Is God Really Legit? Making Sense of Faith and Science, by Neil Laing

This book discusses many aspects of the common tension between scientists and believers, with some vivid illustrations but no hard and fast answers. It is written in a chatty style, appropriate and intelligible for teenagers, though perhaps a bit patronising and on one occasion moralising. Laing comes across as honest and open, respecting opposing views. He presents the believer’s position plausibly without attempting to force anyone to accept it; instead, he encourages young people to examine the evidence, think things through and form their own convictions.

The author welcomes the scientific method of experimental investigation in order to prove or disprove current theories, as well as the discoveries and progress achieved through such methodology. He rejects the arguments of militant atheist scientists like Richard Dawkins but also mocks strict Creationists.

Laing’s references to the Bible are somewhat ambivalent. On the one hand he assumes it is the authoritative source of Christians’ beliefs, without attempting to justify that position. On the other hand he feels free to interpret certain passages, like the Creation account, metaphorically or as poetry. He emphasises that it is primarily about God’s dealings with people and that it makes no claim to be scientific. His discussion of prophecy and miracles is not very convincing.

His conclusion is a clear attempt at persuading the reader to believe in Jesus.

In summary, Laing’s message is that God is outside or behind the universe and for that reason science has nothing to say about Him. But we can come to know Him by faith and then we discover an additional dimension of reality, which gives meaning and purpose to life, and we are gradually transformed into the people God intended us to be.

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