Went to an estate sale today (because we like to buy used items) and the former owner of this house (God rest his soul) had a lot of books right up my alley. 18 books for $10! Among them was a reading anthology put together by Francis Collins, who seems to be a popular name here. He did give Biologos a nice plug:
And for a deeper exploration of the potential harmony of the scientific and spiritual worldviews, I would commend www.biologos.org, where my colleagues and I have embarked on an effort to provide responses to the questions about science and faith that are most frequently posed by believers, seekers, and skeptics.
Collins does not believe you can absolutely prove God’s existence but he thinks faith and reason go together quite well and put forward a few of the common arguments:
Big Bang and Kalam
Big bang and Kalam is fairly standard and I tend to agree with him on this front. I don’t think an actual infinite regress of causes is possible. I am not saying everything about an uncaused first cause is immediately clear and obvious but my knowledge of cosmology pushes me this way. Usually in discussion with people I like to ask them if a cakes can bake itself? I have seen a few people that don’t seem to like the word “explosion” for the Big Bang but that is a minor issue.
Design of the Universe
I like that he lays out the three potential pathways we can take as a response to examples of what look like fine-tuning question in our universe. The multiverse is absolutely a leap of (anti)faith to me. A leap away from God.
On Moral Law and Evolution
Does Morality have a foundation in atheism?
This is the one that is near and dear to me. I just don’t see how materialism produces objective morality beyond “conditioned to think this via evolution.” How can it be truly right or wrong, for one assemblage of atoms and subatomic particles governed by physical laws to “hurt” another assemblage of atoms and fundamental particles governed by physical laws? Can we be more than just blobs of matter in atheism?
I certainly do not think atheists live amorally. Some seem more moral than fellow brothers and sisters in Christ at times. But I’ve never seen how, philosophically, any ultimate meaning in the universe can be gleaned without God. It all just seems so arbitrary and culturally cherrypicked. Our religious moral code is certainly not immune from that charge.
One thing for me is also that ultimately, we have a blink of an eye existence on cosmic scales and the universe looks like it will expand forever until there is nothing left but darkness and temperatures hovering around absolute zero for the vast majority of cosmic history. Virtual nothingness forever–for so long that I wonder how any blip of matter in the past would be statistically relevant or meaningful. I mean, does anything truly matter in that framework? It is a bit bleak and depressing to view the universe without God. I think Collins phrased it way better than I ever could and I appreciated this next line:
I realized that seeing all of humanity’s nobler attributes through the constricted lens of atheism and materialism ultimately leads to philosophical impoverishment, and even to the necessity of giving up concepts of benevolence and justice.
Even avoiding whether we can prove or no God’s existence and what these arguments entail. From a perspective of world views, atheism is just bleak and dressing. It doesn’t seem to do justice or account for our everyday experiences except to dismiss them as illusions. Based on the introduction, I am looking forward to the selected readings!