Students fought to prove the existence of God at the third Anscombe Seminar of the semester on Wednesday, Sept. 19. This week’s arguments, which took place in the Fireside Lounge, revolved around naturalism and the problem of evil.
The seminar began by presenting arguments against the existence of God. After introducing the argument, the students broke into two groups to analyze the arguments. Because of the complexity of the topic, students had to leave at the end of the hour without completing the debate.
At the start of the event, students received a handout about naturalism, a philosophy which understands the world through materialism. According to the handout, “science has outgrown God,” and as ancient philosophers discovered the causes of natural phenomena, people stopped putting faith in God and put it solely in science, leading them to believe that they did not need a god.
The argument of the problem of evil followed, presenting 12 points stating that God is either “wicked, impotent, ignorant, or nonexistent.” The argument stated that if there is evil in the world, then it is because God is either ignorant to it, not powerful enough to stop it or does not desire good for mankind.
To these arguments, students responded with powerful arguments of their own. They said that even though science claims to prove almost everything in the material world, it cannot prove or disprove transcendent topics, such as the human conscience.
On the topic of the problem of evil, students argued that God can be all-good even though there is evil in the world because God can bring the good out of evil. They also brought up the notion of free will, debating whether or not preventing evil is worth taking away free will since God made human beings to love him freely.
Many were impressed with this week’s discussion. “I was surprised about how much everybody knew about all the different arguments,” said sophomore Daniel McNichol. “We did (discuss this topic) last year … We didn’t do it in as much detail.”
New students attending the seminar also enjoyed themselves. “It was a great experience and I’m definitely going to come back next week,” said sophomore Catherine Edwards.
The Anscombe Seminar will meet again on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge, during which time they will continue their discussion on proofs for the existence of God.