Where is truth? A defence of Christianity in an age of skepticism.

I recently completed a Extended Project Qualification as part of my A-Levels this year. The premise to this task is to choose any topic you want, research it and produce a essay based report, presentation and log book with a supervisor on your chosen topic. My topic was of great interest to me, and to those in my audience who came when I presented my research.

I am attaching the document on to here for those who wish to find out more, of course I don’t know everything on the topic, but it’s a little taster for those who are interested, or for those who already hold knowledge on the topic to broaden their horizons- hope you find it of good taste!

PS: Ignore the highlight/underlined blue, some bits have acquired links to them which is incredibly annoying!

 

 

Where is truth? A defence of Christianity in an age of skepticism.

Extended Project Qualification:

Introduction:

Religion and science have been seen as compatible in centuries gone by. However, in the past few decades especially this view has been challenged by numerous individuals, most notably of recent years, Sir Richard Dawkins, the world-renowned biologist. This research project will not be simply a means of swaying the reader to one particular side, but will attempt a presentation of both sides of what is an ancient discussion. In this project I aim to provide some common questions raised by both atheists and Christians of each other, and how these may be answered. In this you, as the reader, will firstly come to an understanding of what it means to be a Christian, and what is really behind their faith. This will then extend to an understanding of how Christianity can still be relevant and defended in this age of skepticism, as well as what it means to be an atheist and the foundations behind their mindset. This project will finish with a personal conclusion to the paper’s title and I would hope that you take this research as your own, build on it, challenge it and develop your own understanding so you may come to a personal conclusion yourself.

Chapter 1 Defining Christianity:

The Oxford dictionary defines a Christian as an individual who is “a believer in Christianity.” [1] However, Christianity is defined as “The religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, or its beliefs and practices.” [2] Whilst different Christian denominations differ on some issues- all Christians believe the fundamentals that Jesus Christ not only lived, but also that he rose from the dead after being crucified for their individual sins. With this knowledge they can now have complete freedom from sin. This leads me to my next point concerning the significance of the Bible for Christians. For many Christians, this is the literal word of God, spoken through a wide array of individuals. Other Christians may state that the Bible is inspired by God himself, rather than specifically the words He has said. A relevant quote signifying the importance of Jesus’ death to Christians is that “sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” [3] For a Christian this leaves an individual with the proposed consequences of sin, (its guilt, pain and the shame that may come with it) completely removed, by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The most important point here is that Christians believe Jesus removes the barrier (sin) between humanity and God, meaning that they can enter in relationship with him.

This view of sin raises an issue that, surely because sins are forgiven, it gives a Christian the ability to do whatever they desire, as their sin no longer holds power over them. This view however is questionable in itself. If this was the mindset a Christian chooses, then what does their relationship with God really mean to them? Consider this idea. If an individual truly loved someone and trusted them with everything in their life, they would not purposely choose to hurt them with their lifestyle, because of the fact that they know that they would be forgiven anyway. They must make a conscious decision to love them, and do so to the best of their ability, growing in that relationship with that particular individual. This paradigm fits into the way one might have relationship with God. The assertion posed, is if someone truly believes that Christ died for them, that they have forgiveness for everything, even what they are going to do in future, and they also have the knowledge that they have complete, irrevocable love from God, why for any reason would they purposefully continue to sin? This mindset simply does not fit into what defines a Christian.

Followers of Jesus are called to hate sin, not the sinner, just as God hates sin and not humanity (his creation). Sin has had changing perceptions over time, with many sins having altered in their perceived severity, and even perhaps many that were before, are now no longer regarded as such. There are different ways of interpreting the Christian life. However, this doesn’t explain the judgement and hurt caused within the Church towards, for example, homosexuality. This does not fit with the original Christian view. Christians have been called to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” [4] So why is this, in a lot of cases, not reciprocated? The first answer to this may be due to the evidence of humans imperfect nature, there is nobody today who will not have the ability to hurt someone, whether purposefully or not, this is an unavoidable truth. The second answer may be that, over time, many churches have raised topics like homosexuality above all others, and marked  it as a ‘big sin’. However, different denominations today have changed their opinions on homosexuality, with it now being accepted by many churches. It’s odd how some things in particular are talked about less as sins, and issues such as homosexuality are accentuated. The confusion may come when some sins are seen as more or less bad, but in the Christian God’s eyes every sin is seen to be equal, yet many struggle to see this. Sin is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” [5] ;it is anything that causes a departure from God’s love for an individual and his particular divine plan for them.

