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April 21, 2010

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Aimee

Pastor Adam Barton,

Thanks for sharing!

Aimee
Akron, Ohio

Todd M. Burton

Pastor Adam Barton:

I have to admit...logic and reason often make me woder if God truly exists. However, my emotions always control my mind and the knowledge of who Christ is through scripture as well as simple life experiences make it much more difficult to say there is not. I believe this is a struggle we all have at some point in life and it is truly when we decide to live in faith that our eyes can be opened. I know that is the case for me.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


TB

Akron, Ohio

Carrie

Pastor Adam Barton,

While I don't find most scientists' opinions on the creation of the universe shameful, I often find it discouraging that THEY find it shameful to believe in a creator. I've read several times that Einstein was very upset and confounded when he theorized the universe was expanding. And he is not the only scientist to feel this way. Why is that? Why can't a creator and science co-exist?

Carrie
Akron, Ohio

ap

Pastor Adam Barton
Thank you for the nice article concerning this particular study. I found it very interesting and was not suprised by the results of her book.
AP
Akron Ohio

Pastor Adam Barton

Carrie, thanks for your comment. I do believe that science will illuminate the existence of God as time passes. It already has. It is unfortunate the peer pressures they face from the minority of people in the academic community (that don't believe in God) often prevent them from being more vocal about their belief in a Creator.

TB, Thanks for commenting as well. I agree that the more we live by faith the more God opens our eyes. Good thing to remember.

Pastor Adam Barton
Akron, Ohio

Dave

"Einstein, to Hawking, many of the world's top scientists acknowledge in some basic way the existence of God "

Einstein was, and Hawking continues to be, clear that God to them is not the God of revelation, but a pantheistic conception a la Spinoza (whom Einstein specifically name checked). They did/do not posit an intelligence behind creation. I personally wish that those of us who do not believe in the Abrahamic God (which includes most scientific pantheists) would stop using the term 'God', as it confuses the conversation, but it's fairly easy to refute any assertion that Einstein was a "theist" in the same sense that (for example) you are.

'Dr. Francis Collins, who led the Human Genome Project and is considered "one of the most accomplished scientists of our time" (Endocrine Society) considers scientific discovery, "an opportunity to worship" as stated in his 2006 book, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief".'

Collins' reasons for his belief are strikingly different from his scientific work. His work on science is rigorous and detailed. His evidence for the logic of accepting Christianity is that one day he saw a frozen waterfall with three streams that made him think of the trinity (seriously, look it up).

"All of this to say, the scientific community is not a group, mostly made of up of atheists and agnostics. "

Most headcounts/surveys I'm aware of indicate that in the hard sciences, atheism is more the norm than the exception. However, whether smart people believe in a premise has little to do with whether the premise is correct or not. There are also many Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist scientists, none of which are proof that those belief systems have any validity. There's no convincing scientific evidence that indicates a designed universe; it is, of course, your prerogative to believe otherwise, but scientific validation may be long in coming.

Best wishes
Dave

Todd M. Burton

Dave:


I believe that is the basic thing many of us come to...."There is no convincing scientific evidence that indicates a designed universe". Believing in a faith; and many can bebate what that is, is solely reliant on blind faith...a concept that many struggle with, but few who experience it can argue.

You come off as an extremely intelligent and well thought out individual and only encourage you to seek this out for yourself by utilizing more sources than simply those supplied by the scientific community. I believe in doing so you will find something you have never yet discovered.


Best Wishes


TB


Akron, Ohio

T

Paster Adam Barton:

Thanks for your continued desire to inform us with your articles. It reinforces for me that once again whether in or out of the scientific community "conflict" exists between those who believe in God and those who do not. It convicts me even more to believe by faith, not by sight and stop looking for "proof" for everything. Keep up the great work, Adam!

TR
Akron, Ohio

TR

Pastor Adam Barton:

Thanks for your continued desire to inform us with your articles. It reinforces for me that once again whether in or out of the scientific community “conflict” exists between those who believe in God and those who do not. It convicts me even more to believe by faith, not by sight and stop looking for “proof” for everything. Keep up the great work, Adam!

