Most people do not usually find Jesus in a Harvard University lecture hall. But Tricia Lyons became intrigued by an "Is God Dead at Harvard?" poster on campus during her sophomore year and attended a lecture by apologist Ravi Zacharias. She emerged a changed woman. "It was a complete road-to-Damascus experience for me," she says.
Students in today's universities are accustomed to difficult questions. But a growing number of universities are hosting an apologetic Christian outreach program with a much different flavor, asking perhaps the hardest questions of all: Does truth exist? And is it worth seeking?
This program, called the Veritas Forum after the Latin word for truth found on Harvard's seal, is built around an intensive period of on-campus events, discussions, and lectures. The goal is to target "the thinking seeker or skeptic, to help them see the presuppositions behind their beliefs," according to Kelly Monroe, Baptist chaplain of the Harvard-Radcliffe United Ministry and cofounder of the Veritas Forum. "We want people to see the beauty of truth in the person of Jesus Christ and his relevance to all of life."
Birthed by Monroe and friends at Harvard University in 1992, a dozen Veritas Forums have taken place across the country, with 25,000 people attending. Another 15 forums are planned this year.
The transmigration from Harvard resulted in large part from the support of cofounder Jerry Mercer, a Columbus, Ohio, businessperson whose New Creations Foundation gives money toward the first forum a school holds. "The church needs to stop hiding from rigorous questions," he says. "The Veritas Forum is trying to destroy the false paradigm that you have to shatter your brain to follow Jesus."
TAILORED TO SCHOOL NEEDS: While certain ...