Francis Chan, a pastor and theologian speaks on a variety of topics to do with sin and a question is presented by him concerning homosexuality. He asks if, as an individual, “you are willing to surrender to God no matter what he says?” The main point he poses is “Would you surrender if God asked you to do something you did not want to do?” [6] Since a lot of what Jesus teaches is to deny oneself, pick up ones cross and follow his teachings within the bible. Really the core issue is not the sin itself. It is the question that, as a Christian, can a particular pleasure be denied by an individual with the aim to follow God’s will instead, even though it is against what they would have desired. The question is, if God is a real entity, can anyone deny his will? God’s will is going to be infinitely more advanced than anyones because of His omnipresence. A core belief of Christianity is can one give over ones life to Jesus, in every aspect, even when circumstances may say otherwise? The question of homosexuality and whether it is right or wrong is disputed even within the Christian community. Historical change in perception of particular sins like this shows how, like science, certain truths are open to change. Individually these truths vary further, for instance in the case of homosexuality, some Christians completely disagree, whilst others believe it is not loving to say that an individual cannot live their life like this- to say they can’t is not following the teachings of Jesus. Hence, this proves that opinions and truths are in no way unchangeable.

The ‘good news’ as it is often labelled by Christians is that they have forgiveness and love from God. They have acceptance. He is their saviour, and whatever they do, they are forgiven and they believe that they have eternity secured in him. Christians believe that there is a true change from old to new, and that there is evidence God is changing an individual. Christianity is not about following a rule book, or worrying constantly about the consequences of ones actions. It is not weighed down by theology, and doesn’t describe or contain a God who loves only if his will is satisfied. Being a follower of Jesus is the belief in a God who came down to his creation, rather than one who asked his creation to come up to him. Religion says “do works to get to God.” [7] Whereas Christianity says God has done everything, broken down every barrier to Him, and from this anyone who so wishes can be filled with a desire to express their love for him through their life. Any barriers allowed between God and oneself is what determines the bond one can have; after all “at that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” [8] God has broken down the barriers to get to his creation, the question is, do his creation have the desire to break down theirs to get to him?

Chapter 2 The atheist: 

The definition of an atheist is described as an individual in complete disbelief of religion, “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God.” [9] ultimately there is no God. But there are variations within this. For example Practical Atheism states that “the existence of gods is not rejected, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.” [10] Some believe in the Big Bang theory (being one of the classic theories for explaining how the universe came into existence), whilst others still believe in very recent theories, for example that the universe was born from another ‘mother’ universe through a black hole, acting as a “type of wormhole”. [11] Some of the contributors to modern science in the world today are also atheists, such as Professor Stephen Hawking. Since the early 2000’s, a type of atheists named New Atheists have developed. Their foundational beliefs are that there is “no divine reality of any kind” and all “religious belief is irrational” and finally that “there is a universal and objective secular moral standard”. [12] These atheists have attracted attention for their more vocalised views, especially as of recent years, promoted primarily by Richard Dawkins and other leading new atheists. Whether their message is via tweets, an advert on a bus in London, or by lecturing at various universities around the world. Their message is clear: God is not real.

