Religion

Unfortunately, many people today see science and faith as enemies rather than friends. Thankfully, there are an increasing number of scientists and intellectuals who are speaking out about their faith. John Lennox is one of them. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, is an internationally renowned speaker on the interface of science, philosophy and religion. He regularly teaches at many academic institutions including the Said Business School, Wycliffe Hall and the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, as well as also being a Senior Fellow with the Trinity Forum. He has written a series of books exploring the relationship between science and Christianity and he has also participated in a number of televised debates with some of the world’s... Read more →


Sir Isaac Newton was one of the fathers of modern scientific revolution. Interesting, he said that his greatest passion was the Bible over and above science. “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” His curiosity about the world was entwined with his reverence for the Creator, whom he credited with the existence of the universe. He was able to hold his scientific discoveries in tension with his faith, rather than replacing God with natural laws. In fact, almost all of the scientific greats of the modern period were also deeply religious people who learned to balance the need for both faith & reason. Read more →


Believe it or not, Christmas is only four weeks away! For followers of Christ, and especially for those of us who pastor a church or speak from time to time, Christmas presents another excellent opportunity to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ. But how do we share this timeless message in new and fresh ways that capture people’s attention and interest? J John from the UK has put together a variety of resources specially related to the Christmas season. Check out his web site for further details. Of note, is the recent release of the book Proclaiming Christmas, a compilation of Christmas sermons from communicators all around the world. I was privileged to contribute my message from a few... Read more →


A few months ago I was privileged to meet Charlie Duke, the tenth person to have walked on the moon. At the event I attended, he shared some amazing stories about his experiences in space. What was most moving for me, was hearing him speak about his conversion story and his current relationship with Jesus Christ. He actually became a bit teary-eyed during this part of his talk, something that didn't happen when he was recounting his first walk on the moon. I told him afterward that it was moving to hear someone become more emotional about their relationship with Jesus than their experience of walking on the moon. He responded by saying, "Yes, I did walk on the moon... Read more →


With over 1,500 new books about Jesus being published every year, why read another book about Jesus? John Ortberg's latest book Who is this Man? The Unpredictable Impact of this Inescapable Man is well worth reading as it gives us a fresh and inspiring look at Jesus and his impact on history. New Testament scholar and historian N.T. Wright says this about it: “One of the big lies of our time is that Christianity has been part of the problem rather than the source of the solution. Most people today don’t realise that things we now take for granted, like education and health care, were reserved for the rich elite in the ancient world until the Christians insisted on providing... Read more →


A Fresh Look at Religion

With the recent Global Atheists Convention in Melbourne, it's worthwhile thinking about religion, including science and faith. Some people think that religion is dangerous and has done a lot of damage in the world. Obviously, there is an element of truth in that. However, Jesus never came to start a religion and his intention was never to produce the kind of violence and hatred that characterises so much of a number of religious movements today. On my BLOG I have some articles about science and faith, as well as an interesting series of faith looking at C.S. Lewis' journey to faith, which involved working through a number of significant objections. These are relevant to our generation today. Click here to... Read more →


Finally, C.S. Lewis had to come to grips with answering the common question: "Isn't Jesus just another good, moral teacher?" Since there is little likelihood that Jesus' claim to deity is legend or myth, we should expect to find something in his words and actions that suggest he thought of himself as divine. Jesus' self-perception as God is clearly seen in the various Gospel accounts. Jesus claimed to be God: He believed he had the power to perform miracles and cast out demons (Matt. 11:2-5. Luke 11:20). Jesus claimed to determine people's eternal destiny (Luke 12:8-9). Jesus placed his personal authority over the Law of God (Matt. 5). In Mark 2:5-7, Jesus shows he believed he had the power to... Read more →


C.S. Lewis also grappled with the validity of other religions - There are so many religions, how can you say which one is right? Are all religions really the same, or is there a difference? How can we say which one, if any, is the right one? Lewis felt it was atheism that wrote off all religious claims as false, while he was free to affirm truth wherever it was found. He accepted truths in other religions. He recognised the similarities - as well as the significant differences between religions. A commitment to Christ does not necessitate the denial of truth in other religions. When it came to other religions, Lewis was an inclusivist - he believed that the only... Read more →


Another objection to faith that C.S. Lewis struggled with was the question: Aren't morals relative? More than two-thirds of Americans deny any belief in absolutes and the statistics would be very similar in other countries. An an atheist, Lewis denied that there were any moral absolutes. When he became a Christian, he insisted that Christian morality had to go beyond mere personal opinion. It had to fit with life as a whole, or it was meaningless. Lewis queried where he got this idea of things being just and unjust. A person does not call a line crooked unless they have some idea of a straight line. An absolute standard of good suggests a God who is the infinite reference point.... Read more →


A good question at this stage in our overview of C.S. Lewis' objections to faith and how he overcame them is, "Is what was true for C.S. Lewis necessarily true for me?" Post-modernism denies meta-narratives: any narrnaitve, story or account of the world that claims to be absolute or all encompassing. It sees no facts, only interretations. There is no such thing as an objective view of reality. Ethical claims are sentiment and de-construction is justice. Lewis lived before the full flowing of post-modern thought but some of its roots were already present in his day. When it comes to post-modernism, Lewis would have agreed that: 1. There are limits to knowledge. 2. Our perpsective does affect what we see.... Read more →


C.S. Lewis also struggled with the question of Wish Fulfilment: Isn't belief in God just a crutch for needy people? Some people believe that humanity invented God out of need - to cope with the uncertainties of a confusing and often dangerous world. The psychological explanation for God is one of the most common arguments against Christian faith (and against any theistic religion). Belief in a god is common to all cultures in all time periods. Atheists prefer to explain this as "wish fulfilment" - that humanity invented God because we wished God existed. Lewis responded to the influential atheists of his time - Ludwig Feuerbach (1804 - 1872), Karl Marx (1818 - 1883) and Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939).... Read more →


