CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Socratic Club will feature a debate on the topic “Is Christianity Good for the World?” on Monday, Oct. 15, starting at 7 p.m. in LaSells Stewart Center on the main campus. The speakers are Dinesh D’Souza and Michael Shermer.

The debate focuses on “what is arguably one of the most important questions in the culture wars of today,” according to Gary Ferngren, a professor of history at OSU and faculty adviser to the Socratic Club. A spate of recent books argues that religion in general and Christianity in particular constitutes a harmful force in society, fostering intolerance, anti-intellectualism and the oppression of women.

“This debate promises to be one of the liveliest ever hosted by the Socratic Club at OSU, mixing religion, politics, and culture,” Ferngren said.

D’Souza is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1987-88 he served as senior policy analyst at the Reagan White House. His books include the New York Times bestseller “What’s So Great about America.” His 1991 book “Illiberal Education” was the first study to publicize the phenomenon of political correctness. His latest book, “What's So Great About Christianity,” will appear in early October, published by Regnery.

Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor in the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University. Shermer’s latest book, “The Mind of the Market,” focuses on evolutionary economics. He also is the author of “Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design” and “How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God,” which presents his theory on the origins of religion and why people believe in God.

The event was made possible by a grant from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute through the Cicero Podium initiative.

This is the first debate scheduled in the Socratic Club’s sixth year as a student organization at OSU. It is modeled on the original Socratic Club, which was founded at Oxford University in 1941 by C. S. Lewis.

Each speaker is given 25 minutes to present one side of an issue, after which the two discuss their differences before the floor is opened to a full hour of questions from members of the audience. Two events are planned for each quarter.

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Gary Ferngren,