‘If God, Why Evil?
Southern Evangelical Seminary Plans Debate for Feb. 23 Exploring This Profound Question
SES Dean Brian Huffling and Skeptic Michael Shermer Address: ‘Is the Reality of Evil Good Evidence Against the Christian God?’
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—One of the most profound questions of the ages has been “Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?”
Or, more succinctly, “If God, Why Evil?”
Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) will explore this very question at an upcoming debate between SES faculty member Dr. Brian Huffling and Skeptic Magazine editor Dr. Michael Shermer.
Set for Saturday, Feb. 23, the debate will culminate after several breakout sessions, and will be followed by a free prospective student dinner.
“The so-called problem of evil is one of the most oft discussed apologetics topics ever,” said SES President Dr. Richard Land. “It is certainly a difficult issue with which believers must wrestle and be prepared to thoughtfully address. As our esteemed Academic Dean Dr. J.T. Bridges has said, ‘Because our minds have been diminished, the emotions have taken over and the problem of suffering has gone unchecked, which is why atheists typically use it against Christians in apologetic situations.’ We hope this daylong event will spur critical thinking for the attendees as well as introducing a new group of talented students to Southern Evangelical Seminary. We never shy away from seeking truth at SES. We do so in the firm conviction that ultimately, the pursuit of truth will confirm Gods Truth.”
Specifically, the two academics will address the specific question, “Is the reality of evil good evidence against the Christian God?” During the debate, SES co-founder Dr. Norman Geisler will also speak about how God’s sovereignty and human freewill are compatible.
Dr. Brian Huffling has master’s degrees in Apologetics, Biblical Studies and Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology and is the Director of the Ph.D. program at SES. He is also a reserve chaplain in the Air Force. Learn more at www.brianhuffling.com.
Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, where he teaches Skepticism 101. He is the author of “Why People Believe Weird Things,” “The Believing Brain,” “Why Darwin Matters,” “The Science of Good and Evil” and “The Moral Arc.” His new book is “Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality and Utopia.” Learn more at www.michaelshermer.com.
As background for the debate, Shermer has tweeted: “The problem of evil is still the best argument against the Christian God that I know…”
The schedule for the day includes the following sessions:
- 12:30-12:40 p.m. | Welcome & Announcements
- 12:45-1:40 p.m. | Breakout Session 1: Why Would a Loving God Send People to Hell?
- 12:45-1:40 p.m. | Breakout Session 1: Is God Racist?
- 1:55-2:50 p.m. | Breakout Session 2: How are Divine Sovereignty and Human Free Will Compatible?
- 3:05-4:00 p.m. | Breakout Session 3: Why Did God Command the Destruction of the Canaanites?
- 3:05-4:00 p.m. | Breakout Session 3: How Do We Know God is Good?
- 4:15-6:00 | Debate: Is the Reality of Evil Good Evidence Against the Christian God?
- 6:15-7:45 | Prospective Student Dinner | The dinner is free, but registration is required. Participants will also receive special discounts when registering for classes.
Tickets for the debate are $10 and registration may be made at ses.edu/debate.
Tied to the debate is an upcoming course team-taught by Geisler and Huffling titled, “The Problem of Evil,” March 11-16, Monday through Friday evenings and Saturday during the day, both on campus and online. Focusing on one of the most important topics in apologetics, the course could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study this issue under Dr. Geisler.
Modules are week-long courses that complete all the lectures within the week and allow the following 10 weeks to complete the coursework. Students can take “The Problem of Evil” for credit or as an audit.
Those who cannot attend the debate or prospective dinner are reminded that some sessions will be live-streamed and that online classes are available year-around so that students can delve into these subjects from anywhere in the world.
“If you can’t come to SES,” Land said, “SES will come to you.”