The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief - Description


Collins' conversion to Christianity is detailed at the beginning and end of The Language of God. He grew up in an agnostic family, and knew at an early age that he wanted to be a scientist. At first, he was interested in the physical sciences, since "biology was rather like existential philosophy: it just didn't make sense" (page 181). However, nearing the end of a Ph.D. program, Collins took a biochemistry course and was hooked. He applied for and was admitted to medical school, from which he graduated and began genetic research and a clinical practice. During one clinic, Collins was asked by a Christian patient about his spiritual beliefs. He didn't really have an answer, but determined that he should confirm his atheism by studying the best arguments for faith. A pastor directed him to Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, which he cites as the main cause of his conversion.

Another section of "The Language of God" focuses on 'The Moral Law Argument.' Moral Law is very important for Collins: "After twenty-eight years as a believer, the Moral Law stands out for me as the strongest signpost of God" (p. 218). Moral Law is an argument for the existence of a God. What is the Moral Law? Collins quotes C.S. Lewis, "the denunciation of oppression, murder, treachery, falsehood and the injunction of kindness to the aged, the young, and the weak, almsgiving, impartiality, and honesty." Collins has two main arguments: One is that all cultures and religions of the world endorse a universal, absolute and timeless Moral Law. It is overwhelmingly documented in the "Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics." According to Collins, it is a unique property that separates humans and animals. The Moral Law includes altruism which is more than just reciprocity ("You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours"). His second argument is: "Selfless altruism presents a major challenge for the evolutionist" (p. 27).

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