Professor Stephen R L Clark, philosopher I believe in God because the alternatives are worse. Not believing in God would mean that we have no good reason to think that creatures such as us human beings (accidentally generated in a world without any overall purpose) have any capacity – still less any duty – to discover what the world is like.
Denying that “God exists” while still maintaining a belief in the power of reason is, in my view, ridiculous.My belief is that we need to add both that God is at least possibly incarnate among us, and that the better description of God (with all possible caveats about the difficulty of speaking about the infinite source of all being and value) is as something like a society. In other words, the Christian doctrine of the incarnation, and of the trinity, have the philosophical edge. And once those doctrines are included, it is possible to see that other parts of that tradition are important.
Professor Derek Burke, biochemist and former president of Christians in Science There are several reasons why I believe in God. First of all, as a scientist who has been privileged to live in a time of amazing scientific discoveries (I received my PhD in 1953, the year Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA), I have been overwhelmed by wonder at the order and intricacy of the world around us. It is like peeling skins off an onion: every time you peel off a layer, there is another one underneath, equally marvellously intricate. Surely this could not have arisen by chance? Then my belief is strengthened by reading the New Testament especially, with the accounts of that amazing person, Jesus, His teaching, His compassion, His analysis of the human condition, but above all by His resurrection. Third, I’m deeply impressed by the many Christians whom I have met who have lived often difficult lives with compassion and love. They are an inspiration to me.
Peter J Bussey, particle physicist God is the ultimate explanation, and this includes the explanation for the existence of physical reality, for laws of nature and everything. Let me at this point deal with a commonly encountered “problem” with the existence of God, one that Richard Dawkins and others have employed. It goes that if God is the ultimate cause or the ultimate explanation, what then is the cause of God, or the explanation for God? My reply is that, even in our own world, it is improper to repeat the same investigatory question an indefinite number of times. For example, we ask, “Who designed St Paul’s Cathedral?” and receive the reply: “Sir Christopher Wren.” But, “No help whatever,” objects the sceptic, “because, in that case, who then designed Sir Christopher Wren?” To this, our response will now be that it is an inappropriate question and anyone except a Martian would know that. Different questions will be relevant now.
So, likewise, it is very unlikely that we know the appropriate questions, if any, to ask about God, who is presumably outside time, and is the source of the selfsame rationality that we presume to employ to understand the universe and to frame questions about God. What should perhaps be underlined is that, in the absence of total proof, belief in God will be to some extent a matter of choice.
Reverend Professor Michael Reiss, bioethicist and Anglican priest At the age of 18 or 19, a religious way of understanding the world began increasingly to make sense. It did not involve in any way abandoning the scientific way. If you like, it’s a larger way of understanding our relationship with the rest of the world, our position in nature and all those standard questions to do with why we are here, if there is life after death, and so on. That was reinforced by good teaching, prayer and regular reading of scripture.
Peter Richmond, theoretical physicist Today most people reject the supernatural but there can be no doubt that the teachings of Jesus are still relevant. And here I would differentiate these from some of the preaching of authoritarian churches, which has no doubt been the source of much that could be considered to be evil over the years. Even today, we see conflict in places such as Africa or the Middle East – killings made in the name of religion, for example. As Christians, we recognise these for what they are – evil acts perpetrated by the misguided. At a more domestic level, the marginalisation of women in the Church is another example that should be exposed for what it is: sheer prejudice by the present incumbents of the Church hierarchy. But as Christians, we can choose to make our case to change things as we try to follow the social teachings of Jesus. Compared to pagan idols, Jesus offered hope, comfort and inspiration, values that are as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago.
David Myers, professor of psychology, Hope College, Michigan [Our] spirituality, rooted in the developing biblical wisdom and in a faith tradition that crosses the centuries, helps make sense of the universe, gives meaning to life, opens us to the transcendent, connects us in supportive communities, provides a mandate for morality and selflessness and offers hope in the face of adversity and death.
Denis Alexander, director, Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge I believe in the existence of a personal God. Viewing the universe as a creation renders it more coherent than viewing its existence as without cause. It is the intelligibility of the world that requires explanation.