As suggested by Andy Bannister, every worldview has three things in common. If one firstly knows the right things as pertaining to a particular worldview, and secondly does the right things, one can then experience the right things and hence reach a state of paradise or perfection as defined within that worldview. Transferring this over to specifically New Atheism, if an individual has the “right secular thoughts” and scientific thoughts, and does the “right things” within this paradigm, then they will become one of the elite, new atheists who may hold themselves in a superior manner to those who still believe in any notion of religion. [13]

The belief in evolution is the widely accepted theory within the scientific community and also within the new atheist system for the development of life on Earth. This being that all of the species of the world have gradually progressed and increased in number, size and complexity and then have adaptively- through selective pressures from environment and other factors- formed the array of species that we have in our world today. Evolution can then break down into micro and macro, however many atheists and scientists deny the possibility of these two forms of evolution, accepting that evolution is simply one long process with no breakdown into the two sub categories. Micro evolution occurs in a small population and is usually over a short period of time and is the “change in gene frequency within a population.”; Whereas macro evolution is major change in a species over a longer period of time. The argument is that micro evolution is happening constantly within species, small adaptions and changes that occur due to a variety of pressures to survive and reproduce. Macro is happening gradually, almost an accumulation, over a period of thousands and thousands of years. [14] There is little debate within the scientific community for the accuracy and truth of these theories, whilst literal creationists however would reject this theory. Most or all thoughtful scientists do believe in evolution, and even Christians who are scientists believe in some parts of evolution, as they do not take creation as literally taking seven days.

Chapter 3 Faith:

Faith is described by W.H Griffith Thomas as something that “affects the whole man’s nature, it commences with the conviction of the mind based on adequate evidence, it continues in the ultimate confidence of the heart or emotions based on conviction and it is crowned in the consent of the will by means of which the condition and confidence are expressed in conduct.” [15] Dawkins balks at any notion of faith, stating it is “just like believing in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, when you grow up, you grow out of it.” [16] A logical extrapolation of this comment, one can see that as we grow old and gain understanding, we should mature from Christianity and give into the inevitable “truth” that is atheism. Inferences from Dawkins’ comment on faith suggests that the two billion Christians in the world today are walking blindly, and should have matured enough to lose their faith and see that atheism is correct. Dawkins offers his own opinion on this matter of faith and how he may describe it: “faith is the great cop out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence, faith is belief in spite of even perhaps because of the lack of evidence, faith is not allowed to justify itself by argument.” [17] A deconstruction of this may show his statement is flawed. Where is the evidence that anyone describes faith in this way? Dawkins can offer no defence of his definitive statement, and it bears little relation to the faith that Christians profess. No evidence is offered that is representative of religious views. No authority is cited in its support. Theologians today do not recognise Dawkins’ own ‘definition’ of faith as the one that describes their true faith. However, it can be argued that this is only an opinion of faith and not a definition, hence it is really incontrovertible in this sense, not able to be disproved or approved, only discussed.

As an opposing view it could be argued that Christians also have conflicting comments on atheism. As Christians are not atheists, they can comment with little authority on the topic. However, Dawkins does exactly the opposite of this, his “engagement in theology is superficial and inaccurate, often amounting to little more than cheap point scoring.” [18] He places Christianity and faith into a box that he controls. Yes, Dawkins has utter authority in the biological field, but in theology, he cannot maintain the same authority- exactly as Christians cannot have such authority in atheism. Is it possible to have true insight and understanding of the other, without tremendous amounts of research, unbiased perspectives and having the experience of being an atheist or being a Christian? The comments made are never going to be truly objective, which is why for both sides of this debate there must be universal foundations of reasoning that can be looked to, to help facilitate the discussion. An interesting perspective taken from research by Jung on faith is that “surely the image we have or make for ourselves of God is never detached from man” [19] How is it that religion claims to have an un-separated image of God? The question really may be ‘how did this image get there?’ Has God has planted it on man’s subconsciousness, or do we each construct our own image of a supposed God?

Chapter 4 Why suffering?

