By Haley Costen
The Simmons Christian Fellowship presented a discussion on the role of faith in human rights last Monday in the first floor lounge of Simmons Hall.
Alycia Wood, a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologists at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, spoke and facilitated discussion.
Wood spoke about current human rights issues such as the recent beheadings by members of ISIS, as well as global issues like poverty and natural disasters.
Another factor in Wood’s speech was analyzing where moral codes stem from and idea of moral objectivity, the idea that a system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person’s own opinion, but is factually true.
While Wood maintained that people don’t have to be Christian to do good things, Wood’s idea of good is a quality or characteristic of God.
“I say love is good because God is love,” she said. “I say mercy is good because God is mercy.”
When a student asked about ISIS, Wood turned to objective morality.
“This is the extreme potential of what could happen if we put morality in our own hands,” she said.
She also attempted the question of whether God cares about the problems of the world.
“Does God care? Absolutely. These are his people, his creations,” Wood said. “I think this question arises because of so many misunderstandings about the Christian God.”
Wood briefly spoke about poverty in Haiti and violence in South Sudan, and about why these social injustices happen.
“The reason this is an issue is because we’re dealing with the evil in the hearts of people,” Wood said.
Part of Wood’s discussion was posing the question of how to change the human heart.
Wood spoke about Thomas Tarrants who founded the White Knights branch of the KKK and was arrested when planning a bombing. Tarrants became a born-again Christian in prison and is now the president of the C.S. Lewis Institute, a Christian organization, according to Wood.
“He changed and he’s the nicest guy you’d ever know,” according to Wood.
Wood believes that the biggest threat to social justice and human rights is greed and that if people were not greedy and selfish, crimes would not happen.
“It’s not about laws. You can’t make laws to change people. It has to be a change of heart,” Wood said.
When one member of the audience asked why God commanded people to kill groups of people in the Old Testament, Wood replied that the group in question was the Canaanites, “idol worshipers” who sacrificed children.
“We determine what God does is unjust based on what we see. What you see in this section [of the Bible] is God acting, serving justice and punishment,” Wood said.
Wood concluded the talk by urging students to “talk with their money,” and to support fair trade organizations, and buy products with good causes.
Sophomore Mary Ying spearheaded the event and asked Wood to speak at the College.
“I thought it was really interesting to have Alycia on campus because [religion] is a sensitive topic. I liked that it was a more philosophical conversation. I think people at Simmons appreciate critical thinking,” Ying said.
Tori Mead, an alum who works with the Christian Fellowship, was pleased with the event.
“I think the community tends to be socially aware and involved in social justice,” Mead said.