We humans are incurably curious. We ask the big questions about our existence:
how come things exist at all?
How did we get here?
What are we for?
Many people believe science has debunked faith as the answer to these fundamental questions of our existence. Yet, today, the conversation is changing. As scientific discoveries show that our cosmos is much weirder and mysterious than we imagined so we are seeing, what Steven Meyer calls, “the Return of the God hypotheses”, and the dwindling of the popularity of the “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins.
We are certainly rediscovering what Shakespeare said through the words of his hero Hamlet:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
In fact, Justin Brierly who has been hosting high-profile debates between Christians, atheists, and agnostics for nearly two decades, has just released a book called “The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God’. In it, he describes how many of today’s secular thinkers are reconsidering the need for faith and recalling the positive influence Christian beliefs have deposited in our culture.
So, it’s great to have scientist and theologian Prof David Wilkinson from Durham University with us for our “Transforming: Faith and Science” event on Friday 27th October. David has long been a key influencer and communicator on the intersection between science and faith. Bookworms can spend their pocket money on his writing output which covers everything from Steven Hawkings to the search for extraterrestrial life. And did I mention, he is a science fiction buff and Methodist minister!
“Transforming: Faith and Science” is a great opportunity to bring friends and family to what will be a thought-provoking evening. David has agreed to take part in a Q and A session as part of the evening so bring those burning questions about life, the universe and everything you have always wanted to ask but never had the chance.
On Saturday morning we will host an informal time at The Point aimed to help Christians be more confident about sharing our faith in a scientific world. I am sure many of us would find that helpful too.
Talking about strange things in heaven and earth. This Sunday we enter the weird world of Revelation 11. This text gives us a glimpse of the end of history when the final seal is broken open and the stunning promise of God is fulfilled.
The kingdom of the world has become.
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.
The promise that God’s kingdom of goodness and justice will overtake the reign of evil is a vision to cling to in these tragic days of conflict in Gaza and Israel. As I write I am heartbroken and angry at the explosion at the Baptist/ Anglican “Peoples hospital” in Gaza.
As violence piles on violence and atrocity spirals down upon atrocity I find my heart swinging in sadness support of the latest victim and anger against the latest perpetrator, from one side to the other. I am conscious that in this most horrific war, there is a massive emotional pull to choose sides, to identify innocents and to apportion blame.
Yet this is a complex conflict layered and informed by historic injustices, injuries and ongoing grievances. So, I am seeking to see the bigger picture, to pray for the longer view and to ask for peace with justice.
And despite the complexity I take heart from the many other political wars and disputes that have long been laid to rest as new generations rise with fresh energy and new hope for a different world.
And I recall the words of Seamus Heaney, written from within the depths of Northern Ireland’s so-called “troubles”.
History says, don’t hope.
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed-for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.
So, hope for a great sea-change.
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore.
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles.
and cures and healing wells.
Believe in miracles and the great hope of Revelation.