This House has No Faith in Atheism

On Friday, I was invited up to Durham Union Society to speak against the motion “this house has no faith in atheism.”

Durham is always a pleasure to visit as it’s a beautiful place and provides some odd quirks – for example after spending 18 months living in Leeds city centre it’s a novelty to go to sleep in a room with is dark, and quiet. Plus the company of DUHSS is always welcome (though my memory somewhat failed to live up to the occasion – I got half way through introducing myself to Ed before realising we had met just a month before when I spoke to DUHSS in October).

My fellow speakers were Paul Woolley, head of the Christian think-tank Theos, Malcolm Guite, a priest and chaplain based in Cambridge, and Professor Richard Norman, vice president of the British Humanist Association.

I met Richard in the bar beforehand so we could exchange notes. It was great to meet Richard as he is clearly deeply engaged in humanist philosophy while still sharing my passion for the get out there and make a difference approach.

The hospitality on DUS’s part was excellent as well. Not only did they put me up for the night but also provided a three-course meal beforehand where I got the chance to chat with the other speakers and Anna, the current president of the DUS. Anna is one of those people who I find somewhat irritating because they are clearly taking more than their fair share of both intelligence and looks.

I was somewhat worried about the speech itself – having run through it in my room beforehand, I can’t help feeling that everything I had written was nonsense though the feedback I received at the reception after the debate was very positive so it was either a reasonable speech or people being very polite (I suspect it was a cross between the two to be honest!).

Giving the wording of the motion, myself and Richard has concluded that such a debate may be somewhat of a lost cause (though fun all the same!). It was a very pleasant surprise then when we won the vote – apparently, this house does have faith in atheism. The question is, did we actually want that result? 😀



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This entry was posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2010 at 9:16 pm and is filed under Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.