Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! My name is Chris Hall, and on behalf of the sponsoring groups--Simon Fraser Student Society, Student Services, Baptist Student Ministries, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship--I would like to welcome you to today's debate. The question before us today is: "Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?" Supporting the opposing position will be Dr. Ray Bradley, a philosophy professor at SFU. Defending the "yes" position will be Dr. William Craig, a research fellow at the University of Louvain in Belgium.
In his book The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom observes the educational system inculcates in students the value of openness as a great virtue. But he suggests that openness to a wide range of exclusive viewpoints without investigating their validity is meaningless. Our purpose, then, in the debate is to challenge you to think openly about two opposing world views as well as your own. Which view is more reasonable? Which is more rationally justifiable? Today the debate will aid in seeking answers to the big questions. What does life mean? Is there a personal God? If not, how then should I live? If so, how may I know Him? Hopefully this debate will guide you in formulating your own conclusions.
The moderator for today's debate is Professor Don Reddick. He has moderated numerous events, including the Craig-Morgentaler debate three years ago, maybe some of you were here to see that. Currently he is teaching in Quantum College in Langley, while finishing his Ph.D. in economics here at SFU. I will leave it to Professor Reddick to explain the format and rules of the debate and to introduce our guest speakers. Please welcome with me Professor Don Reddick. [applause]
Thank you! And again, welcome to today's debate! I would like to do two things before we begin. I'd like to formally introduce our two speakers and also go over the format, as Chris mentioned. Let's start out with introductions.
On my immediate right is Dr. William Lane Craig. And as Chris mentioned, Dr. Craig will be defending the position that the existence of God and the doctrine of hell are logically compatible. Dr. Craig is certainly no stranger to forums such as this. He has been involved in many debates in the past. He travels extensively to speak about and defend the Christian faith on university campuses. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College in Illinois, a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Birmingham in England, and a doctorate of theology from the University of Munich. He's been a visiting scholar in the past at universities in the United States, France, and Belgium. He served as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Trinity seminary and currently is a research fellow at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He's a member of a large number of professional associations and has published over 70 articles on topics related to philosophy and religion. Last, and certainly not least, Dr. Craig has been married for 22 years to his wife, Jeanette, and has two children, a daughter named Charity and a son named John. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Craig. [applause]
On my left is Dr. Ray Bradley. Dr. Bradley will be arguing that the existence of God and the doctrine of hell are logically and theologically incompatible. Dr. Bradley is also no stranger to a forum such as this. He has been involved in a number of past debates about the Christian faith here at SFU. Dr. Bradley was born into a devout Baptist family in Auckland, New Zealand, and pursued biblical and theological studies in his early years. However, moral and intellectual considerations caused him to subsequently abandon his Christian faith. He devoted his intellectual efforts instead to the study of philosophy and his moral ones through membership in organizations such as Amnesty International, which is an agency that works worldwide for the release of prisoners of conscience. He completed his Ph.D. in philosophy at the Australian National University. He subsequently taught at universities in Australia, England, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. And he has been a professor of philosophy here at SFU since 1970. Dr. Bradley has nearly forty publications to his name in the areas of philosophy and philosophy of religion. And he counts among his hobbies competitive ski racing. He is apparently very adept at it, having won medals in masters competitions in Canada, the United States, and at the International level. Please join me now in welcoming Dr. Ray Bradley. [applause]
Okay I'd like to quickly go over the format. The debate will consist of four segments. In the first segment each speaker will have 20 minutes to present his opening remarks. In the second segment we are going to have a 20 minute discussion period. In this time each speaker will have 10 minutes to direct questions to and receive responses from his counterpart. In the third segment each speaker will have 7 minutes to provide concluding comments. In the fourth segment you the audience are going to have the opportunity to address questions to our two speakers. We are going to have about half an hour for that. We have a full plate today, and in order to cover all the things that we want to do, it is important that we maintain our time limits, and so we have a timer in front of us here who will keep our speakers aware of the amount of time they have available. If they go overtime you will see a red card. That is when my job becomes kind of nasty. It's my role to interject and to move things along. Hopefully I won't have to do that, but that's my role! Finally, to avoid any disruptions I'd like to ask that you withhold any comments that you would like to make until we move to the question and answer period. Okay, I think I have covered everything that I would like to cover, so we will start things out in our first segment with Dr. Craig. [applause]