Christianity and science are not incompatible

(Photo: Unsplash/Louis Reed)

In 23 years of ordained ministry in the Church of England, I came across many people who assumed that science has 'disproved' Christianity. Having a blind faith in this assumption, they seemed to have been brainwashed by the educational system and the mainstream media.

Young people I came across in parish ministry had been especially bamboozled into thinking that Christianity was not worth looking into because it had been shown to be out of touch with the modern world. My observation was that children from Christian homes seemed to be on the back foot in their school peer groups because their parents had not been equipped by their local churches to help them to stand up against modernist propaganda.

The presentation in the video below exploding the myth that science and Christianity are incompatible is probably the best treatment of the subject I have come across, even during my time at theological college. It is by Gerry Straker, the pastor of Church by the Bay in Morecambe, Lancashire.

Gerry Straker deals deftly with the 'New Atheists' such as Richard Dawkins, showing that Dawkins is not an objective, unbiased scientist but in reality an evangelist for his brand of atheism, which is itself based on dogma. This is exemplified by Dawkins's assertion in his 1995 book River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life:

'In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.'

Who are the 'we' here doing the observing and the expecting? Surely they are people like Dawkins who have made a prior decision to live in a universe where there is no God and therefore no ultimate good?

Another fine exposure of New Atheism's dogmatism is Rupert Shortt's 2019 Spectator article, 'Richard Dawkins and the ignorance of 'New Atheism'. Shortt wrote: 'Starting with an utterly inadequate definition of God as an angry tyrant in the sky, he (Dawkins) then informs us that this monster doesn't exist. It's a true belief widely shared by people on either side of the religious divide. But why should it necessarily be an argument for atheism rather than a spur to resist idolatry?'

Peter Hitchens's 2010 masterpiece, The Rage against God , is an invaluable resource for arguments against the New Atheists, prominent among whom was his late brother Christopher. Hitchens argued against their contention that giving children religious instruction is child abuse: 'The new anti-theism is emphatically not just an opinion seeking its place in a plural society. It is a dogmatic tyranny in the making. I can see no purpose in this suggestion that religion is itself child abuse apart from an attempt by atheists to create the atmosphere in which religious instruction of children can be regulated, and perhaps prevented by law.'

On that note, I would warmly commend the Church by the Bay presentation on Christ and Science to parents looking for excellent educational materials for their children during the lockdown.

And for those of us adults who have got too used to the sentimental, watered-down, BBC 'Thought for the Day' version of Christianity peddled by liberal Anglicans, the robust Christian worldview here backed up by profound learning is a marvellous tonic: