One question for God
Published: Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 29, 2008 at 9:14 p.m.
Amid a sea of orange and blue T-shirts, campaign signs, fliers and Student Government candidates at Turlington Plaza on the University of Florida campus this week, there stood two 8-foot-tall white signs that boldly asked, "What is the one question you would ask God?"
"It really makes you stop and think," said Ryan Arens, a UF freshman and journalism major. "It's a really unique way to look at faith."
Scribbled all over the signs in black Sharpie were questions like, "Why give us free will?" and "When will the end come?" and even "What happened to the dinosaurs?"
Arens decided on a whim to go to the "One Question" event held this week in the Rion ballroom at the Reitz Union.
Sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ, the event featured theologian and author William Lane Craig, who lives in Atlanta but teaches at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif.
Craig attempted to answer what are considered the most popular questions for God, as determined by hundreds of informal campus surveys.
Among those questions: "Why is there suffering in the world?" and "What is the purpose of life?" He used a PowerPoint presentation to help organize his sometimes lengthy responses and logic.
"God is not something we can be moderately interested in," Craig said, quoting C.S. Lewis, author of "Mere Christianity."
"If there is no God, then everything we do is meaningless," Craig said. "It's like shifting deck chairs on the Titanic. If life ends at the grave, it makes no difference if you live as a Joseph Stalin or a Mother Theresa."
As for world suffering, Craig said that if God desires to create a world of free creatures, then he can't have a world of all good.
As for the purpose of life, Craig said there is a misconception that the purpose of the human life is happiness. This view is not biblical, he said. Craig believes God did not merely create the world to be a comfortable living environment.
Craig discussed scientific topics, like the Big Bang theory, and how they fit with the Christian belief of creationism.
"Things don't just pop into being without cause," he said of the Big Bang theory, in which a universe comes into being out of virtually nothing.
"The origin of the universe is linked to a transcendent causal mind," he said. "There must be a creator."
After Craig's speech came a Q&A session with audience members.
When Craig explained the Christian belief that accepting Jesus Christ as a personal savior is the only way into heaven, Alex Woods, a UF sophomore, asked what happens to people who never hear the gospel of Christ.
Craig said that he believes all people are responsible for acknowledging the existence of a creator and the existence of morals, but he also believes that God extends grace to those who have never heard of Jesus.
Woods, a philosophy major, said he came to the event interested in hearing Craig speak about how to handle the faith debate in an intellectual way.
As he looked around the room, which held about 400 students, faculty and community members, Woods said he hoped the audience was a mix of Christians, atheists and members of other faiths.
"I'm hoping he's not preaching to the choir," Woods said.
Rob Foss, a sophomore member of Campus Crusade for Christ, said he learned a lot of practical knowledge from the event.
"I heard a lot of theological evidence and proof for God that I can use when sharing my faith with others," he said.
Jimmy Trent, the UF campus director of Campus Crusade, said staff members asked Craig to speak at UF because he gives a reasonable, plausible and intellectual argument for Christianity.
And "we really just wanted to know what the students are asking about God," Trent said.
Campus Crusade for Christ at UF meets on Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. in the Medical Science Building at Shands at UF. For more information, or to listen to a recording of Craig's speech, go online to www.ufcampuscrusade.com.
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