Photo courtesy Faculty Commons
Faculty & Graduates

What I Can’t Say In The Classroom

Scientists answer faith questions of Texas Cru students.

Rich Atkinson

Faculty Commons sponsored an event on the University of Texas campus in Austin called, “What I Can’t Say In The Classroom.”

It featured 3 professors including astronomers Dr. Don Winget and Dr. Sarah Salviander and cell biologist Dr. Martin Poenie describing their faith journeys following by a time of questions and answers.

Some 170 undergraduate students involved with Cru met in in the Longhorns for Christ building, which is the place where the Cru undergrads meet for their regular Tuesday night meetings also known as Cruesdays. Students listened and learned from the professors about life and Christ.

“The impetus for this came as we were in a Faculty Commons mid-year staff conference and I heard others from our staff around the country doing this,” says Karen Ness. “I thought this was an easy win as we try to connect faculty and students more closely.”

Examples of the questions the professors fielded included:

  • How do I defend my belief?
  • What is the best approach to living in an environment where many of the people around me do not hold my beliefs?
  • How do I cope and live in that environment?
  • How should students respond to a professor who is actively anti-Christian?

Dr. Winget gave his advice. “You love them and you talk to them,” he says. “But if you are aggressive with them then you are not doing anyone any good.” Dr. Winget refers to himself as a former “fire-breathing atheist.” He placed his faith in Christ partially because Christians loved him where he was at and were caring and kind.”

“I think it was important for the students to realize that people who are at the University of Texas and were educated are not all atheists,” says Dr. Winget. “There are people in the university environment that you can talk to and bring questions to and who can sit down with them.”

That’s what his pastor did. That’s what Dr. Winget and his wife seek to do. “When students want to talk, we try to make time.”

And that’s what happened at the event. Students hung around for more than 30 minutes afterward and when the lights had to be turned off and the building locked up some of the question and answer discussions moved outside.

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