At the Christian Club’s event, Grill A Christian, one student, Kevin McCrey, challenged Christian pastors, Jim Ladd of Evergreen Christian Community, Mark Haddock of the Olympia-Lacey Church of God, and Ben Phillips of Calvary Chapel Olympia with ideas that deny the existence of God.
The club decided to hold the event to start a conversation between students, said Maren Sekerak, the club’s treasuror.
McCrey began the conversation by asking how an entire religion is based on a book with so many flaws. To elaborate, he mentioned the stories of creation, Jonah and the whale, and Noah’s ark, among others.
Phillips responded by agreeing that the Bible is “full of crazy stuff.”
“We’re not just dealing with natural laws, we’re dealing with a person who is supernatural –– who does supernatural things,” said Phillips.
Explaining his point of view, Ladd used the example of creation versus evolution.
“I have no problem with the idea of old creation,” he said, describing how, in his belief, God created the earth at a later stage in its development, which would explain why the Bible only allows its age to be between 7,000 to 10,000 years old.
Ladd continued by explaining his issues with science, suggesting that because scientists use observation to explain natural phenomena, there is a gap in the field: science can not explain what came first.
“Scientists have been known to make mistakes. Scientists are learning; they’re educated; they’re trying; but, they are not any more reliable, in the end of the day, in every case,” said Ladd.
Third to comment was Haddock.
Answering McCrey’s question with another question, he asked, “Could all the things you marvel at have come into existence without a creator?”
Haddock then proceeded to describe how science deals with the “physical dimensions.” In his belief, God deals with the “larger purpose of life.”
Responding to the views of the three pastors, McCrey explained that God could not be the source of life’s meaning because there are, and have been, many cultures that do not practice monotheism.
“Life is what you make it,” he said, explaining that he would rather empower himself than attribute his successes to God’s generosity.
McCrey asserted that, though faith is not inherently bad, one day science will provide answers that challenge faith in the Bible.
He said it is ignorant to refuse fact because of your faith.
After the event, McCrey elaborated on his ideas, saying human consciousness allows us to develop morals without belief in a divine power, a rebuttal to the earlier suggestion of Haddock that God teaches humans morality.
“Atheist parents raise children all the time,” said McCrey. This example, to him, proves that a belief in God is not the source of our internal conscience, he said.
Following the question-and-answer portion of the event, the Christian Club sponsored an outdoor barbeque for their guests and the event’s attendees.