Happy Birthday to the BioLogos Community
Today is the first anniversary of the launch of the BioLogos website. Our first blog, written by Francis Collins and posted on Beliefnet.com, was called BioLoguration. Within weeks of writing this blog, Francis had to step aside from the leadership of the BioLogos Foundation in order to accept the directorship of the National Institutes of Health. We missed him greatly in the early days, and still do. However, as you revisit his post and consider the lively discussions we have enjoyed of late, I hope you’ll sense that his vision lives on. Indeed, I hope you’ll sense it lives on in you.
BioLogos is no longer just the vision of a tiny group of people who helped launch the website. It has become much broader now. BioLogos is all of us who together seek harmony between science and the Christian faith. We don’t all agree, we are not all of like mind. Yet together we have become a community in daily conversation.
Martin Rizley and Daniel Mann are each an important part of our community even though they are young earth creationists who think much differently than many of us. They stimulate us to think carefully and, I sense, they are loved members within the BioLogos community. Gordon Glover is one of my heroes—he writes so logically and strives so hard to be patient with those who think differently. Pds is a community member, too. He holds us accountable, and as I prepare a blog, I sometimes find myself thinking, “What would pds say about such and such?” Glen Davidson and Charlie are skeptical about Christianity. I hope they know I am praying that they might sense God’s loving Presence in their lives. I especially hope that they will sense that Presence in the spirit of how we as Christians engage each other within a single community of individuals who love the God about whom they seem so skeptical.
For every one person who is a regular commenter, there are several hundred who choose only to read, and not to comment. On this, our first birthday, know that you especially, are a key member of the BioLogos community. You may be telling your friends and family members that mainstream science and Christianity can exist in harmony, or you may simply refer someone to a particular post or thread, quietly encouraging them to begin opening their minds, hopefully only as they are ready. Assuredly, many of you in the silent majority are very skeptical about all of this. But at least you are engaged. You are reading the posts, you are watching the videos, and you are thinking. You are seeking harmony between faith and science, even if you don’t see it our way. Welcome, and Happy Birthday! You are an essential part of the BioLogos community too.
We have many messages from people who, knowing no other person at work who is a Christian, and no other person at church who accepts evolution, finally have a haven—a place where they are not alone. Others, seeing the barriers between faith and science dissipate, have moved from atheism to the life of faith—a new birth. What could be more fulfilling than that?
BioLogos cannot only be a website if it is really going to help the many who seem to think one must choose between mainstream science and Christianity. We are excited about many new community-building ventures coming up.
For example, this summer BioLogos is hosting a week-long workshop at Point Loma Nazarene University for Christian high school teachers who are interested in professional development opportunities in biology.1 These teachers, from all over the country, will become a community—a BioLogos community. They will meet not just for one week in early August, but online throughout the academic year, and on into the second summer when they will convene in person again. Through a generous donation of one BioLogos community member, we have the funds to make this program possible at no cost to teachers and to even provide a nice stipend. After all, Christian school teachers are greatly underpaid, and they need all the support they can get! We hope to sponsor many of these BioLogos teacher communities as the years go by.
On a related note, BioLogos has just submitted a proposal to a major foundation for a grant to develop web-based curricular supplements to accompany secular biology textbooks for use in Christian schools. These supplements will be available to Christian students in public schools as well.
In addition, BioLogos is preparing for two important workshops. The first will be a science and theology workshop at Gordon College in June. BioLogos and Gordon are co-hosting the meeting with logistical support from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Then in November, we will host our second annual conference for about 65 influential evangelical scientists, pastors, and other scholars and leaders in New York City.
We are also exploring the use of film as a way of promoting peace between mainstream science and the life of faith.
And, some of us are writing books.
BioLogos is a community, but it is also a mission. The young woman about whom Francis Collins wrote one year ago was still, at that point, struggling with how to bring science and faith together. It is not always easy! Our mission is to provide a safe place where people like her can feel at home regardless of where they are on this journey. BioLogos, as indicated in our mission statement, “represents the harmony between faith and science,” but it will fail if it does not also represent a safe place where people can think matters through— slowly if need be—and reach their own conclusions at their own pace.
As we look back over this year, we are fully aware that we have not always succeeded. Indeed, there have been occasions when BioLogos did not provide that place where everyone felt safe. Still, we go on as one community despite our inadequacies. We will succeed, but not because of the vision of any one individual, even when that individual is our beloved founder, Francis Collins. We will succeed because we have a calling from God. Because of this, and this alone, there is no turning back.
Darrel Falk is former president of The BioLogos Foundation. He transitioned into Christian higher education 25 years ago and has given numerous talks about the relationship between science and faith at many universities and seminaries. He is the author of Coming to Peace with Science.