SCSY Liveblog: Angels Debate God and Free Will

by Ryan on October 15, 2010

The Security Council Simulation at Yale features a “Paradise Lost” committee that takes MUN to a whole new level — literally.

The committee began on Thursday with Lucifer chairing a gathering of the angels to question God’s creation of man. They debated free will, existence, and the meaning of faith. Check out this discussion between Lucifer (standing, wearing red) and an angel defending God (sitting, wearing blue):

The first crisis broke with the voice of God coming out of the committee room’s speakers. Lucifer was cast out and replaced as committee chair by — you guessed it — Jesus Christ:

Then, the most epic crisis update ever — Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Lucifer comes back to committee — while eating an apple — and all Hell breaks loose. She leaves with half of the angels and the committee  becomes a joint crisis. Angels loyal to God remain in Heaven — the committee room on the 2nd floor of the building — and the “Fallen” angels descend down to Hell — a room in the building’s basement with the lights purposefully kept off. (Video courtesy of SCSY’s tumblr blog)

The committee’s directors have clearly paid a lot of attention to detail. Just look at the background guide, which is well-designed with neat quotes throughout. And check out the “Works Cited” section:

“God. The Bible. The Divine Press: Heaven, ????. Ed. Constantine and the Council of Nicaea. Trans. St. Jerome, King James, and the New International Version.”

Is this blasphemy? It doesn’t seem any more blasphemous than Milton writing Paradise Lost itself or any author or artist that has created a work of art based on the Bible.

Does any of this have to do with the United Nations or international relations? The UN, no — IR, maybe, since the committee is actually about using the armies of the ancient Middle East to wage a proxy war between Heaven and Hell. (The committee timeline will even take place across different stages of civilization.)

But do the delegates — I mean angels — have to do research, make speeches, hold caucus, write resolutions/directives, debate them, think critically, and invent creative solutions? Yes. These are relevant skills to any MUN committee, and to any job or leadership role, for that matter. And, in addition to the kind of political discussions you would expect from an MUN committee, this committee also features ancient history, literature, and philosophy.

It alludes to something I discussed with Karen at CMUNNY V last week — You can use MUN to explore something you’re passionate about. It’s a cool concept, and I’m looking forward to covering this committee throughout the conference.

Is this committee cool or controversial? Let us know in the comments!

  • http://FrumForum.com,noahkgreen.blogspot.com Noah Kristula-Green

    As a former Secretary-General of ChoMUN, I can’t say that this is something I am happy to see. I understand the sentiment that leads to this sort of thing, and I appreciate the experimentation, but there needs to be some critical push back.

    I will be writing on this topic in the coming weeks.

    • Ryan

      That’s fair. I look forward to reading more about this topic on your blog.

      By the way, the U. Chicago delegate in the “Paradise Lost” committee pulled a really sweet move: http://bestdelegate.com/scsy-liveblog-u-chicago-and-roger-williams-interviews/

      • http://noahkgreen.blogspot.com Noah Kristula-Green

        I am glad to see that Ben had a good time, enjoying the committee is not an insignificant part of MUN!

        I also want to make clear that I don’t see any sign of a lack of professionalism from the SCSY staff of dais.

  • Emily

    I was actually in the Paradise Lost committee at SCSY, and as a senior who has been in MUN for the past three years, I have to say this was easily the best MUN experience I’ve ever had. It was creative, interesting, and insanely fun; honestly, I would love to see more committees of this type at other conferences. It may not be the traditional MUN style, but there was nevertheless a lot of MUN skills that went into it, like research, speeches, debate, critical thinking and inventive solutions.

  • Cosmo

    Hey, I was in the Paradise Lost committee too, as one of the Fallen. I just want to reiterate a lot of what Emily said; the committee was a blast, and I don’t think anyone in our committee would disagree. I’m a senior as well, and the crisis staff and our chair allowed us the latitude to pursue crises more creatively then I’ve ever seen, and I’d like to think we responded with really unique results-maybe something that is not appropriate for every committee, but something that in this case was definitely valuable and always interesting. I can’t emphasize enough how impressed I was with the creativity of everyone in our committee. It was extraordinary, and really really cool, something I’m glad I got to be a part of. More power to our chair and the crisis staff; more people should try and emulate them.

  • Ryan

    @ Emily @ Cosmo — I’m glad you had a great time in the Paradise Lost committee! I had never seen a committee like this before. It looked like both delegates and dais staff really enjoyed the chance to be in such a creative committee.

  • Rachel

    I was also a member of the Paradise Lost committee on the side of The Fallen…This is my ninth year of Model UN and this is by far one of the best committees I have EVER been on. The chairs, moderators and crisis staff were incredibly knowledgeable and well prepared to handle almost anything we threw at them. I think some of the move towards more fiction based committees over the traditional war councils, parliaments and cabinets is really great, so long as you have chairs and a crisis staff that is well prepared, knowledgeable and willing to work with their canon of choice in a more serious manner. And if you can do all of that you end up with a committee like Paradise Lost: The First vs. The Fallen. We used our MUN skills as well as our creativity and some innovation to do
    things that aren’t at all possible or appropriate in other committees.
    Being on this committee was an extraordinary experience and I am so glad I’ve had the privilege of working with amazing delegates like Emily and Cosmo as well our Chair and Crisis staff.

  • http://bestdelegate.com Ryan

    Wow these are really high compliments for any MUN committee! Congratulations to the Paradise Lost staff for creating such an amazing experience

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