Standing before an audience of more than 1,000 people in Rackham Auditorium last night, author and lecturer Ravi Zacharias spoke passionately about religion, culture and the search for truth.

His explanation of how religion is the basis for culture piqued LSA freshman Rachel Ozar’s interest because “it’s something we don’t really talk about in history class,” Ozar said.

The lecture was part of a three-day on-campus series called “God on Trial” sponsored by 15 Christian groups on campus and 12 local churches.

Ozar said she plans to go back tomorrow to hear Zacharias talk about “Religious Exclusivity and the Test of Reason” and thinks many members of the campus community could find ways to connect with his messages.

“I think anyone who’s interested in considering the topics he’s talking about – religion and moral philosophy – his lectures could appeal to them,” she said. “He talks about religion in a more intellectual manner than maybe some people have heard before.”

One focus of Zacharias’ comments was secularization and its ramifications.

“When secularization has run its full course, it will destroy a culture of its sense of shame. Show me a culture with no sense of shame and I will show you a culture that will stop at nothing,” he said, referring to moral codes that are difficult to reinforce without the defining lines set by religion.

Zacharias also discussed the consequences of having competing worldviews without one being dominant.

“Pluralism in culture is a good thing, but if it is extrapolated to mean that truth therefore is relative, then it becomes fatal to our thinking,” he said.

Campus Crusade for Christ staff member Janet Oberholtzer stood on the Diag in the snow yesterday afternoon passing out fliers advertising the event.

She said she hopes the series of speeches on religion by Zacharias and William Craig will help encourage students to consider their beliefs. “In the University setting, a lot of times academic success is stressed,” she said.

“That’s what is encouraged in classes and by professors, but students aren’t encouraged to consider the spiritual side.”

Following the lecture series, students can choose to participate in discussion groups that will meet once a week for four weeks to explore these issues further. Oberholtzer said she hopes it brings Christians and non-Christians together in a safe place to explore Christianity and religion further.

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