Prof. tackling tough subjects
A LINSLADE Professor is hoping to marry the unlikely bedfellows of science and religion in a new DVD which will reach 40 per cent of all UK secondary schools.
Russell Stannard OBE, sought to dispel the myths surrounding the often-opposing subjects by engaging in a series of debates with youngsters and discussing previous work on the matter by eminent thinkers such as Stephen Hawking, Freud and Carl Jung.
The result was a 12-part youtube series entitled ‘Science and Belief: The Big Issues’, featuring Russell and a group of 16-18 year-olds, which will soon be released to secondary schools as a supplement to REtoday magazine.
It will also be released to 7,000 churches belonging to the Roots for Churches organisation, while this month’s series-accompanying book will be the former Open University Vice Chancellor’s 29th published title.
But despite his prolific output, octogenarian Russell shows no signs of slowing down and says his latest series was perhaps his most satisfying to debate.
The 80-year-old told the LBO: “It was a fantastic project to bring to fruition and the students involved expressed their wide-ranging views very articulately.
“The main aim is to provide the sort of information needed to make up one’s own mind on the matter and to dispel the myth that the story of Adam and Eve was simply accepted by Christians from the start.
“Many will be unaware that St Augustine had an evolutionary theory of his own and that the story of the garden of Eden wasn’t widely accepted by Christian leaders until Henry VIII established the Church of England.”
Russell, who is a reader at St Barnabas Church, admits it was difficult to maintain neutrality throughout the series, but says the presence of his producer Tony Coe, described as a ‘fully paid up atheist’, helped ensure that a balance was struck.
Once the DVDs have reached schools, Russell plans to launch a nationwide essay competition this Autumn based on themes taken for the videos, with cash prizes worth several hundred pounds on offer for the best entries.
All the material - videos plus the two guides - can be accessed at http://www.retoday.org.uk/resources/23/read/160 or can be bought as a DVD from Christian Education, 1020 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6LB, price £5.
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