To complement neurosurgeon Jonathan T. Pararajasingham’s videos of 100 academics explaining their atheism, he’s also made a 25-minute video of 20 academics and theologians explaining why they believe in god. My comment on each speaker follows his name (they’re all men).
Here’s Pararajasingham’s explanation of the video and list of speakers:
It is easy to find examples of how religious thinking among lay or fundamentalist Christians can result in profoundly irrational ideas. But the evidence that reason is abandoned in Christianity equally comes from the mouths of “sophisticated” theologians, leaders, scholars and spokespersons practising it.
Speakers in order of appearance:
- Professor George Coyne, Astronomer, Vatican Observatory. Not a relative! Doesn’t believe in most miracles except for the virgin birth and the resurrection. He’s embarrassed to believe in that stuff as a scientist, but then maintains that he’s “c0nsistent.”
- Robin Collins, Professor of Philosophy. Says that evil is part of God’s plan because it’s an inevitable byproduct of God-given free will.
- Dr Benjamin Carson, Paediatric Neurosurgeon. Doesn’t believe in evolution, and you’ll find his reason hilarious.
- John Lennox, Oxford Professor of Mathematics. Dawkins presses him hard to pinpoint when in human evolution the primates became “people.” He squirms. And this guy is an Oxford professor!
- Francis Collins, National Human Genome Research Institute Director. What can I say? He admits that he accepts God-created miracles, but doesn’t say which ones. In a panel discussion, he admits that his faith involves a suspension of rationality, and then says that he’s unwilling to deny the existence of Satan!
- John Polkinghorne, Cambridge Professor of Mathematical Physics. “God is both connected with time and also outside time. That’s puzzling and difficult to work out, but I think it’s absolutely essential.” He goes on to spew more deepities.
- JP Moreland, Professor of Philosophy, Biola University. “God is an individual person and angels are finite persons.”
- William Dembski, Research Professor of Philosophy. I can’t figure out what he’s trying to say about theodicy, but it involves God going back and changing the past to create the Fall, and God giving us vipers to serve as metaphors for the evil in our hearts.
- Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. OMG. Miracles are not suspensions of the laws of nature, but “nature living up to its own depths.” Dawkins is too charitable here, giving the good Archbishop an out by suggesting that he’s using “poetic language.” I never understand those atheists who see this man as a friend.
- Dinesh D’Souza, Hoover Research Fellow, Stanford. Claims that God instilled the soul into humans about 5,000 years ago, when all of a sudden there was an efflorescence of culture and the wheel was invented. Says that his faith was affirmed when he stopped letting his brain get in the way.
- Dr Ravi Zacharias, Renowned Christian Apologist. Tells gay people to “renounce their dispositions for the sake of Christ.”
- Brian Leftow, Oxford Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion. If you can figure out what he’s trying to say, please enlighten me!
- Dr William Lane Craig, Renowned Apologist and Philosopher. Laments the futility of human effort in light of the impending heat death of the Earth.
- Nicholas Saunders, Science and Religion Scholar, Cambridge. Argues that, in quantum mechanics, it could be God who makes probabilistic events actually occur. You can’t prove it, but he says you can’t disprove it, either.
- NT Wright, Leading New Testament Scholar. Claims that the existence of males and females is not an accidental genetic quirk, but is the direct result of God’s plan. And if you think that makes the Bible homophobic, well, you have to stand on some moral high ground.
- Alvin Plantinga, Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy. For a world to have the Incarnation and atonement, there has to be not just evil, but a lot of it.
- Alistair McGrath, Oxford Professor of Historical Theology. Dawkins asks him why McGrath claims that God doesn’t intervene in human affairs, but that God does intervene sometimes to save lives. His answer is perhaps the greatest example of bafflegab in the whole video.
- Freeman Dyson, Physicist, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Says that an electron and atom have “rudimentary consciousness;” implies that quantum mechanics has something to do with human consciousness. Says his God is part of the universe, evolves with the universe, and has no idea what’s going to happen.
- RJ Berry, Professor of Genetics, University College London. Explains that we couldn’t be physically descended from Adam and Eve, but we could be spiritually descended from them (whoever they are). In one instant we became Homo divinus.
- Denys Turner, Yale Professor of Historical Theology. Espouses negative theology, in which “one doesn’t know what you’re talking about.” He says that that, in fact, is what theology is about. Sounds pretty much right to me.