Over 400 in Attendance for Debate on Human Rights in Winnipeg

Posted by RZIM Canada on July 14, 2017
Topic: UA Summit

Over five years ago, the RZIM Canada team along with our volunteer affiliate Dave Kenny first started dreaming and envisioning what it would look like to host a week-long event in Winnipeg. A year ago, we agreed CMU and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba would be the perfect location to hold our ‘Understanding and Answering Summit on Human Rights’.

This past Thursday and on day 2 of the Summit, we gathered at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights for one of the most important discussions of our time. Over 400 people, including Summit attendees, people from the local area, and from all over Canada, gathered at the museum to enter into a dialogue on Human Rights.

The night kicked off with music by Winnipeg award-winning artist, Don Amero, who previously shared his story with Summit attendees the day before. Summit speaker and academic dean of Acadia Divinity College, Anna Robbins, took the stage to moderate the following discussion between Dr. Andy Bannister and Dr. Chris DiCarlo:

Human Rights: By Design or Default? 

Dr. Andy Bannister is an adjunct speaker with RZIM. He holds a PhD in Islamic studies and has authored numerous books including “The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist – A Humorous Engagement with the New Atheism”.

Dr. Chris DiCarlo is a philosopher, educator and author. He currently teaches in the Faculties of Human Biology and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is a lifetime member of Humanist Canada and his latest book “How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass” is an international best-seller.

Following introductory remarks by each Bannister and DiCarlo, the evening continued with a time of Q&A where the audience was invited to question and challenge the speakers on the topic of Human Rights and their respected worldviews. Questions were asked by both Christians and non-Christians, leading to a well-balanced discussion on the topic of Human Rights, where they come from, and why they are important to us.

As the night wrapped up, Bannister and DiCarlo stood side stage to connect with attendees who wished to continue the discussion. With line ups in front of both speakers, attendees were itching to continue digging deep into this topic and exploring the different viewpoints.

The following day, on day 3 of our “Understanding and Answering Summit on Human Rights”, RZIM’s North American Director Abdu Murray moderated a follow-up discussion with Bannister and DiCarlo reflecting on the events of the night before. Murray revisited the conversation, gave speakers an opportunity to restate their viewpoints, and then challenged them with a question: “If you were given the opportunity to defend the other side, how would you remove all biases and do this effectively?” Both Andy and DiCarlo responded that they would study the great thinkers in each area. Murray then followed up with this: “If you had to defend the other side, how would you feel if you actually convinced some people in the audience of that viewpoint?” thus leading Christians to become atheists (Bannister), or atheists to become Christians (DiCarlo).

DiCarlo responded that it would not trouble him but would be a good indication that he has done a good job in representing the other side; “It is not my business what a person’s religious beliefs are if it is not causing any harm”. Bannister followed by responding “I would be devastated… Ideas have consequences.”

RZIM’s ‘Understanding and Answering Summit on Human Rights’ was a successful week of digging into one of the most vital discussions of our day. We’ve received positive feedback from our attendees about the range of topics, the quality of our speaking team and many found value in the ability to connect one on one with the apologists. None of this would have been possible without your prayerful and financial support – Thank you.