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Springfield, Mo.—November 13, 2009—Dr. Charlie Self, associate professor of church history at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), will participate in a panel debate on Atheism vs. Theism ("Does God Exist?") in the Plaster Student Union Theater (see below for driving directions) at Missouri State University in Springfield on Friday, November 20, 2 to 4 p.m. The panelists will answer questions from the audience after an hour of formal debate. The event is free and open to the public.
Directions to Plaster Student Union Theater: Park at the parking garage on Cherry Street between Kimbrough and John Q. Hammonds Parkway. Get on the green shuttle, which will take you to the Plaster Student Union. Look for the Skepticon table inside.
While Dr. Self’s academic specialty is history, he has taught theology, philosophy, ethics, apologetics, leadership and ministry. Prior to his joining the faculty at AGTS, he served for 30 years in various pastoral roles—including senior pastor—and concurrently taught for 28 years at the following schools: Bethany University, AGTS (adjunct), Western Seminary (adjunct), George Fox University and Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, Belgium. An able communicator to secular audiences as well as to the church, Dr. Self is frequently invited to speak at civic, community and training events. He has published the books The Power of Faithful Focus (Heath Communications) and The Divine Dance (Authorhouse). He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Two other Springfield professors will accompany Dr. Self in arguing for Theism—Dr. Greg Ojakangas and Dr. R. Zachary Manis. Dr. Ojakangas is an associate professor of physics at Drury University. He holds a Ph.D. in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology. His published research ranges from planetary astrophysics and geophysics to computational neuroscience. He was a finalist in NASA’s astronaut selection program, he is an asteroid discoverer and an inventor in the field of robotics. His current research involves computational neuroscience and brain-machine interfaces. He is a consultant for NASA's orbital debris program. Dr. R. Zachary Manis is assistant professor of philosophy at Southwest Baptist University. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Baylor University. He is the author of several articles in philosophy of religion and Kierkegaard studies and coauthor (along with C. Stephen Evans) of the recently released book Philosophy of Religion: Thinking About Faith (IVP Academic).
Those arguing for Atheism will be:
- Richard Carrier, an author with a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University. He has written Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (AuthorHouse) and Not the Impossible Faith (Lulu).
- Victor Stenger, adjunct professor of philosophy, University of Colorado, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, University of Hawaii. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from UCLA and and has authored nine books that interface between physics and cosmology and philosophy, religion and pseudoscience. God: The Failed Hypothesis made the New York Times Best Seller List in March 2007.
- Robert Price, professor of theology and scriptural studies, Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary; founder and editor of The Journal of Higher Criticism; professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. His books include Beyond Born Again, The Widow Traditions in Luke-Acts: A Feminist-Critical Scrutiny, Deconstructing Jesus and The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology and one in New Testament from Drew University.
The event is sponsored by the MSU Chapter of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Contact JT Eberhard at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. A student debate on the same topic, also open to the public, will take place before this event at Noon.
AGTS is one of the world’s leading Pentecostal seminaries. The seminary offers a Ph.D., D.Min., D.Miss., M.Div. and several M.A. degrees. Classes are offered in Springfield, Mo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Kirkland, Wash.; Phoenixville, Pa.; Orlando, Fla.; Northern Calif. and Costa Rica. A variety of flexible class formats includes online classes, independent studies, week-long modules and weekend classes. For more information visit www.agts.edu or call 1-800-467-AGTS.