Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Night Frozen Dinner and an Intellectual: "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief" by Francis S. Collins

(First Published on 3/17/07)

Last night I threw some salmon in the microwave, turned on some Bach, and read the first three chapters of "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief." The author, Francis S. Collins, is the head of the Human Genome Project and one the this country's leading geneticists. His research has achieved progress in the fight against cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, and Huntington's disease. He grew up with no religious background to speak of and by his twenties claimed to be an athiest. His work with patients who had faith in God caused him to investigate the existence of God. This quest, which included the writings of C.S. Lewis, led him to abandon his atheism. Collins believes in a God who has designed the universe and who cares about and communicates with human beings. Collin's God may be known by faith and may be followed. He recounts the sexual assault of his daughter and speaks of his need to forgive the one guilty of this crime. He is struggling to forgive because he knows God wants us to forgive those who have harmed us. I do not know enough of Collin's background, nor have I yet read a definitive statement in his book that Collins has put put his faith and trust in Jesus as his savior. From what I have read so far, he believes all religions to be equally valid. Also, he believes that Darwinian evolution to be compatable with the Christian faith (or any other religion). Most of the rest of the book deals with the evidence for his claim. Next Friday, I will read as much as I can. For now, I will give my impressions of the first three chapters. The first chapter deals with his journey from atheism to belief. His account is brief and his style is easy for a scientific ignoramous such as myself to understand. He does a good job in presenting the scientific evidence that the universe and man himself was not just a cosmic accident. He repudiates the efforts of those like Richard Dawkins who try to explain the universe without reference to God. Collins also does well in his defense against Freudians who state that God is nothing more than a product of a man's psyche. Much of my disagreement with him will be expressed next week. Yet this quote from his introduction is revealing:
"This potential sythesis of the scientific and spiritual worldviews is assumed by many in modern times to be an impossibility, rather like trying to force the two poles of a magnet together into the same spot. Despite that impression, however, many Americans seem interested in incorporating the validity of both of these worldviews into their daily lives. Recent polls confirm that 93 percent of Americans profess some form of belief in God; yet most of them drive cars, use electricity, and pay attention to weather reports, apparently assuming that the science undergirding these phenomena is generally trustworthy."
I could not have believed that anyone could have made such a statement. In my forty-two years of experience, I have not yet discerned a movement among those who believe in God to make use of the technology that runs most of society. Why? Because they already do and have done so long before I or Collins showed up on the scene. Does this man know the Christian worldview that made modern science possible? (He needs to read " How Should We Then Live? " by Francis Schaeffer.) Can he be so ignorant of the modern lifestyles we Bible believers live. (I have THREE USB MASS STORAGE DEVICES!!!!) Does the acceptance of the phyical laws of the Universe necessitate that I accept Dawinian Evolution over Biblical Creation? Till next time...

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