According to Etienne Gilson ( 1884-1978 ) in his classic “Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages” there are two families of thought within the Christian tradition. One derived from St Paul, and especially his epistle to the Romans challenges culture from the outside; and the other which draws from from St. John’s gospel which sees Christ and culture as mutually illuminating one another. Protestantism is rooted in the first of these families. But there is nevertheless a rich tradition of protestant apologetics. The famous Long Room in the Trinity College ( Dublin ) Library is for example packed with the contributions of those who engaged in the eighteenth century dispute about deism. And of course, this tradition has continued. At the end of the eighteenth century there was, for example, the remarkable figure of William Paley who championed both the rationality of theism and the credibility of the claims made by Christianity. In all this Ireland has made a significant contribution. In the eighteenth century it was the Dublin based John Leland who provided the first systematic critical account of the Deist phenomena. In the twentieth century there was of the towering figure of the Belfast born C.S. Lewis, and more recently John Lennox and Alistair McGrath ( both with Irish roots ) have provided some of the most powerful opposition to the “New Atheism.”
It is with all this in mind that we have added the bethinking web site to our philosophy links. This web site is an outreach project of the University and Colleges Christian Fellowship ( UCCF ) which is a British evangelical organization firmly committed to the idea that religious experience, however uplifting, is by itself not enough, and that the Christian faith can and must defend itself in the intellectual market place. It is specifically aimed at students, both at school and at university. But its appeal is not just to the young. It has a lot to teach, both about sound thinking, and about how to articulate ideas in the current challenging cultural environment.
It also publishes the writing of our friend and associate Philip Vander Elst.
It is strongly recommended, and can also be found here:http://bethinking.org
NOTE: Anyone who unaccountably still has an unspent Christmas book token should consider spending it on John Lennox’s book “God’s Undertaker, Has Science killed God?” ( London 2009) £8.99. Lennox by the way is also an impressive performer on Youtube.