Details:I mentioned a while back that I would be taking part in this debate, but I've kept quiet about it since then because the details were still being decided upon.
Mark, Cofounder CVAAS, will be debating Loren Pankratz, New Covenant Youth Pastor
To be resolved, "Does God Exist?"
Date: 3 April 2008
Time: 12:40 PM
Encore Amphitheater, Fresno Pacific University,
1717 S. Chestnut Ave.
Fresno, CA 93702-4709
The debate will be held outdoors at Fresno Pacific University's Encore Amphitheater, located near the corner of E Hamilton Ave & S Winery Ave. This is right behind the Steinert Campus Center. Here is a link to the google map of the location (map1). In the case of inclement weather the debate will be moved to the Wiebe Education Center, room #218. Wiebe is located near the corner of Chestnut & Butler. You can download the entire Fresno Pacific University campus map in PDF form by clicking this link (map2).
As for parking - well I have no idea what parking will be like. College campuses are notorious for their parking problems. I'd suggest that if you are going to go, to arrive at least 30 minutes early, and bring a pocket full of change to feed any possible parking meters. Bring some walking shoes just in case - cheap or free parking is probably a block or so away.
Fresno Pacific University asked me to pass on the following to those who are planning to attend. They do not want any Atheists to make a spectacle of themselves. No protest signs or disrespectful T-shirts. No, really! They're really worried about that!
Okay, I do know that there are some non-believers who like to shock the believers. I understand that. I really don't think that it would be a issue - but the campus is concerned. I don't see a problem with wearing your Big Red "A" T-shirt, or your Flying Spaghetti Monster hat. But leave your "Jesus is a lie" T-shirt at home please.
Well, everything happened pretty quickly yesterday - and now the incidentals have been set into stone.
This debate is a sort of "warm up" to the upcoming Shermer / D'Souza debate to be held on April 18th. (Have you RSVP'd for that yet? Time is running out!)
I'm participating in this because New Covenant invited me. I have no illusions that my words will cause any sudden philosophical transformations. Seriously, I'm simply worried about speaking clearly and intelligently in front of an opposing audience of religious students. But who knows, maybe I'll plant a seed of doubt - I can recall clearly being a Christian listening to rational speakers and being absolutely sure that they were in the wrong, but being willing to at least honestly examine their words.
Now that I think of it, the last time that I spoke in front of a large audience was from behind a pulpit, as a "guest speaker" at my old church. I expect an audience of between 100 to 400 students for this event.
So if you have nothing better to do next week, (like your job, or going to school) then I'd love for you to stop by and watch as I attempt to not bomb onstage in my first ever public debate, and my first ever appearance in front of a live audience as an Atheist.
What? Me worried?
On a technical note - I will be recording the debate with my little hand-held tape recorder. If anyone owns better recording equipment, including video, and would like to participate in recording this event, please let me know!