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Street art for George Floyd in California

Posted: 16 June 2020

The death of George Floyd, killed on 25 May when a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, has triggered global protest not only about his death, but at police violence against black people. His final words, ‘I can’t breathe’, have been taken up by people around the world, agitating for radical change to the way western societies discriminate against people based on race.

Since his shocking death, the details of Floyd’s life story, and his Christian faith, have emerged as his friends and family have spoken to the media and posted on social media. This testimony came together at his funeral in a Houston megachurch, Fountain of Praise, which included traditional hymns, gospel songs, protest anthems and laments for a life cut...

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Posted: 04 June 2020

Francis Collins, the geneticist who directed the team which sequenced the 3 billion letters which make up the human genome, and whose work helped identify the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis and other conditions, has been awarded the Templeton Prize, for his contribution to the relationship between science and religion.

The prize, which is sometimes referred to as the Nobel prize for religion, was established in 1972, and recent recipients have included Alvin Plantinga, Jonathan Sacks, Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. Marcelo Gleiser, who gave our Drawbridge Lecture in 2018, received the Templeton Prize last year.

In addition to his work as a biologist, Collins founded the BioLogos Foundation, which ‘invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and...

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Photo of NT Wright

Posted: 30 May 2020

What are we supposed to think about the coronavirus crisis? There’s been no shortage of strongly expressed opinion on social media. Some people join in the chorus of blame and condemnation: ‘It’s the fault of the Chinese, the government, the World Health Organization…’

And among religious people, there are others who are certain about what they think. ‘This is a sign of the End,’ they say. Others disagree with that, but are equally clear: ‘This is a call to repent. God is judging the world and through this disease he’s telling us to change.’

In a new book, God and the Pandemic, Tom Wright examines the reactions to the virus and finds them wanting. Instead, he looks at a different way of seeing and responding – a way that draws on the teachings and examples of the...

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Photo of Elaine Storkey speaking

Posted: 03 March 2020

Update (24 March 2020): Sadly, due to the coronavirus epidemic, several of our lecture dates have been cancelled. If it’s possible to rearrange these lectures for later in the year, we’ll post an update on this blog.

We’re very pleased to announce that we’re marking the 150th anniversary of the Christian Evidence Society with a lecture series, delivered at cathedrals around Britain.

The lectures, by nationally renowned speakers in apologetics, will respond to some of the best-known public challenges to faith in modern times. Our speakers will engage with quotes that have gained widespread attention, including a TV soundbite by Stephen Fry, a book title from Christopher Hitchens, and a newspaper interview with Stephen Hawking.

We are waiting to hear whether the planned lectures in...

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Southwark Cathedral seen at night with the Shard

Posted: 16 February 2020

On 5th March 2020, the Christian Evidence Society, which produces this website, will be exactly 150 years old. We’re marking the occasion with a series of lectures which will run throughout the year, but on 5th March we’re celebrating with a church service and lecture at Southwark Cathedral, London, with a warm invitation to everyone who would like to be there.

The church service is Choral Evensong at 5.30pm, followed by a lecture and drinks reception at 6.30pm in the Cathedral Retrochoir. Everyone is welcome to come to one or both of these events.

The lecture, ‘Evidence for Christianity in an Age of Hostility and Indifference’, will be given by the Rev’d Canon Professor Richard A Burridge, who chaired the Christian Evidence Society until 2017. The Rt Rev’d Richard Cheetham, Bishop of...

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Posted: 10 February 2020

The Secret History of Science and Religion, a BBC Radio 4 series presented by Nick Spencer, is about to be given a second airing. The three episodes, which question the received wisdom that science and religion have always been in conflict, was first broadcast last summer.

Nick Spencer, who is senior fellow at Theos, the think tank on religion and society, tells the story of science and religion not as if they were big, abstract ideas, but as the story happened, through the lives and cultures of different people and different times.

Writing on the Religion Media Centre blog, Nick Spencer says: ‘The story encompasses familiar names – Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Einstein – but also some less familiar, if hardly less brilliant ones, such as Robert Grosseteste (c.1175-1253), the Bishop...

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Photo of Tel Beit Shemesh where the stone was found

Posted: 17 January 2020

A large stone slab has been unearthed by archaeologists in a town near Jerusalem, which may have once served as the resting place of the lost ark of the covenant, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports. The stone, which is the size of a table, was found inside a 3,000 year-old square building that experts believe to have been a temple, in the ancient settlement of Beth Shemesh, that is now the modern town of Beit Shemesh, 20km from Jerusalem.

One of the leaders of the dig, Dr Zvi Lederman of Tel Aviv University, says, ‘This would be a rare case in which we can merge the biblical narrative with an archaeological find.’

The unearthed building is a perfect square, its corners aligning with the points of the compass, and it opens onto a platform facing east which was used for religious...

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Photo of Claire Foster-Gilbert

Posted: 14 January 2020

We’ve recently started working with the Montgomery Trust, which helps fund lectures and talks on the Christian faith by expert speakers. The talks are delivered throughout the UK, making them accessible to a wide audience. Here’s the line-up of talks in the spring and summer, taking place in Chester, Liverpool, North Yorkshire and Nottingham.

MARCH

Women, Culture and Gender Issues
Chester Cathedral, 2 March 2020, 10am
Elaine Storkey looks at the sociological, psychological and theological issues surrounding women, culture and gender, including a theological examination of gender stereotypes. The lecture will show how the Christian faith sheds light on areas which are crucial to our gendered lives.

APRIL

Rediscovering the Bible as the People’s Book
St Brides, Percy St, Liverpool L8...

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Photo of a banner reading Hi mom I'm an atheist at the Reason Rally in Washington DC in 2012

Posted: 09 January 2020

A recent summary of 10 facts about atheists reveals some surprising features of the beliefs and attitudes of one of the world’s fastest-growing non-religious groups. The summary draws on a number of polls and surveys into religion, carried out by the Pew Research Center.

‘Measuring atheism is complicated,’ admits Pew. ‘Some people who describe themselves as atheists also say they believe in some kind of higher power or spiritual force. At the same time, some of those who identify with a religion (for example, say they are Catholic or Jewish) say they do not believe in God.’

Here are just five of the surprising and not-so-suprising facts revealed in the summary:

Significant growth – The share of people who identify as atheists ‘has increased modestly but significantly in...

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Photo of a melting glacier

Posted: 21 December 2019

In 2009, Dr Mike Hulme, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Cambridge, found himself at the centre of a media storm known as Climategate. A leak of scientists’ emails, the majority of which belonging to four scientists, including Mike Hulme, led to the integrity of research into climate change being questioned. Ten years on, Mike Hulme talks to Nigel Bovey about that time, and the present scientific research into the impact humans are having on the physical environment.

Professor Hulme, what was Climategate?

Climategate was a controversy that erupted in November 2009 just before the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. It involved the publication of professional email exchanges between a group of climate scientists, including several who worked with me at the time...

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Photos at the top of this column by:
Taro Taylor and Jon Sullivan