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OSU Debate: Do Atheists Have Faith?

November 12, 2010

Do Atheists Have Faith?
Speakers: Michael Gurney and Martin Erwig

By OSU Socratic Club

The OSU Socratic Club will sponsor a debate on the topic, “Do Atheists Have Faith?” on Monday, November 15, at 7 p.m., in Gilfillan Auditorium on the OSU campus. The debate is free and open to the public. It is a common assertion in conversations between secularists and religious believers that religion is a matter of “faith,” which is devoid of any cognitive content and therefore, in the eyes of many secularists, of little or no truth value.

Michael Gurney will argue that faith is commonly found among secularists and religious believers alike because everyone, including atheists, has a faith of some kind.

Martin Erwig of OSU will argue that those who hold a secularist view reject faith claims altogether and base their views on science, rationalism, and human autonomy. Both speakers will be given equal time for their presentations and members of the audience will have the opportunity to address questions to them.

Michael Gurney is Professor of Theology and Ethics at Multnomah University in Portland. He served in the US Navy (’81-’87) in the Naval Nuclear Power program and on the USS Truxtun before earning a BA in Theology. He holds an MA in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics and is currently a PhD candidate in Historical Theology at Aberdeen University in Scotland. His academic interests focus on the historical interaction between philosophy, theology, and science.

Martin Erwig is Professor of Computer Science at Oregon State University, where he has taught since 2000. He obtained his Ph.D. and Habilitation in Computer Science from the University of Hagen in Germany. He is the author or co-author of two books and over 90 peer-reviewed publications, for which he received several best paper awards. Dr. Erwig’s research interests include functional programming, language design, and visual languages.

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