Doubters Are Given Space For Discussion
Reported by Ana Imes
The first Doubters’ Town Hall was held in Hoover 105 on Oct 14. Dr. Isaac Choi and Dr. Ross McCullough presented four arguments for the existence of God, followed by an interactive question and answer session. Students brought doubts and ideas, and they walked away with more questions and new ideas.
Abigail Favale came up with the idea of Doubters’ Town Hall while sitting in mass one morning. She has “had conversations with a number of students who have been having doubt,” and she’s “aware of students who have lost their faith” during their time at George Fox University (GFU). Favale wanted “a time set aside where we could speak honestly about questions that we’re wrestling with.
“Most students who doubt do so in sincerity and goodwill,” Favale said. She readily admits that “there is no magic simple answer to the tough questions,” but she is eager to share intellectual resources from “great minds who have been wrestling with these questions for milennia.”
The purpose of Doubters’ Town hall is to “cultivate a culture of open inquiry, honesty and authenticity,” she said.
Favale spoke about a natural inclination some students may have towards silence and alienation when it comes to their doubts or questions, especially if they grew up in Christian families. She believes “doubting is often a necessary means of greater truth.” Favale thinks that these kinds of conversations are cultivated in the classroom, but less so outside of it. She is encouraged by groups such as the Science and Religion Club, and she is “hoping there is a ground swell right now for bringing these kinds of questions to the floor.”
The number of young people who are leaving the church is concerning to Favale. “At the very least, if the student decides to reject Christianity, I want them to be rejecting the best possible version of it,” Favale said.
The next Doubters’ Town Hall will take place from 8-10 p.m. on a Sunday night in November. The date and location have yet to be determined, so contact Favale or watch the posters for more information. The event is hosted by William Penn Honors Program faculty, but all students are welcome to attend. Future topics may include evolution, arguments for atheism, sexism in Christianity, the problem of evil, free will, and morality.