A book that hugely influenced this chapter, is “Why suffering?” by R. Zacharias. This topic could be the most important reason why people choose not to become a Christian in society, and for Christians it is one of the most common questions that are asked. This topic has always been hugely debated, it is an almost innate reaction to what can be seen around the world; suffering, pain and anguish. How could there be a God who allows any of that? The issue of suffering could be described as a many faceted diamond. There are so many different viewpoints and varying degrees of answers in countless different aspects. Will there ever be an emotionally and intellectually satisfying answer to this question? It is likely there won’t. The standpoint in answering this question can be done so on an emotional level and a theological level. Finding the answer, is so intellectually challenging, that one wonders why many individuals try to work this question out, possibly one reason is because there is a sense of justice that many seek out. For the atheist, the evidence of any evil in the world justifies atheism. For the Christian, the evidence of evil is justified by the knowledge of a God who stepped down into his creation and as Friedrich Nietzsche puts it: “the Gods justified human life by living it themselves, the only satisfactory (response to the problem of suffering) ever invented.” [20] There is no religion where a God ever steps into suffering, where a God stands alongside their creation and walks with them. Jesus. A name that means something different to every individual. He is the only reason why suffering can be justified within Christianity.

This question of suffering is the stumbling block for all religions, not just Christianity. This is partly because there is no complete answer, and because there seems to be built within humanity this desire for justice, knowledge and to make sense of our world. But where does this desire come from? Why if humans are creatures ruled by their DNA, simply pre-programmed to act how they do, in a deterministic way rather than through free will, why is there a need to understand the world and to answer this question of suffering? If one decides to subtract suffering from the greatest people in this world over all history, one quickly finds that there is no heroes. No great sacrifices. “No great moments of forgiveness and reconciliation.” [21] No compassion and no strength. If suffering is removed from our world, what is left? A world without any need or desire to love or to help others. Arguably individuals would all be a lot more similar in character, as nobody would have been able to develop their character through turmoil, moments of terror or sadness. There would be no Martin Luther King, no Ghandi and certainly no Nelson Mandela. Reflecting on the issue of suffering, whilst there is the wish for it to be removed, one could also say that without it, the world would not only be a different place, it would be a place where nobody alive today would exist. The person someone is today, without the suffering they may have experienced, would not be them. They have been moulded and changed by the suffering in their life, these moments have defined them. How they act in those moments creates who they are as a person; wishing the non-existence of suffering removes them from existence. Throwaway comments about the removal of suffering from this world are easy, but the reality of doing so is quite far from what one would think.

How can God allow suffering, however? Being omnipotent, He should have the power to stop suffering. If He doesn’t stop suffering, He cannot be omnipotent. Therefore, there is no God. An omnipresent God can see everything and is everywhere, so it’s not as if He isn’t aware that there is suffering, so if He has the ability to stop it and can see everything, why does He not? An omnibenevolent God would not allow even the possibility of suffering, surely, why would an all loving God allow His creation (which He loves infinitely) to suffer? The Omniscient God knows everything, hence, He can see all past, present and future and is present in all three of these, therefore, He is aware of all suffering, there is nothing that can escape His knowledge, so He cannot be omnibenevolent, as the awareness of this suffering would surely make Him stop it? Therefore He is not all loving. Furthermore, if God can see all but does nothing about it, this further compounds the fact that He is not all loving, and that He perhaps isn’t as powerful as we think, otherwise He would remove all suffering. Therefore God cannot exist. This argument is one of the strongest against the existence of God, and is perhaps one that every individual can relate to. It completely defies all logic and human intuition to state that God can be all of this, and yet, there is still suffering, which leads one to jump to the immediate conclusion He cannot be real. [22]

If one delves deeper and considers the reason for the allowance of suffering by God, there may be a different conclusion. If God created a world without suffering, there would not only be an inability to experience suffering, but there would also be an inability to experience love. Where is there love without sacrifice? Love, happiness, kindness and compassion. All of these are removed with this harsh reality. There would be a constant state, where no-one could experience these actualities. The reason for allowing suffering doesn’t mean that God doesn’t regret the choice of suffering, or that it’s easy for him to allow it, “it is a sobering decision, allowing suffering but allowing life at the same time, love is what it is, proved by the creators readiness to come into the world alongside the creatures who suffer and suffer with them.” [23] When examining a world without suffering, a world is revealed where nobody has the ability to hurt one another, therefore there would not be the facility to have free will. Every decision one could make would have ‘strings attached’, there could not be a free choice to love someone, as every individual would be pre-programmed to commit acts to love a particular person. This would be a world where autonomy is not present, no-one could make a decision without the external influence of God and his divine intervention every time suffering may happen. How could any individual love someone or love God if this is the condition that humans were in? This is forced ‘love’. Perhaps God chooses to allow suffering, despite how devastating the consequences, to allow humanity to experience love, to experience joy, and a whole host of other incredible emotions. However, not only this, but also to have the ability to love him, to choose to love him. Perhaps the real question needs to be reframed, what if one thought about what God actually values, greatly and unconditionally, “what if he valued a world in which you could exist, and in which your parents would exist, and your grandparents and your ancestors, before them? Suppose He wanted a world in which every generation in every part of the world is made up of people He has chosen because He loves them and desires to call them into relationship with himself.” [24]

