The Religion and Society Series seeks to generate critical conversations on matters of faith, society and public interest. The purpose of the series is to play a catalytic role in Canada, helping shape discourse around topics that deeply matter to individuals and society.
I am a founding and ongoing member of the leadership team. It is a joint partnership between Wycliffe College, Power to Change, RZIM Canada, Faith Today, Network of Christian Scholars, and the Centre for Inquiry Canada. Last year’s event What’s Behind it All? God, Science and the Universe explored whether or not God is necessary to explain our universe. It featured atheist scientist Lawrence Krauss, Intelligent Design Advocate and NYT bestselling author Stephen Meyer, and Associate Professor of Science & Religion Denis Lamoureaux. To date over 53,000 people have watched the dialogue. I am helping with organizing this year’s events.
On Sept 15, 2017 we bring together two world-class thinkers on stage for the first time at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall to discuss the question: “Is God a Figment of our Imagination?” Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University will dialogue with Alister McGrath, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford and founding President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
These two scholars have thoughtfully wrestled with this question, each not only having embarked on a personal pilgrimage, but bringing a lifetime of erudition, experience, and insights to bear on this theme. Alister McGrath, the atheist who would become a theist, and Michael Shermer, the theist who would become an atheist.
The question remains, in an age of scientific reason, whether or not claims of God merit our attention and whether or not there is any coherence with reality. Is religious belief a vestige of a past age, destined for extinction, and are the many religious adherents of the world, merely ignorant and misguided? Or is there within the theistic framework a resonance with reality that presses the notion of God beyond the mere subjective musings of those that claim it to be so?
We welcome you to join us in person at Convocation Hall, University of Toronto or live on YouTube for what will surely be a most engaging two hours of thoughtful dialogue on one of history’s greatest questions.
If you’d like to meet the speakers in a more intimate setting, you are welcome to join us at a lovely dinner happening beforehand.
Why host such events? Is it worth all the time, effort, and cost? Does it even make a difference? My good friend Steve Hewko of Wycliffe College explains why these conversations are so important in his article “On Truth, Public Discourse, and Being Bothered.”
We are planning another Religion and Society dialogue for January featuring Dr. William Lane Craig and others. More details to follow.