Please join in our thoughtful, fun and open discussions on Christianity and a sceptical response to Christianity. Be prepared to have your worldview challenged as you listen and then give your reasons for what you believe and what you consider falsehood. We have avoided ‘us and them’ antagonism as we discuss science, history, psychology, philosophy and even a little theology. Venue is a room in the Red Lion pub in Henley but buying a drink is not compulsory.
This season we are undertaking a series of discussions on living life without God.
This is the last one and it coincides with the day when we can meet in groups of more than six outside. So come for a meeting in Ed’s back garden in the middle of Henley. We can lay on shelter if it’s raining and provide drinks of all kinds. YOU ARE ALSO INVITED TO A MEAL FIRST, say 7pm. If you want to come to the meal too, please use the Meetup message system or other means to let us know. If you’re just attending the discussion meeting at 8pm, a normal Meetup confirmation is great.
Christians have some very positive things to say about who we are as humans. We have been designed and created by God, not by accident but after considered thought by God. Indeed we are made in God’s image. The ‘godless’ don’t have such a positive story to tell. Talk of us being ‘stardust’ is a nice spin, but it also points to how amazingly fortunate we seem to be. The universe appears to be finely tuned to enable complex chemistry arise, and so enable life. We are told that it is stars at the end of their existence which produce the array of elements, and this ‘dust’ is the building blocks of complex chemistry.
Then the godless story continues with life forming and developing into increasingly complex forms, the latter as a result of evolution. So we are the product of an unguided physical process. We are also animals like our chimp and bonobo cousins.
We have brains and we feel the ‘I’ from the question “Who am I?” somehow resides there. But how are we more than the neurological activity in brains? Apologists like to talk of us being no more than chemicals ‘fizzing’ in a brain under the godless view.
Another source of identity is our relationships. We identify ourselves in relation to others or how we contribute to or interact with society – our nation, our family, our jobs or careers, and even our hobbies or the football club we support. And our family and national identity are both informed by history, which is all part of a wider story which for the godless starts with the cosmology and ‘stardust’ that this summary began with.
Some questions we’ll hope to cover:
• Does the message that we are ‘stardust’ give you the sense of wonder intended? Or just point to an awkward sense of massive random fortune? • If we are the product of an unguided physical process, evolution, does this ground our identity? And the random element? • Do you like being ‘just’ a well-developed animal? Have you ever felt a bit unnerved when you met a monkey or ape? • How do you respond to the apologist’s claim that for the godless we are no more than chemicals ‘fizzing’ in a brain? • There is a theme of ‘we are just’ and ‘we are no more than’ in these questions. Is that justified? • Does the way that we largely give ourselves identity from our relationships, jobs etc inform us more widely in answering the more existential question? The question “Who are we?” • Is the whole story the answer to “Who are we?”? Maybe for all of us, of all worldviews, the narrative we believe ourselves to be living inside is the answer to “Who are we?” • If time, we can question the Christian answers, do they stand up to scrutiny?
During the discussion, insight and challenges from Christians and those with other beliefs, will of course be extremely welcome. As ever, we trust that this will be a stepping-stone towards achieving a better understanding of each other.
Future Programme of Meetings on Mondays: 21 Jun – Barbeque at 18 Singers Clos