The religious rug was pulled out from under my feet. In the middle of my studies to become a pastor, I somehow stumbled onto a video of a militant atheist named Richard Dawkins. He was speaking to a packed auditorium at the University of Berkley. Although he was a well-known scientist, his presentation style was more like a stand-up comedian than a biologist. He equated believing in God to believing in the spaghetti monster. And the crowd that was listening to him roared with laughter.
The video went on like this for over an hour. And I came to realize they were all laughing at me. They couldn’t believe anyone in our modern, scientific, and rational world could still put their faith in some unseen deity in the clouds.
By the end of his talk, I wondered, “Am I all wrong? Is my faith and my career completely irrational? Will I be trying to persuade people to believe a lie?”
I have talked to others who’ve had similar experiences. They stumbled onto a video where a smart professor called believers dumb Christians. After watching a few videos like this, YouTube’s algorithm spits out more messages that challenge the Christian faith. If a Christian can’t peel himself away from his computer, he might start the day as a follower of Jesus and end the day as a follower of Darwin.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Although many scientists fall into Dawkins’ camp, he is not the only voice in the scientific community. For example, John Lennox is a Christian mathematician who taught at Oxford. In addition, William Lane Craig is a highly regarded philosopher who has made compelling arguments for the Christian faith. But the scientist who has been most helpful to me is Stephen Meyer. Meyer is a graduate of Cambridge who has become one of the strongest proponents of intelligent design. This scientific theory points to a grand Designer of all things in contrast to a purely materialistic perspective of the universe.
Whereas Dawkins is known for saying, “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference” (River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life).
Meyer is known for saying, “The universe has precisely the properties we should expect if there was intelligent design built into the universe, and indeed intelligent design that has a theistic source” (“Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and the Return of the God Hypothesis,” Uncommon UK Knowledge With Peter Robinson, https://www.hoover.org/research/stephen-meyer-intelligent-design-and-return-god-hypothesis-1).
Last week I was reminded of how compelling Meyer’s arguments were when I listened to his interview on another podcast. In the discussion, Meyer could articulate his perspective based on the two great discoveries of the 20th century: the expansion of the universe and DNA. Meyer said that because we can observe that the universe is expanding, that points back to a beginning and an ultimate Beginner who created everything for a purpose. In addition, we now know that DNA functions like a digital code, giving instructions to each living cell. And where there is a code or language, there is always an author.
Meyer’s research shows how these discoveries undermine mere materialism and seem to point to something metaphysical. Yet his findings are still a long way from proving the Lord God of the Scriptures. And that’s OK. Our faith in Jesus Christ is still and will always be a miracle of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, the work of scientists like Meyer shows us that our faith is not antirational or logically inconsistent with observable facts.
So here is my encouragement for all those who have gotten caught in the vortex of digital media that undermines your faith. Be careful what you listen to. Many voices will ridicule you for your faith in Jesus. They seem to give airtight arguments for atheism. Yet the Word of the Lord continues to stand the test of time. It is the truth in which we can build our lives. It is a foundation that will never fall.