Ratio Christi Chapter’s Grit and Intellect Proves Appealing to Campus Atheists
by Sheryl Young
In our December journal we featured “Christmas and Hanukkah – Thinking of our Jewish Friends,” with advice from some Ratio Christi folks about how to approach Jewish people for the Gospel. This month, we’re telling you about a chapter that’s making amazing progress with atheists on campus – thanks to some club members with Jewish backgrounds!
Bobby Hinsdale is the RC Chapter Director at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. He fills us in on what’s happening there.
“God has used a lot of our students in incredible ways,” he says. “But Jonathan Mann and Erik Mattson have had a big influence on the atheist community. They are Messianic Jews who are both passionate about apologetics and want to use it for the Kingdom in any way. They attend Beth Hallel Messianic Synagogue. Just recently, Jonathan, a freshman, gave our first-ever student presentation on the evidence for the resurrection and did a very articulate job of it.”
We talked with Hinsdale, Mann and Mattson about their interaction with atheists on campus and asked the two students about their Messianic faith and how apologetics has influenced their lives.
Q: How did this relationship with the atheist students come about?
Mann: I saw a sidewalk chalk advertisement for an open discussion debate called “Good Without God” by the Atheists United (AU) club. Erik and I had seen some of their debates on YouTube and thought they used bad arguments. So we got prepared and went.
Hinsdale: It was supposed to be three hours but lasted six. Although a freshman, Jonathan had already studied apologetics for two years. They did so well defending the faith to the atheists bringing up tough questions that three of the atheist club officers ended up arguing with each other. They were so befuddled they accused Jonathan of being a fake, a spy!
Mann: Two officers quit the club on the spot!
Q: Did anything else happen as a result of that meeting?
Hinsdale: The president was impressed that Jonathan and Erik were so respectful and open to dialogue and that there was a RC chapter on campus. He joined RC officially as a student!
Mann: Besides the president joining, another atheist has been coming very consistently. And the KSU Sentinel did an article about that evening’s respectful interaction…
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