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Archive for July, 2011

Hmmm… something is missing.  What is it that I have been forgetting to do?

Gasp!  Teaser Tuesdays!!

I knew I was forgetting something!  It seems like forever since I took part in this fun, weekly activity.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here  is mine from my current read:

“Language differences are part and parcel of human culture. Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English.”

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman (pg. 14)

It would always be a good thing to speak the same language as your loved ones!

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As soon as you saw those words, “Is God Really Dead?” I knew you would HAVE to click on it because you just HAD to investigate such a statement!  Gasp!  Yeah, me too.  This is one of those books sent to me by the publisher for review.  I mention that because I am required to do so, but, I chose God and Stephen Hawking as a title that interested me.  The publisher/marketers have done a wonderful write-up on this little book by John C. Lennox which I will share with you immediately below and then my little review will follow.

Is God Really Dead?  

Stephen Hawking’s logic faces a mathematician’s scrutiny in God and Stephen Hawking 

SEATTLE – Eminent scientist Stephen Hawking’s latest contribution to the so-called New Atheist debate The Grand Design claims that the laws of physics themselves brought the universe into being, rather than God. In this swift and forthright reply, John C. Lennox, Oxford mathematician and author of God’s Undertaker, exposes the flaws in Hawking’s logic in his latest book, God and Stephen Hawking (Kregel Publishers, September 2011,ISBN: 9780745955490, $5.99).

Science has immense cultural and intellectual authority in our sophisticated modern world. With this kind of cache, it must nevertheless be pointed out that not all statements by scientists are statements of science. Therefore such statements do not carry the authority of authentic science, even though it is often erroneously ascribed to them.

God and Stephen HawkingCommonly written off as the inevitable clash between science and religion, the God debate is actually one between theism and atheism, where there are scientists on both sides. With a remarkable surge of interest in God that defies the so-called secularization hypothesis, it could well be that it is precisely the perceived failure of secularization that is driving the God question ever higher on the agenda. Book after book is being published on the subject by prominent scientists, as Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins, Robert Winston, etc. But were Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Maxwell, to name a few, really all wrong on the God question? With such a lot at stake we surely need to ask Hawking to produce evidence to establish his claim. Do his arguments really stand up to close scrutiny? Has the Grand Master of Physics checkmated the Grand Designer of the Universe?

In lively, layman’s terms, Lennox guides us through the key points in Hawking’s arguments-with clear explanations of the latest scientific and philosophical methods and theories-and demonstrates that, far from disproving a Creator God, they make His existence seem all the more probable. Lennox’s book is a great resource for Christians, churches and those in ministry who seek to educate themselves and open authentic dialog with those who question.

Praise for God and Stephen Hawking:

“A brilliant response to Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design. Make sure you hear both sides of the argument.”
-Alister McGrath, author of The Dawkins Delusion

###

Meet John:
 John C. Lennox
John C. Lennox is Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at the University of Oxford, and author of the bestselling God’s Undertaker. He lectures on faith and science at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He has lectured around the world, including in the United States for Ravi Zacharias; in Austria; and in the former Soviet Union. For more about John C. Lennox, please visit http://johnlennox.org

###

John C. Lennox  is available for national interviews June – September 2011 to promote the U.S. release of God and Stephen Hawking.

Interview Questions:

  1. What prompted you to write a response to Stephen Hawking’s book?
  2. What is the “New Atheist Debate”?
  3. How do you explain two different conclusions to the same evidence?
  4. What is the role of science in proving or disproving the Bible? Is there one?
  5. What do you say to critics who believe faith in the Bible is irrational?
  6. Can you give a clear example of one of Hawking’s arguments against a Creator, that actually make His existence more probable?
  7. What do you hope the reader takes away from reading God and Stephen Hawking?

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I thought that was a really nice write-up!

The reader can get a lot of different things out of this little book.  There are a lot of thought-provoking quotes we can share.  One of the first things that caught my attention was the assertion that having faith or the belief in a divine creator does not expel you from scientific pursuits.

