Video of discussion with Pastor Dan Nichols

Debate2 (1)
Pastor Dan Nichols and Justin Vacula
Photo by A. Elizabeth Baumeitster

Video recordings of my November 3, 2013 discussion with Pastor Dan Nichols concerning religious faith and atheism are now available.

Read the original press release for the event here.

Listen to the high-quality downloadable and streaming audio version of the discussion here.

Watch parts one and two of the discussion below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thanks again to Pastor Dan Nichols for participating in this discussion and providing our venue, Shawn Walker for moderating, Restored Church for the audio recording, Dorene for video recording, and everyone who attended in-person and listened live online.

As always feel free to comment and enjoy the conversation. Stay tuned for my after-thoughts.

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.

  • Joseph Patterson

    Great job Justin. Your demeanor was very good and I thought was a great example of the way we should approach conversations with faith epistiemologies. I thought Dan represented the type of believer we normally meet in the public square. As a former Christian, I think a challenging thought to a guy like Dan is that his view of God is man made. It is as man made as the worldview of any atheist would hold. Thanks for sharing this conversation.

  • magnus08

    Hey Justin: About morality, even if we have no _supernatural_ external standard, we still have societal standards, many of which are embodied in laws. Does Dan really think that, after thousands of years living in society, humans could not have figured out a few basic rules to live by?

    Dan also _says_ we cannot judge God, but he _does_ find God to be infinitely good, omniscient, and omnipotent, so he’s being inconsistent. BTW, I’d like to know how exactly Dan, as a finite being with finite abilities, would be able to recognize an infinite being–e.g., how could Dan know everything that God believes without also knowing all the things God does _not_ believe?

    Next, Dan says that the Bible does not command parents to kill their children, but it does command God’s people to execute children who disobey, curse, or hit their parents (see Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and Exodus 21:15 and 17. The question of who carries out the execution seems irrelevant.

    Finally, it seems that, when he’s put into a tight spot, Dan retreats to what _he_ believes or what is true _for him_. Is he admitting these things are _not_ likely to be factually true? If he thinks they _are_ likely to be true, what’s his evidence? If there’s no reliable evidence, he has to concede that his beliefs are irrational.

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