Second, I am intellectually persuaded by the historical life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, that He is indeed the Son of God. Jesus is most readily explicable by understanding Him as the Son of God. Third, having been a Christian for more than five decades, I have experienced God through Christ over this period in worship, answered prayer and through His love. These experiences are more coherent based on the assumption that God does exist.
Mike Hulme, professor of climate change, University of East Anglia There are many reasons – lines of evidence, if you will – all of which weave together to point me in a certain direction (much as a scientist or a jury might do before reaching a considered judgement), which we call a belief.
[ I believe] because there is non-trivial historical evidence that a person called Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, and it just so happens that He predicted that He would . . . I believe because of the testimony of billions of believers, just a few of whom are known to me and in whom I trust (and hence trust their testimony).
I believe because of my ineradicable sense that certain things I see and hear about in the world warrant the non-arbitrary categories of “good” or “evil”. I believe because I have not discovered a better explanation of beauty, truth and love than that they emerge in a world created – willed into being – by a God who personifies beauty, truth and love.
Steve Fuller, philosopher/professor of sociology, University of Warwick I am a product of a Jesuit education (before university), and my formal academic training is in history and philosophy of science, which is the field credited with showing the tight links between science and religion. While I have never been an avid churchgoer, I am strongly moved by the liberatory vision of Jesus promoted by left-wing Christians.
I take seriously the idea that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and that we may come to exercise the sorts of powers that are associated with divinity. In this regard, I am sympathetic to the dissenting, anticlerical schools of Christianity – especially Unitarianism, deism and transcendentalism, idealism and humanism. I believe that it is this general position that has informed the progressive scientific spirit.
People such as Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens like to think of themselves as promoting a progressive view of humanity, but I really do not see how Darwinism allows that at all, given its species-egalitarian view of nature (that is, humans are just one more species – no more privileged than the rest of them). As I see it, the New Atheists live a schizoid existence, where they clearly want to privilege humanity but have no metaphysical basis for doing so.
Hugh Ross, astrophysicist and astronomer Astronomy fascinates me. I started serious study of the universe when I was seven. By the age of 16, I could see that Big Bang cosmology offered the best explanation for the history of the universe, and because the Big Bang implies a cosmic beginning, it would require a cosmic beginner. It seemed reasonable that a creator of such awesome capacities would speak clearly and consistently if He spoke at all. So I spent two years perusing the holy books of the world’s religions to test for these characteristics. I found only one such book. The Bible stood apart: not only did it provide hundreds of “fact” statements that could be tested for accuracy, it also anticipated – thousands of years in advance – what scientists would later discover, such as the fundamental features of Big Bang cosmology.
My observation that the Bible’s multiple creation narratives accurately describe hundreds of details discovered much later, and that it consistently places them in the scientifically correct sequence, convinced me all the more that the Bible must be the supernaturally inspired word of God. Discoveries in astronomy first alerted me to the existence of God, and to this day the Bible’s power to anticipate scientific discoveries and predict sociopolitical events ranks as a major reason for my belief in the God of the Bible. Despite my secular upbringing, I cannot ignore the compelling evidence emerging from research into the origin of the universe, the anthropic principle, the origin of life and the origin of humanity. Theaccumulating evidence continues to point compellingly towards the God of the Bible.
Kenneth Miller, professor of biology, Brown University I regard scientific rationality as the key to understanding the material basis of our existence as well as our history as a species. That’s the reason why I have fought so hard against the “creationists” and those who advocate “intelligent design”. They deny science and oppose scientific rationality, and I regard their ideas as a threat to a society such as ours that has been so hospitable to the scientific enterprise.
There are, however, certain questions that science cannot answer – not because we haven’t figured them out yet (there are lots of those), but because they are not scientific questions at all. As the Greek philosophers used to ask, what is the good life? What is the nature of good and evil? What is the purpose to existence? My friend Richard Dawkins would ask, in response, why we should think that such questions are even important. But to most of us, I would respond, these are the most important questions of all.
