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25 June 2013

Courageous Christianity will combat the 'fairy tale' of atheism

Christians need to have courage to talk about the Bible in public life, a leading academic told a gathering in parliament this morning.

Professor John Lennox from Oxford University was addressing around 600 people in the Houses of Parliament at the annual National Prayer Breakfast organised by the Bible Society.

Professor Lennox described atheism as a "delusion" and a "fairy tale for those afraid of the light".

He urged Christians to have the courage to speak out about their faith in the public sphere and cited the example of Tyndale's translation of the Bible into English 400 years ago.

Professor Lennox regularly speaks out against an atheistic worldview, calling Richard Dawkins "wrong". He blamed new atheism for "the moral drift" in today's society and rebutted claims that science and religion are opposed to each other.

"God is not the same kind of explanation as science is," he said. "God is the explanation of why there is a universe at all in which science can be done."

He added: "The playing field is not level since atheism has become so dominant - and is often regarded as the default position in the media.

"If we teach people that morality is an illusion, they will begin to believe it. Many already have with the result that our institutions are awash with scandal, families are increasingly fractured, people are lonelier than ever and trust is at an all-time low.

The Alliance's general director Steve Clifford, who attended the prayer breakfast, praised the organisers for another sterling event and added: "It was fantastic to be there in Westminster with hundreds of people. The highlight for me was hearing John Lennox's unapologetic defence of the Christian faith. It was one of the best talks of its kind I have ever heard."

Earlier this morning, in a statement, prime minister David Cameron, said: "It is encouraging that Christianity still plays such a vital role in our national life. We are a country with a Christian heritage and we should not be afraid to say so."

Matthew van Duyvenbode, head of campaigns, advocacy and media at Bible Society, said: "In a society searching for deeper meaning, a compelling witness to hope is required. Within the Scriptures, we find a tantalising vision of hope ­ one which stimulates, provokes and invites us to become the signs of hope for others."

Listen to the audio from John Lennox's speech here.

Picture credit: Bible Society/Clare Kendall