By Becca Bayham

Is God relevant?

“The first question is to ask what, and to whom,” Dr. John Lennox said during a public lecture, Feb. 21.

Lennox, a professor of mathematics at Oxford University, regularly debates religion with the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Peter Singer. His talk was presented by the Veritas Forum, an organization aimed at promoting dialogue between secular and religious perspectives.

“When I teach algebra at Oxford, I don’t mention God. He’s not relevant at that level of discourse. But how is it that there’s a universe for your equations? God might be relevant to that,” Lennox said.

Lennox contested the idea that science and religion are mutually exclusive, arguing that it stems from a false conception of God: “If I can’t explain it, then God did it.” Thus, the more science tells us about the world, the less room there is for God.

But God is not competing with science for an explanation, Lennox said.

“People think science is the only way to truth. If science was the only way to truth, you’d have to close half your faculties at Duke.”

He pointed to Duke’s own motto — erudito et religio — as an example of how religion shaped the development of modern universities — and modern science.

“I’m not remotely embarrassed to be a Christian and a scientist. In fact, it’s the other way around, because Christianity gave me my subject.”