Ratio Christi Hosts First Debate Night at the River House

Kamia Addison , Staff Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—On Dec. 4, one of Jacksonville University’s newest organizations, Ratio Christi, held a debate night at the River House.

The event was inspired by “The God Debate,” a debate carried out between a Christian and atheist philosopher who discuss the foundations of morality.

The audience watched each side present their arguments and later the floor was open for discussion.

Andrew Hamm,  president of Ratio Christi, explains the inspiration behind the event.

“I’ve always thought it would be really cool to have a debate night, and having a live debate is the ultimate goal, right?” said Hamm. “But that’s expensive. So this was a great way to have the same discourse of ideas without having to pay speakers to come in.”

For Hamm, the debate’s topic goes beyond religious differences.

“The topic was ‘Do we need God for Morality?’” said Hamm. “I think that that is a very important issue because we live our day-to-day lives with this set of moral ideas, but we never really contemplate what is the best foundation for these ideas, or what’s the best explanation for the moral duties that we uphold for ourselves and expect from other people.”

The debate was moderated by Aaron Chan, the administrative pastor at River City Baptist Church. His role in the debate was to ultimately keep discussions from escalating.  

“As a moderator, my job was to present a few questions to the audience in order to spark some discussion about the topic, namely the foundations of our moral belief systems,” said Chan.

Once the floor was open for question, nearly 12 of the 30 attendees took the opportunity to discuss their opinions.

For Hamm, Ratio Christi’s goal is to encourage people to talk about religion without prejudice.

“I hope people can learn that they can ask difficult questions about Christianity and not be shy about it,” he said. “I ultimately hope that their faith will be strengthened for that reason.”