C.S. Lewis also struggled with miracles: do you believe in the miracles of the Bible? A miracle is something that comes to us from beyond the world. It is an event that can't happen, but it does. It can't be explained scientifically. Lewis gained attention beyond his academic circles through his unflinching affirmation of the supernatural - God, demons, miracles and all. How could a sophisticated Oxford professor believe in such fables in the 20th century? He took on the task to consider whether it was intellectually honest and realistic to automatically reject miracles. He critiqued naturalism, which claims that miracles were impossible or at least so improbable that they can never be accepted. In his book Miracles, Lewis confronted... Read more →


C.S. Lewis struggled with Imagination: Isn't faith merely imaginary? Reason and imagination were important to Lewis because they had once been separated in his own life but were later brought together. For him, meaning often came through imagination. For some, imagination can seem like an escape from reality. In contrast, Lewis believed that stories can be an escape into reality. Imagination is a means to truth. As part of Lewis' conversion, he received what he later called the "baptism of his imagination." He came to see that his earlier aspirations pointed to something real, unlike his atheism which led him to a grim and meaningless universe. He noted that the authors with the most depth in them were written by... Read more →


C.S. Lewis struggled with Rationalism: Who needs faith? In Lewis' time, the dominant view of life was what we call Modernism, which placed great confidence in reason, the scientific method and rational arguments. We can also call this view Rationalism. There are four basic intellectual positions about the relationship between faith and reason( R stands for reason and F stands for faith): 1. R - F = M (modernism or rationalism). 2. F - R = F (fideism or faith-ism) 3. - F - R = P (postmodernism) 4. F + R = C (classical approach) Lewis took the classical approach: faith plus reason. He definitely saw a place for reason in the Christian faith. He believed there was enough... Read more →


C.S. Lewis also struggled with Myth: Isn't Christianity just one myth above many? Some people believe that Christianity is just a myth, a legend, a nice story made up by some well-meaning religious folks. This was one of the major objections that C.S. Lewis had when he was an atheist. He saw Christianity as “one myth amongst many.” In his biography Surprised by Joy, Lewis wrote that one factor that contributed to his atheism was the similarity between Christianity and pagan mythology. In his secondary education it was assumed that pagan myths were false and Christianity true. He wondered on what basis Christianity could be exempt from the same critical judgment that was passed on myths. In 1916 (at age... Read more →


C.S. Lewis' second obstacle to faith was: The Problem of Evil: How can I believe in God when there is so much evil, pain and suffering in the world? Isn't that inconsistent with an all-good, all-powerful God? The problem of evil is perhaps the greatest of all obstacles for people considering faith in Christ. It was for Lewis. For Lewis, evil was both an intellectual and an emotional problem. He dealt with the intellectual problem in The Problem of Pain and with his own emotional struggle in A Grief Observed. Of course, the problem of evil is not unique to Christianity. Every worldview or philosophy has to deal with why suffering exists. Lewis did not dodge the issue, nor can... Read more →


C.S. Lewis' first objection to the Christian faith was what we could call Chronological Snobbery: What does a two-thousand-year-old religion have to do with me? Lewis wondered how an ancient religion could have anything to do with now. Wasn't Christianity old-fashioned, outmoded and a relic of the past? Hadn't it outlived its usefulness? From Owen Berfield, Lewis learned that for any supposedly outmoded idea, inquiry must be made as to why the idea went out of date, whether the idea was ever refuted, and if so, by whom, and how conclusively? We must not assume that because an idea is old it is therefore false. Lewis later labelled this attitude "chronological snobbery." He defined this as "the uncritical acceptance of... Read more →


In his excellent new book, C.S.Lewis' Case for Christ, Art Lindsley (senior fellow at the C.S. Lewis Institute in Springfield, Virginia) gleans insights from reason, imagination and faith from the life and teachings of C.S. Lewis. Clive Staples Lewis was a writer, teacher, thinker and a Christian. He was an Oxford professor who was born November 29th, 1898 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. he died on November 22nd, 1963, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Lewis became well known in Britain during World War II due to his regular BBC broadcasts. Besides his many books defending and explaining his faith in Christ, Lewis wrote fiction, science fiction, poetry and well-respected works in English literature. His influence only increase with... Read more →


A recent article in Christianity Today by Andy Crouch highlights the ongoing somewhat awkward relationship between science and faith. Elaine Howard Euklund expands our understanding of this relationship in her new book Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think. Her research reveals that "... a whopping 64 percent of elite scientists are atheists or agnostics (compared with 6 percent of all Americans), while a vanishing 2 percent (roughly three dozen of her 1,700 subjects) are evangelical Christians. But in the middle are many, even among the atheists, who describe themselves as 'spiritual,'and many more are respectful of religious faith even if they do not share it themselves." Significantly, Ecklund found that the younger scientists are, the more likely they are... Read more →


The Christian History magazine has been an excellent source of information and inspiration about church history and influential people for many decades now. Magazine issues have included articles on people such as John Calvin, St. Augustine, John Wesley, Charles Finney, C.S. Lewis, and William Wilberforce, as well as topics such as Women in the Early Church, the Great Awakening, the Crusades, and Pentecostalism. Recently, the magazine has been taken out of circulation and has gone completely online. All ninety-nine issues are available free on the Christian History web site and you can also sign up for a free newsletter. Well worth checking out - a wealth of helpful historical information. Read more →