Christianity offers an enhanced capacity to cope with life's uncertainty and complexity, says Alister McGrath

No conflict between science and faith, says scientist

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A scientist who turned his back on atheism has revealed how he became a Christian in a new autobiography.

Professor Alister McGrath explains in his memoir how he discovered his thoughts on atheism were wrong as an Oxford undergraduate.

Alister has since become a key voice in denouncing hardline atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, who claimed religion might be the ‘root of all evil’.

In ‘Through a Glass Darkly’, Alister explains how he discovered the truth about life first through the discipline of science, then Christianity.

He writes that after he became a Christian, he found the ‘conflict’ between science and religion was a myth. And Alister claims that science can only offer “inadequate (and often incomprehensible) logical or mathematical answers to what are fundamentally existential questions.”

Alister added: “Religious faith, seen by dogmatic rationalists as a violation of human reason, is better seen as illustrating the rational dilemma that we all face in trying to make sense of things.
“Faith is a rejection of the rationalist delusion that we can have clear and secure [scientific] knowledge of the answers to ultimate questions about our meaning, value, and purpose.”

Although Alister says Christianity doesn’t give all the answers (hence the title of his book), it “speaks of the embodiment of wisdom and goodness in Jesus Christ, using the language of ‘incarnation’ to express the core belief that Christ manifests and embodies divine wisdom, while nevertheless enduring rejection, suffering, and crucifixion.”

He added: “Christ exemplifies, embodies, and enables the Christian capacity to cope with meaninglessness, incoherence, uncertainty and tragedy.”

“Christianity does not merely offer a new way of beholding our world, but an enhanced capacity to live within that world and cope with its uncertainty and complexity, as well as our own frailty and failings.”

● ‘Through a Glass Darkly – journeys through science, faith and doubt’ by Alister McGrath is published by Hodder and Stoughton

From New Life Newspaper Dec 2020

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