So often it seems that Christians are on the backfoot when it comes to responding to atheism and secularism. So it was exciting for Solas to be asked to help support a new project called “Genexis” that aims to take the challenge to secularism.
Taken from the Latin word for “meaning”, Genexis is the name of an exciting series of public lectures taking place in Coventry Cathedral, starting in September 2019. The brains behind the project, Paul Downes QC, has enlisted a phenomenal line-up of thinkers to address some of the greatest reasons to believe in God and to disbelief in atheism: among the speakers are such leading public intellectuals as Ard Louis, Francis Collins, John Lennox, N.T. Wright and Sharon Dirckx.
One especially interesting speaker is Professor Paul Davies from Arizona State University. Although Paul is an agnostic, he has written extensively on the ‘fine-tuning argument’, the way the fundamental numbers built into the laws of physics are so precisely “tuned”. Paul vehemently believes that atheism is untenable in the light of the evidence; he just doesn’t accept the Christian concept of revelation. However, from a purely scientific perspective he argues that the universe shows all the marks of having been designed. It’s wonderful that he is willing therefore to engage in this ostensibly Christian project.
Paul Downes’ intention was to design a series of public lectures about God from some of the best minds in the world. His vision is that these lectures would be credible, persuasive and accessible to Christians and atheists alike. Each session is going to be filmed, to take the content far wider than the thousand or so people who are expected to fill the cathedral. Genexis are then going to produce a book and a study guide to help churches really dig into the material. Amazingly the events themselves are going to be completely free, and they plan to make the supporting resources free as well.
From the very beginning, Solas’s Andy Bannister has been assisting Paul with some of the work setting up this event, making some connections and introductions. In April, Paul Downes held a Genexis launch dinner for churches in the Midlands, to get them on board, endorsing and promoting the whole project.
After giving the keynote address at the Genexis dinner, Andy commented. “It was a privilege to speak at the launch of this hugely ambitious and exciting project. It was tremendous to be in a room full of church leaders, really excited about these events.”
We’re really praying that when Genexis begins in September that it will change the nature of the conversation we have about God in this generation. It really is time that the utterly compelling arguments and evidence for God became public knowledge.”
Paul Downes explains, “I wanted to create an event that Christians could invite their atheist friends to. We all know some people that exclude themselves from the gospel because they see themselves as atheists. Yet if you can find a way to have a meaningful discussion with them, they soon come to see that atheism is not as plausible a world view as they might previously have thought. The idea behind Genexis is a series of talks that can be run by Churches, youth groups, Christian Unions etc on a local basis as well as the national live event this September. The course is very simple, built around 7 topics that support the theist’s world view: big bang, numbers, life, DNA, consciousness, ethics and the resurrection. These are the ‘imponderables that point to God’.”