World-renowned Christian lecturer to speak
A couple of years ago, Zachary Moniz started questioning why he believed what he did about God.
In searching for answers he stumbled upon Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
The ministry's goal, since it was established in August 1984, has been to touch the hearts and intellect of people, pointing them towards the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I enjoy talking about philosophy and when I would talk to people who didn't have the same world view as me, I realised that sometimes I didn't have the answers to really inform them properly,” Mr Moniz explained. “You go out and seek the answers and you realise what you believe isn't as crazy as people think.
“The reality is everyone's world view sounds crazy, but you have to look through and find the evidence that the faith you have makes the most sense.”
It was in the process of all that studying that Mr Moniz came across lectures and reading materials by Michael Ramsden, international director of RZIM and joint director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
Mr Ramsden has been invited to lecture everywhere from the White House in Washington DC, to the Nato headquarters in Brussels. He comes to Bermuda for a series of events, from March 15 to 18.
The visit has taken more than 14 months to plan. Mr Moniz first e-mailed Mr Ramsden's team in 2016; those early requests were denied.
“I think they got tired of hearing from me and finally gave in due to perseverance,” Mr Moniz said. “Mr Ramsden speaks around the world for 200 days of the year and they planned his calendar for 2018 in January 2017, so it's definitely been hectic planning something of this magnitude.”
His opening talk on March 15, “Is Christianity Inherently Arrogant?”, will examine how Christians can be so sure of the truth and whether they have the right to impose their truth on others. It takes place at the Fairmont Southampton at 7.30pm. Mr Ramsden will speak for half an hour, before opening the floor up to questions.
At 12.30pm the following day he will speak at an invitation-only luncheon on the topic, “Integrity in the Workplace”. He will then deliver a message, entitled “The Nature of Truth”, to Christian youth groups.
“I believe in having dialogue with people with other world views and engaging with them in a respectful way,” Mr Moniz said. “I think that's the way it should be. We should try to engage with people who don't think like we do and exchange ideas back and forth. The reality is there are no bad questions; only poor answers.
“Bashing someone over the head with a Bible is never going to change anyone's opinion and God gives us free will to choose to reject or receive.”
He said in today's social media-driven world, it isn't always easy to have a “gentle, respectful exchange of ideas”.
“I think one-on-one discussions work best and that's my goal with bringing Michael Ramsden to Bermuda — to provoke thought on both sides, wherever you sit. You might have faith in your own version of God, but come out and listen and ask questions instead of having the view ‘this is the way it is and that's all it is'.
“I'm trying to get people to ask questions as opposed to clamming up and not showing interest in hearing what others have to say.
“A lot of the activists that would be on the other side of the fence on the God issue and whether or not he exists … some of them are really engaged and love to talk about it, but we never provide a forum and it's a shame because we are either too afraid to talk about it because we might offend someone or we don't know how best to articulate ourselves.”
The long-time Christian said there was never a time he thought his faith was untrue but RZIM helped “fill in the gaps” in his knowledge.
“That journey — finding RZIM and their courses online, reading different books and the Bible — was all things that kind of drove me to be less afraid to talk about my faith, especially understanding it's not a blind faith. It's evidence-based,” he said.
Mr Moniz encourages people to come out to next month's events. He described Mr Ramsden as an engaging and fresh speaker with a specific skill set that would appeal to both the business and faith community.
• Get tickets for Thursday's free public event through www.ptix.bm