The Bible starts with the words “In the beginning God” [25] and adding to this Christians would rephrased this as “in the beginning God has a purpose, love, intent, design and brought the created world into being.” or one could say “in the beginning there was no purpose, no design, and from primordial sludge an ordered world came into being through an evolution of organisms, increasing in complexity until thought finally emerges and the species we know today as homo-sapiens were formed.” these two different worlds are vastly different, one offering hope, the other offering absolutely nothing. If there is the possibility of love, there has to be a reality of freedom. With the reality of freedom comes the possibility of pain. Through this reality one may find we need a saviour, and through this saviour Christians believe you can find redemption. The question of suffering is never ending, and after the thousands of years this question has been posed, no one is close to the answer. Atheists may say they have reached the answer, having closed off all other possibilities and dismissed those still searching for a different answer to theirs. But why does a parent have a child, with the knowledge that their life will be filled with joy, but unimaginable suffering as well? They know this fact, yet continue to have children- love seems to win out. At this time in civilisation, nobody can put a full stop onto the end of the question of suffering.

Chapter 5 Morality:

One of the main footholds for Christianity is the supposed existence of morality. Morality is  “the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour” [26] a drive to help people in need, or people who are hurting- an inborn desire. The argument is that there is no God because of all the evil in the world and if one applies this to morality one can see how this may interact. R. Zacharias questions a student in one of his lectures who asked this question on evil and suffering and how he believed it could disprove God. Professor Zacharias states that “if you assume evil, then you assume good.” therefore if one assumes there is good, one must assume “a moral law to distinguish between the two” but if one assumes a moral law, then one must surely “posit a moral law giver” but that is the person “you are trying to disprove”. His finishing comments are that, if there is “no moral law giver, there is no moral law. If there is no moral law there’s no good, if theres no good, theres no evil, what then was your question, sir?” [27] Denying good means not only taking out the moral law, but also the moral law giver. Where does morality come from? Naturalists would state that there is no morality, or that morality was evolved from an ape who had no ‘mind’ or ‘self’ and this is how the unexplainably complex and intricate brain and also thought came into being. [28] Morality, the inborn drive to do right as the atheist will say, was produced as a product of evolution, the Christian will say that it was given to humanity and built in by God, so that His creation could have the ability to have free will, choosing for themselves what to do, enabling freedom, love and other emotions, decisions and ways of life. Objective morality is possible with Religion, as it is morality produced outside of the self. However, subjective morality that is offered by atheism is changeable and can be assigned to whatever an individual decides, produced by each self for themselves. One third of philosophers today agree that there is no objective moral law without God. [29]

Chapter 6 Science verses Christianity? 

A particular argument is that being a modern being, with knowledge of science, and the way the world really works, there is no longer the need for or the ability to be compatible with religion. Richard Feynman, a Nobel prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, states that science is a “body of statements of varying degrees of certainty, some most unsure. Some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.” [30] This is a foundational belief as a scientist. An individual who actively seeks out the newest evidence, raw data, discovers and looks for answers to problems, unknowns and advancement of the human race with their findings. However, Atheists today, such as “Dawkins, seem to deduce science to as if it were a pure matter of logic” [31] a scientist finds something, therefore it is absolute fact and nothing can change this. But, if one reaches this point where science no longer actively searching around one trail of investigation, and solely choose a route because it is seen as an absolute, then, does one end up losing the ability to be a scientist if this conclusion is reached so quickly?

