Discussions about the challenges and questions of living faith welcomed Melbourne Adventist university students to a renewed ministry to tertiary students on Friday night, February 27.
I hope this book will encourage them in their faith journey, to feel confident in the fact that questions are legitimate and that it is OK—and possible—to keep believing even when the world around them might say otherwise.
The program included the launch of Why I Try to Believe, a new book by Nathan Brown, book editor at Signs Publishing Company. Copies of the new book were given to each of the students as a contribution to their own faith journey at a critical time in their education and personal development.
“For many students, this is the part of life when their belief system is challenged and confronted with different ideologies,” says Moe Ioane Stiles, Tertiary Ministry chaplain for Adventist students in Melbourne, supported by the Victorian Conference. “The academic world opens up doors to all other worldviews that cause us to question the importance and significance of our own belief system—and rightly so. But it is important that students have the freedom to also ask these questions in a safe environment where their faith can be supported.”
Why I Try to Believe is described as “part memoir, part ‘personal apologetic,’” exploring questions of why, how and what we believe, and what makes belief sustainable amid the many experiences and questions of our lives.
In launching the book, Pastor Tony Knight, director of the Australian Union Conference Resource Centre, applauded the honesty and challenge offered by the book, and emphasised the importance of the choices each person makes in relation to belief and unbelief.
Hosted at Burwood Adventist Community Church, both continuing and first-year students from Melbourne’s six major universities, as well as other tertiary institutions, had the opportunity to meet, eat and discuss some of the questions raised in Why I Try to Believe.
“It seemed like perfect timing to be able to share this new book as a way of beginning our renewed focus on ministry to our students,” says Mrs Stiles. “I hope this book will encourage them in their faith journey, to feel confident in the fact that questions are legitimate and that it is OK—and possible—to keep believing even when the world around them might say otherwise.”
Reflecting on the book’s genesis in the contexts of a friend’s experiment with atheism, Mr Brown talked about his experience of growing up in church but needing to make this “inherited” faith his own. The ensuing discussion invited students to think about the importance of faith and experiences in their lives that have had an impact on why and how they believe.
Why I Try to Believe: An Experiment in Faith, Life and Stubborn Hope is available now from Adventist Book Centres and an ebook for Kindle at <www.amazon.com/dp/B00TTBKGJ6>.