Faith & Science
Why Something Instead of Nothing? November 19, Oxford’s John Lennox Goes “Against the Tide”
Oxford mathematician John Lennox is, in a sense, in a line of succession from C. S. Lewis: both are brilliant and charming scholars of Northern Irish background, both associated with Oxford University, both popular and prolific authors as proponents of theism against the atheism of their respective days. The grandfatherly Lennox has also been a fearless public debater, in a series of clashes with celebrity atheists. I wanted to let readers know about a new film that very effectively highlights the strengths of Professor Lennox and his thinking.
It is Against the Tide — meaning, against the tide of current thinking from the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Stephen Hawking. That tide assures the public you can get something (the universe) from nothing. The subtitle is straightforward, Finding God in an Age of Science. The movie debuts in theaters for one night only on Thursday, November 19, 2020. In opting for a real theater experience for audiences, instead of isolating us further in front of our private screens, it also refreshingly goes “against the tide.”
Find the Trailer Here
Lennox is paired with actor Kevin Sorbo, who starred as an obnoxious atheist professor in God’s Not Dead. I enjoyed their interaction very much. I don’t think Sorbo is acting at all in his role as an earnest, sincere searcher and interlocutor for Lennox. You can watch the trailer here:
“Why there’s something rather than nothing is a huge question today,” says Lennox, as of course it is. Faiths representing the Judeo-Christian tradition are at the receiving end of unrelenting, ill-informed scorn from a smug, overbearing cultural elite. That toxic tide pulls in countless ordinary people, young and old, to whom Lennox speaks eloquently in his case for “the existence of an intelligent god behind the universe.”
Trumpeters for atheism are not being truthful when they say things like “Religion teaches us to be satisfied with not really understanding” (according to Dawkins) and “Religion is a fiction that is just never challenged” (per Sam Harris). If atheists could even begin to explain why there is something rather than nothing, why sublime beauty exists, how human consciousness came to be from thoughtless atoms, as just three examples, the first criticism might carry a dime’s weight. But the idea that traditional faiths are never challenged is simply dumbfounding. Has Dr. Harris never switched on the Internet?
“I believe that the public need to hear that there is another side,” says Lennox. And that is, again, surely true. The first half of the movie, set in Oxford, tackles scientific arguments for and against the existence of a designer outside nature. The second half, in which Lennox and Sorbo, travel to Israel, makes its case for identifying the designer with a Christian understanding of the deity.
The science here is accessible, historically interesting, and filled with cool details. Lennox and Sorbo soak in the atmosphere at a pub where Lewis and Tolkien once enjoyed each other’s company. And Lennox tells what it was like to be a student in Lewis’s classroom, which we have the opportunity to visit. The film’s website is up now and has information about buying tickets. You should consider doing that promptly because I think this will be a very popular public event, and it’s only one night!