Friday, July 24, 2009

Francis Collins: Science and Religion Together

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 19:1

I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God's majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

President Obama has chosen Francis Collins, a physician and a scientist, to be the next Director of the National Institutes of Health. There are many physicians and scientists who are also people of faith (we have a number of them in our congregation), but the selection of Dr. Collins is important in the current intellectual climate.

It is good news for Christians and for those who care about developing and maintaining a positive relationship between science and religion. He states his position with conviction, “I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.” The point is not simply that he is a Christian, but that he sees no conflict between the world views of science and religion.

The interface of science and religion is not nearly as comfortable today as it was in the middle of the last century. It is now more than eighty years since Harry Emerson Fosdick lifted up the cause of reason and science as a vital part of faithful living in his famous essay, “Shall the Fundamentalists Win.” In the closing decades of the twentieth century we saw a resurgence of Creationism and Biblical Literalism as conservative Christians pushed back against science and reason. Although they have not gained a large following among serious biblical scholars and theologians, they have redefined the popular perception of Christianity. They are the people who are quoted in the newspapers and featured on television as spokespersons for Christianity.

In the last decade a new group of atheists has launched their own initiative to label all Christians as literalists and then to discredit literalism as a rational impossibility. Religion, they say, is the enemy of science and of progress. In their definition of the conflict, the intellectuals and the scientists are on one side, and the irratonal "believers" are on the other side. The divide is real and it is growing.

Dr. Collins is willing to be outspoken about his faith in a way that others are not. Like many of us, he sees no conflict between science and religion. That is good for Christians and it will be good for our national conversation.

You can read Dr, Collins’ complete essay on this topic by using the link below:

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