God takes questions on campus corner

Religious scholar invites students to inquire into Christianity on University Ave. and Union St.

Kirk Durston invites students to talk about religion on campus.
Kirk Durston invites students to talk about religion on campus.

Christianity was the focus of an amplified debate on the corner of University Ave. and Union St. on Thursday as students were called to sound in on their religious beliefs.

Dr. Kirk Durston, the national director of the New Scholars Society, played host to a public forum entitled “If You Could Ask God One Question … What Would It Be?”

The event, which saw between 20 to 30 students listening at time during the three and a half hour presentation, was hosted by Power to Change Queen’s.

The on-campus Christian group ran the discussion alongside the New Scholars Society, which aims to promote “Christian scholarship” across campuses. Durston is also a part of the global P2C organization, which seeks to create a worldwide movement of evangelism.

Durston, who holds a PhD in biophysics, an MA in philosophy, a BSc in mechanical engineering and a BSc in physics, also spoke at the Queen’s Centre on Wednesday during the crowded lunch time hours.

The focus of his presentations, he said, was to provoke religious inquiry among university students, which is often ignored in secular academic atmospheres.

“People in the university environment here are at the front end of their life, so I think it’s a chance to perhaps cause them to think about things that will have long term results,” Durston said. “The challenge is coming up with answers that are satisfying to the person asking the questions.”

Durston said that every Christian has an obligation to discuss the nature of religion, providing they are well-versed in scripture.

“People at Queen’s need to think about whether … they have something else that’s non-physical, an eternal soul. Your whole eternal destiny might hinge on whether or not what I’m saying is true,” he said.

Midway through Durston’s presentation, however, a student interrupted his talk, taking away his microphone and temporarily stalling the presentation. “[The student] completely monopolized and took over to the point where the crowd was getting frustrated, and yelling at him to shut up,” he said.

While some students expressed support for providing an outlet for religious discussion on campus, some students felt the event was inappropriately placed.

“It should be a more private kind of thing, like if you want to go you can but it shouldn’t be in your face,” Julie Dalton, ArtSci ’15, said.

“Because you kind of have to listen to it if you’re on campus and can’t avoid it.” Although she isn’t religious, Devon Hauth expressed a similar sentiment.

“At first I was very uncomfortable because this seemed very showy. But I saw that the person who’s speaking has a lot of qualifications, and he doesn’t seem to be very negative, or forceful,” Hauth, ArtSci ’15, said.

“He’s just answering whoever has questions.” Zehra Ali, ArtSci ’15, also stopped to listen to Durston on her way to class on Thursday, and didn’t think Durton’s presence was negative.

“It’s important for everyone to get a feel for the different religions here. The fact that people can come up and ask questions and answer them, it’s a good way of learning,” Ali said.


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