271. truly, a gift from God
Christianity has been under attack by atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, and to be fair, I think we deserve it. Let me state unequivocally that I find a literal, seven day account of creation to be indefensible. Likewise, I think the more recent arguments for Intelligent Design, while not as bankrupt as those in the young earth creationism camp, are still woefully eclipsed by the torrential avalanche of evidence that supports good ‘ol Darwinian Evolution. So as a christian, I find it frustrating and disheartening to see creationists and ID advocates act as the mouthpiece for the christian position in areas where science and faith overlap. This so often being the case, I think it’s no wonder that the church is thought to be populated by anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, Biblical literalists who deserve to be mocked by atheists.
That’s why I was thrilled to find this fascinating mini-debate/discussion between host of the podcast, Point Of Inquiry, D.J. Grothe, and Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. Grothe had Collins on his show to talk about Collins’ book, The Language of God, where he talks about the compatibility of science and faith – that choosing one does not mean one has to reject the other.
What I find so refreshing about this discussion is his rejection of dishonest tactics on both sides of the debate between believers and atheists. One of my favorite bits comes about thirty one minutes into the discussion where he talks about how centuries before Darwin and the idea that the universe is billions of years old, Saint Augustine did a close study of Genesis and found that it was not meant to be taken literally. He goes on to say that a strictly literal interpretation of the creation story is a very recent development in the grand scheme of biblical studies.
I really hope to be able to pick up Collins’ book soon (that damn budget) because if it’s half as thrilling as he is in this debate, it’ll be a a book that will knock my socks off.
Again, you can hear the debate here: