Religion and science are two of the most powerful forces active in the world today. But has the scientific enterprise somehow rendered belief in God unnecessary or even contradictory? If not, why are some leading and outspoken scientists so dismissive of God’s very existence?

The informative and engaging new film Against the Tide: Finding God in an Age of Science (Pensmore Films, 2020) highlights the current intellectual debate taking place about whether belief in God is rationally justifiable in a scientifically enlightened era. The plot of the film has actor Kevin Sorbo (God’s Not Dead, 2014) traveling to Oxford University to meet mathematician and outspoken Christian apologist John Lennox.

The purpose of Sorbo’s visit is to ask Lennox to give the case for the other side—namely that science depends upon God if it is to function properly as a critical enterprise that reveals data about the natural world. Sorbo also asks Lennox to explain why so many prominent nonbelievers reject God. Lennox was raised in a Christian family in Ireland and studied at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, even attending lectures by the famous Christian author and apologist C. S. Lewis. Over the last several years, Lennox has debated such prominent atheist scientists and other skeptical academics as Richard Dawkins, Peter Atkins, Lawrence Krauss, Peter Singer, Christopher Hitchens, and Michael Shermer.

Sorbo and Lennox travel from Oxford University to Israel to make the case for the historical person of Jesus Christ and the reliability of the gospel message.

In watching this film five points stood out to me in terms of Christians thinking through the so-called challenge that science poses to their faith:

  1. What makes John Lennox stand out as a fine Christian apologist are his intellectual qualifications to respond to science challenges (he holds a doctoral degree in mathematics) and his winsome demeanor and gracious personality. He is cerebral and likable in his defense of the God of Christian theism as he employs both his head and heart in extending persuasion.
  2. Lennox reminds us that secularists don’t share our religious (theistic) worldview and that they need to hear the other side in order to properly develop an independent judgment concerning the big issues of life (the whats and whys of existence).
  3. Lennox astutely recognizes that the typical objections raised by his secular opponents are not so much science issues as much as they are worldview considerations. For example, the basic assumptions upon which science depends (e.g., the orderliness and regularity of the cosmos, the reliability of math and logic to describe nature, the intelligibility of the world, etc.) fit better with theism than with atheism. Thus, it is God who grounds the world’s intelligibility that makes science possible and successful.
  4. In his apologetics reasoning, Lennox exposes the severe explanatory problems that the secular worldview of naturalism (only the natural world exists) has in accounting for reality; namely, rationality from the nonrational, mind from nonconscious matter, and life from the nonliving.
  5. Lennox responds to the strongest secular argument against God—the problem of pain, suffering, and evil—by introducing the central doctrinal truth of Christianity that God has taken a human nature in the person of Jesus Christ and has personally entered into the suffering world. In his incarnation Jesus Christ suffered with and for human beings. Thus, God knows what it is like to suffer.

Against the Tide is a fine film that challenges believers and nonbelievers to give careful consideration to the God question. I love movies that make me think! How about you?

Reflections: Your Turn
Have you seen this film? How about inviting your skeptical friends to see it with you? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

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About The Author

Kenneth R. Samples

I believe deeply that "all truth is God’s truth." That historic affirmation means that when we discover and grasp truth in the world and in life we move closer to its divine Author. This approach relies on the Christian idea of God’s two revelatory books - the metaphorical book of nature and the literal book of Scripture. As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. My writings and lectures at RTB focus on showing how the great doctrinal truths of the faith (the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, creation ex nihilo, salvation by grace, etc.) are uniquely compatible with reason. This approach reflects the historic Christian apologetics statement - "faith seeking understanding." I work to help myself and others fulfill Peter's words in 2 Peter 3:18: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. • Biography • Resources • Upcoming Events • Promotional Items Kenneth Richard Samples began voraciously studying Christian philosophy and theology when his thirst for purpose found relief in the Bible. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and social science from Concordia University and his MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. For seven years, Kenneth worked as Senior Research Consultant and Correspondence Editor at the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and regularly cohosted the popular call-in radio program, The Bible Answer Man, with Dr. Walter Martin. As a youth, Kenneth wrestled with "unsettling feelings of meaninglessness and boredom," driving him to seek answers to life's big questions. An encounter with Christian philosophy in Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis led Kenneth to examine the New Testament and "finally believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, the Lord and Savior of the world." From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying faith. Today, as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), Kenneth uses what he's learned to help others find the answers to life's questions. He encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical level. He is the author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference, and has contributed to numerous other books, including: Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, The Cult of the Virgin, and Prophets of the Apocalypse. He has written articles for Christianity Today and The Christian Research Journal, and regularly participates in RTB's podcasts, including Straight Thinking, a podcast dedicated to encouraging Christians to utilize sound reasoning in their apologetics. He also writes for the ministry's daily blog, Today’s New Reason to Believe. An avid speaker and debater, Kenneth has appeared on numerous radio programs such as Voice America Radio, Newsmakers, The Frank Pastore Show, Stand to Reason, White Horse Inn, Talk New York, and Issues Etc., as well as participated in debates and dialogues on topics relating to Christian doctrine and apologetics. He currently lectures for the Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. Kenneth also teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California. Over the years Kenneth has held memberships in the American Philosophical Association, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Evangelical Press Association. The son of a decorated World War II veteran, Kenneth is an enthusiastic student of American history, particularly the Civil War and WWII. His favorite Christian thinkers include Athanasius, Augustine, Pascal, and C. S. Lewis. He greatly enjoys the music of the Beatles and is a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children.

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