On the Sunday evening of 4-26-15, Portland Community Church is inviting the community to a free atheist/Christian discussion, following a free community meal. All event details can be found at this link: http://tinyurl.com/atheist-dinner . The two Christians will be Pastor Ron Kincaid and Dr. Bart Rask. The two atheists will be Bernie Dehler and Marko Balogh.
Bernie Dehler, one of the presenters, is a former evangelical Christian, now atheist. He was raised and confirmed as a Roman Catholic, then after college became a born-again evangelical Christian (in 1984). While working full time in the computer industry, he also attended Seminary part time and earned a Masters in Ministry degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Georgia (www.lru.edu), in 2007. He preached the gospel in a ministry he started, called FreeGoodNews.com. In 2009, he left the faith and became an atheist, for scientific and philosophical reasons. He wrote about it in the booklet called “Modern Science and Philosophy Destroy Christian Theology” (http://tinyurl.com/freetruth), free for Amazon KindleUnlimited members.
As an evangelical Christian, Bernie tried to make sense of how modern science could be reconciled with the Bible. The first problem was with evolution, which demolishes the theology that God made humans from scratch. Rather, the humans species emerged like all other species, over time and within a population. Never ever did a nonhuman give birth to a first human.
The next problem was with neurology. In finding out how the brains works, there’s no longer any need to think that consciousness has some sort of magical supernatural component called a “spirit.” All there is, is the mind, which emerges from the brain. Looking at various animals, we can see how more advanced minds emerge from more advanced brains.
And then there’s a whole host of the traditional philosophical problems, such as the famous “problem of evil.” In a nutshell, God is said to be all-loving and all-powerful, but when one considers how evolution is so over-the-top in violence in the struggle for survival, you’d think the creator of the process must be pure evil! It would be hard to invent a bloodier and more painful design method than biological evolution!
Bernie has participated in a Christian/atheist discussion event at Portland Community Church before. You can watch it online here: http://tinyurl.com/churchytalk . He also participates in many local Christian/atheist debates, which are posted at this YouTube channel: http://tinyurl.com/pz8bm6x .
Other Portland-area community, secular, and philosophical groups can also be found at meetup.com, such as these:
— The Center for Philosophical Naturalism: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl
— Sunday Assembly: http://tinyurl.com/kkc8nyw
— Westside Science & Religion Disc.: http://tinyurl.com/bkmhdl5
— Center for Inquiry: http://tinyurl.com/mps923r
— Humanists of Greater Portland: http://tinyurl.com/kmbmt57
— Atheists Etcetera: http://tinyurl.com/nhjr3ha
— Philosophy Meetup: http://tinyurl.com/p7hyu33