by John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera
Fifty years ago, when he was a student at Cambridge, John Lennox found himself seated next to a Nobel Prize winner at a formal dinner. Lennox decided to make the most of the opportunity and so he asked the Nobel Laureate if and how his scientific work had shaped his worldview, including his opinion on the existence of God.
The conversation didn’t go well. The gentleman made it clear he wasn’t comfortable with Lennox’s questions. Not only that, he asked to speak with Lennox privately, where he asked Lennox if he really wanted a career in science. Lennox replied, “Yes.”
“Well then,” the Nobel Laureate replied, “You must give up this childish faith in God. If you do not, then it will cripple you intellectually, and you will suffer by comparison with your peers. You simply will not make it.”
In a typical British understatement, Lennox called the exchange, “a remarkable situation.” I am happy to report that, both to his credit and for our benefit, John Lennox didn’t follow the advice. Instead, since then, Lennox, who is an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, has written dozens of books and engaged in countless debates arguing for the compatibility of faith and science, the debt modern sciences owes to Christianity, and the reasonableness of theism and Christianity in particular.