The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

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{{comment-box|Collins repeatedly denounces atheism and materialism as irrational and implies that belief in God, specifically the Christian God, is a rational conclusion based on acceptance of the evidence. His own conversion story, however, appears to be based on emotional response to a number of factors.}}
 
{{comment-box|Collins repeatedly denounces atheism and materialism as irrational and implies that belief in God, specifically the Christian God, is a rational conclusion based on acceptance of the evidence. His own conversion story, however, appears to be based on emotional response to a number of factors.}}
 
===On His Conversion===
 
===On His Conversion===
{{Quote-source|...in my early 20s, I was a pretty obnoxious atheist. Then at the age of 27, after a good deal of intellectual debating with myself about the plausibility of faith, and particularly with strong influence from C.S. Lewis, I became convinced that this was a decision I wanted to make. And I became, by choice, a Christian, a serious Christian, who believes that faith is not something that you just do on Sunday, but that if it makes any sense at all, it's part of your whole life. It's the most important organizing principle in my life.|PBS Interview}}
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[[Image:Waterfall_foliage3.jpg|thumb|right|Proof of [[polytheism]]?]]{{Quote-source|...in my early 20s, I was a pretty obnoxious atheist. Then at the age of 27, after a good deal of intellectual debating with myself about the plausibility of faith, and particularly with strong influence from C.S. Lewis, I became convinced that this was a decision I wanted to make. And I became, by choice, a Christian, a serious Christian, who believes that faith is not something that you just do on Sunday, but that if it makes any sense at all, it's part of your whole life. It's the most important organizing principle in my life.|PBS Interview}}
 
{{quote-source|On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains … the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ.|Collins in ''The Language of God...''}}
 
{{quote-source|On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains … the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ.|Collins in ''The Language of God...''}}
{{comment-box|A profile in Time magazine adds that a particularly compelling aspect of the waterfall was that it had frozen in three separate streams. This struck Collins as a representation of the [[trinity]], further supporting his desire to convert to Christianity.It's fortunate that he hadn't spotted a waterfall frozen into only two streams and that he was already predisposed to accepting the Christian trinity and not some other triune god.  
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{{comment-box2|A profile in Time magazine adds that a particularly compelling aspect of the waterfall was that it had frozen in three separate streams. This struck Collins as a representation of the [[trinity]], further supporting his desire to convert to Christianity. It's fortunate that he hadn't spotted a waterfall frozen into only two streams and that he was already predisposed to accepting the Christian trinity and not some other triune god.  
  
 
Neither the beauty of a natural object nor the specific trisection of this waterfall serve as evidence of any god - and they certainly don't confirm the existence of a specific god. Dr. Collins simply turned off his rational mind and, convinced that science could not explain beauty, complexity or order, took a leap of faith to the most comfortable conclusion.}}
 
Neither the beauty of a natural object nor the specific trisection of this waterfall serve as evidence of any god - and they certainly don't confirm the existence of a specific god. Dr. Collins simply turned off his rational mind and, convinced that science could not explain beauty, complexity or order, took a leap of faith to the most comfortable conclusion.}}

Revision as of 16:46, 22 August 2006

Cover of Francis Collins' book, The Language of God
The Language of God - A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief was written by Francis Collins and published in July, 2006. It has become a popular citation for many evangelicals and apologists who rely on the scientific credentials of its author to support an argument from authority.

His book, and interviews have drawn attention to Dr. Collins' views on religion and science which has prompted a number of critical responses. Because of this popularity, many have assumed that Dr. Collins is a recent convert, based on his research. In truth, he's been a Christian since the age of 27 and this decision wasn't based on any of his scientific work.

Contents

Selected Statements and Responses

Introduction

"As believers, you are right to hold fast to the concept of God as Creator; you are right to hold fast to the truths of the Bible; you are right to hold fast to the conclusion that science offers no answers to the most pressing questions of human existence; and you are right to hold fast to the certainty that the claims of atheistic materialism must be steadfastly resisted."

"God, who is not limited to space and time, created the universe and established natural laws that govern it. Seeking to populate this otherwise sterile universe with living creatures, God chose the elegant mechanism of evolution to create microbes, plants, and animals of all sorts. Most remarkably, God intentionally chose the same mechanism to give rise to special creatures who would have intelligence, a knowledge of right and wrong, free will, and a desire to seek fellowship with Him. He also knew these creatures would ultimately choose to disobey the Moral Law."

— Collins in The Language of God...

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"...of all the possible worldviews, atheism is the least rational."

— Collins in The Language of God...

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On His Conversion

Proof of polytheism?

"...in my early 20s, I was a pretty obnoxious atheist. Then at the age of 27, after a good deal of intellectual debating with myself about the plausibility of faith, and particularly with strong influence from C.S. Lewis, I became convinced that this was a decision I wanted to make. And I became, by choice, a Christian, a serious Christian, who believes that faith is not something that you just do on Sunday, but that if it makes any sense at all, it's part of your whole life. It's the most important organizing principle in my life."

— PBS Interview

"On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains … the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ."

— Collins in The Language of God...

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Specific Arguments

Morality

"Though other animals may at times appear to show glimmerings of a moral sense, they are certainly not widespread, and in many instances other species’ behavior seems to be in dramatic contrast to any sense of universal rightness."

— Collins in The Language of God...

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Justifying Christianity

Having come to the conclusion that some god must exist, Dr. Collins addresses the issue of determining which specific god-hypothesis is suitable...

"And if that were so, what kind of God would this be? Would this be a deist God, who invented physics and mathematics and started the universe in motion about 14 billion years ago, then wandered off to deal with other, more important matters, as Einstein thought? No, this God, if I was perceiving him at all, must be a theist God, who desires some kind of relationship with those special creatures called human beings, and has therefore instilled this special glimpse of Himself into each one of us. This might be the God of Abraham, but it was certainly not the God of Einstein…. Judging by the incredibly high standards of the Moral Law … this was a God who was holy and righteous. He would have to be the embodiment of goodness…. Faith in God now seemed more rational that disbelief."

— Collins in The Language of God...

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