By Charles O’Bryan
Terezia Michalikova and Euan Bourhill of Cheltenham College defended the motion that ‘no religion could be judged superior to another.’ James Somper and George Barber of Pate’s School attacked the motion, arguing that religions could be evaluated. Ben Schallamach effectively chaired the debate and Miss Brodigan, Head of the Debating Society, adjudicated.
Terezia began the debate, essentially arguing for College that belief is not knowledge, and real judgments of superiority rely upon objective criteria of evaluation. Pate’s James Somper powerfully responded that the reality of religious conversion is evidence that people do in fact evaluate religions, even if universally objective criteria cannot be identified. College’s Euan responded well, clearly distinguishing between the subjective experience of superiority and the objective judgment that something is superior, but George Baber insightfully responded that many of our judgments involve claims to superiority, even if they cannot be objectively justified.
These viewpoints were developed further before the floor was opened to questions from the audience and constructive feedback and analysis of the teams’ performance. With live music, refreshments and stimulating debate, it was a wonderful evening for students of both schools to socialise.