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Speaker Series: Does God Matter?

Nov 28, 2013, 2:30pm-4pm

Colin Howson, University of Toronto, presents "Does God Matter?"

Does God matter? Emphatically, yes. I’m not implying that I think God exists (I don’t). I mean God as an idea matters – I have in mind something like the idea of God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As such, he, or it, matters a lot, and often not in a good way. This may sound surprising. After all, according to Ivan Karamazov in Dostoevsky’s classic novel The Brothers Karamazov, and the defenders of religion generally, “without God, everything is permitted.”

God, for billions of people, is the necessary foundation of morality and goodness. Well, I am going to claim in my talk that this belief is simply not true, for two reasons: (i) we have perfectly good moral standards of our own, owing nothing to religion; and (ii) basic to some of the biggest faiths is the promotion of very serious types of immorality, in some cases inviting innocent suffering and even death.

Colin Howson is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and emeritus professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (London, U.K.). Together with a substantial number of articles, he has published four books: Scientific Reasoning: the Bayesian Approach (Open Court, 2006, third edition) with Peter Urbach; Logic With Trees (Routledge, 1997); Hume's Problem: Induction and the Justification of Belief (Oxford University Press, 2000); and Objecting to God (Cambridge University Press, 2011). His research is currently exploring the close relationship between mathematical and theological paradoxes.


Location:Senior Common Room, 010 Vanier College
Sponsor:Vanier Residence, Vanier College Office of the Master, Dept. of Philosophy, Philosophia, FreeSAY
Posted by:Marilena Danelon
Web Sitehttp://www.yorku.ca/vanier/
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