Published Thu, Mar 1, 2012 1:55 pm Dateline
A controversial speaker presented the argument that atheism is an incorrect worldview in Baker Ballroom Tuesday.
Frank Turek, author of the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, spoke to more than 300 students about his justification that God and Jesus are real.
Campus Christian group Ratio Christi, an organization that attempts to explore the rational basis for Jesus Christ, hosted Turek.
“The idea behind the event is talking about what the nature of faith is,” Ratio Christi president Alex Welch said. “A lot of people when they think about faith think of something that is opposed to reason…but we’re trying to show that it’s possible to have faith that is grounded in evidence.”
Turek set out to prove the validity of the New Testament, by making arguments about God’s existence.
“The Bible can’t be the word of God if there is no God,” he said.
In his presentation, he referenced some notable atheist authors and their views on the Christian God.
“You can sum up Christopher Hitchen’s book in one sentence,” Turek said. “There is no God, and I hate him.”
Turek’s speech was speckled with academic language and PowerPoint slides explaining philosophical and scientific thoughts about God.
He pointed to aspects of the natural world, such as DNA, as scientific evidence that could point to a God.
“I don’t have enough faith to believe that that happened without an intelligent creator,” Turek said. “If God can create the universe out of nothing, than every other miracle is believable.”
Not everyone in attendance was in agreement with parts of Turek’s message.
Silent protesters lined the walls of Baker Ballroom during the speech, holding up orange signs that read: standing on the side of love.
While this is the second time that Turek has paid a visit to Ohio University, his appearance mobilized many LGBT activist groups on campus to protest the event because of Turek’s expressed views on homosexuality.
“We believe that homophobia is the sin, not homosexuality,” co-chair of Open Doors Katie Meyski said.
On homosexuality, Turek was definitive when asked about his views.
“I don’t believe that homosexuality is wrong, I believe that homosexual behavior is,” he said.
While Turek’s presence may have stirred some debate, it also initiated spiritual conversations.
“It definitely opened up lots of discussion, there were lots of people talking about it after he was done,” OU senior Sarah Balser said.
The last thirty minutes of the presentation were left open for a question and answer session with the author.
Audience members lined up to ask [Turek] anything from his views on Islam, to whether he believes religion has a place in politics.
The presentation was funded by the Senate Appropriations Commission (SAC).
“I think bringing controversial speakers in is an awesome opportunity,” SAC auditor Jared Barker said. “I think it really enhances diversity and gives people a chance to talk about their beliefs.”
Welch said that if the audience is motivated to delve deeper into issues of faith, then the event has served its purpose.
“The thing that I would really want people to walk away with is a desire to seek the truth, and a willingness to ask questions, and to follow wherever the answers take them,” Welch said.