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Cambridge Inter-Collegiate [Christian] Union




CICCU take TheBible as inerrant in all areas including science! I believe its views about morality and God etc are good and true. --Yonathan?
I put it to you that "CICCU take TheBible as inerrant in (...) science" is not very meaningful unless coupled with the list of statements CICCU think the Bible makes in the area of science that are inerrant. I might say, for instance, that the Bible says that life was created in the sea before it was created on land (NIV: Gen 1: 20-24), and is inerrant in this, without contradicting secular scientific opinion. I might also say that inerrant statements in the Bible imply a value of 3 for Pi (NIV: 2 Chron 4: 2), and find most Christians in disagreement with me were I to do so - some would claim that one must interpret the Chronicles passage in the context of its purpose and intended audience, rather than literally, and that no scientific statement can be derived from that passage. - MoonShadow
Quite, and moreover 30 / pi is 9.5492965855137201461330258023509, according to MicrosoftCalculator?,  so one could just say it's a reasonable rounding error. Diameter: 10 cubits +- 0.5 gives a range for the circumference of 29.85 (2dp) to 32.99 (2dp). Would anything have been gained if they'd said 31 cubits instead of 30? And maybe it wasn't mathematically circular. The list of interpretive possiblity goes on and on ... --B




Recently (Lent 2004) did a big evangelical drive, "Promise", which generated a moderate amount of discussion. Some said that CICCU was being too pushy with door-to-door proselytising. Others said this complaint was rubbish. There were some complaints of homophobia...others said this was ridiculous.
(PeterTaylor) FYI, the door-to-door gospel distribution is a national thing and occurs every three years. There was a lot of debate in 2001 about the margin notes in the gospels, which some held to be anti-Semitic. There's always debate about whether it's pushy to knock on people's doors - I haven't noticed that people complain as much about political parties canvassing.
I thought that the translation of the [John] Gospel that they were handing out, was a bit... odd. Places where the phrasing had obviously been altered to make it more accessible, that ended up accidentally modifying the meaning of the sentences. Also - why use such in-your-face, challenging titles for the talks they gave? It's not like it was going to make disinterested atheists turn up, and I must say that I was most 'turned-off' by the topics they said they were going to be preaching on. Witnessing to people doesn't mean that you tell them what to think. --Requiem

Well, I can't see anything wrong with the titles of the talks. I wouldn't call them in-your-face; they were forthright, but that's one valid approach to this kind of thing. I don't think any title is going to help you with disinterested atheists; I'm an interested atheist, and it didn't put me off. However, the only talk I went to ( "The Promise of Humanity" ) was ... well, really quite annoying. Rather than talking about Christianity, the guy ( an Australian, who was a good speaker ) spent about half the talk saying, in effect, how bad and wrong atheism and everything to do with it was, and how atheism leads to abortions, Nazis, the Holocaust, Pol Pot, Stalin and euthenasia. He didn't know that Hitler wasn't in fact an atheist at all and...well...grrrr. When he did talk about Christianity, he was mainly arguing that it was the only thing which could save humanity from all the bad things he was talking about. I didn't go to any other talks because I came to hear about what he believed, not told that my beliefs were evil. I'm sure that other Promise talks were better than that one, but it put me off. -- Xarak
I second that the content of the talks was much more offensive than the titles, Phil Jensen is a good orator and has the ability to make his point and is quite charasmatic in doing so. On reviewing the notes I made and thinking things over however, 90% of what he says doesn't have a leg to stand on besides a couple of lines in the bible and some rather selective government statistics. I wasn't just unconvinced, I was offended by the apparent trickery invovled. --Edith

(PeterTaylor) Which translation? CEV?
Whatever that annotated John Gospel was that they were handing out. "In the beginning was the Word. He made everything" - or something similar.

Any thoughts on CICCU or its methods?

It's often said that bearing witness to people means you have to be challenging. But surely your audience is more receptive if the message is held out to people as a gift rather than shoved down their throats - this is a criticism I have often heard levelled at CICCU. Then again, I understand the problem that if people are not engaged in discussion, then they won't discuss. I enjoy a good theological debate - but I'd like to be able to choose when and where to have it rather than having to talk Bible interpretation and doctrine on the doorstep when I've set the time aside for other things. --Requiem
(PeterTaylor) If the person who knocked on your door tried to get you into a theological debate then they didn't pay attention in the briefing.
Nonono. I was out when my door was knocked on IIRC, and actually got witnessed to over dinner (where I proceeded to get into a theological debate). It was more of a rhetorical point - people tend to be in their rooms because they're doing something there rather than because they've got nothing better to do. --Requiem



