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Have courage to create public space for a biblical worldview, urges Christian apologist

Christians should not be ashamed of speaking up for their faith and taking on the new atheists, Professor John Lennox told those at the National Prayer Breakfast in Parliament this week ...

Atheism is a "delusion", a "fairy tale for those afraid of the light". That was the message from Professor John Lennox from Oxford University earlier this week. He urged Christians to have "the courage to create public space" for the discussion of "a biblical worldview" in society – citing the example of Tyndale’s translation of the Bible into English 400 years ago.

Dr Lennox was addressing more than 600 people at the Bible Society-sponsored National Prayer Breakfast, at the Houses of Parliament.

As Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, Dr Lennox has frequently spoken out against modern-day atheism, calling Richard Dawkins "wrong".

Today he said that the new atheism is responsible for ‘the moral drift’ in today’s society. And he added that science and religion are not opposed.  

"There is no necessary conflict between science and God, the real conflict is between worldviews, atheism and theism," he said. "God is not the same kind of explanation as science is – God is the explanation of why there is a universe at all in which science can be done."

He warned that, "The playing field is not level since atheism has become so dominant … and is often regarded as the default position in the media."

The risk of this is, he said, that society would forget "the contribution of Christianity to the moral foundations of our society".

And he hinted, this was already to be seen in both the parliamentary expenses scandal, as well as the Leveson enquiry.

"If we teach people that morality is an illusion, they will begin to believe it," said Prof Lennox. "Many already have with the result that our institutions are awash with scandal, families are increasingly fractured, people are lonelier than ever and trust is at an all-time low.

"We have sown a wind and are reaping a whirlwind."

Prime Minister David Cameron had earlier said in a statement, "It is encouraging that Christianity still plays such a vital role in our national life. We are a country with a Christian heritage and we should not be afraid to say so."

Prof Lennox responded, "No-one in this country seems to have a problem with doing atheism in public. Let us not be ashamed of doing God."

More than 600 peers, MPs and business people attended the event. They included MPs Fiona Bruce, Gary Streeter and Tim Farron.

Matthew van Duyvenbode, Head of Campaigns, Advocacy and Media at Bible Society said, :In a society searching for deeper meaning, a compelling witness to hope is required. Within the Scriptures, we find a tantalising vision of hope – one which stimulates, provokes and invites us to become the signs of hope for others."

Photo: Professor John Lennox – Picture Bible Society/Clare Kendall

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