Topic: "What's next? The content of our hope"
Description (more info below): Every worldview proposes either a solution to or a coping mechanism for what we think are today's biggest problems, with a prospectus for the future.
Venue : Endeavor Church (in NE Portland)
Location : 17720 NE Halsey St. Portland, OR. 97230
Moderator : Bernie Dehler
6:00-6:30: Dinner and small talk (pizza and soda; free)
6:30-6:40: Atheist/agnostic presentation (Sylvia Benner, a Secular Humanist with CFI-Portland)
6:40-6:50: Christian presentation (Prof. Ray Lubeck)
6:50-6:55: Sylvia cross-examines Dr. Lubeck
6:55-7:00: Dr. Lubeck cross-examines Sylvia
7:00-7:10: Bernie asks a question of each
7:20-8:00: Audience Q & A
Ray Lubeck, Ph.D., is a professor of Bible and Theology at Multnomah University. More info about him is here:
Sylvia Benner is a leader of the local Center for Inquiry (CFI) secular humanist group:
Bernie Dehler is a Humanist Minister.
Local debate/discussion videos are posted at Bernie's Youtube channel here:
More Overview Info
By Prof. Ray Lubeck:
The worldview which we adopt seeks to propose a comprehensive story about our origins, our current situation today, and a vision of what we anticipate in the future. Like any story, there is some master plot, a fundamental conflict in which we find ourselves. As we identify what we see is the basic problem of life, we cannot help but project into the future what we think the solution to that problem looks like, whether or not the solution is sufficient and viable, and what is the likely outcome. Our thirst to look ahead in anticipation of the future seems to be a universal component of what it means to be human. But our vision of what we can realistically hope for varies considerably between the differing world-stories (theistic vs. atheistic outlooks). Does our world-story give us a reasonable grounds for hope that we can live, and die, with?
By Sylvia Benner:
Humanism does not have an “official” master narrative, a story that defines the parameters of humanists’ lives. Does that mean humanists have no guidance for living, that all our aspirations are merely personal? Or does humanism include a vision beyond our separate, individual ones? As it turns out, humanism looks both backward on where we have come from, and forward to our aspirations for the future. Our past is the documented history of humanity, characterized by progressive liberation from ignorance and fear, even if that liberation happened unevenly and with much backsliding. The part of our story that continues to unfold concerns what is possible for us as humans, continuing the trajectory of the past toward better wellbeing outcomes for humans, better moral reasoning, including moral reasoning about non-human animals, and ever increasing knowledge about reality. It is no accident that amidst the many dystopian visions painted by science fiction, the quintessentially humanistic science fiction vision is a utopian one. Humanists share pride in humanity’s moral, scientific, political and technological advancement in the past, and have a sense of responsibility, both shared and personal, for continuing human advancement.
By Bernie Dehler:
I think everyone needs hope in order to live. If people truly thought their lives were hopeless, there would be no motivation to keep on living. So what does the believer and atheist both express as their hope? And what is their hope based on? Can it be demonstrated that either one is based on false facts? A hope is worthless if it is based on fantasy. Therefore, I think it is key to see what these hopes are based on, for both the Christian and the atheist. Also, it may be obvious what the Christian is hoping for, eternal life. But what do atheists hope for?