In the spring edition of Barrow Voice, Gaynor Barton wrote about humanism and invited a response from the faith leaders of Barrow. We don’t have faith leaders in the village from Judaism, Islam or other major religions, but two of our Christian church leaders, Clive Watts (Priest in Charge, Holy Trinity Church, Barrow upon Soar) and Neil Jones (Lead Minister, Barrow Baptist Church), were delighted to give their reply.
Christianity offers a ‘why’ answer to the universe and life; science offers a ‘how’.
The truth of Easter is questioned by Gaynor, yet it is the centre of all Christianity. It is the occasion when the promises of God, including a new and meaningful life, are shown to be true. We agree with Gaynor that people don’t just rise from the dead, it’s not natural. However, Jesus’ rising from the dead (resurrection) is super-natural, a demonstration that our earthly death is not the end.
Sadly, a reputation abounds that Christianity and science are incompatible. If you trust one, you must reject the other, apparently this is adopted by Gaynor. However, it is not true. Christianity offers a ‘why’ answer to the universe and life; science offers a ‘how’. Imagine a cake is presented to you. Forensic science could tell us how and when it was made. Only the cook could tell us why it was made (e.g. a birthday cake). This is the relationship that ought to exist between science and faith. This is not naivety on our own parts, Neil is a registered pharmacist and Clive was a clinical specialist nurse.
Belief in God and miracles is sometimes considered intellectual suicide. However, many leading scientists across the world have faith. Ian Hutchinson, Professor of Nuclear Science at MIT believes in miracles, specifically in the resurrection of Jesus. Writing recently, he said, “Science cannot and does not disprove the resurrection.” Hutchinson comes to his conclusion by balancing scientific evidence for the resurrection alongside science’s inability to disprove it, comparing this with historic evidence, both biblical and from other sources, to support it. He finishes by saying the “presumption that science has shown the resurrection to be impossible is an intellectual cop-out. Science shows no such thing.” (http://www.veritas.org/ can-scientist-believe-resurrectionthree- hypotheses/)
Concerning the world and life, we believe that all is crafted by God. Whether this was a process that took billions of years or six days doesn’t matter – there are countless Christians who believe both. Charles Darwin, the hero of atheism, was not an atheist, though he did question his Christian faith at times. In his biography of Darwin, Barlow writes, “Darwin could not conceive how the universe could have been the result of ‘blind chance and necessity’; all this must have had a ‘First Cause’ with an intelligent mind.” Darwin believed that the universe, and subsequent evolution, requires a divine creator rather than a cosmic coincidence. As humans, we have been made in God’s own likeness, which means that we have potential to be creative, responsible and caring – like God. And, as imagebearers of God, we have a responsibility to govern the world in a godly manner: behaving conscientiously, caring for one another, and protecting all life and the environment.
The moral and ethical aspects of Christianity are for our benefit (concerning humanism’s ‘scepticism’ of Christian values, is there anything to be cynical about concerning the directions, ‘do not murder’ and ‘do not steal’?) and adherence flows from a desire to live in the right relationship with God, each other and ourselves. The evidence of this in our lives are love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control – all aspects of God’s character.
The last thing to say is that God loves you and everybody else, whoever they are and wherever they live – each person is therefore intrinsically valuable and each life is worthwhile. In addition, God has a plan and a purpose for your life. This means that you are not a random set of chemical reactions, or a happy accident, that just happens to exist. You are so much more than that. You are an individual that is known, loved and cared for by a loving and caring God. If you wish to find out more, please visit barrowbaptist.org.uk or barrrowandwoldsgroup.com
“the presumption that science has shown the resurrection to be impossible is an intellectual cop-out. Science shows no such thing.” - Ian Hutchinson, Professor of Nuclear Science at MIT