International Scholars To Tackle The Question: “Is God A Figment Of Our Imagination?”


TORONTO – Alister McGrath, the British atheist who would become a theist, and Michael Shermer, the American theist who would become an atheist are coming to Toronto to spar over a question that has provoked and fed human imaginations for centuries: “Is God A Figment Of Our Imagination?”

Their dialogue will take place Friday, September 15, 2017 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall, and will be live streamed (via YouTube) to organizations, student groups, community groups, churches, and book clubs. Tickets are $25 ($10 for students). The event is co-sponsored by Wycliffe College, The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation (CSCA), Faith Today magazine, the Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFI Canada), RZIM (Ravi Zacharias Ministries) and P2C (Power 2 Change).

Dr. Alister E. McGrath is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford and a devout Christian. In addition to his work at Oxford, McGrath is Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, and serves as associate priest in a group of Church of England village parishes in the Cotswolds, (UK).

Dr. Michael Shermer is a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University (Orange, CA) where he teaches Skepticism 101. He is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications.

The event, organized by Wycliffe College, is part of the Religion and Society Series, which seeks to generate critical conversations on matters of faith, society, and public interest. The purpose of the series is to play a catalytic role in helping shape discourse around topics that matter deeply to individuals and society.

“These two scholars are world renowned for their careful approach to matters of great importance of our age,” says Steve Hewko, Program Director at Wycliffe College. “They may approach the idea of the existence of God from different perspectives, but each has thoughtfully wrestled with this question, having embarked on a personal pilgrimage, which led them to opposite outcomes. But each man brings a lifetime of erudition, experience, and insights to bear on this theme, which is sure to make for an enlightening evening.”

A limited number of tickets are also being sold for a pre-event dinner, which will include McGrath and Shermer, to be held earlier the same day at Wycliffe College’s, Leonard Hall. “For $250, people can come meet these gentlemen, enjoy a wonderful meal, receive a copy of each of their books on the theme, and gain admission to the post-dinner event,” says Hewko.

For those wanting to host a live-stream for their group, Wycliffe College is offering a free, downloadable resource package that explains how to access the live streamed discussion, with tips and tools for hosting your own event—including everything from group discussion questions to suggestions for how to set up the room depending on the size of the venue.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit:



About Wycliffe College:

Wycliffe College is a graduate theological school, affiliated with the University of Toronto and Toronto School of Theology. Located at the centre of the University of Toronto in the heart of Canada’s most multicultural city, Wycliffe College is an evangelical seminary with roots in the Anglican tradition, educating and equipping students to thrive as future church and community leaders.

Founded in 1877, Wycliffe today is one of this country’s largest seminaries. It boasts a world-class teaching staff, fees among the most affordable in Canada, and a low student-to-faculty ratio. Known for an enduring commitment to intellectual rigour, evangelical vision, and practical action, Wycliffe College attracts more than 250 students from a broad range of denominations, backgrounds, and nations each year.


Steve Hewko
Program Director, Wycliffe College
Cell:   416-262-3878