Report on Debate in Cumbria with 'Sceptics'

Here is an eyewitness account from our great friend Henry Vyner-Brooks as to how the RealityBites talks/seminars went down in Cumbria. He was a superb host along with his wonderful wife Ruth and he helped at every event!

It was just so amazing to have Mark from RealityBites come to Cumbria; in little over 24 hours he had spoken to a church group, at three secondary schools, and then also debated the dangers of scientific materialism with the Cumbrian sceptics society. The kids and teachers lapped it up, and the disciples of Dawkins gave their respect, even admitting the weakness of their position. It was awesome to see intelligent, thinking men, finally meeting a Christian they could respect and dialogue with – why isn’t the church doing more of this? Can we clone Mr Roques please?

At the Cumbrian Sceptic Society I delivered a thirty minute lecture which explained Hobbes' materialist worldview.

Here is a simple summary of Hobbes' materialist creed.

  1. God barely exists so don't worry about him.
  2. Everything is physical.
  3. You are a selfish, calculating machine.
  4. As a machine you have no intrinsic value.
  5. The Market, alone, decides what you are worth.
  6. Some people are worth a great deal (the great and the good) and others (the poor and the weak) are worth very little.
  7. So everything is a commodity and this includes people.

I argued that materialism as a theory about reality leads to the consumerist way of life. If we believe that everything is just physical then enjoying material possessions is all that matters. And people easily morph into 'things' and commodities… hence "Tarzan" the human trafficker who buys women and then makes a fortune exploiting them as sex slaves.

I then explained how this materialist worldview impacts celebrities, scientists and philosophers. I mentioned Imelda Marcos, Russell Brand, Richard Dawkins, Eric Pianka, Lothar von Trotha, Marie Stopes, Peter Singer and Tarzan the human trafficker.

I was very surprised by the friendly and appreciative reception that the 'sceptics' showed towards me. I had expected a lot of sneering, rage and accusation but they were very respectful and even conceded quite a few points. No-one was converted to the Christian faith during the three hour session but good seeds have been planted.

The best bit for me was when the leader of the 'sceptic' group, Tony, said that he found my presentation 'scarily challenging'. And at the end of the meeting he said the evening had been 'brilliant'. Three other atheists said similar things to me. It was a very encouraging time.

Anybody who would like a free copy of my presentation needs only to contact me. If anybody can help me to improve it I would be over the moon.


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Mark you old dog. Got so inspired reading your blog. Please send a copy of your presentation – I look forward to reading it very much.

When are you going to come see me in our community house in Bradford?


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