need God to be a genuinely moral person?
Christian: Pastor Keith Thomas
Secular Humanist: Tom Gebhardt
Moderator: Bernie Dehler
6:00-6:30: Dinner and small talk (free pizza and soda)
6:30-6:40: Speaker 1
6:40-6:50: Speaker 2
6:50-7:00: Tom and Keith question each other (5 min. each)
7:00-8:00: Audience Q & A
Sometimes people bring their kids to these events (middle school aged and above). It's a great idea to expose them to other viewpoints.
Pastor Keith is a new speaker for this series, so here's some more background info on him:
Keith is Assistant Pastor at Evergreen Presbyterian Church, is a Masters graduate of Wheaton College, and career missionary having served in Mexico City and Guadalajara for 18 years. He is fluent in Spanish and is a presuppositional apologist.
Preliminary thoughts from Pastor Keith (Christian):
It might surprise atheists to find that Christians do believe that atheists can perform moral acts and conform to a moral standard. However, the question must go deeper than that for Christians as morality, as everything else in the created order, has as both it's origin and object God himself. The atheist must answer the very difficult question of what is moral and how he/she knows that or go the other equally difficult path of moral relativism.
Preliminary thoughts from Tom Gebhardt (atheist, Secular Humanist):
The main question is: Do you need God to be a genuinely moral person? It can also be asked from the position of a nonbeliever, "Does disbelieving in God encourage people to be less moral?" That actually can be a complicated question because really what is it that encourages me AND discourages me in being moral? Is it love? Is it fear? Are we really all consequentialists at heart? I will try to touch upon these questions and other issues to truly answer the question: Do you need God to be a genuinely moral person?
Preliminary thoughts from Bernie Dehler (moderator):
Christians look to the Bible for moral guidance. But what does the Bible tell us about the morality of God? In the Old Testament, God tells people to take an "eye for an eye, (Exodus 21:24)" as justice. But in the New Testament, Jesus (also considered to be God by Christians) says NOT to do "eye for eye" but instead to "turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:38-39)." So did God change his mind... or how can these verses rightly be interpreted? As for atheists, many of them seemed pleased to do whatever they want, with no fear of eternal punishment or having someone that "knows all" watching them. Does disbelieving in God encourage people to be less moral, since there are no ultimate consequences according to their worldview?