(RNS) — On prime of his duties as the director of the National Institutes of Overall health, Francis Collins requires time to answer letters from Christians attempting to reconcile their faith with science.
At a conference final week of BioLogos, the nonprofit he founded a lot more than 10 years ago to bridge science and faith, Collins told an audience of 360 scientists, pastors and educators about an e mail he received not too long ago from a man in Nigeria named Emanuel. Emanuel was raised in a conservative Christian household but was studying to be a nurse and wrestling with regardless of whether he could hold on to his faith.
Collins told him he didn’t require to abandon his faith in order to realize what he was mastering.
“I was so grateful for the chance to reassure this young man and his close friends that there is a excellent answer to the dilemma they face and to stroll them by means of what that may be,” Collins told the audience assembled in Baltimore for the BioLogos conference.
A renowned geneticist, Collins is recognized in faith circles not only for his scientific accomplishments — amongst them piloting the Human Genome Project — but for his seemingly unshakable faith in God.
That dedication to Christianity has earned him star energy amongst a segment of evangelicals who are eager for a a lot more nuanced strategy to science — 1 that accepts the findings of evolution, for instance, and also regards the Bible as a supply of ultimate authority.
Even though Collins, who turns 69 subsequent week, is not involved in the day-to-day workings of BioLogos (the name combines the Greek words for “life” and “reason” or “word”), he is nevertheless its largest draw and is a visible presence at the conference, exactly where he played acoustic guitar for the gathering’s praise and worship sessions.
Amongst a vast swath of evangelicals, the organization occupies a lonely station. A lot of evangelicals are opposed to scientific claims about climate modify, and a subset believes the Earth was produced by God much less than 10,000 years ago — a view recognized as young earth creationism. Then there’s evolution, which a lot of churches view as a direct threat to the biblical account of Genesis that sees humans as the pinnacle of God’s creation.
BioLogos, which receives substantially of its assistance from the John Templeton Foundation, requires concrete methods to educate evangelicals about science in a way that tends to make area for their faith. It has not too long ago launched a podcastand is operating on curricula for homeschoolers and Christian higher schools that are each scientifically rigorous and correct to the historic Christian faith.
Collins may perhaps be the ideal Protestant diplomat for bridging the science-faith divide. No surprise, a lot of conference participants lined up for selfies.
Even though his scientific celebrity is 1 portion of his reputation, stated James Stump, senior editor for the BioLogos web-site, “the significant draw is his character — becoming about him. People today are attracted to him. He’s the sort of individual that when you are speaking to him, you have his interest. He genuinely cares about individuals.”
RNS sat down with Collins at the BioLogos conference to ask him about the challenges that lie ahead in reconciling faith and science. The interview was edited for length and clarity.