Chances are… A bold campaign
by Marion Van Driel
On September 26, a new 29-week campaign was launched by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) to engage radio audiences in thinking more deeply about today’s most commonly asked questions around hot button topics like justice, tolerance, suffering, happiness, success, love, depression and sexuality. Chances are, we all think about these subjects. The desire of RZIM is to influence those who shape our culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in a way that reveals the Gospel’s credibility and relevancy: “Helping the thinker believe. Helping the believer think.”
The Chances are… initiative challenges misconceptions about the Christian faith with an intention of removing intellectual barriers to accepting a Christian worldview. Radio broadcasts and online videos (ChancesAre.ca) employ deductive reasoning and apologetics to tackle these relevant topics. Short, attention-grabbing radio spots invite people to engage via website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google hangouts (a video chat).
A serious Muslim for most of his life, Abdu Murray spent nine years investigating the foundations of the major world religions, reaching the conclusion that only Christianity is able to answer the mind’s questions and fulfill the heart’s longings. Today Murray is the RZIM North American Director and a featured speaker for the campaign. He shares: “If a worldview is true, it should answer all of life’s fundamental and central questions coherently.”
Bold and ground-breaking
Chances are… is the culmination of a 10-year dream to make an impact through secular as well as Christian broadcasting. Murray says that when the opportunity arose, the big challenge was about being effective in a culture where everything moves so quickly – especially in radio ads. RZIM came up with the idea of having one-minute ‘drive time’ spots that pose a deep question Murray explains. “’Chances are, you’ve thought about this’, with a goal of driving (the audience) to the website where they can get more in-depth information, if people are interested in doing so,” he says. “And we’ve been blessed to find out that they actually are.” Part of the goal is to get Christianity outside the misconception of being irrelevant or that it’s not for thinkers.
But the campaign isn’t just for those who have not yet embraced the Christian faith. Churches can use the campaign as a resource to help provide biblical answers to some of life’s tough questions. Chances are… is bold, Murray says, because “it dares to ask the questions that stalk our minds and our hearts” and tackles these issues from an abashedly Christian perspective in a secular arena. “We don’t shy away from tough topics, whether it’s about God and dying, suffering, sexuality, spirituality or what success really means . . . and invite people into the Christian faith. It used to be that Christianity was in the public square, and no one bothered to oppose it. But now, if you’re outspoken with the Christian faith, you can get some opposition with that.”
Asking questions, answering people
The videos bring the intellectual and the emotional together. “Now we help the thinker to believe, but also help the thinker to understand that there are elements deeply existential and emotional which we wrestle with. What I embrace in my heart must make sense in my mind, but what makes sense in my mind must also touch my heart,” Murray explains. “Hopefully it will become clear that we’re not just answering questions. We’re following what the Apostle Paul said in Colossians 4:6, . . . that we are to know how to answer each person. We’re not in the question-answering business. We’re in the people-answering business. Questions don’t need answers; people need answers.”
Perhaps the most commonly held misconception of Christianity is that it’s intolerant because it claims to have an exclusive lock on truth. While Christianity does claim the only way to salvation, Murray explains it’s not arbitrarily exclusive, quoting John 3:16 in this way: “God so loved the world (that’s everyone) that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever shall believe (that’s anyone) shall not perish but have everlasting life”. Murray says the invitation is broad and that “Christianity is the most ‘pro people’ view of the world there is, because it says that each one of us is made in the image of God.” Chances are… invites a diverse population to investigate the compelling truth of the gospel.
With a BA in psychology and Doctorate in law, Abdu Murray is the Scholar in Residence of Christian Thought and Apologetics at the Josh McDowell Institute of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He has spoken to diverse international audiences, participating in debates and dialogue around the world.