Calladus to debate at Fresno Pacific University on April 3rd

Next Thursday, April 3rd, I will be participating in a mini-debate with New Covenant Youth Pastor Loren Pankratz on the campus of the Fresno Pacific University. The topic of the debate is, "Does God Exist?" (I'll be taking the negative - just in case you were wondering.)
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
(Google map)

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.
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.

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!


NerdMom said...

Before you bother with the tape recorder just ask Loren if they will be recording it. New Cov does podcasts of the sermon every week so they may be well prepared to record. I was going to see if the sound guy was going to record it that way I won't have to get a babysitter to hear it;). It is funny, I found your blog separate from all this but I go to New Cov.

Calladus said...

Wow. I got my first ever Link-spam in this blog. A scraper site set a track back to this entry only hours after I first posted it. I've since removed the spam. I guess technically it violates rule 3 of my comment moderation policy.

Calladus said...

Thanks for the heads-up Nerdmom (love the pseudonym!) I'll send a note to Loren to ask.

I do plan on recording this to offer it for free as a podcast from the CVAAS website. I like the idea of our group making its own recording so that we can offer the content under a freely distributable GPL or Creative Commons license.

Maybe, if New Cov does record this, they would be willing to allow it to be freely distributed and perhaps mirrored from our own site.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

I'm thinking of taking the day off and checking you out, if I can manage it. It's so hard to take a day off with the pressure of the CST's on us.

BTW, I'm preaching at my church this Sunday. The topic is 'Giving Doubt The Benefit'. Come as my guest. I'll introduce you as my Rastafarian friend.

Finally, just for giggles:

Calladus said...

I have no idea where your church is Scott. Let me know.

And that's "Pastafarian"

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Rasta, Pasta.

I can't keep track of all these things anymore ever since I've been branded a heretic:

Anyway, my church's address and a map can be found on its home page:

It'd be great to see you there, but I was just joshing about the Rasta thing. Course, if you show up with dreads on, I'll understand!