A press release reaches us from Premier Christian Radio with the headline "UK's belief that God created the Universe at an all-time low". It reports the findings of a study conducted by ComRes for PCR (2054 were polled online across the UK in April), ahead of the conference , called "Unbelievable 2012" PCR are holding in London on May 26 at which "academics and scientists" from the US and UK will be arguing that contemporary cosmology indicates that God created the world.
The headline findings of the survey are that only 26% believe that God created the world, 41% said they didn't believe this and 23% didn't know or didn't want to say. In what the press release describes as a "strange twist" fully 25% of those who identified as "Christian" did not believe that God was the cause of the Universe.
So, why would a Christian outfit be trumpeting numbers which show that the idea of a God-created universe is in decline, even amongst their own gang? It's a canny ploy actually, allowing them to make the case that their conference is important – a chance to hear the "very best" scientifically grounded arguments for God. As the presenter and conference host Justin Brierly says in the release: "I believe that modern science is increasing the amount of evidence for God. But it appears that certain atheistic voices have the ear of the British public. It's a disturbing trend and we need to redress the balance." Aha! So it's Dawkins wot dun it, and here's us thinking that the decline of the belief in a God-created Universe has come about as a result of the rise of scientific literacy, the decline of respect for religious doctrines which are unsupported by evidence, and the general common sense of the public. Silly us.
The language also neatly tessellates with the whole culture of Christian victimhood that has been abroad of late, suggesting that a few influential "militant" atheists have been conning the public and misrepresenting science – and positioning themselves as part of the fightback on behalf of beleaguered believers. What is new here, of course, is the drafting in of "science" to support the case. The press release quotes the cosmologist Paul Davies, recipient of a Templeton prize and someone who is unwilling to discount the idea of a creator without really signing up to any particular version. Davies is on record as disputing Lawrence Krauss' argument that the Universe could have come from "nothing", but I'm sure he does not go as far as to suggest that science confirms the Bible. Needless to say neither Davies nor Krauss will be at the conference, instead keynote speakers include Hugh Ross, Ken Samples and Michael Green (no, me neither) who all specialise in "Christian apologetics" and promise to show how science really does confirm the Bible. If anyone is planning on going do let us know, we'd be fascinated to find out of they succeed in proving that.
That really would be Unbelievable.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
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Posted by Caspar Melville at Thursday, May 10, 2012