To Malvern with Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other

If Karl Barth really said: “We must hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” he did refer to it in interview in 1966: “The Pastor and the Faithful should not deceive themselves into thinking that they are a religious society, which has to do with certain themes; they live in the world. We still need – according to my old formulation – the Bible and the Newspaper.” Armed with both, we headed for Malvern, which holds an annual Science and Faith Weekend.

 Mgr. George Lemaitre who invented the Big Bang Theory talks with Albert Einstein

I have always been suspicious of a Faith that won’t have a conversation with Science, or Science that pretends it doesn’t need Faith! In a world which seems to perpetuate a myth that science and Faith are at best incompatible, and at worst bitter enemies, determined to destroy each other it is so brave of Malvern to host a Science and Faith Weekend. Each year they attract respected and renowned speakers from the perspectives of not only science, but also politics, economics, philosophy and beyond. Described as ‘A Festival of Ideas’ there are lectures, seminars, workshops for all ages, with plenty of opportunities for questions and answers, exploring issues deeper and in relation to faith. No wonder it attracts hundreds of people who want to explore the meaning of life, and how Science and Faith can enrich our experience of that life. For us, the two came together in one person in our act of worship, as I shared it with the Right Revd. Dr. John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, who is also a passionate chemist.        

The theme this year was “The Principle of Uncertainty” and I wonder how many times was said – ‘The one thing we can be certain of is there’s a lot of uncertainty’ – even I was tempted to play the famous speech sketch by Rowan Atkinson. What a subject – with so much uncertainty in the world.

I hope God will forgive us when we propound daft ideas about Christianity that claim certainty when there is none, and we become laughing stocks to the world. May we find a Faith so strong that it can cope with the uncertainty that is part of life’s DNA, and find God at the heart of it.

Kevin Watson

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