On Wed. April 9, 2014, there will be a debate at Portland State University on the topic "Does anything supernatural exist?" All event details can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/l9s8lar .
Representing a Christian viewpoint is Phil Smith, a philosophy professor at George Fox University. Phil recently published a book called "Why Faith Is a Virtue." It can be found at Amazon.com here: http://tinyurl.com/n2nubr8 .
The abstract says: "In Why Faith Is a Virtue, Philip D. Smith builds on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and Robert Adams to argue that faith contributes to human excellence. To make the argument, Smith sorts through conflicting possible ''faiths'' and shows how some of them are not virtues at all. Nevertheless, he argues that faith, properly understood, contributes to crucial human practices: scientific research, social reform, and parenting. He explains how and why faith is a virtue."
Newton Garver, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Buffalo, wrote this review:
"Smith has skillfully advanced an audacious claim, namely, that religious faith is a virtue. Not only does he distinguish eight varieties of faith, he also has a whole chapter contrasting faith with credulity, which he quite naturally recognizes as a vice. His discussion of virtues shows his mastery of recent moral philosophy. Even those not entirely convinced by his argument are bound to learn a good deal along the way."
Phil is also the author of "The Virtue of Civility in the Practice of Politics" and, with Mark McLeod-Harrison, "Being at Home in the World." He has also published fiction ebooks: "The Heart of the Sea" and "Buying the Bangkok Girl."
Representing an atheistic (naturalistic) viewpoint will be Bernie Dehler, the founder of the local group called "The Center for Philosophical Naturalism." The group is devoted to teach the naturalistic worldview and be a resource to people recovering from religious beliefs and "magical thinking." They also sponsor numerous social events for their members in regular get-togethers.
Bernie has debated many Christians in the Portland area. Some of the Christians he has debated include: national evangelist Eric Hovind, George Fox University Philosophy Prof. Phil Smith, Pastor Nathan Lewis, Pastor Ron Kincaid, author Dennis Marcellino, Christian radio host Rick Livingston, Prof. David McCorkle, Christian radio host and author Steve Gregg, Dr. Bart Rask, and young earth creationist Brandon Church. These debates can be freely viewed at this YouTube channel: http://tinyurl.com/pa6gsz5 .
This debate/discussion is co-sponsored by the Center for Philosophical Naturalism, a group dedicated to educating the public about the naturalistic worldview and providing fellowship for such thinkers. To see other events sponsored by the Center for Philosophical Naturalism, click here: http://tinyurl.com/l5j52kc . They also have videos available on their free YouTube channel here: http://tinyurl.com/ltub9aa .
For those interested in other non-religious social gatherings in the Portland-area, here are some other groups you might find of use:
-- Westside Science & Religion Disc.: http://tinyurl.com/bkmhdl5
-- Sunday Assembly: http://tinyurl.com/kkc8nyw
-- Center for Inquiry: http://tinyurl.com/mps923r
-- Humanists of Greater Portland: http://tinyurl.com/kmbmt57
-- Atheists Etcetera: http://tinyurl.com/nhjr3ha
-- Philosophy Workshop: http://tinyurl.com/pzs4ajc
-- The Center for Philosophical Naturalism: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl