At the beginning of our Relevant Series week long mission week at the University of Toronto, I moderated a dialogue between atheist philosophy professor Dr. Ronald de Sousa and Christian thinker Dr. Andy Bannister. The video and description is below.
IS CHRISTIANITY IRRATIONAL? A DIALOGUE BETWEEN AN ATHEIST AND A CHRISTIAN
Is Christianity the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence? Is Christian faith belief in spite of the lack of evidence? Is it a belief system made up to avoid dealing with the harshness of the universe? What makes something rational? If Christianity is rational, what is the evidence for it? And if there are good reasons, would this be something we would even want to be true? Hear two great intellectuals dialogue on this important subject.
DR. RONALD DE SOUSA, an atheist, is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He received his BA from the University Oxford and his PhD from Princeton University.
He has written the following books Love: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2015), Emotional Truth (Oxford, 2011), Why Think? Evolution and the Rational Mind (Oxford, 2007), The Rationality of Emotion (MIT, 1987).
DR. ANDY BANNISTER, a Christian, is a popular author, speaker and broadcaster. He speaks and teaches regularly throughout Canada, the USA, Europe, and the wider world, addressing audiences of all faiths and none on issues of philosophy, belief, and scepticism. Andy holds a doctorate in Islamic studies from Brunel University, London, is a guest lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford, is the Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, and Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology.
Recently, Dr. Andy Bannister released the book: “The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or the Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments” (Oxford: Lion). In this book he looks at common atheist soundbites that at first glance sound like quite powerful, but upon deeper examination begin to unravel. He uses humour, wit, good illustrations, logic, and reason to get to the bottom of things.
Andy is the author of “An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an” (a groundbreaking and innovative study that reveals many of the ways the Qur’an was first composed). He also co-wrote and presented the TV documentary, “Burning Questions.”
He enjoys mountaineering, juggling, and cats (although not simultaneously). He is married to Astrid and they have two children, Caitriona and Christopher. He tweets frequently at @andygbannister.
NICK HILL has been a campus staff member with Power to Change at the University of Toronto for the last seven years and more recently was appointed to co-lead the Power to Change Canadian Apologetics Team. He loves to spend time with students of different worldviews to learn, to discuss, and to talk about the big questions of life. Nick organizes many large and small events at U of T for the purpose of clearing away misunderstandings and roadblocks that keep students and professors from engaging with Jesus Christ. Some of these events have included: “Is it True? Getting to the Heart of the World’s Religions”, “Why? Exploring Life’s Key Questions?”, “Bad Arguments Against True Religion,” “Has Science Made God Irrelevant?” and the “Relevant Series.”
Nick received a BA in Christianity and Culture from Trinity Western University. He has done graduate work in theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and summer studies at Yale Divinity School.
When not engaged in dialoguing with others about ideas that matter, Nick enjoys rock climbing both at his local gym and outdoors. He lives in Toronto, is married to Jen, and they have four wonderful children: Grace, Iain, Jacob, and Kate.
The specific dialogue was co-hosted by the University of Toronto Secular Alliance (UTSA) in addition to the groups below.
The Relevant Series (www.relevantseries.com) is sponsored by the following campus groups: Wycliffe College, Power to Change, Chinese Christian Fellowship, Agape Impact, Network of Christian Scholars, Inter-Varsity, Everynation Campus, and Athletes in Action.