What I can tell you is that the world I see, including the world I know about from science, makes more sense to me in the light of a spiritual understanding of existence and the hypothesis of God. Specifically, I see a moral polarity to life, a sense that “good” and “evil” are actual qualities, not social constructions, and that choosing the good life (as the Greeks meant it) is the central question of existence. Given that, the hypothesis of God conforms to what I know about the material world from science and gives that world a depth of meaning that I would find impossible without it.
Now, I certainly do not “know” that the spirit is real in the sense that you and I can agree on the evidence that DNA is real and that it is the chemical basis of genetic information. There is, after all, a reason religious belief is called “faith”, and not “certainty”. But it is a faith that fits, a faith that is congruent with science, and even provides a reason why science works and is of such value – because science explores that rationality of existence, a rationality that itself derives from the source of that existence.
In any case, I am happy to confess that I am a believer, and that for me, the Christian faith is the one that resonates. What I do not claim is that my religious belief, or anyone’s, can meet a scientific test.
Douglas Hedley, reader in metaphysics, Clare College, Cambridge Do values such as truth, beauty and goodness emerge out of a contingent and meaningless substrate? Or do these values reflect a transcendent domain from which this world has emerged? I incline to the latter, and this is a major reason for my belief in God.
Peter Hitchens, journalist I believe in God because I choose to do so. I believe in the Christian faith because I prefer to do so. The existence of God offers an explanation of many of the mysteries of the universe – especially “Why is there something rather than nothing?” and the questions which follow from that. It requires our lives to have a purpose, and our actions to be measurable against a higher standard than their immediate, observable effect. Having chosen belief in a God over unbelief, I find the Christian gospels more persuasive and the Christian moral system more powerful than any other religious belief.
I was, it is true, brought up as a Christian, but ceased to be one for many years. When I returned to belief I could have chosen any, but did not.
Richard Swinburne, emeritus professor of philosophy, University of Oxford To suppose that there is a God explains why there is a physical universe at all; why there are the scientific laws there are; why animals and then human beings have evolved; why human beings have the opportunity to mould their character and those of their fellow humans for good or ill and to change the environment in which we live; why we have the well-authenticated account of Christ’s life, death and resurrection; why throughout the centuries millions of people (other than ourselves) have had the apparent experience of being in touch with and guided by God; and so much else. In fact, the hypothesis of the existence of God makes sense of the whole of our experience and it does so better than any other explanation that can be put forward, and that is the grounds for believing it to be true.
Empowering tertiary students to live big, influential and Godly lives for Christ. Asian Christian students. Weekly worship and prayer services on Crawley campus, special interest Bible study groups fortnightly, outreaches, annual mission trip. Our emphasis and aim is to rally young Christians to see our campus won for Christ, to equip young Christians to effectively witness to their peers. Want to make an impact with your life for Christ? Want to know God? See miracles in your life? Live a fulfilled life? Yeah so do we. If you want to make a difference in people’s lives through Christ then join the team.
O WEEK UPDATE: University of the Sunshine Coast – Connect groups have begun!
We’re gathering students in ‘missional’ discipleship groups. Can you imagine what might happen when teams of passionate, caring, creative, students connect? These dynamic small groups of students are connecting to support , release , and mobilise each other with a passion to Impact the World. Inspiring bible studies: Foundational Truths, Serving, Leadership, and Mission. Social Outings, Outreach opportunities, Prayer.
This year will be a highlight in the life of our group on the University of Queensland. Gathering together Christian students from various churches and denominations we seek to encourage one another, reach out to those around us and make Jesus known on campus! We come together in prayer meetings, small group studies and social activities. Because we’re from a range of churches, if you’re living away from home and in need of a new church, we can help you find a place you’ll be comfortable.
The College aims to be a Christian higher education institution that prepares people to make a difference in the world around them and in their professional career. To love God with your whole heart, soul and mind, and to love your neighbour as yourself, are the principles which guide CHC’s mission and which give shape to our pursuit of higher education within a Christian vision of life. The outworking of this is through CHC’s understanding of a Christian worldview which underpins and informs all of our pursuits.
