Centennial Institute assisted Bill Armstrong, president of Colorado Christian University, in presenting a world religions panel for a half-day workshop of all CCU faculty and staff at the Lakewood campus on Friday, Dec. 10. With a theme of "This I Believe," thought-leaders of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and atheism offered summations of their faith and sparred amicably with each other in response to audience questions.
The panel was one in a series of CCU Strategic Objectives Workshops, designed to help everyone in the community stay on track with the institution's 13 core values, spelled out here. John Andrews, Centennial Institute director, said that three of those in particular would be served by the Dec. 10 program, including:
* Be seekers of truth
* Honor Christ and share the love of Christ on campus and around the world;
* Teach students to trust the Bible, live holy lives, and be evangelists.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Sid Buzzell, Dean of the CCU School of Theology. The panelists were Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, editor of the Intermountain Jewish News; Ryan Murphy, CCU Assistant Professor of Christian Thought; Imam Karim Abuzaid of the Colorado Muslim Society; and Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin.
For the opening round of comments, each panelist was asked to address some or all of the following questions:
1- What core beliefs define your overall faith or worldview?
2- What variations of belief characterize the major subgroups?
3- What is the most serious misunderstanding of you by outsiders?
4- What collective self-criticism could be made by you and fellow believers?
5- What is the most important ongoing contribution of your belief system to mankind's wellbeing?
6- Is your belief system more in coexistence, competition, or conflict with other systems?
Ryan Murphy's position statement comparing and contrasting Christianity with the other three belief systems will be posted here in full, next week. A complete video record of the program will be up on CCU.edu in January 2011.
Below: CCU's Murphy, atheist Barker, and Rabbi Goldberg listen as Imam Abuzaid states, "We eagerly await the second coming of Jesus, who will return as a Muslim."