The Conference reached “sold out” capacity weeks before it began ”” even though it had moved to a larger venue this year in order to accommodate a crowd of up to 650 in the two-story high Charleston Music Hall. The organizers attribute the dramatic increase to the timeliness and topicality of this year’s theme: “Science, Faith and Apologetics: an Answer for the Hope That Is Within Us.” In my humble opinion, however, the draw of the event was equally due to the stellar lineup of speakers.
Oxford University Professor of Mathematics John Lennox both led off and summed up the Conference. He began Thursday evening’s session with a bravura survey of all that is faulty with the arguments and logic of the so-called “New Atheists”, that is to say, Steven Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens (now deceased), Sam Harris and the like. Essentially they want to exclude religion from the public and academic sphere, and replace it with methodological naturalism ”” which they call “science”, but which as they spell it out is really just a religion in its own right: it excludes all discussion or concepts of the supernatural on grounds which are just as dogmatic and doctrinal as is their straw-man chimera of religion based on faith. Quoting passages from his recent book, Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target, Dr. Lennox had the audience laughing over the self-induced isolationism of the intellectual atheists.