I was reminded how much our ministry matters as I reflected on two very different events at Stanford: the Veritas Forum and a campus Playboy shoot. The two played out like a real-life version of truth or dare.
First, truth. We were delighted to co-sponsor The Veritas Forum at Stanford. We brought in leading Christian intellectuals such as Dallas Willard, Gary Habermas, and Michael Behe to engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ. It was incredible! The highlight for me was observing Christian philosopher Dallas Willard debate Richard Rorty, one of the most influential philosophers in America today. The whole week was a powerful reminder that the Christian faith is reasonable and worthy of careful investigation.
But we went from truth to dare as Playboy came to town and students disrobed to pose for the magazine’s annual college issue. The Stanford Daily urged readers to participate, saying that prejudice against pornography “is an unfortunate product of our society, and one that ought to be addressed.” The editorial went on to make the case that Playboy was a high-class, upstanding literary magazine. (source)
The difference between the two events was inadvertently summed up by a hopeful model. When asked by a local paper about some consequences of her decision to pose, she said, “I guess I hadn’t thought it out too thoroughly.” (source)
And so we’ll keep sponsoring events like the Veritas Forum, we’ll keep hosting Bible studies in the dorms, and we’ll keep talking about things like the reliability of the Bible, because today’s students desperately need to be challenged to think.