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Your gift enables The Veritas Forum to facilitate the exploration of true life among the shapers of tomorrow’s culture. There are many exciting ways to give. Join in Veritas’ mission by helping to fund a forum at your alma mater or supporting our work around the world. Whether your donation is one dollar or thousands of dollars, we are so grateful for our friends and supporters.  Go here to learn more.

Media Spotlight: YouTube Clips

In a busy world, it can be hard to find time to sit down and watch full-length Forums. This year we’ve remedied the problem by picking out the best clips from Veritas Forums around the country and the world. Enjoy today’s great Christian thinkers in bite-sized five minute clips!

Check out some of them below:

Troy Van Voorhis explains why science and faith go together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rru_VCWbqY

William McCallum and Satyan Devadoss discuss God and the Meaning of Life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0hTOsaosmE

John Lennox on Christian grounding of academia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3Y9rfuQ4yM

 

Do we have the correct New Testament Text? Gary Habermas at The Veritas Forum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTOx22g3ev4

Campus-Wide Questions

Before John Lennox visited UPenn this spring, Veritas planners invited their fellow students to submit their hardest questions about God for Lennox to answer. In this way, the questions, posed by UPenn Law Professor David Skeel, formed the basis for a conversation between Lennox and the entire campus. Read more

Follow the Truth Wherever It Leads

Several weeks before their forum, student planners at Cooper Union sat down with the college President (an atheist) to chat about his thoughts on faith, dialogue and the purpose of education. “Follow the truth wherever it leads,” he said. So when the planners shared with him the mission of Veritas, he was immediately supportive. In fact, President Bhuarucha gave the opening remarks to the Cooper Union forum. Click here to read the complete text of his inspiring introduction, or watch the video at our media site. Read more

Life, The Universe, and MIT

As MIT celebrated 150 years, the Veritas planning team at MIT decided to delve into the personal and faith dimensions of some of their top professors. The team hosted 4 MIT professors in a conversation about their life and research at MIT, and how their worldviews interact with their work. The event was co-sponsored by the philosophy and linguistics program, as well as the United Christian Organization, a group of approximately a dozen Christian groups. The Forum featured two Christian professors, Dr. Troy Van Voorhis, Prof. of Chemistry and Dr. Daniel Hastings, Prof. of Engineering and Undergraduate Dean, and two atheist professors, Dr. Alex Byrne, Prof. of Philosophy and Dr. Alan Lightman, Prof. of Humanistic Studies. MIT Professor and Veritas veteran Rosalind Picard moderated the dialogue and the Q &A session, during which she received audience questions through an iPad.

“I thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere of the discussions of topics that are usually never discussed in public, despite their importance. I also admire the open-mindedness of the organization, as they bring in all perspectives, atheists and believers, to the discussion. I’m still an atheist. I did not expect a life-changing forum, but only one that was engaging and informative (and it was).” 

—Graduate Student in Natural Sciences & Math, Atheist

Over 600 people attended the event, which filled MIT’s largest auditorium. All four professors spoke honestly, humbly and often humorously about their lives. Atheist Alex Byrne was witty and winsome, arguing that we do not need God to find meaning. Alan Lightman, striking another tone, suggested we can all find our own meaning, even though we are just collections of matter. Christians Troy Van Voorhis and Daniel Hastings argued that meaning must be found in a religious sense, either through a personal relationship with Jesus or through being created in the image of God. Van Voorhis shared his personal story of faith, while Hastings focused on his sense of calling and how it has shaped his commitment at MIT. Just as 50% of the presenters were not Christian, around 50% of the audience did not identify as Christian.  In fact, some non-Christian students reported that they had almost left upon seeing Veritas’ mission, but stayed because they recognized the dialogical nature of the event.

For days afterward, the MIT community was buzzing about the event. Indeed, the planning team has been nominated for the “Outstanding Event” award as part of MIT’s undergraduate leadership awards. MIT chaplains discussed the event at their roundtable and it prompted other prominent community members to recognize that the missing conversation about faith is still compelling, even in a nominally “secular” place such as MIT. The MIT planning team also provided several opportunities for conversations centered on the forum. The team hosted a reception immediately following the event, and partnered with their local Cosi to land a 10% off deal for audience members who brought their programs on the night of the event! Fellowships hosted ice cream socials and other gatherings in the days following to continue the discussion.

To view the MIT Forum, click here.

Interview with Oxford Professor John Lennox

This spring Dr. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, presented at Veritas Forums on four West Coast campuses: Stanford, UCLA, UC Berkeleyand the University of Southern California.  We caught up with him to ask just what he found most compelling about his time with Veritas.

Your talk at Berkeley was entitled, “Is Anything Worth Believing In?”  Why is this such a relevant question to today’s university student?

I think many students have gotten fed up with the materialism of their parents.  They feel the previous generation has not offered them anything solid in which to believe and when they hear something that makes sense to them they get interested in it.  I find there is a tremendous appetite for listening to scientists talk about this because they think science is the great guru of their age.  Some make the mistake of thinking science is the only way to truth and because of that scientists have great cultural authority.  Of course there are things worth believing in and that is why students are at university.  Yet is there transcendence beyond the material?  Just as in science we look to an evidence base, so Christianity is an evidence-based religion.  We make a faith commitment based on evidence.

Please share about your involvement with The Veritas Forum.  Why Veritas?

I’ve known of Veritas for some time and have witnessed several of the events Veritas has staged at major Ivy League universities and have been impressed by the format.  When they approached me I felt it was worth doing because they would be likely to put on the event very well.  It also appealed to me that it would be a united effort among student groups because I am busy and do not like to reinvent the wheel with each group.  Veritas transcends the divide between various groups on campus.

You remarked on stage that the discussion event with Daniel Lowenstein at UCLA was the best event of that kind of which you’ve ever been a part. What made it so special?

This was a marvelous event because Daniel Lowenstein, a self-described agnostic Jew, did not come to debate but to facilitate a discussion.  I was not trying to score points over him or he over me.  Rather he teased out of me what he felt the public ought to hear.  When I met him for tea before the forum he said, “We are not going to discuss the specific questions to be asked tonight but only what the big issue is going to be.”  I thought that made it real, as he did not want to stage an interview but a discussion about real issues that was not contrived or artificial.  It was a sheer delight to engage someone of that intellectual capacity who was so honest and open.

What was your most memorable experience at the four Veritas Forums in which you participated this year?

Undoubtedly it was the public discussion with Lowenstein because I felt that Veritas was prepared to take a real risk.  When Veritas suggested the format to me, they told me they did not want a debate.  I welcome that because I have done several major debates with Richard Dawkins and others, and debates can be artificially confrontational.  A discussion, on the other hand, brings the best part of an argument out.  It is civil and it is public square; there is no default position.  We let the people judge.  I feel that The Veritas Forum is offering that from a Christian perspective.