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about GtN

What important issue is Grasping the Nettle (GTN) addressing?

There is a default assumption in society – especially in academia and the media – that we have outgrown the need for God. The fact that religious belief is often unquestioningly held by adherents compounds the situation.

There is a compelling need to provide creative and strategic opportunities to think through the case for God and that is the issue Grasping the Nettle is addressing.

Why was the Grasping the Nettle movement formed?

Concerned by the need for the church to to be clear in its own thinking on ‘the science/God issue’, as well as the importance of promoting more informed dialogue in society, a number of church leaders from Scotland’s main denominations have formed the Grasping the Nettle movement, aimed at developing a strategy to air this ‘prickly’ subject as widely as possible. With churches and denominations acting together, the overall impact of the initiative can be greater.

What was the starting point in Grasping the Nettle?

An important catalyst in Grasping the Nettle has been the international television and DVD series The God Question: Science, God and the Search for Truthwww.thegodquestion.tv/explore. The series was produced to offer the opportunity to evaluate the case for God, based on balanced and sufficient evidence. Promoting engagement with this series is at the heart of GTN. Click here for further details on The God Question series.

When was Grasping the Nettle launched?

GTN was launched at a dinner event on Thursday 11th June 2015.

What does Grasping the Nettle look like in practice?

GTN will take a variety of forms:

  • Churches and ad hoc groups using the Exploring The God Question resources within congregations, family, neighbours, work colleagues etc. and thereafter extending the opportunity to the wider community in a variety of venues.
  • Events with an emphasis on entertainment – including music and the arts – but with an information element relating to the God Question topics threading through the programmes.
  • Dinners arranged for specific groups of politicians, business people and other professionals.
  • A variety of media contributions to the Christian and secular press on issues related to science and God.
  • Public lectures
  • Public debates

Who is primarily involved?

The chair of GTN is the Very Rev John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2014/2015. A steering board has been formed, comprising leaders from across Scotland’s major denominations. In addition, there is a Council of Advisors with significant personnel from the worlds of business, the professions, media and academia - including science and theology.

While these groups have a role in advising on strategic direction, spreading information as well as ‘opening doors’, other personnel will be primarily involved in making other forms of contribution, including organising events of various kinds. Click here for a list of Steering Board Members

The intention is to involve a growing number of participants in Grasping the Nettle in a range of ways across the country.

Is there any training offered in how to address the issues?

GTN Provides:

  • advice and support in organising and running discussion groups using The God Question series
  • training in arranging and managing café style discussion sessions
  • training conferences for church leaders

Does Grasping the Nettle have anything to say about Creationism and Intelligent Design?

Grasping the Nettle has a clear focus: to seek ways in which the contemporary sciences are complementary with or part of an integrated whole with theism. In pursuit of this goal, Grasping the Nettle is committed to a respectful dialogue with orthodox and contemporary science,believing that:

  • Scientific questions belong with experts in various fields of science and we need to listen to those experts with deep respect and learn from them.
  • Questions about God are not in conflict with science, but that God is best understood as intimately present and involved in the world and is the one who is ‘in, with, under and through’ natural processes.

Grasping the Nettle offers an opportunity to talk both about God who has generously enabled the creation and about science which is opening up our understanding of the atoms, chemical elements, stars, planets, galaxies, and living things on this earth. In Grasping the Nettle we are clear about the complementarity of science and religion and we are concerned about approaches to this important dialogue which set God and science in worlds apart.

In Grasping the Nettle, we want to encourage the widest possible dialogue:

  • Scientists who find it difficult to imagine any part of life which lies beyond scientific exploration are welcome to travel with us into some of the metaphysical and spiritual questions about the meaning life and the values which underpin life.
  • Christians who hold creationist doctrines or theories of intelligent design which challenge the findings of orthodox science are also invited to travel with us on voyage in which they may discover that scientific truth informs our understanding of the world in which we find the God of our Christian faith.
  • Women and men of every walk of life are welcome to journey with us in search of a world view which satisfies our need for an intellectually robust understanding of life as well as a faith which satisfies our deepest spiritual needs.

Where can further information about Grasping the Nettle be found?

For more information, please Email Us.

For more details about The God Question series, please visit www.thegodquestion.tv/explore