By Nisean Lorde
A University of Toronto professor stunned the audience at a debate held at Ryerson last week when he compared the actions of God to those of Adolf Hitler.
“Think of the flood reported in [the Bible], everybody wiped out,” said Daniel Goldstick, head of the philosophy department at the University of Toronto, said at a debate on the existence of God. “It’s much worse than Hitler.”
As people in the crowd gasped with shock, Goldstick continued.
“By the way, God is the biggest abortionist of them all,” he said.
The debate, organized by the Campus Crusade for Christ, was held last Wednesday in a Jorgenson Hall lecture theatre. It pitted Goldstick, an avowed atheist, against Kirk Durston, Director of the New Scholar Society and a believer in God.
“I know God exists because I put my faith in him and I’ve experienced God,” said Durston, who spent the debate’s first 20 minutes using scientific explanations and calculations to argue that the most rational position to hold is that God exists.
“The scientific and logical evidence is pointed to what people have known intuitively for all of history: there is a creator,” said Durston.
In response, Goldstick offered support for his atheist views.
“When people say to me you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, I say ‘I agree with about half of that’,” said Goldstick, receiving a few laughs from the audience.
Goldstick said the main arguments for the non-existence of God are floods, fires, famines, pestilence and droughts.
It would be a better moral choice to go to Hell than to worship a god who invented AIDS and cancer, Goldstick said.
Durston rebutted that the existence of evil in this world does not logically dictate the non-existence of God.
“The best the atheist could do it to argue that God probably wouldn’t allow certain events to occur, therefore there’s no God. However, this approach utterly fails to consider the complexity of history and vastly over-estimates human knowledge,” said Durston. “What you have to do is not just look at the event itself and say ‘oh, that’s a nasty one, God shouldn’t have allowed that.’ You must also look at the consequences of that event to the end of human history.”
Durston suggested that people are incapable of even understanding the decisions God has to make.
“Because of the minuscule knowledge we possess, we’re in no position at all to even begin to discuss what an omniscient being should allow and should not allow,” he said.
During the question and answer period, one student asked why she should turn to God at a time when some people justify violence and war in God’s name.
“People want to justify their actions by appealing to something. If they feel that people are motivated by God and religion, they’ll appeal to God as well,” said Durston, who made references to the Bible to support his answer.
“He who says I love God but hates his brother is a liar,” he said. “So don’t abandon the idea of God because people misuse the concept of God.”