Science has been an endless blessing and gift to humanity, there would not have been as many advancements, as much safety or comfort as modern society has today. But if one chooses to give science the right that their word is “law”, then somehow along the way one ends up losing the ability to investigate for themselves. Trust is placed on scientists to publish and record their findings with absolute truth and honesty, but, where do they get the impulse to do this- what scientific imperative tells them to do this? How does one know they actually do publish real results? No man is perfect, and not all people are honest. If one hands scientists the role of being able to say something and society immediately accepts, where will that lead humanity? Views in science have been radically changed or even abandoned over time on many points, things seemingly certain have been lost and replaced with a different idea. Dawkins seems to believe his views are certain and that they cannot be changed, when history itself shows a constant change in beliefs, what will happen in future if Darwinism is proved wrong and another theory takes its place due to new evidence or thinking? The theory may fall.

Both science and religion have their more negative aspects. Religion has caused war and massacre, crusades and death over all of history. But the same is also true for atheism. In the 20th century those who became atheists decided to try and remove religion as a humanitarian act, removing the supposed deplorable acts of murder intolerance and repression. These were carried out by those who believed religion was holding a negative effect upon society. Communism in Russia was estimated to have killed between 85-100 million people due to the main purpose of eradicating religion, but also assisted through the aims of political dissenters. [32] However, religion eventually became the force that reduced oppression from atheism. It is true to show that atheists and people in all religions have carried out devastating acts all in the name of their belief system, not one in precedence over the other. There is extremes on both sides.

Pre-conclusion: 

If the issue of what history shows is no indication as to the answer of this debate, what will be? The consensus in society today is that one cannot be a scientist and a Christian. Actually the opposite is true. A man named Francis Collins (born 1950): is the current director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute. Alister McGrath (born 1953): Prolific Anglican theologian who has written on the relationship between science and theology in ‘A Scientific Theology’. McGrath holds two doctorates from the University of Oxford, a DPhil in Molecular Biophysics and a Doctor of Divinity in Theology. He has responded to the new atheists in several books, i.e. ‘The Dawkins Delusion?’. [33] As of early 2014, McGrath will be the New Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford. George Francis Rayner Ellis (born 1939): co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time (with University of Cambridge physicist and atheist Stephen Hawking) which was published in 1973, and is considered one of the world’s leading theorists in cosmology. He is an active Quaker and in 2004 he won the Templeton Prize. [34] These scientists, who are also Christians, are just a small number of elite scientists who are actively contributing outstanding work to the scientific community in society today. Those who state that the compatibility of science and Christianity is false, their accusation itself may be wrong. These particular scientists are intelligent individuals, not fooled into faith, but rather have consciously sought out, investigated and challenged their faith in Jesus Christ. They now find themselves in the position of being a Christian, whilst being incredible scientists as well.

The arrival of modern science as it stands today was built from the 16-17th centuries in Christian culture. Faith was far from being the hinderer of science, but rather was the force that drove science, the genius’ and pioneers in science were Christians, so how has it come about that science has supposedly buried God? John Lennox states that God as an explanation doesn’t compete with science, because “he’s not that kind of explanation”, God is the explanation of why there is a universe “which is then capable of being explained scientifically.” so in fact, here one can see that there is compatibility between the two initial statements. [35] Even in terms of theories that are thought to disprove Christianity (for example the Big Bang) maybe all is not as it seems. Fred hoyle who first thought of the idea of the Big Bang, was resisted by the scientific community for a time, because of how it was so parallel with the biblical story of creation [36] “let there be light.” [37] This demonstrates this friction between science and Christianity, and how this is constantly present, as those who reject Christianity today do not want it infringing on science, even though modern science was established using outstanding Christian scientists. Even the great universities in Europe have their historical roots deep in Christian backgrounds. [38] Alongside this is the issue of moving from ones field and speaking into another field which one is not experienced in. When science steps out and attempts to explain why there is no God and how science may disprove God, ultimately it has no right to speak on these things with the given authority that it has within that particular field of study.