“So there is clearly no inconsistency involved in being a committed scientist at the highest level, while simultaneously recognizing that science cannot answer every kind of question, including some of the deepest questions that human beings can ask.”

While speaking of Hawking, Lennox states that, “He is but a step away from regarding atheism as a necessary prerequisite for doing science.”

If this is Hawking’s way of thinking, I can see where Lennox would find this troublesome — we know that there is no such prerequisite.  Yes, scientists (in whatever scientific area they study) need to have open minds.  That does not mean that they need to be atheists; most of the doctors that I know do, at the very least, believe in some kind of a higher power.  That belief in a divine designer does not stop them from practicing medicine!  In fact, the study of medicine and the human body, which is so “Fearfully and  Wonderfully Made,” is more likely to turn studying doctors into believers.

Lennox actually argues that very same point in various areas of this book;  I just happen to agree!  Obviously there is no rule anywhere that says the intellectual mind cannot be a God-fearing one.  I will quote one of my favorite lines from the book here while warning readers that I have taken it completely out of context.  In my mind (which no scientist will ever figure out), it just happens to fit nicely right here.

“…nonsense remains nonsense, even when talked by world-famous scientists.”

After reading through what Lennox had to say, it became obvious that my focus was not on his arguments but on the author himself and a desire to “hear” his thinking.  While taking a look at historical science in his chapter entitled “Science and rationality,” Lennox states the following:

“Indeed, the very reason that science flourished so vigorously in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, under men like Galileo, Kepler and Newton, had a great deal to do with their conviction that the laws of nature reflected the influence of a divine law-giver.  One of the fundamental themes of Christianity is that the universe was built according to a rational, intelligent design.  Far from belief in God hindering science, it is the motor that drove it.

The final sentence in that quote sums things up very nicely.  One amusing thing about reading this book, for me, was the constant feeling that Mr. Lennox was “preaching to the choir.”  He will get little or no argument from me.

That last statement brings me to my one complaint about this book, if you can call it a complaint.  The text tends to be, at times, a bit grandiose and not for the usual lay reader.  While I acknowledge that Mr. Lennox is writing for his audience, which will consist mostly of people of the same intellectual caliber as himself, there are a few people whom I would love to have read this book — all the time knowing that they will not take the time to wade through the more sophisticated language.  They could do it, it would be worth it, but it would not be without a bit of hard work.  I say this with a heavy sigh because they are not really readers to begin with.  Take heart — relax, it is only 96 pages!  That’s it!  You can do it!

Since its scholarly nature is my only complaint, I guess this book must be getting a pretty darn good rating; I would certainly never criticize anyone for being too much of an intellectual!  In fact, I will give credit to this book for providing me with a new word for my vocabulary.  Untenable will be one that I add to my list of words.  It is, I will tell regular readers, one of the words in The Ultimate Book of Words You Should Know.  Mr. Lennox will be the one given the credit for adding it to my vocabulary.  Good word!

To be fair, I will re-quote one of the quotes from that wonderful write-up above:

Praise for God and Stephen Hawking:

“A brilliant response to Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design. Make sure you hear both sides of the argument.”
-Alister McGrath, author of The Dawkins Delusion
If you are of such an intellectual persuasion, I strongly suggest you digest both works to more fully understand and appreciate what Lennox has to say in our subject work.  Do you need to?  No.  Should you?  Yes. Otherwise, some of the arguments put forth by Lennox may just be a fly-by.  Trust me!
As I yield to the mental power of Mr. Lennox I want to share a couple of his other works that also caught my attention for no other reason than their great titles.
God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?  
The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions
I do not know anything about these publications but their titles speak volumes!  I mean, seriously, how can you not want to pick up books with tempting titles like those?
Good read!  “God and Stephen Hawking, Whose Design is it Anyway?  I know, I know!

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