The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

This oughta be good

The atheists are wrong. Wrong I tells ya!

Or at least, that’s what the three speakers on the affirmative will be arguing at the next Intelligence Squared debate to be held in Sydney. Happily, there will be another three speakers to set them straight.

I have to say, I like the way the topic has been worded. I admit that, at first glance, it seems as if the burden of proof has shifted from theists to atheists, which is, of course, absurd. But on further consideration, I think the topic as stated should make for a more lively debate.

So… who are we atheists up against?

The Most Reverend Peter Jensen
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney is rather fond of throwing his ill-considered views into the secular ring, so it should be refreshing to hear him speak on matters that he is actually an authority on. That is, anything that doesn’t involve science. Or logic. As an aside, I love how religious leaders invent titles for themselves. How do the alleged servants of the humble son of a carpenter contrive to keep a straight face as they gambol about society with these ridiculous tributes to their own greatness? I mean, look at Peter. He’s not just a Reverend (from the Latin, “one who must be respected”), he’s the Most Reverend, as if they held a competition, and he out-reverend everyone else.

Dr Tracey Rowland
Tracey is an Associate Professor at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne. She is certainly intelligent – I mean, check out her letters:

BA (Hons), LLB (Qld), B Litt, MA, Grad Dip Mod Lang (Melb), PhD (Cantab), STL (Lateran), Dip Ed St MCollT (London)

Unfortunately, nestled in amongst the Master of Arts, the Bachelor of Law, the Bachelor of Letters (whatever that is), and the Graduate Diploma in Modern Languages, is the source of her “Dr” title. Yes, it’s a PhD from the Cambridge Faculty of Divinity. Hopefully that means she gives us more of this:

What emerged from this was a magisterial emphasis on Communio theological anthropology and ecclesiology, including elements of John Paul II’s Thomistic personalism.

Indeed.

Scott Stevens
Scott is the online editor of the ABC’s Religion & Ethics portal. He is a former Uniting Church minister, and a former lecturer in theology and ethics. He also thinks the Vatican needs George Pell. Since I have a strong feeling that neither the planet, nor anyone on it, needs George Pell, I would be perfectly fine to hear Scott talk us through that.

The debate isn’t until September 6, but I’m already looking forward to it. Should be a cracker. You can buy tickets here.

See you there!

Category: Good, Religion

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