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Inventing the Universe

winter 2016

From triple helix - winter 2016 - Inventing the Universe [p20-21]

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Why we can't stop talking about science, faith and God
Alister McGrath

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.

Article written by Peter May

More from triple helix: winter 2016

  • Christmas: the miracle of the incarnation
  • NIPT
  • The Sustainable Development Goals one year on
  • PrEP
  • Sex education programmes are largely ineffectual
  • Wear your values
  • Supporting colleagues in challenging times
  • Finance in the early years
  • NHS in crisis
  • Boundary stones in bioethics
  • Gender and social change
  • Overcoming stress and burnout
  • Spiritual Care at the end of life
  • Pressed but not crushed
  • The Heart and the Abyss
  • Heart Attitudes
  • Dementia: Pathways to Hope
  • Lessons from a hospital bed
  • Inventing the Universe
  • The Life you Never Expected
  • eutychus
  • A patient I should have cried over
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