RZIM at UC Berkeley: “Fiat Lux” Mission Week to Address Controversial Topics from Christian Worldview

Posted by Ruth Malhotra on March 6, 2017
Topic: Blog

BERKELEY – From March 6-10, several members of RZIM’s global speaking team as well as graduates of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics will be at the University of California, Berkeley for a University Mission Week hosted by Ratio Christi and a broad array of campus ministries. The theme is “Fiat Lux,” a reference to the University’s motto, which means “Let There Be Light.”

RZIM speakers presenting on campus this week include Os Guinness, Vince Vitale, Jo Vitale, Cameron McAllister, and Michael Suderman, along with OCCA Fellows Madeline Jackson and Daniel Rangel. Each day consists of two luncheon talks in the MLK Student Union, an evening open forum, and engagement stations across campus throughout the day. Topics include “Is God Sexist?” “Is Christianity a White Man’s Religion?” and “Are Christians Scared of Science?” In addition, McAllister will participate in an Atheist/Christian Dialogue on the topic, “Does God Exist and Why Does it Matter?”

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Founded in 1868, UC-Berkeley is the oldest of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system, and it is often cited as one of the top public universities in the United States and around the world. In recent months the UC-Berkeley has been at the center of controversy with student protests and riots that made international headlines.

“I first came to Berkeley in 1968 and met Mario Savio who led the Berkeley Free Speech Movement,” recalled Os Guinness. “Back then I came here to speak alongside Francis Schaeffer, and I’ve since visited the campus many times.” Guinness will be speaking at two evening open forums on the topics “Unspeakable: Facing up to Evil in a World of Terror and Suffering” and “The Journey: A Thinking Person’s Quest for Meaning.”

The current climate at Berkeley has left many considering the role of higher education in addressing life’s most difficult questions and craving genuine dialogue where everyone is respected and heard.

“In light of the tumultuous terrain of the campus due to recent events, we are praying for peace on the campus of UC Berkeley,” said Shawn Hart, Assistant Director of the Zacharias Institute, who coordinates the university missions. “Please pray that the Berkeley students and faculty will see and feel the respectful and gentle tone we bring to the campus. As we often say at RZIM, we believe we can present arguments without being argumentative and disagree without being disagreeable.”

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This week is a result of several months of prayer and planning by the RZIM team and campus ministry leaders on the ground at Berkeley.

“Over the past two years I’ve surveyed many non-Christian students, inquiring about their biggest questions and obstacles to faith,” explained Abigail Hohenstreet who serves with Ratio Christi at UC Berkeley and is helping host this week’s events. “Based on their responses, I asked the RZIM to address some of the most pressing questions: Is there room for people of all cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds in Christianity? How is God powerful and good when suffering and evil are so prevalent?Isn’t naturalism the hard truth? What makes the Bible more trustworthy and reliable than other texts? Why should I trust Jesus?

Hohenstreet says she hopes this week will help address these questions in an authentic way, clearing up misunderstandings and discussing the common search for meaning. “I’m beginning to understand how the Gospel truth can meet specific people right where they are, and that’s what I want this Mission Week to be all about,” she said. “In an age of post-postmodernism, religious pluralism, naturalism, and deep pain of those who struggle with despair, confusion, and nihilism, may this week truly shout ‘Fiat Lux: Let There Be Light.'”

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Follow updates from Fiat Lux Week at UC Berkeley with the hashtag #FiatLux

To request a media interview with RZIM team visiting UC Berkeley this week, please email [email protected]