If you were asked to explain what Christianity is all about, how would you begin?
Would you be able to explain Christianity from an unbiased perspective?
With the constant barrage of horror stories concerning paedophilia, rape, abuse and so on, it’s easy to think negatively about the idea of religion as a whole. But we cannot gain an understanding by listening to the media alone.
People often forget that the best way to learn about Christianity is to talk with Christian people, to visit a church, and read the Bible from an investigative perspective.
I never wanted to believe what people said.
I’ve heard Christians labeled as “war starters,” “sexist rapists,” “anti-gay,” and “anti-feminist,” and this never made sense to me.
I just couldn’t understand how a religion purportedly based on love and kindness could cause such commotion and violence.
This year I decided to find out the truth for myself.
In my opinion, it’s immature to assume anything in life is a certain way, or right or wrong, until you take a step back from your personal views and research from an objective viewpoint.
The closest I have got to understanding Christianity before now was watching the classic Jesus Christ Superstar, and playing some guy called Dan in a high school choir performance of a song from Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat.
I’m ashamed to say that before this year, I knew little about the Christian religion beyond the nativity story, and the story of Easter.
During O Week I stumbled across the University Fellowship of Christians’ stands.
At this stage, I didn’t know anything about the Fellowship, besides the fact they were hosting events.
After a barrel, some friends and I decided to go along to a pizza party event they were hosting. We stumbled along, a little intoxicated, and eventually found the church where it was being held.
We were welcomed there as though we were old friends.
I’ll never forget the experience.
We met only a few of the Fellowship members that night, but those we met were lovely.
I was surprised by how accommodating the Fellowship were, despite our non-religious backgrounds.
I had pictured Christianity as being somewhat exclusive, and difficult to get into if you hadn’t grown up with a church-going family.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Uni Fellowship is a TUU student society and also a member of the AFES (Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students). It is a place where people, Christians and non-Christians alike, can learn more about faith, and about how to share the Gospel of Jesus with friends and classmates.
I spoke with Fellowship staff member Laura Haines, who is a graduate student from UTas with a Bachelor of Behavioural Sciences and Graduate Diploma of Counselling.
I asked her a few questions to get a better understanding of how one can learn about Christianity at university.
What sort of events do the fellowship organise?
We have a sermon series each semester where anyone can come and hear talks on a certain topic. This semester we have done a series called ‘Beyond Sunday School, Before Hollywood’. Through this series we have taken a closer look at classic Bible stories which have been made into Hollywood movies in the last few years, as well as stories familiar to those who may have attended Sunday School as a child.
In addition, the Fellowship run a couple of courses which are an introduction to basic Christian beliefs and the Christian life called Christianity 1A and 1B. These courses are run each semester and can also be run as interest is expressed. These are not UTas units of study, but rather meetings where students who are curious about Christianity can learn in a safe environment.
How can one get more information about the Fellowship and their activities?
You can find us on Facebook, all of our events and updates go on our Facebook page. You can also find more information about what we believe, as well as listen to all our past talks which have been recorded on our website, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions you might have.
Why do you think it’s important to have a fellowship like this at UTas? Why do you think it’s important that the Fellowship provides opportunities for anyone to learn about faith?
I think it is important to have a group like the Uni Fellowship on campus at UTas because it encourages students to learn about the Christian faith and the Bible in a way that is at as high a level as their uni studies. While you’re learning about politics, or languages, or medicine, or engineering at uni, why not also stretch your mind in learning about Christianity?
Personally, I would encourage anyone to come and check it out for themselves, as we encourage Christian students to learn about other worldviews too. What better way to really find out what a belief system and worldview is about than going directly to the source, reading for yourself and asking questions of people who hold those beliefs themselves!
I came to UTas with high expectations for myself, but never considered this would be the place where I would find faith.
When I look back at my new year’s resolutions and goals they were things like; get a gym membership, get my license and save money.
Regrettably, none of those things have happened as yet… But the things I have achieved have been beyond my imagination.
I’ve found God in my life, and finally found contentment in myself.
Many important people in my life were skeptical at first when I began learning, but since making the decision to live this way, I’ve had so much support it’s incredible!
People I haven’t spoken to in years have sent me encouraging messages and been curious to find out more about my decision.
My relationships have, in fact, been strengthened through this decision. I have a small group of close Christian friends, but the majority of my friends, and my boyfriend, are all non-Christians.
Knowing that regardless of our different religious beliefs, we can still love each other and support each other has kept me going and encouraged me to love everybody no matter what.
I encourage everyone to be curious.
I was skeptical of religion, but really I was clueless.
Don’t believe all you see in the media, investigate for yourself like I did.
I guarantee that things will surprise you.