Greg Koukl used to think he was too smart to be a Christian.
The founder and president of Stand to Reason, an organization that urges Christians to think more critically about their faith, Koukl thought Christians did not think enough for themselves. He set out to change that.
“I have learned that Christianity can compete in the marketplace of ideas, if it is properly understood and it is properly articulated,” said Koukl, who will speak at MU twice this week. “Christianity is worth thinking about.”
Koukl, who is also an author and radio talk show host, started Stand to Reason in 1993. It trains Christians — at conferences, in churches and on college campuses — to defend their beliefs in a logical and insightful way.
The organization, which is named for its firm and sensible stance in public debate, offers an alternative way of thinking, Koukl said.
“Americans are not taught to think carefully in school,” he said. “Sloganeering and political correctness have become substitutes.”
The Rev. Ric Rodeheaver, pastor of Evangelical Free Church, brought Koukl to Columbia because he found his ideas thought-provoking.
“I think Christianity has reasonable facts and arguments behind it, but I think that it often does not get represented well,” he said. “Instead, we often see the fanatical, fire and brimstone representation. Greg offers a different representation.”
Koukl’s Friday night lecture, at Middlebush Auditorium on the MU campus, will focus on common arguments against religion that Koukl believes have no intellectual foundation. For instance, Koukl said the assertion that science disproves religion can never be tested.
“Science is not capable of disproving religion,” he said. “It is just not equipped to do so.”
At Conservation Auditorium, on Saturday, Koukl will discuss Christianity and what he believes is its status as the one, true religion.
“I am going to stand up there and say what Jesus said and why he said it,” Koukl said. “It is a lot harder to take exception with Jesus than it is with Greg Koukl.”
Koukl will also speak 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Evangelical Free Church, 600 Silvey St., about how Christians can be better ambassadors in the world.
“For the non-Christian, we just want them to stop and say, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t write Jesus Christ off so quickly just because he hasn’t been represented well,’” Rodeheaver said. “For the Christian, we want them to gain confidence and not be afraid to engage in public debate, just because they do not have every answer.”
Koukl said his goal this weekend is not to convert people to Christianity, but rather to “put a stone in their shoe.”
“I want to see people hobbling out,” he said. “I want to annoy them in a good way.”