Yale Open Forum: Zacharias and Murray Discuss Relationship Between Truth and Freedom, Evidence for Christian Worldview
On the week when Yale University celebrated its 316th anniversary, Christian Union hosted RZIM on campus for an open forum on “Finding Meaning in a Post-Truth Culture.” Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray spoke in the historic Battell Chapel on Tuesday, October 10, to several hundred students and community members from a wide array of worldviews. A Q&A session followed the lectures, and students’ questions ranged from the reliability of the scripture and the validity of the resurrection to the exclusivity of the Christian worldview the relationship between Jesus, truth, and freedom.
“We have confused freedom with autonomy,” explained Murray. “The culture says that elevating preferences over truth leads to autonomy. Jesus says truth leads to freedom.”
Zacharias described the quest for truth in a culture where absolutes are often dismissed or even ridiculed. “Your worldview is the set of lenses with which you look at reality, and it must pass the three tests of logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance,” he said. “When submitted to these tests, only the Christian message meets the demand for truth.”
“I can understand somewhat intuitively the connection between truth and freedom, but I struggle with the connection between Jesus and truth and Jesus as the necessary viewpoint to truth as opposed to science or some other religion,” asked one student. “Can you comment on the catalyzing moment of Jesus’s resurrection and the evidence for that?”
Murray systematically laid out the historical evidence for the resurrection and Zacharias urged students to investigate the claims of Christ for themselves with a desire to arrive at the truth. “The claim that Jesus made–that He will bodily rise again–was tangibly falsifiable in theory,” Zacharias contended, and further explained the dynamics surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. “You are looking for the truth. The answers of Jesus are so unique and so beautiful. Here’s your challenge: Take the gospel of John, read it three or four times, and I dare you to pray the prayer, ‘Jesus, if you are who you claim to be, reveal yourself to me.’ More often than not, you will find He speaks to you in such persuasive ways.”
Following the formal Q&A, Zacharias and Murray engaged in continued discussions with students and skeptics and were joined by itinerant speaker Alycia Wood and OCCA Fellows Kasey Leander and Matthew Mittelberg. Christian Union gave away 400 copies of Jesus Among Secular Gods and collected follow-up cards from students with the goal of continuing the conversations in the coming days.
The open forum was live streamed on both Facebook and YouTube. During the event there were over 80k video views on Facebook (and 2500 shares), and 7,800 views on YouTube, and thousands more have watched the forum since then.
The event was featured in the Yale Daily News: “Find truth through faith, Battell speakers say.”
The Christian Union has been praying that this event would be the catalyst for enormous spiritual growth on Yale’s campus. Please join us in praying for all who attended and that the event will lead to lasting impact within and beyond the Yale student body.
“The student world is both the most daunting and the most privileged audience that we can address,” reflected Zacharias following the event. “This is where things actually happen. The students are in search of their own point of reference for the sail and rudder with which to navigate through the high seas. I want to thank the leadership and organizers for making us feel so welcome, and the students for giving us a hearing. We are deeply honored.”