Science and religion are two of the most important forces in the modern world. In the last decade, “New Atheist” writers such as Richard Dawkins have declared that science and religion are locked in mortal combat. Science has disproved God, and religious belief is childish nonsense about “sky fairies”. Many are now weary with such slick and superficial stereotypes. Surely there is a better way of looking at the relation of science and faith? In this lecture, Alister McGrath offers a new way of looking at science and faith, and breathes new life into one of the greatest debates of our time.
As a former atheist, McGrath would once have agreed with Dawkins. Yet where Dawkins believes that science and religion are at war with each other, McGrath shows both both, when rightly understood, enrich each other, opening up a deeply satisfying vision of reality. This lecture, based on McGrath’s new book Inventing the Universe: Why we can’t stop talking about science, faith and God, explores ways of holding together science and faith. Both illuminate part of the “big picture” of life; neither can disclose that picture in its totality.
This lecture is given as part of a series of events to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University, one of the world’s leading institutions for exploring the relationship of the natural sciences and religious faith.
ALISTER MCGRATH is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion. After studying chemistry as an undergraduate at Oxford, McGrath gained a doctorate in molecular biophysics under the supervision of Professor Sir George Radda. After a period specializing in historical and systematic theology, he began to explore the relation of science and faith in detail. As a former atheist, McGrath is especially interested in the role that the natural sciences have played in the apologetics of the “New Atheism”. He is the author of many books, including the international bestseller The Dawkins Delusion? and a recent award-winning biography of the Oxford literary scholar and novelist C. S. Lewis.