Debate challenge published in local newspaper

Speaking at Pennsylvania Nonbelievers meeting
Speaking at Pennsylvania Nonbelievers meeting

A modified version of my recent debate challenge to theists has been published in the Wilkes-Barre-based The Times Leader including an interesting title selected by the editor.

Throwing down challenge regarding God’s existence

Following my church/state activism in 2009, I received a large amount of hate mail from religious individuals throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania who were largely uninterested in discussion/debate.

Rather than responding to hatred with hatred, I issued a public debate challenge to individuals throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and would now like to renew, modify, and extend my public debate challenge with hope that more thoughtful and civil discussion may occur — in addition to two formal debates in which I have already participated — that will be recorded and made publicly available.

Following is the new debate challenge:

Justin Vacula, atheist activist, activist for the separation of church and state, and co-organizer of the NEPA Freethought Society ( — a social, educational, activist, and philosophical community group of non-theists in Northeastern Pennsylvania — challenges priests, ministers, theologians, and others in Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond to defend their religious beliefs in a “Does God Exist?” formal recorded debate which will be made available to the general public.

A debate about religious beliefs will provide an excellent educational opportunity for residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond whether they are religious or not and may include an optional charity component which will benefit a mutually agreed upon organization or cause.

Debate will be held in a venue open to the public and/or streamed online. Details including venue, format, and debate moderator will be negotiated by both parties.

More information about Justin Vacula — including his media appearances, qualifications, and activism — may be found on his website at the Skeptic Ink Network ( Interested parties may use the contact form on his website.

Justin Vacula


Feel free to comment on the article and, of course, below.

Justin Vacula

Justin Vacula hosts the Stoic Philosophy Podcast; serves as co-organizer and spokesperson for the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society; and has hosted monthly Stoic Philosophy discussion groups for the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia.

He has appeared on and hosted various radio shows and podcasts; participated in formal debates and discussions; was a guest speaker for college-level courses; was featured in local, national, and international news; and has been invited to speak at various national, local, and statewide events.

Vacula received bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, a minor in Professional Writing, and the distinguished W.A. Kilburn Memorial Award for Philosophy from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is currently living in the Scranton, PA area attending Marywood University’s graduate-level Mental Health Counseling program and has worked with the Arc of Luzerne County’s Transition to Community Employment program as a teacher’s assistant and job coach alongside adult learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

He also plays poker; volunteers as a member of the website and media team for the Greyhawk Reborn Dungeons & Dragons campaign while playing at events in the Eastern United States; and enjoys metal music.