The first Socratic Club was formed in the 1940's, at Oxford University, in order to provide "an open forum for the discussion of the intellectual difficulties connected with religion and with Christianity in particular" (The Socratic Digest, No. 1 (1942-43), p. 6).
A group of Oregon State University students, with the help of their faculty advisor organized an effort to inaugurate a Socratic Club on the OSU campus for the same purpose.
Socrates—the Greek philosopher after whom the club was named—exhorted human beings to "follow the argument wherever it led them." Socratic Club is especially concerned with the exercise of applying this principle to the discussion of Christianity, as it is often the case that people are unprepared to discuss the questions that are raised about God (and the Christian conception of God) in modern society.
Organizations that are explicitly Christian exist, as do other organizations that are anti-Christian in outlook. Socratic Club's intention is to provide an arena in which people of different convictions may hear, discuss, and question informed presentations of the issues that must be raised and given a fair hearing for proper communication and understanding to take place. All sides have been represented at our functions. Socratic Club provides speakers and a forum; theists, atheists, and agnostics provide the discourse.
Debates hosted by the Socratic Club are discussion-oriented presentations on a variety of important philosophical questions. Each speaker is given 25 minutes to present one side of an issue, after which the two query each other regarding their differences before the floor is opened to questions from members of the audience. Events are generally held twice per quarter, 7–9 p.m.