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Dr. Francis Collins: ‘My atheism was dangerously thin’


It is a powerful testimony of how one scientist, Dr. Francis Collins, realized his belief in atheism was “dangerously thin” resulting him becoming a believer in Jesus Christ.

And he is not just any scientist, Dr Francis Collins, 70, also serves as the Director of the National Institutes for Health (NIH) in the US which is the agency responsible for developing a COVID-19 vaccine in that country.

He is also a world-recognized geneticist and led the Human Genome Project and is credited for finding the genes associated with several diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis.

In acceptance speech, after receiving a Templeton Prize on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, Dr. Collins shared his remarkable transformation from atheist to Christian.

Dr. Collins started off as an agnostic, but as he pursued his career in science he began to embrace atheism.

But that all changed when one of his patients asked him what he believed about God, Collins said:

“I realised my atheism was dangerously thin. I began a journey to try to understand why intellectually sophisticated people could actually believe in God. To my dismay, I found that atheism turned out to be the least rational of all the choices. To quote [G.K.] Chesterton, ‘Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.'”

As he studied God over the nest two years, including the writings of C.S Lewis, Collins reluctantly came to the conclusion that though God could not conclusively be proven, nevertheless it was “the most rational choice available.”

He added:

“I saw in the very science that I so loved something that I had missed. The evidence that seemed to cry out for a creator…there is something instead of nothing. The universe had a beginning; it follows elegant mathematical laws. Those laws include a half dozen constants that have to have the exact value they do or there would be no possibility of anything interesting or complex in nature.”

“God must be an amazing physicist and mathematician. “But does he or she actually care about me?” 

This wondering if God personally cared about him, led Collins to his encounter with Jesus, a person he had previously considered a myth. But again after studying the historical evidence, Collins concluded Jesus was real with a very real message about sin and salvation.

After he decided to become a Christian, his friends stated that his belief would be short-lived because of his work in genetics. But it hasn’t, in fact, Collins has written books about his faith and science.

The Apostle Paul wrote that when God judges the world, that people will be without excuse:

19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20 NIV)

But as we read these verses, the Apostle Paul says that people will be without excuse because of God’s creation. I know some believers have felt their faith challenged by science, but we need to understand the reverse is happening as well.

People, such as Dr. Collins, who initially embraced atheism, are having their beliefs challenged by God’s spectacular creation. Some admit it and publicly confess their beliefs. While others hide it.

But know this, God’s creation pushes back against unbelief.

READ: ‘I realised my atheism was dangerously thin’: Famed geneticist Francis Collins recounts stunning conversion

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