Jesse will now be a regular contributor to this site, so please welcome him to the group!
PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne each have posts mocking BioLogos, the Templeton Foundation-funded website by Francis Collins. Myers describes it as “fluffy bunnies and pious weasels to reconcile science and faith. It’s a rich vein of the worst of pseudo-scientific apologetics, and I am stunned by it — not because I am impressed by the substance, but because it is such a target-rich environment.”
Indeed, I’m almost paralyzed by the choices. Let’s start with their answer to the Problem of Evil/Suffering. They actually have a section titled “A God Who is Great but Mysterious“:
One response to the problem of evil that is necessary but ambivalent is to acknowledge that God’s ways are not our ways. God is greater than we are, with purposes that may differ greatly from ours. Even though we may not be able to see any reasons for our suffering, it is always possible that a God of such wisdom and creative power might have reasons for the existence of evil that are simply beyond human understanding.
This tactic has always impressed me for its sheer audacity. They admit that their observations don’t fit with their beliefs, and yet they consider it MORE evidence that God is greater and higher than we can imagine.
A friend of mine told me that faith is so simple a child can understand it but so complex the smartest scholar cannot. She was not amused by my earnest follow-up question on why faith only makes sense to those without critical thinking skills.
This is one of my biggest objections to the notion of faith. When a theory makes no sense or is contradicted by evidence, we should discard it. But with faith, you’re considered even more virtuous for believing in the face of contradiction!
Our lives are improved when we observe reality and adapt to it. We observe that medicine is the best way to cure disease, and we’re able to keep our children alive. We observe that species change over time, and we gain new understanding of our world and its workings. We observe that people of other faiths (or none) can be good people, and we have a more harmonious society.
I once had a debate over whether we can blame religion for the actions of religious adherents – or is it just being abused by dangerous individuals who deserve the real blame. While those people are at fault as well, I say that any belief system which actively encourages people to ignore opposing views and evidence can be held responsible for the negative consequences.
I think the line most offensive to me is from John 20:29 — “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
How much more blatant can you get?