O WEEK UPDATE: UOW – Large outreach during O Week. Many new contacts made as our group joins forces with Red Frogs on campus. Awesome start to the year!
Welcome to the NSW Universities groups! We’re passionate for Jesus Christ and his purpose in our lives, that’s why we’re committed to joining together, reaching out to those around us, impacting our campuses, building our local churches and pursuing global mission. Find your campus below and check out what’s happening.
The group on University of Wollongong (UOW) draws students from a range of churches and joins them together with a common heart for Jesus and to make him known to others on campus. We get together in a range of formal and informal gatherings and our heart is to hang out, build great relationships, support each other and obey Jesus. We’d love to meet you in 2015.
We’re looking forward to an awesome year at University of Sydney in 2015. We love to encourage one another, reach out to those around us and make a difference for Jesus! We come together in prayer meetings, small group studies and social activities. We’re drawn together from a range of churches, so if you’re living away from home and in need of a new church, we can help you find a place to call home.
Macquarie University lies at the geographical heart of Sydney and we seek to make the heart of Jesus known on campus. You can join us in prayer meetings, small group studies, social activities and reaching out to those around us. If you’re a new student at Macquarie, we’ll help you in practical ways as you get to know the campus, settle into studies and build new relationships.
This year will be a highlight in the life of our group on the University of New South Wales. Gathering together Christian students from various churches and denominations we seek to encourage one another, reach out to those around us and make Jesus known on campus! We come together in prayer meetings, small group studies and social activities. Because we’re from a range of churches, if you’re living away from home and in need of a new church, we can help you find a place you’ll be comfortable.
Students for Christ at the University of New England, Armidale is a Pentecostal/Charismatic fellowship open to all the students irrespective of age, gender, race, cultural background or denomination. We facilitate Christian activities including worship, prayer, the ministry of the Word and evangelism in order to encourage, foster and develop Spirit-filled followers of Christ within the UNE community. For more information feel free to get in contact. God Bless!
UTS – Making a Godly difference in peoples lives on campus. 2015 is going to be an awesome year as we gather together to lift up the name of God, encourage one another, do life together, support each other and have a tone of fun along the way.
UWS has been named one of the world’s top
universities in the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings, placing UWS among the top two percent. We strive to impact our campus for God, and to do great
things in his name.
WATCH THIS SPACE to hear about the new groups being formed on campuses this year!
What an incredible time to be involved in campus ministry. The university year might be coming to a close but students are running red hot.
With June and July being exam and holiday periods, on campus action has occurred only during August in this quarter.
On the 17th of August we had the radical outbreak event which was the launch for our week of prayer and fasting. It was an incredible night where God spoke clearly to a number of students and graduates who were there. Amy released a song she wrote at the national leaders training last July, Warren spoke a now word, and there was a strong prophetic ministry time. Big thank you to Dale and Claire Hembrow for the hours you put into the behind the scenes set up of the event.
– Large scale mobilised prayer on campuses in 2015.
Please keep praying for us as we seek to increase everything we are doing, and work towards student lead groups on every campus in Victoria.
April+May Update 2013:
Plenty is happening across the state of Victoria. This semester alone through the Valiant efforts of Ken we have seen SFC groups started on another 3 campus with weekly prayer groups now occurring on those campuses. Kelly and her prayer warriors out in Ballarat Uni are praying it up on campus everyday. Shannon and his crew at Latrobe Bundoora are going great guns as they always do. Michelle and the guys at Vic Uni are looking to consolidate and push hard at mid year o week. Randy and his team have been thrown in the leadership deep end but are coming up with the goods, with prayer, weekly meetings and outreach all occurring on campus. Ps. Darrel and Jahzeel ripped it up at the welcome dinner in Warrnambool. Ps. Phillip and Eunice are seeing great things happen at Monash Uni Parkville through prayer, weekly meetings and a missions focus. Not to forget Jono and the semester 1 prayer session, which saw almost a 50% increase in those engaged in prayer for the campuses compared to the same time last year. In all we now have a weekly influence on 8 campuses. That being said we would love you to pray with us to see that influence grow on each campus and to see more groups start on other campuses.
