From triple helix - winter 2016 - Inventing the Universe [p20-21]
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Hodder & Stoughton, 2015, £9.99, ISBN 9781444798463
Reviewed by Peter May, retired GP based in Southampton
The author considers big questions raised by science and religion and how they mutually enrich one another. There is a tendency among Christians to reduce 'faith' conversations to the central details of the gospel story. Consequently, there often doesn't seem much to discuss and unbelievers feel preached at.
This is not McGrath's style. He thinks the existence of God is deeply interesting and that if we are to explore these depths with others then we need to think both broadly and deeply about the underlying issues. Using his own personal story, he describes the development of his thinking from cocky atheism adolescence to a richer understanding of both science and faith at university.
The awesome wonder of the night sky, the limitations of scientific descriptions, the quest to find a basis for both morality and human significance drove him to find adequate 'maps' to make sense of it all. 'Human life is incredibly brief when seen against the backdrop of cosmic time,' writes McGrath. A larger and more relevant map is needed.
The result is a beautifully written, well-informed and wide-ranging account to deepen our understanding of the modern world. It's an excellent book to lend to unbelievers. While reading it, I was interrupted by an atheist and we soon got into a constructive discussion.