It is “logically impossible for a cause to bring about some effect without already being in existence.” [39] Laws in science do not create anything, they don’t cause anything, they describe it once you have got whatever that particular law concerns. When religion or science make the cardinal blunder of trying to explain each other’s field, then all truth fades and foundations crumble, stretching or distorting the truth that was there. The debate of Christianity versus science is certainly interesting, but is there really the need for a debate in the first place? There is no argument or debate that has disproved the existence for God. Likewise, there is no Christian who has or will find the need to disprove the existence or need for science. These two separate entities can and are often fused into one, as shown by the many people who practice both Christianity and science on a daily basis. Dawkins describes his stance on Christianity “I do not believe in a personal God, if something in me is religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” [40] or to alter this slightly, what Dawkins may be doing is using science to reveal the structure of the world as God has masterfully created it. Science cannot disprove God, yet.

Conclusion: 

Whilst this project will have been flawed in its understanding in many ways, its intentions were not. This project’s aim was to shed light on a debate of Christianity and science, the main arguments that are raised by either side, and show how Christianity can be supported by arguments, where the secularist society today states that it cannot. The priority of this project was to provide both sides of the argument, show that there can be compatibility, and also help the reader to be closer to making a decision for themselves.

Take the vastness of our universe, the expansion-contraction ratio had to be so exact, and the margin of error so small in this point within the Big Bang for the moment of expansion to occur. It would be the same as taking aim at a one square inch object, 20 billion light years away, and hitting it bullseye, how is this be explained by simple chance? Some naturalists have stated that “we reject the miraculous”, why in the face of such ridiculous chance, is this the conclusion immediately? [41] Whilst the theory that scientists believe disproves Christianity- evolution- could be the evidence of God’s hand working through creation. Ultimately current knowledge of evolution and the theories on origin of the Universe cannot fully explain and be certain of the original beginning of the universe.

Personal Conclusion: 

I am a Christian and also a studier of science. The only event in the world, which I myself believe (and millions around this world do too) that brings justice, salvation, righteousness, love and forgiveness, is the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross that adorns uncountable pieces of jewellery, the most common tattoo imprinted around the world, the cross that stands on and in, thousands of church’s in the world today. The cross that unites every individual into a community with each other and with God, and shows the love of the creator, and how important to him it was to reach down and suffer alongside his creation in the most excruciating of deaths. R. Zacharias highlights this point masterfully: “The one event in the whole world where evil was seen for what it was, justice was met out by a righteous and holy god, and love was met unparalleled. A cosmic drama was unfolding, and a forgiveness that is willing to wipe your slate clean and forgive every single person.” [42]  Every other religion is about earning the right to grace, but with Christianity we obediently follow it because of God, because of who he is and what he has done. You do not have to earn God’s love, he freely gives it. You cannot do anything wrong in his eyes, you have been made pure and right. You, the reader, make the decision, it is your choice, your free will, the decision is open, this project was to provide an insight into both sides of the argument, so that you are stimulated to choose a stance. I hope that this may prompt you to choose a position, to seek knowledge, and challenge the views you now hold, as writing this has challenged my own faith. Jesus’ death is evidence of a God reaching out to his creation. Don’t sit idly. Seek the answers out. It’s refreshing, it’s reviving, and maybe, just maybe, the conclusion you yourself reach, will be different from what you thought it may be. Be a Skeptic, but first search out truth, the ultimate goal of all pursuits, “it is the most valuable thing in the world, so valuable it is often protected by a bodyguard of lies.” [43] The aim of this project was to show that everyone has an individual truth. A personal truth, that can neither be proved or disproved by anyone else, it is the owners and themselves alone who can confirm it for themselves. It is incontrovertible. I do not want to make people believe my truth, or to make them believe another. This project acts as a guide to begin or continue thinking on where truth is. Is it found in being a skeptic, a Christian, or conforming to another worldview entirely?

Bibliography: 

[1] Oxford dictionaries. (2015). The definition of a Christian. [Online]. Available from: < http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/christian?q=christian+ > [Accessed: September 2015].

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