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Big questions

June 2011

Big questions

 

Christians and Christianity — together with the Catholic faith — have been lambasted in a recent topical issues series of BBC1 programmes.

     Entitled Big questions and hosted by Nicky Campbell, the series aimed to explore a range of topics with a panel of experts and selected audience each week. Many of the episodes focused on issues that affected Christian life in the UK, such as ethics, education, the alignment of church and state, and creation.

     In one episode, Prof. Andy McIntosh, co-director of Truth in Science, together with creationist Dr Sylvia Baker, were asked to be part of ‘front-row participants’, discussing whether creationism should be taught in schools.

     The three panellists were Christina Rees, of the Church of England general synod, Seema Malhotra, a Hindu representing the Fabian Society, and James O’Brien, a Roman Catholic journalist.

     The front row participants also included evolutionary geneticist Bambos Kyriacou from Leicester University and humanist spokesperson Naomi Philips.

    

Loaded question

 

Prof. McIntosh said, ‘Neither Dr Sylvia Baker nor I expected to be well treated on that programme and we both knew that it would be sound bites only. I enjoyed the interaction with adversaries who hadn’t got much of a grasp of their own position and I was able to get three opportunities to make some points, avoiding Mr Campbell’s loaded question on the age of the earth. I was able to say that it is evidence and interpretation that is the issue. I expected much worse’.

     ‘Mr Campbell asked, “What is the best evidence for creation?” A gift of a question! Dr Baker made a good point about Christian pupils being badly treated and then they turned on her — as if to prove the point!

     ‘I was encouraged to get more time than both of us expected. Yes, they were big-time anti, but having preached in the open air many times, I expected that. We are in a fight and have to stand up and be counted. The Lord gave us both great strength and I felt it as if I were in a Vanity Fair arena of ideas.

     ‘It was no different from the UBM/Christian Answer open airs I do in Cambridge and Oxford in the summer. We both came away with the sense that we had made a credible stand, albeit neither of us like being belittled. Sadly, you expect that in the Corinth of confusion we are in today’.

 

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