Dr. Jane Hawking: Marriage Across the Faith Divide
By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS – NOV. 9, 2015) – Dr. Jane Hawking believes it is possible for a marriage to work between a couple who do not agree about matters of faith, as long as both are “fairly relaxed” on the subject.
Recalling the early years of her first marriage on July 14, 2015, to Stephen Hawking, Dr. Hawking told leading Christian dating website Christian Connection (http://www.christianconnection.com/): “At first we lived in harmony, each respecting the other’s point of view.” But then came a serious problem.
Professor Hawking suffers from a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig's disease, that has gradually paralyzed him over the decades
“Because Stephen had been given such a damning diagnosis, I could well understand that he would not be inclined to believe in a loving God, let alone the complex nature of his researches into the origins of the universe” said Jane. “He has to be able to see the proof of everything in mathematical terms.”
According to a news release sent to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), faced with the challenges of her husband's illness and disability, Jane Hawking found her faith “a rock and a blessing.”
“I believed there was help and support for me in all the challenges I faced and that things would resolve themselves eventually,” she said.
She admits that the weight of her husband's scientific study put pressure on her, recalling in particular a trip to Israel when Stephen received a prize in the Knesset.
“He seemed delighted to tell the media he was an atheist,” she said. “I found this very hurtful and disrespectful – in Jerusalem, of all places, the most holy city in the world. I visited the Old City several times and found great inspiration there – but on my own.”
Professor Stephen Hawking, one of Britain's pre-eminent scientists, who is known for his work regarding black holes and for authoring several popular science books, has stated that he is “not religious in the normal sense” and he believes that “the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws”. In an interview published in The Guardian, Hawking regarded the concept of Heaven as a myth, believing that there is “no heaven or afterlife” and that such a notion was a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark”.
In 2011, when narrating the first episode of the American television series Curiosity on the Discovery Channel, Hawking declared: “We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
Stephen and Jane were divorced in 1995, and she is now married to Jonathan, a Christian (Hellyer Jones), and she explained, “We think the same way and believe in the same religious principles. We both find much of our religious inspiration in music.”
She does not think it is essential for couples to share the same religious beliefs, however.
“It depends whether the couple argue about faith in advance or if one of them is particularly evangelical, or the other dismissive about faith,” she told Christian Connection. “If they are both fairly relaxed on the subject then they have a better chance of living together happily.”
The Hawking’s three children have had different faith journeys. “I let the children find out about faith for themselves with a little guidance,” said Jane. “My eldest son is a churchgoer with his family, the other two recognize that there are deep unanswered questions and will ponder them.”
Jackie Elton, founder of Christian Connection, believes one of the biggest issues facing members of her dating website is whether they could or should marry a non-Christian.
“It arouses major debate and soul-searching,” said Jackie. “Our members really desire Christian marriage but it isn't always easy to find a person with shared beliefs unless they are able to meet at Church or on a site like http://www.christianconnection.com/ . It is not always easy to be “relaxed” about faith differences in a marriage. It will require deep love, respect and true feeling for the other person’s perspective.
“Jane Hawking brings real life experience, insight and balance into this question. The marriage was truly one of both great blessing and but there was also hurt. Thousands of less well-known couples with different beliefs have had to face the same issues.”
Jane Hawking’s story has been told in the award-winning film The Theory of Everything and also in more detail in Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking. To order the book, go to: http://www.amazon.com/Travelling-Infinity-Behind-Theory-Everything/dp/1846883474 .
To watch the UK trailer for the movie, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-v1_OttK4A .
Note: The above story is based on a story issued for Christian Connection, http://www.christianconnection.com , by Stephen Goddard Associates.
For more information,contact: Jackie Elton, Christian Connection at +44 (0) 777 556 5806 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Stephen Goddard at +44 (0) 1744 733898/07930 198209, or by e-mail at email@example.com .
Notes for editors:
** Christian Connection is an award-winning Christian dating website. Since its launch in 2000, thousands of Christians have found love and marriage through the website. Visit http://www.christianconnection.com .
*** Jane Hawking's book, Travelling to Infinity is published by Alma Books, www.almabooks.com .
Photo images 1) Stephen and Jane Hawking. 2) The couple on their wedding day. 3) Stephen and Jane after he received an Order of the Companions of Honour from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. 4) A recent picture of Professor Stephen Hawking. 5) Norma and Dan Wooding at the Movieguide awards in Hollywood. (Photo: Bryan Seltzer).
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has two US-based TV programs –- “Windows on the World” and “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding” -- which are both broadcast on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/) and a weekly radio show called “Front Page Radio” on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com).
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