News........Challenge to the Pope
I have sent out as invitation to Pope Benedict XVI to debate with me the question whether God actually exists during his visit to the United Kingdom on 16-19 September.
I display below the text of my letter to the Pope’s personal secretary accompanying the invitation.
OPEN LETTER TO POPE BENEDICT XVI
I, as author of The Six Ways of Atheism (published in 2009) enclose an invitation for the Pope to publicly debate the question whether God exists during his proposed visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010.
It is very appropriate for the Pope (who is also a noted theologian) to argue the question of whether God exists at all upon a visit to the United Kingdom as the United Kingdom has historically generally led the way in rejecting religious belief in terms of the leading freethinkers who have lived here. In our own generation the Britons, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are the leading advocates of atheism in the world today. In a previous generation Bertrand Russell was the world’s leading non-believer. Before that Charles Bradlaugh and David Hume were leading critics of religious belief and the very term ‘agnostic’ was invented by a British thinker, T.H. Huxley. So where better for the Pope to respond to a challenge on whether God actually exists?
It is known that the Pope may adjust his timetable to meet victims of sex abuse by priests during his visit to Britain. So he can adjust his timetable to accommodate doing a public debate about the existence of God. Rather than just complain about the growing secularism in the world, as he and his predecessor have tended to do, isn’t it time he debated the core case that God simply does not exist which actually leads to secularism?
Clearly the Pope can hardly be expected to debate with Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens who have both called for him to be arrested upon his visit to Britain. However, I have not asked for the arrest of the Pope (as I believe the Pope reacted to child abuse in the church in accordance with the admittedly by now outdated standards of that time, secular as well as religious, and was not in any case personally responsible for child abuse). So I have no objection to the Pope visiting Britain. Moreover my book, ‘The Six Ways of Atheism’, is the third most stocked atheist book in British public libraries (after ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins and ‘God Is Not Great’ by Christopher Hitchens). Therefore I think it appropriate for the Pope to accept my challenge to publicly debate and discuss the existence or non-existence of God with me. This should be particularly interesting for an audience since I have developed some new arguments in logical terms to disprove the existence of God. I am sure many prestigious venues in Britain would be eager to stage such a notable event.
This invitation is enclosed in the earnest hope that Pope Benedict XVI will accept the challenge of publicly debating and examining the question of whether God exists during his forthcoming visit to Britain.
Geoffrey H L Berg MA (Cantab)
‘Geoffrey Berg has now received a letter from the Pope’s representative claiming the Pope will be too busy to debate the question of the existence of God during his visit to Britain. While Geoffrey Berg thinks this is unsurprising he does point out that if God does not exist and the Pope cannot show God exists he really has no function at all as the Pope, God’s supposed chief living representative!
The book 'The Six Ways of Atheism' can be ordered through this website at a cost of $14.50 plus postage and packing of $2.95 (US) OR £9.50 (Sterling) plus £1.95 postage and packing. Alternatively the book is available to order through all good bookstores.