I am watching the recent debate between John Lennox and Peter Atkins, which is part of Lennox’s new book ‘Can science explain everything?’.
A member of the audience raised an interesting question to both speakers:
What new evidence would be sufficient to lead the speakers to adopt the opposite view? (video embedded will play at the question asked)
Peter Atkins: Has asked himself that question. Can’t think of any, if I tell myself that if I agreed with some evidence, I would think that I had simply gone mad. Even if i was standing at the foot of a Cross, and saw a resurrection with my very eyes, I would put it down to hallucination. David Hume argument: there is always more reason to disbelieve the reporter than what he is reporting.
Lennox mentions mass-hallucination is not possible to multiple eye witnesses .
Lennox: If you could give me evidence, that for example, that the Gospel writers like Luke were not authentic, give evidence that there is a really convincing explanation that Jesus did not rise from the dead. If you show me that all the experiences I’ve had in life with my family and I’ve had with other people, that I could definitely put down as the activity of God, then I’d be prepared to consider. Those cumulative evidences in my life are so large, that I don’t think it’s likely to happen, but I have to be open to that. Why, because I come from a very religious country, I was accused of ‘of course you believe that stuff, your Irish’, the Freudian explanation.
I’ve spent my entire life, opening up my Christian commitment to it’s opposite,and I’ve spent my entire life doing, a lot of it in Russia where you meet a lot of hard atheism, and doing that constantly questioning my own position, has confirmed my position.
Peter, do you constantly question your own position. …
Lennox mentions the Freudian argument: religion is wish fulfillment, works equally well with atheism, but it does not answer the question if there is a God.
It’s interesting that John Lennox is still open to his worldview being disproven, whereas Peter Atkins is closed and thinks if he were to consider it, it would be madness.
It’s interesting that both speakers hinge on evidence for the resurrection, which is what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthinans 15:14-23.
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