Big Questions: Talks and Conversations

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Focus on...

A series of events where conversation is at the heart and questions are definitely invited. 

We will feature conversations that Focus on… different social justice issues and issues in the interface between science and faith.

Social Justice Issues today:
What are they; what can we do?

A series of talks led by Greville Mills

The root of our faith, and our Methodist calling in particular, is established in the emphasis that Christ died for ALL of humanity, not just for a limited group, and thus everyone is entitled to God’s grace and protection.

From inception, the Methodist Church distinguished itself with its strong interest in the social issues of the day by helping the poor and disadvantaged. These ideals were put into practice by the establishment of hospitals, universities, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools. These issues have now expanded to include a wide range of national and international problems, especially those connected with race, poverty, and peace.

The Open Letter to the Methodist Church, (issued in June 2020 and updated for Lent 2021) called us back to our roots, as far as social justice issues are concerned, so as part of a response to this, we are setting up a series of discussions on the social justice issues of the day. These will be held on a different topic each month, with invited speakers who can give us current information, answer any questions we may have, and thus help us to see what is needed, and wherever possible, what practical help we can offer. Many of these issues require help on two fronts – a) an immediate response to the need and b) to address the basic wrong through political change.

Topics will include poverty, homelessness, racial discrimination, asylum-seekers, human rights abuse, climate change and many more.

This is an effort to put our faith into action; it’s an outreach project that, as members of the Methodist community in Bath and district, we can bring a social force for change.

We are convinced that building loving relationships with others through social service is a means of working towards the inclusiveness of God’s love for all, and through this connection with others we can draw them into a relationship with members of the church (i.e., the family of God’s people).

Science & Faith: At Loggerheads or Complementary Routes to Truth?

A quarterly series of talks led by Ben Sykes.

In recent years, militant atheism has sought to use science to both belittle and cast doubt upon faith, in many ways ‘hoodwinking’ people into believing that the two are in direct conflict with one another. The response from people of faith has not been as strong as it could have been, though Alister McGrath with his “Dawkins’ Delusion” has been one of the leading lights in trying to restore some balance to the debate.

If any of this has left you doubting your faith, or seeing science as a kind of threat, then I commend to you the series of discussions that are to come. In this series we will look to what science has to say in a number of areas which impinge on faith, to understand the questions it can and cannot answer, and – above all – to demonstrate how science indeed supports faith and with it provides complementary routes to truth.

As a taster, I offer you with a couple of quotes from some of the greatest thinkers we have known which capture that sense of complementarity. Firstly, the late Albert Einstein, who is quoted saying “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” More recently, the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks observed very plainly that “Science takes things apart to see how they work; religion puts things back together to see what they mean.”

Future topics, to be announced quarterly, will include our origins (creation & evolution), cosmology and how it points to the existence of God, bioethics, miracles, healing, neuroscience and faith (including near-death experiences), and the nature of the scientific method itself.

The Programme

Initially, all discussions will be on Zoom, with the hope that this can be converted into a physical meeting at some time.

These two initiatives are experimental, and as such the programme and contents may be subject to changes as we progress, but nevertheless we hope that you will support one or both.

For more information or queries/expressions of interest, contact:

 Science & Faith – Ben Sykes (01249 701553 – sykesben4@gmail.com)
 Social Justice – Greville Mills (01225 858435 – grevillemills@gmail.com).