Someone has probably told you that you should get “involved”, join clubs and societies, and go out to events, and many benefits are listed. To be told that you will meet new people and make new friends is not an uncommon justification. I tried this out, I went to go see what Dr. Andy Bannister had to say about the Challenge of the Atheist. Oh my God it is so refreshing to see someone so openly talk about what he passionately believes in, especially about a topic such as this (and with an incredibly awesome English accent). He raised some very thought provoking questions. This is what he said:
- Atheists tend to define themselves as people that do not believe in God
- It is associated with identity, if so it’s not very affective since hippopotamuses don’t believe in God either, nor do rocks.
- What are our origins?
- Theory of evolution?
- He went so far as to claim that the scientific method is false and that scientists do what religious people do as well to search for the truth: look at all the possibilities and look for the best one based on what makes the most sense. (This I find interesting since every class I have attended has treated empirical evidence as the most valuable and reliable thing in the world.)
- What is the meaning of life?
- If there is no God can we create our own meaning?
- Dr. Bannister argues that we really can’t, sure we can create a false meaning but doesn’t really explain the real purpose and that creating a new meaning implies there is no real meaning to life in the first place.
- What is our destiny?
- Some atheists believe that there is simply a non-existence after we die, saying that someday all of the universe will be destroyed and that no matter what we accomplish it won’t really matter. Yikes! All of this ground breaking science won’t matter, if we someday make it to Saturn that won’t matter, you or I definitely don’t matter.
I didn’t know religion was a topic that I could engage with here, but apparently it is. I did meet new people, people that were intensely passionate about what they believe, I learned about many new perspectives, and I had very interesting conversations. University is its own mini universe with different worlds within it, and we are not restricted to go out to visit them like we are mars.
This was an event hosted by Power to Change and if you are interested there next event is called a God for All Cultures, on Tuesday Sept. 29 at Spigel Hall in the Davis building at 5pm.
If you are an atheist, a strong believer in science, a religious person, a person, an alien, or even a hippopotamus, and have something to say about this topic, please comment, I would love to hear what you have to say!