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Vas Avramidis serves as Chapter Director and Chaplain of the Ratio Christi club at Rutgers University.
Avramidis is an artist, writer, herbalist, and apologist who specializes in theological aesthetics, ecology, and comparative religion. As a former atheist, Avramidis immediately saw the need for strong apologetics teaching within the Christian community. “As an atheist, I found most Christians did not have a firm grounding in WHY they believed,” said Avramidis, “and when I was saved, I made a firm declaration to always be ready to give a reason for the hope that was in me.” And thus a love of apologetics was birthed within Avramidis from his earliest days as a Christian.
Avramidis has a strong desire to work with college students, helping them broaden and deepen their faith. It was in college that Avramidis originally lost his faith, becoming an atheist and communist. He hopes by working with college students, he can assist them in avoiding the same pitfalls that ensnared him. College is a perilous time for the faith of a young person; many challenges face them in those formative years: skeptical colleagues, antagonistic professors, and an assortment of temptations. Apologetics and a strong Christian community can help students retain their faith in the face of such challenges. This is exactly what Avramidis believes to be his true calling; Ratio Christi helps make this possible.
Vas Avramidis resides in Pittstown, New Jersey where he is married to Jana, an eighth grade math teacher, with their two potbelly pigs Lulu and Charis. Avramidis is an aspiring homesteader, growing their own organic produce and chestnuts. Avramidis is also a community herbalist, primitive skills enthusiast, and wild foods forager.
I was raised in a very nominal Christian home. While I attended church on most Sundays and went through youth group and religious education, my family didn’t make faith an important part of our home life. When I went to college, I was instantly drawn by the many new ideas to which I was being exposed. Under the influence of a charismatic philosophy professor, I renounced my faith and became an atheist and communist. This professor taught that Jesus never existed and that religious faith was foolishness. I became a staunch apologist for atheism; studying philosophers like Bertrand Russell, I absorbed all their arguments against Christianity and a belief in God. I would seek out Christians to debate with and found them to be easy marks, as most Christians I encountered had no answers to my challenges; they may have known what they believe in, but not why they believe it.
Slowly, however, my assuredness in atheism began to unravel. I found that materialism and the atheistic worldview had no satisfying answers for questions of suffering, pain, evil, and purpose. So, one spring afternoon I took my first step towards faith and became a Wiccan; I still wanted nothing to do with the Christianity of my youth, for it seemed shallow and empty. But God had other plans for me. I quickly abandoned Wicca and explored other faiths such as Buddhism and Hare Krishna, but I still found no satisfaction. Jesus kept on chasing me; I could not avoid Him. I found myself inexplicably listening to Christian talk radio and buying a New Testament, but still I resisted.
One January, I was invited by an old friend to a Gospel concert in Newark, New Jersey. I wanted to go and support her, but I was uncomfortable with the idea. Reluctantly, I went. During a song called :Anchored in the Lord,” the Holy Spirit changed me. The song compared our lives to a ship at sea with no anchor. In the daylight, you may be able to spot land and know where you are, but in the dark of night, you are pushed by the tossing of the waves out to sea, and in the morning, once again, you realize that you are lost. That song moved me – it perfectly described my anchorless life. Jesus was the anchor that I needed to find safety and assurance. But I still resisted. That is, until the pastor asked all the men to stand and dedicate their lives to Christ and His church; still I sat, unmoved, not ready to make any commitments. It was then that the woman sitting next to me looked over and said words I will never forget: “Boy, stand up and be a man for once in your life!” I instantly stood at attention like a soldier whose commander had just walked into the room. My commander did walk into the room that day: Jesus Christ. I gave my life to Him in that instant.
Since that day I have been drawn to apologetics. I didn’t want to be one of those Christians who didn’t have answers to the challenges of skeptics; I wanted to have a reason for the hope that is in me. Almost immediately I began to read and study apologetics. Now I get to share that knowledge and experience with college students at Rutgers.
Statistics show that 70% of young Christians will renounce their faith and leave the church by the time they graduate college. Of those who leave, only 30% will ever return. I was one of the fortunate ones. God called me back and after a long time struggling against Him, I submitted. My hope, work, and prayer is that I can keep young students from leaving the faith in the first place; that they might see that Christianity is a reasonable faith – and that we have answers to the toughest questions leveled at us by the skeptics. And for those who have already left the faith, I want to strive to bring them back home. This is the core mission of the Ratio Christi fellowship at Rutgers University.
SUNY/Empire State – BA Visual Studies
St. Elias School of Orthodox Theology and Seminary – Diploma in Theology
Worldview Weekend Institute – Apologetics Leadership Certificate
Areas of Focus: Theological aesthetics, Culture, Comparative Religion, Ecology, Bible, Theology, Patristics, and Apologetics.