Saints and Skeptics Moderated Debate

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Saints and Skeptics is meant to encourage an ongoing conversation between a variety of philosophical perspectives.  It was born out of a desire to facilitate substantial dialogue on crucial topics between thoughtful people holding divergent views of God, faith, and life.  Instead of inviting presenters to debate their own personal views, the invited speakers are tasked each with representing the views of a prominent historical thinker on a given subject.


ABOUT THE TOPIC, The Satisfied Life

Philosopher Blaise Pascal once observed:


“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”


The goal of this year’s dialogue is to investigate and compare two very different approaches to the pursuit of a satisfying life.  Both Augustine and Russell wrote extensively about the quest for satisfaction and happiness in life, each promoting very different approaches.  The goal of this year’s Saints and Skeptics is to bring out and debate the finest arguments from these historical figures regarding this crucial topic.




Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Seminary, will seek to represent the historic Christian faith as espoused by Aurelius Augustine (St. Augustine).

Precious to Christians in both the Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions, St. Augustine has been a highly influential church leader, scholar, and philosopher in Christian history.  His writings include the Confessions of St. Augustine and The City of God.  


Chad Trainer, Chairman of the Board of the Bertrand Russell Society, will seek to represent the agnostic/atheistic worldview as espoused by Bertrand Russell. 

Credited as one of the founders of analytic philosophy, Bertrand Russell stands out in history as a prominent philosopher, logician, historian, and activist.  Russell’s writings include Why I am not a Christian and Marriage and Morals.



The event will take the form of a moderated debate.  Each speaker will be given equal time to present an opening statement on the views of the historical figure being represented followed by interaction on a series of questions compiled by the moderator, internet suggestions, and the speakers themselves.  There will also be a questions and answer session with questions fielded from the audience followed by closing statements from the speakers.



Tickets are being sold here.   Included in the ticket cost are complimentary light refreshments, wine and cheese. Please note that tickets purchased prior to 11/30/12 are discounted to $12.  Tickets purchased on the website after this date will cost $15.00and those sold at the door will be $19.00.



Saints and Skeptics will be held at Franklin Commons, located at 400 Franklin Ave. in Phoenixville, PA (about 45 minutes west of Philadelphia) on December 13th, 2012.  Doors open at 6:30pm and the debate will start at 7:00pm.  Signs will be posted around the building directing guests to parking and to the event entrance.



The primary sponsors of Saints and Skeptics are Iron Works Church and the Bertrand Russell Society.


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