Scientist Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health director, revealed on Wednesday why he converted from unbelief to Christianity. He sat down with Bloomberg's David Rubenstein to speak about his conversion, which occurred during his third year of medical school. In 2017, such a story might seem like an odd one, but Collins is proud to share it.
Collins grew up on a farm with two parents who didn't think religion was very important. They weren't against it, but didn't emphasize it while he was growing up. So when he got to college, when his friends and him would have conversations about the possibility of God's existence, Collins decided that he didn't believe in anything.
"I was more of an agnostic, but by the time I got into medical school I was shifting more to being an atheist," he said in the interview, before adding that he believed that science, rather than spirituality, was what really mattered in understanding reality.
Then he went to medical school and everything changed. During his third year as he was sitting at the bedside of the dying, he realized that his previous thoughts about life and death were too simplistic. He needed to do some investigating, he decided, in order to form a more rational and sophisticated view about the existence of God and about life after death.
He also made an important realization: that he was a scientist and therefore needed to make judgements based on evidence rather than feelings. Up until this point, he hadn't actually considered whether there was evidence for the existence of God. He had just assumed, based on his gut feeling, that the answer was no.
But Collins quickly discovered the overwhelming evidence for God's existence after he picked up "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. Philosophical arguments for the existence of God and the indisputable historical reality of Jesus then gathered immense appeal to Collins, who became a proud Christian. There is indeed no conflict between science and faith, he quickly discovered. The existence of God can be proven through philosophical argument.
"I’d never really heard much about C.S. Lewis, but picking up some of the things he wrote, particularly ‘Mere Christianity,’ made it clear to me – oh my gosh, there’s an incredibly compelling intellectual, rational basis for faith, which I had totally missed and assumed didn’t exist. It took me a couple of years of fighting against that, of trying to prove that this was all wrong and that I could stick with my agnosticism. But ultimately, I realized I couldn’t, that it was so compelling,” Collins said in the interview.
What do you think? Have you ever read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis? If you have, do you think he provides a convincing argument for the existence of God? In breaking news, Dianne Feinstein just attacked a Trump judicial pick for her Christian faith.