Recent figures show that less than 50% of people in the UK believe in God.  This is a huge shift from a few generations ago when Christian faith and morality were fundamental values in Britain. An increasingly secularised society has led to greater scepticism and overt rejection of Christianity. This scepticism also permeates debates on science and religion, both within and outside the Church. Children and young people are being fed theories perpetuated by education systems, and the media that science and faith contradict one another. This attitude forces a false choice – of God versus science. However, the mind is also a way that we can engage with God. We do not have to leave our intellect at the door, but we do need accurate knowledge to grapple with certain issues that better equip Christians and the wider Church in their evangelism. So how do we begin to retell this narrative that faith and science can work hand in hand? A consortium of Christian organisations in the second city have been awarded £19,950 to explore the correlation between science and Christian faith. The funding, administered by ChaplaincyPlus, will enable Birmingham-based churches and Christian organisations to be part of a series of 6 events in 2022. Involving leading scientific experts from around the UK, this platform will allow healthy open discussions on topics such as science in a post-pandemic world, the environment, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and mental health.
Professor Hugh Rollinson, Project Co-Director: “This exciting opportunity allows us to explore the science-faith dialogue on our home turf in the West Midlands and this new funding allows to bring to the region some of the foremost thinkers in this field“.New and urgent demands caused by the pandemic have provided a springboard for scientific advances. Research produced a vaccine much sooner than expected; advances in medical knowledge have saved lives and technology has flourished. Yet, many people will be asking, why would we need to seek a higher power when we as humans are obviously so capable and creative, or indeed what sort of higher power might send us such a destructive pandemic? To support this programme of events, ChaplaincyPlus will also be arranging two training courses – one for church leaders and one for Christians working in science to explore in greater depth the integration of science and the Christian faith. The project, entitled Science and Faith in the Second City, will be delivered in collaboration with churches and Christian groups from across Birmingham. Funding was awarded by Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS) through the church engagement programme ‘Scientists in Congregations’.
Steve Bavington, Executive Director of ChaplaincyPlus and Project Co-Director: “For many people God seems to have taken a back seat over the past year of coronavirus restrictions, whilst science has raced ahead to provide some amazing solutions to the pandemic. We are excited that many churches are interested in uniting around this topic.”
Stu Ward, Pastor of Grace Church Dell Road said: “Our hope is that by taking part in Science and Faith in the Second City we might see our church more equipped to reap a harvest for the kingdom in our area and in our city”.To find out more please contact ChaplaincyPlus at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look out for details on the upcoming events in early 2022.  Survey figures taken from YouGov Christianity Study, November 2020 (https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/2isqp28jmv/YouGov%20-%20Christianity%20study.pdf)