Yes, CICCU's actions always do spark debate. The vague impression I've got is that they have become a bit more hard-line in the years since I left the university, and also not kept up with changing worldviews of those around them. Their evangelism style was particularly suited to those who were openly atheist looking for an intellectual debate. It is certainly possible for passionate evangelical Christians to find ways to share their faith with non-Christians who don't fit that description (without those non-Christians feeling attacked or pressured); it seems CICCU has often not done so well at this. I am very grateful for the many things CICCU taught and trained me in during 1997-2000, and sad that these days they seem to be doing less well at engaging with those they aim to. --AlexChurchill
My opinion as a practising atheist is that trying to convert by logic is a) not gonna work and b) kind of tangential to the point. Experiential methods are far more effective. Not that my mathmo brain will allow me to condone attempts to bypass logic :) - CorkScrew
Point a) has been demonstrated false in the past.  It doesn't work for everybody - nothing does, after all - but there are counter-examples posting on this wiki.  Well, one at least :) --MJ
Uh, if you mean me, I'm not a counterexample - I wasn't converted by logic, nor do I believe anyone can be. - MoonShadow
Well, it depends what you mean. In one sense, humans can't convert anyone by any means, it's *only* God who does that. There's a difference between trying to use logic to say "You see, this *must* be true!", and on the other hand demonstrating to people that Christianity does actually hang together rationally and the impression popularly spread that "Christianity is full of contradictions" or "You have to switch your brain off to be a Christian" don't hold up under scrutiny. In my case, rational and scientific atheist though I was, it was experiential factors that first made me consider there might be a God; but I did need the logical issues addressing. There are other examples where clearing the supposed logical barriers was a necessary prerequisite to a conversion rather later. In my experience, CICCU tend to focus more on the "clearing the false obstructions" side, and this is broadly as it should be. --AlexChurchill
Although, as I said, Phil Jensen certainly didn't try to do that. Here's a question : Do you think that directly attacking non-Christian positions is a wise evangelical tactic? I think it's counter-productive. It takes an awful lot to change someone's mind about their beliefs, but it only takes a few seconds to make them angry and offended that you're putting their faith ( or lack of it... ) in question, and then they'll be much less likely to consider your position. -- Xarak
I agree with you there, but confrontation does have a (very small, IMO) place in debate. Usually it's best in a small group of close friends, where there is already trust, so the confrontation is more likely to make people think than to make them angry. But YMMV - SunKitten
AlexChurchill would also generally avoid directly attacking non-Christian positions in most circumstances, if not quite all. You've got to be really quite sure that the risk of antagonising some of the audience is worth the few who it might shake out of their complacency (or whatever). The proportions will obviously vary with the audience. But such a large proportion of most people's conversions can be traced to conversations with friends rather than hearing preaching from some big meeting or a tract or whatever... even the big CICCU mission meetings were primarily meant to help start discussions among groups of friends (or such was the case when I was there). Certainly antagonising tactics should be avoided, anyway. Avoiding causing offence is a bit harder - *anything* will offend someone or other, and parts of the Christian message itself are quite exclusive. But I think evangelists should do their best to make sure any offence comes from the central message of Christianity itself, rather than from our presentation of it or from excessive focus on side issues (hello, JackChick). --AlexChurchill
Uh, how is it posisble to get offended by the central core of the religion?  It boils down to 'the golden rule' just like every other societal norm.  Are there really people offended by that?  --Vitenka
Discussion moved to page ChristianGospel --AlexChurchill
(PeterTaylor) Depends on what you mean by "attacking", and upon the people you're talking to. If they're reasonable people who think you're wrong, they won't take offence at you saying that you think they're wrong, although it's perfectly reasonable that they take offence if you say that anyone holding their position must be a *insert pejorative here*.
Even the most reasonable people are likely to instinctively try and defend their beliefs in the face of oppostion, wheras they are more likely to be receptive to someone expounding their own beliefs in a positive manner, I think. But it certainly depends upon the people involved. -- Xarak

What were the anti-mission T-shirts like this year? They were always better than the official ones.
CUWoCS had vague plans to put some together, but didn't due to apathy and general laziness. PoohSoc held an event 'Pro-things to eat', but weren't so organised or bothered as to print T-shirts. I don't know about any other group. --ChessyPig

Well, yes, [many] [many] thoughts. I believe it is vital that you liberal Christian types evangelise your CICCU friends to save them from a fate like mine ;-) -- PaulWright



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