O WEEK UPDATES: Melbourne Uni – 115 new members! 18 students at Welcome dinner! 30+ students at week 1 main meeting! Law student prayer is began on 29/1/12! English class started on 1/3/12! Monash – 20+ sign ups! LaTrobe Bundoora – 5 pages of new contacts. A dozen interested in church launch! RMIT – Connect group starting! Victoria Uni – 40+ signs ups! Began first connect group, Tuesdays 1pm-2pm. Starting another connect group next week!
LATEST NEWS: We had our pre semester prayer session on Wednesday 22nd of February with 48 students and campus workers with 6 of the 8 Universities represented. Thus far we have had O week at Victoria University with double the amount of sign ups that we need. Also Monash and Melbourne have their O days Thursday 23rd of Feb and Friday 24th of Feb. Please keep us in your prayers. The next combined event is a Melbourne city tour which we expect anywhere between 50-150 students.
Over the past 12 months, groups on Swinburne University, Deakin University, Monash University, La Trobe University and University of Melbourne have been in contact with over 500 students, through various social, church and discipleship events.
Swinburne University, Hawthorne Campus, have had fortnightly Christian hang outs as well as started a Basketball Outreach Program.
Deakin University, Warrnambool Campus, have planted a Saturday night church service on campus for those students who can’t normally make it to a church service. Lifegroups have been formed and students are being discipled.
Monash University, Inner City Campus, have held weekly meetings, on top of an Outreach Event that pooled 80 students and their social events on campus such as Waffle days and BBQs.
Our aim at University Together is to help students at La Trobe feel connected and cared for. Through this approach, our goal is to introduce students to the relationship they were created to have with our heavenly Father. We are committed to creating a strong sense of community amongst students and to motivate them to reach out to others and to reach their full potential in life through Christ.
University of Melbourne has had weekly meetings, fortnightly law student prayer meetings and various social events. They have connected with 40 Chinese students each week for English classes and from this, have created a discipleship course for these students. Mid year 2011, they saw 70 students participate in the Melbourne City Tour.Their monthly social events have ranged from cherry picking to activities at a local park.
In early September 2011, a downtown city restaurant was filled with Christians working in the legal profession, Christian law students and their friends to discuss the topic of ‘Resilient Love’ and how the principles found in 1 John 4:18-19 can be applied in legal practice. It was a night where connections were made, encouragement was exchanged and hope for this profession was renewed (with some delicious food as well!).
A ‘Christian lawyer’ may seem like an oxymoron, but they do exist! Obviously, so do Christian law students, however, it may take a while to find them- especially in an area of study (and profession) that is seemingly hostile to the idea that faith could contribute positively to society.
So how do I get connected with other Christians in this profession?
Click the link at the bottom of this article and ask for more information about the Victorian Christian Legal Society (VCLS). There is usually an informal lunch for Christian legal professionals and students held on the last Friday of each month. There is no structure, no agenda and no study – just good conversation and you are welcome to invite those who aren’t Christians as well.
I’m still a student. How can I get connected with other Christians studying law?
Click the link at the bottom of this article to connect with other Christians studying law. If there isn’t a group on your campus, why not initiate something? Start with prayer and if connecting with other Christian law students is on your heart, God will bring it together!
This is how the Melbourne Uni Law Students Prayer Group was formed in Semester 2, 2011. Posters were stuck on toilet doors, notices were put up on the student portal and with the support of Universe, a Christian ministry on main campus, the group began meeting once a fortnight to pray together, for each other, for their friends and for their law school. It has been a great opportunity for law students of all year levels to connect and encourage each other in the faith. Another initiative that is beginning in October 2011 at Melbourne Uni is a book club that will discuss the intersection of faith and justice.
If you would like more information on any of the activities happening at Melbourne Uni for law students or would like help in setting up a group on your campus, feel free to CLICK HERE. Remember that a faith journey in the law school is not something you need to do alone but can be done with others.
– Amy Nhan, 2nd year, JD student at the University of Melbourne
WATCH THIS SPACE to find out plans for O week on your campus and to hear about the new groups being formed on campuses this year!