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I saw a video on Facebook, linked from God TV, (both now removed but available here) where Pastor Glyn Barrett of !Audacious Church, in Manchester UK said he was invited to debate at a meeting of the "Atheistic Society" at a university.

He joking suggested:

I won't tell you which university it was, but I drove to Cambridge

This heavily implies the University of Cambridge, in England (although possibly Anglia Ruskin University).

I searched for "Glyn Barrett Atheistic Club" and "Glyn Barrett Cambridge" and similar terms, but did not find any details.

Did Glyn Barrett speak at an atheist society in Cambridge?

  • Well I know Glyn personally and I very much doubt he would make something like this up. A lot of people would have heard this claim who knew the real truth one way or another, including other church leaders and not to mention his own wife and children, all of whom hold him to a high standard of accountability for the position he is in. I know that is not a real answer but I'm just giving my two cents. I don't have any inside information on this specific claim, but just because you can't find the society in question doesn't mean it doesn't exist (no offence meant). – Kidburla May 12 '16 at 22:20
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    @Kidburla If you have a personal contact with the subject then perhaps you could inquire for details and let us know. Since this is the Skeptics SO I think you'll understand if people don't accept your doubt as indicative of the truth state of the claim. – Corey May 12 '16 at 22:34
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    Why is this notable? Lots of student societies would have guest speakers from lots of different backgrounds. You can be sure that any Christian societies at Cambridge would've had atheist guest speakers/debaters at some time in the past. – curiousdannii May 13 '16 at 1:25
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    @curiousdannii: Because we have a controversy - an apparently well-respected member of the church community (e.g. see Kidburla's comment) has told an anecdote that, on the face of it sounds implausible (perhaps libellous?) and with research appears to be completely false. – Oddthinking May 13 '16 at 12:44
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    @Oddthinking Such things should be included in the question. The question needs to be notable by itself, not because of its answers. Also, nothing about any libellous anecdotes are spoken of in the question - you cannot expect everyone to watch a Facebook video in order to understand why a claim is notable enough to be asked on this site. This is basic stuff! – curiousdannii May 13 '16 at 12:50
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There are two universities in Cambridge England. (My reference is only Wikipedia, but I trust this isn't a controversial fact.)

  1. Anglia Ruskin has a list of Clubs and Societies, and there is no listing for an "Atheistic" society (or anything similar).

  2. Meanwhile, the better known University of Cambridge does have a society fitting the description: Cambridge University Atheist and Agnostic Society (CUAAS)

    They have recently received a number of requests about this, and they have responded:

    No, we did not invite him and this event did not happen. We've never heard of him.

It seems this claim is false.

  • I nearly assumed so, but wanted a little help with the details. I'll wait a little while before accepting, just in case another answer comes in, but this seems likely to be correct. – TecBrat May 12 '16 at 15:21
  • Open university has a building there (not a campus, but something)... I don't know if societies are a thing there? Edit: they do, but not many - and no atheist society. Also, do we know it was Cambridge UK - I gather there is one (or more) Cambridge in the US? – Tim May 12 '16 at 20:57
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    @Tim While Cambridge, Massachusetts is indeed home to some colleges (just minor ones like Harvard and MIT...,) it would be very impressive if he drove there from Manchester, UK. However, I suppose he could have flown to Boston, then driven to Cambridge, Mass. – reirab May 12 '16 at 21:15
  • @reirab Oh I've heard of those! :-P (I live in Cambridge, UK). And yes, just driving there would be impressive, but it could be a line of enquiry. – Tim May 12 '16 at 21:16
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    Just noting that the linked comment has been removed. I am inclined to think this means nothing, but theoretically it could mean that the comment was false (and that the author of the comment simply didn't know about some minor, or semi-official event). Not saying that is the case btw, just think that now that that source is gone the conclusion should probably be worded a bit more carefully. – David Mulder May 13 '16 at 19:38

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