A Hunger for Truth
Posted by Ruth Malhotra on July 13, 2017
Topic: News Magazine
Summer Newsmagazine: Open Forums and University missions
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In recent years, college campuses that were once known to be centers of critical inquiry and the ultimate marketplace of ideas have too often become characterized by groupthink, extreme agendas, and even censorship. Although today’s campus environments present new challenges, God continues to open doors for RZIM to reach a diverse cross-section of students with the Christian worldview on a broad spectrum of topics.
“Students have asked a range of deep and revealing questions on matters of belief and identity, and we are humbled that they gave us a hearing,” reflected Ravi Zacharias on this semester’s events. “Our recent open forums showed once again the hunger there is on the campuses for questions to be answered in a cordial and thoughtful manner.”
University of Michigan (February 7)
Over 3,500 packed the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium for RZIM’s open forum on the topic “What Does It Mean To Be Human?” with Ravi and Abdu Murray. This event was the talk of the campus; university administrators, who had been skeptical that a “religious program” would draw a large crowd, were stunned by the attendance in this venue typically reserved for entertainment events. There was even some chatter on social media that attendance at the evening’s basketball game between rivals Michigan and Michigan State was unusually sparse, with some suggesting it was because so many students were at the open forum. The Michigan Daily featured RZIM’s open forum on the front page the next day.
Michigan State University (February 8)
Ravi and Abdu spoke at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center on “A Post Mortem on the Post Truth Culture” with around 9,500 in attendance. “Thank you to MSU for allowing us to use the beautiful arena to have a dialogue on matters so serious,” said Ravi following the event. “This is an example to the rest of the universities in this country of how we can meet with civility and respectfully engage on deeply significant issues.”
Indiana University (February 16)
Ravi and Abdu spoke at Indiana University-Bloomington for an open forum titled “The Secular and the Sacred: A Culture in Search of Values and Meaning.” Questions encompassed a range of topics from Islam to sexuality. “We believe many IU students were awakened to the reality of God’s love for them in Christ Jesus,” said Grant Lemmons, a Cru staff member who helped organize the event with around 2,000 in attendance. “We wanted students to know that there are coherent answers to life’s biggest questions as a result of knowing their Creator.”
On April 5, Cru hosted a follow-up event at IU with Sam Allberry on the topic “Is God Anti-Gay?” Around 200 students attended as Sam shared his personal story and held an extended Q&A session. “Thank you for engaging in tough topics in a way that reflects both love and logic,” one student said. “Sam’s presentation on sexual identity was very informative and I feel better equipped to navigate these pressing questions.”
Temple University (April 12)
Ravi and Vince Vitale spoke at Temple University’s Liacouras Center on the topic “Does Truth Matter?” An estimated 5,000 people from the campus and Philadelphia community attended, and students asked questions on the exclusivity of Christ, the relationship between faith and science, and how Christians should navigate the arts.