TR
Akron, Ohio

Dave

Well, that's the rub, isn't it? People of every faith have blind faith in entirely different things. In my neighborhood, there are several Buddhist monks. They have given up sexual relations, meat, and many other things. They shave their heads, wear the same outfit, and practice arcane rituals daily. It seems likely their faith is just as strong as yours or more so, and yet it leads them in an entirely different direction; they don't even believe in God. If blind faith could lead you anywhere worthwhile, wouldn't everyone be rewarded with roughly similar insights? And yet sometimes even members of the same religion differ on basic definitions of the object of their worship. Take Muslims. Specifically Shia Muslims. Specifically Ithna-Ashari Shia Muslims. Specifically Persian Ithna-Ashari Shia Muslims. Specifically Usooli Persian Ithna-Ashari Shia Muslims. Think I've gotten specific enough? Well, they don't. Within the Usooli methodology of the Ithna-Ashari tradition of the Shia sect of the Persian ethnicity's practice of the Islamic faith--that is to say, a tiny, tiny subgroup of a subgroup--there are two factions of embittered believers who regard each other as infidels and sometimes declare death sentences on each other. In the Mormon faith, which I was raised in, there are tiny fundamentalist sects that believe that they alone of all Mormons (let alone the rest of humanity)are favored by God. If faith was a way to God, why is there no consistency of characteristics? Why don't people come to the same, or even vaguely similar conclusions? There are differences between scientists, but not of this magnitude, and (more importantly) no scientist is given blind faith; the results are only as good as the proofs. In my own life, I do use more than "science", I also look to ethics, philosophy, and contemplation. I would encourage you, in turn, to look beyond the answers provided by blind faith, as I believe a cursory look at the world shows that these are really not answers at all.

Best to you and yours
Dave

Pastor Adam Barton

Dave, your comment, "I would encourage you, in turn, to look beyond the answers provided by blind faith, as I believe a cursory look at the world shows that these are really not answers at all."

I agree with you. I do not feel "blind faith" is adequate when it comes to religion and belief in God. As you are aware, not everyone that comments on this blog feels that way.

I don't think we can expect someone else to believe in what we believe just by saying that they need to have blind faith. I also don't believe Jesus ever taught blind faith--why else did he perform miracles? So that people would believe (John 14:11).

Excellent insights and we are in agreement at least on the blind faith part. :)

With respect and gratitude for you comments,
Pastor Adam Barton
Akron, Ohio

Todd M. Burton

Dave:


I believe Pastor Adam Barton summed up what I so inadequetly described as "Blind Faith". In doing such my intent was not to descibe something that is arbitrarily acccepted, but moreover experienced and researched personally. I cannot argue that there are many differing opinions and interpretations of writings that society calls scripture. However, my comments were intended for a more deeply rooted spiritualy contemplated "Blind Faith".

I have come to the conclusion that there will be things that I do not have the mental capacity to comprehend. If one comes to the opinion that something or someone greater than themselves is responsible for creation...then is it not logical to accept the fact that complete understanding is impossible and a form of educated Blind Faith used to fill that void? It is within this that we can truly seek out a closer personal relationship.

This is a fact that I cannot explain in words as well as my emotions and personal experiences in life can. I appreciate your opinion and thoughts.


TB


Akron, Ohio

Ranger

This was a fascinating book. Some of the things that stuck out to me from her research were that upbringing has more to do with adult beliefs than anything else. Most atheistic scientists were brought up as atheists. For some reason, more atheists self select to go into the sciences and this influences the identification within the group in measurable ways.

There is little doubt that there are more atheists in the hard sciences than any other field of knowledge. Although they were informal, the NAS survey as well as the Royal Society surveys showed that elite scientists are largely atheistic or agnostic (although admittedly neither survey had a good enough response to be conclusive in its findings). In the 2006 UCLA study only 10% of US college professors claimed to be atheist, but the number jumped to 25% in the hard sciences. Before this Ecklund study though, few had gone into the question about "why" they are atheistic. These newer studies seem to suggest that it has little to do with their science.

Another interesting find was that atheistic belief increases among the older demographic with a majority of today's younger scientists being theistic whereas the majority of older scientists are atheistic. There are two ways to look at this...one is that the longer you spend time in the lab, the more your faith erodes.

I'm not sure this is the best indicator though based on Ecklund's other findings. Instead, it may be that the science vs. religion debates, which are still popular among the internet masses, but were more prevelant among working scientists fifty years ago are starting to be calmed with more and more mediating organizations and high profile scientsists with religious belief (Ayala, Collins, Dyson, Templeton, BioLogos, et. al.). One need only think of John Polkinghorne's recent book release before a packed house of scientists at the Royal Society. Some elite scientists are interested in convergence. Of course, those opposed to such convergences are as loud as ever (Coyne, Dawkins, etc.), but their influence is primarily among internet followers and college students and no longer among the working scientists where they held sway previously.

Therefore, it's reasonable that younger scientists feel it is okay and more acceptable in the guild to be both religious and scientific. There is no doubt that in the previous generations there were strong social pressures against religious beliefs within the guild. One only needs think of Fred Hoyle's consistent refusal to accept Big Bang cosmology for no other reason than the perceived theological implications or Richard Leowontin's famous "we cannot allow a divine foot in the door" quote.

Pastor Adam Barton

Ranger,
Thank you for the excellent comment! I gained new insights from you and was reminded of some importants things (Leowontin's quote). It is interesting that upbringing plays such a role. All who read this blog are better off for you comment. Thanks for filling us in better on this book. Good stuff.
With gratitude,
Pastor Adam Barton
Akron, Ohio

Athanasius

Pastor Adam Barton

thanks for the post and the helpful discussion here in the comments section

Athanasius,

Akron, OH

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