Upcoming Dialogues

Mind Before Matter?: A Conversation on Philosophy, Science, & the (Non)Existence of God

Monday, October 2nd 2017, 7:00-9:00pm

We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
― Richard Dawkins

God does not belong to the class of existing things: not that He has no existence, but that He is above all existing things, nay even above existence itself.
― Saint John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith I.4

When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.
― Sir John Polkinghorne

I should say that the universe is just there, and that’s all.
― Sir Bertrand Russell

Do the natural sciences or serious philosophy give us any reason to believe or disbelieve in God? Both the great atheist Richard Dawkins and the great Eastern theologian Saint John of Damascus agree that there is no such thing in the universe as a god. Indeed, Greek and Roman pagans accused the early Christians of being atheists. Why? Because the idea that the entire material universe derives from an eternal, transcendent, and necessarily existent Mind, is rather different from the question of whether or not there is a Zeus. Zeus would be an object within the universe, and seeking him out would not be qualitatively different from the search for the yeti or extraterrestrials or Amelia Earhart. But the question of whether the universe itself gives evidence of being contingent and designed is another kettle of fish.

If you’re a graduate student in the natural sciences based here in New York City, please join us on Monday, October 2nd for this important conversation. We’ll gather for wine and hors d’oeuvres at Vanguard from 7:00-9:00 to ask:

  • Is the Big Bang evidence of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim doctrine of creatio ex nihilo?
  • Is our universe really a Goldilocks universe, finely tuned for the eventual emergence of intelligent life? If it were, what, if anything, would it prove?
  • Are natural explanations sufficient to explain the natural world?
  • And more…

For further details email our admin.


This Socratic Happy Hour dialogue is part of our ongoing SCI+FAI project, which seeks to foster deeper conversations around the big questions in science and religion. These dialogues are sponsored by Fuller Theological Seminary’s STEAM Project (Science & Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries), the John Templeton Foundation, and InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries.

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