This week, the Leeds University Christian Union hosted an event to encourage students to contemplate Christianity with daily talks, entertainment and free lunches. Their marquee, which stood opposite the Student Union, attracted hungry and curious students for the daily gatherings and pay as you feel cafe.
The students were invited to have lunch and sit down to listen to one of a number of guest speakers. Presentations were delivered on a variety of topics, including “something more than Netflix and chill: what is real love?” and “something more than a house and a spouse: can happiness begin today?”
While the week was intended to provoke students into contemplation and further discussion, the ideas presented were often contentious, such as a talk on Christianity’s claim to “have the only way”.
Speaking to The Gryphon, Claire, an English Literature student on exchange from Beijing, said that she “found [the events] enlightening” and that although she was not religious she wanted to attend the event in order to gain more insight into Christianity.
The week was well organised and highly interactive, including Q&A sessions which used questions attendees texted in during the speeches. However, the strong presence of members from the Leeds University Union Christian Union made it difficult to ascertain how successful Something More’s outreach was.
Michael Ots, an evangelist and author who takes his message across the UK and Eastern Europe, spoke to The Gryphon after kicking off the week with his talk titled “Rubbish: isn’t the bible a fabricated fairy tale?” Commenting on student engagement with the Christian message, he said “it’s a great time to investigate. People are questioning and wanting to examine stuff seriously. It’s really important to look at the big questions. As a student, there’s a unique opportunity to ask them”.
He believes that the lack of a religious upbringing in the current student generation allows them to approach ideas afresh “without preconceived ideas”, resulting in a greater interest and freedom to investigate religion.
When asked about events based around other faiths, such as the upcoming Discover Islam week (which takes place from the 20th to the 24th February), Ots responded by saying: “Christianity is not worth believing because you’re ignorant of the alternatives. Look at all the claims, go to all the weeks and think it through.”
The event was part of a series of Something More gatherings which are taking place at student unions across the UK.
(Image: Something More)