Ian Hore-Lacy, August 2009.
Faraday Institute Test of FAITH materials
The Faraday Institute, that was set up a few years ago, showcased its new Test of FAITH materials at London's Pentecost Festival in May 2009. Faraday is headed by Denis Alexander and Robert White. The Church Resources Project is led by Dr Ruth Bancewicz, who until recently worked as the CiS development officer. Faraday is based at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge. Test of FAITH has been funded by the Templeton Foundation and is the result of three years work. The project arose "responding to requests for resources from churches" and realising that much good stuff from CiS, etc. consisted of articles and books, but with no multimedia. The project is aimed at both schools and churches. Cost is £45 the lot, £9 DVD only.
The materials span: Introduction to Science and Christianity, Astronomy, Creation, the Environment, Neurosciences, and Bioethics. They are arranged into a 3-part DVD, a short course, a book on spiritual journeys with scientists, and a website which will present articles, videos, course supplements, church and youth materials. They are developing lesson plans for schools. YFC is helping with a youth version.
Three DVD segments previewed mainly comprise comments from many leading scientists, though the talking heads are amply supplemented by a lot of very creative video coverage. The first segment was on cosmology etc, the second on Creation, Evolution and Genesis - opening with Paul Taylor, a young-Earth creationist, then William Dembski on ID, then a gentle exposition of the issues with Francis Collins prominent. The third on neuroscience raised the question of free agents or "computers made of meat", basically identity and what determines it.
The schools (age 14-18) and youth (age 11-14 and 14-18) versions of the materials will be available late this year. They are also be producing children’s Sunday school materials (age 8-11) in partnership with Authentic Media, and these will be available in 2010.
The Faraday Institute blurb for Test of FAITH reads: "The relationship between science and faith is often represented as a battleground. The claim is that science has pushed God into the margins. But is the truth more complex? Talking to leading scientist-believers, we probe the issues at the heart of this debate. Has science really murdered God? Or is the God question being redefined in new ways by science? Does the possibility of a Creator remain an ineradicable challenge?"
The course, its full title: "Test of Faith: Science and Christianity Unpacked", helps small groups to explore the issues raised in the DVD and is flexible so that anyone can choose the topics they want to address, and work at a pace and level that suits the group.