Prof tells teenagers that science points to God
Oxford University mathematics professor Dr John Lennox addressed over 2,000 teenagers at the Newday festival near Norwich today (August 17) on the hot topic Has Science Buried God. Keith Morris reports.
Fresh from the latest bout in his long-running series of high-profile debates with well-known new atheist and fellow Oxford professor Richard Dawkins, Prof Lennox accepts that science and mathematics cannot prove that God exists but does provide evidence beyond all reasonable doubt.
”The new atheists want us to believe we are nothing but a random collection of molecules, the end product of a mindless process. This, if true, would undermine the very rationality we need to study science,” said Prof Lennox. ”If the brain were really the result of an unguided process, then there is no reason to believe in its capacity to tell us the truth.
”But my biggest reasons for believing in God are, on the objective side, the resurrection of Jesus and, on the subjective side, my own personal experience of him and what flows from trusting him day by day over the last 60 or so years.”
Dawkins says that science leads to atheism while Lennox argues that science leads to God. All of the early scientists were Christians, such as Galileo and Isaac Newton and they were motivated by their own belief in a divine law-giver, said Lennox.
He quoted CS Lewis, who said: ”These men became scientists because they were looking for laws in nature because they believed in a divine law-giver.”
”For me the beauty of the scientific laws only reinforces my faith in an intelligent, divine creative force at work,” said Prof Lennox. ”The more I understand science, the more I believe in God because of my wonder at the breadth, sophistication and integrity of his creation. Far from being at odds with science, the Christian faith actually makes perfect scientific sense.”
He used the example of a few letters drawn on a sandy beach. ”The instant response is to recognise the work of an intelligent agent. How much more likely, then, is an intelligent creator behind the human DNA, the colossal biological database that contains no fewer than 3.5 billion 'letters'?”
When asked how he approaches a debate with someone such as Prof Dawkins, Lennox said: ”With great trepidation and a lot of thinking.” There is a lot of anger about religion motivating the new atheism of people such as Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, believes Prof Lennox.
”Some of it is a reaction to extremist things like the Twin Towers bombing and so on. Then they make an irrational deduction that this is fanatical religion and that grows on the edge of normal religion so we must get rid of it all. But they are beginning to back away a little bit from that naive approach in which they are shooting themselves in the foot. One of them, Sam Harris, has pointed out, if we continue to put the Amish in the same camp as suicide bombers we are not going to do ourselves any good. But there is a lot of anger out there and it is catching the spirit of the age, which is why there is such a response.”
When asked how he might convince the 6,000 young people at the Newday festival at the Norfolk Showground to consider the Christian faith, Prof Lennox said: ”It is my part to present the evidence and I really do believe that God can open people’s eyes and I leave the rest of it to God.
”But do not give in to the false idea that you cannot be an intelligent person and still believe in the existence of God. It is atheism which is the real delusion.”