Monday, November 27, 2006

What I'm reading now


The Language of God by Francis Collins

You might recognize Francis Collins's name from several places. He is the head of the Human Genome project, that most ambitious of programs which cataloged the entire sequence of human DNA. No slouch, huh? You might also recognize him as the brilliant scientist and Christian believer who went head to head with Richard Dawkins in the November 13th issue of Time Magazine, debating the existence of the supernatural, and whether one can be a serious scientist if he also believes in a Supreme Being.

Dawkins says no. But of course, this is the very same man who proposed just a week earlier at the Salk Institute that science...excuse me, Science...should be the new religion for everyone. My, my. This is the man who decries religion as the greatest evil in the world. So much harm has been done in the name of religion, he wails. So, don't you think making science our new religion is a great idea?

Francis Collins doesn't. Among other words of wisdom in his book, he points out the fallacy of Dawkins and so many others who raise that cry, "Religious people are hypocrites! Therefore religion is dangerous and evil." Put that way, just about anyone (except for Dawkins) can see the fallacy: don't confuse the rusty cracked vessels that we all are with the pure water that we are striving to be holding. Don't be surprised when the rust of our own selves taints the water that sits inside of us somewhat. If we keep washing ourselves out with that pure flowing stream of water, we will day by day find ourselves becoming more and more of what we want to be, and less and less of what we despise.

The science explored in Collins's book is fascinating. He writes so that a layman can pretty well follow it, and he does it without getting you bogged down in terminology. And as far as science and theology goes, one of the most thought-provoking ideas that he puts forth is this: don't make your G-d the "G-d of the gaps". In other words, don't let your faith hinge on the belief that every place there's currently a gap in science, that must be where G-d worked miraculously. What happens in a few years when science comes up with the answer to that gap? Let science deal with the how, and allow religion to deal with the why.

Collins points out that there are plenty of positive reasons to believe in G-d, and we don't have to help Him out by making up reasons that aren't rational. This guy is truly worth a read, whichever side of the line you fall on. I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book more that challenged me this much.





2 comments:

Betzie said...

Sounds very thought provoking Cyndi...my son who's just 15 is reading one called, The Science of God, by Gerald Schroder. It's a bit heavy for me, but he seems to be to follow it. I tend to like simple Bible stories best..LOL He read me a paragraph outloud the other day, and I thought, "Oh my, he really does take after his father!" He's a great kid and I'm so proud of him!
I'll share this book with him as well.
Thanks Cyndi!
Betzie

Cyndi L said...

He's got the heart of a theologian and a scientist...that's great! He'll love this book. The concepts are deep, but it is so well written and logical :-)

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