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Happy Birthday to the BioLogos Community

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April 29, 2010 Tags: Christian Unity
Happy Birthday to the BioLogos Community

Today's entry was written by Darrel Falk. You can read more about what we believe here.

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.

1. Send an email to lelizond@pointloma.edu if you are a biology teacher in a Christian high school and would like more information.

Darrel Falk is former president of BioLogos and currently serves as BioLogos' Senior Advisor for Dialog. He is Professor of Biology, Emeritus at Point Loma Nazarene University and serves as Senior Fellow at The Colossian Forum. Falk is the author of Coming to Peace with Science.

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Michael Thompson - #11659

April 29th 2010

Happy birthday Biologos!
Keep up the good work! this blog has become part of my daily devotions. reading the articles and comments has challenged me to think and grow in the faith. thanks to everyone who posts articles and comments here!

Karl A - #11662

April 29th 2010

Happy birthday, Biologos!  I thank God for this site - I have been very encouraged by the posts and blessed by the interactions by all participants.

I only came to know Biologos about 6 months ago, so I went back to read the first post on the Beliefnet site.  I was struck by one thing Francis wrote,

....this kind of misunderstanding has led to an increasingly hostile battle of worldviews, especially in the United States.  The conversation is particularly dominated by those at the extremes…religious fundamentalists…scientific fundamentalists.  This contentious atmosphere has often discouraged a more deep and meaningful dialogue.  And the battle is having a lot of innocent casualties…

In my book, Francis’ dream has become a reality.  We are engaging in deep and meaningful dialogue, and I trust some would-be casualties are walking through this life of engagement with God and the world with greater confidence.

I was also tickled to see people like dopderbeck, Steve M, Beaglelady and pds as commentors from the get-go.

Karl A - #11664

April 29th 2010

Let’s hear some testimonies!  How have you been helped or changed (or hurt or confused) by this community?

Malcolm - #11668

April 29th 2010

A year on and yet still so much to be done. So many remain so steadfast in their opposition to evolutionary science. Many organisations (AIG, ICR) have well known positions on this, but even if we look around at others we see much of the same. John MacArthur, a prominent evangelical, has dedicated the last 3 weeks of his blog articles to attacking evolutionary science and especially Christians who accept it. Today’s entry, the latest in a long line of misrepresentations and distortions, relates to “information theory.” One wonders how such ignorance and basic misunderstanding can persist. How can one subset of the population appear to have a different set of “facts” to everyone else?

Mike Gene - #11669

April 29th 2010

Happy birthday, BL! 

We’re also coming upon the one year anniversary of Hate Francis Collins week.  That was the week (or so) when the New Atheists launched a campaign to smear Collins and argue publicly that he was not qualified to lead the NIH because he was a Christian.  Rather than let it slip down the memory hole, let’s commemorate what Sam Harris wrote in the pages of the New York Times:

As someone who believes that our understanding of human nature can be derived from neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science and behavioral economics, among others, I am troubled by Dr. Collins’s line of thinking. I also believe it would seriously undercut fields like neuroscience and our growing understanding of the human mind.

Since New Atheists claim to be interested only in “the evidence,” is there any evidence that the state of neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science and behavioral economics have suffered since Collins has headed the NIH?  Or were all these attacks on Collins nothing more than propagandistic threatiness rooted in stereotype?

Dianoguy - #11670

April 29th 2010

I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the voice of Biologos in the science/religion discussion! This site, and the conversations that take place here, are a wonderfully refreshing resource for those of us who value our Christian faith above all else, and also accept evolutionary science.

As a longtime “silent” reader, I want to extend heartfelt thanks to all of the post authors who write about sensitive issues so eloquently…. and thanks also to the many regular commenters who take the time to wrestle deeply with difficult issues.

God bless… and keep writing!

Esley Heizer - #11673

April 29th 2010

Happy birthday. I literally thank God for this site and Francis Collins. I visit here daily and read all the blogs. I truly believe God led me to read “The Language of God” and to this site. After many years of being at war with myself I am finally at peace. I have finally been able to reconcile both parts of myself. I am now a Christian and a scientist and both parts are at peace. I love God and I love being a scientist.

Olavo - #11674

April 29th 2010

Congratulations from Brazil!

Dan G - #11675

April 29th 2010

It’s only been a year? Wow! I guess I’ve been following along since nearly the beginning then.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was one of the many who fought against the ideas promoted on this site. I think one of the reasons I fought so hard was to try and prove, to myself, others and God, that I really did believe in what I thought I was “supposed” to believe as a conservative, evangelical Christian. There is nothing quite so terrifying as the process of reworking a firmly held religious conviction. It can cause the best of us to act like a cornered animal.

I am grateful to this community for being one of the tools God has used to give me a “new pair of glasses”. I think one of the best testimonies I can give is that when I look at the world around me I am even freer now than I used to be to worship the Creator for his amazing works. That might seem like cognitive dissonance to some, but to me the acceptance of the findings of science has made it easier, instead of harder, to see my God at work.

Isai Garcia - #11684

April 29th 2010

Happy birthday Biologos! I am also one of the many that have been visiting the website daily. Up to this point I had chosen not to comment. However, this ministry has been a huge blessing to me by virtue of its honesty, charity and commitment to exploring God’s “book of nature.” The conversation videos and the guest blogs (especially the ones by Peter Enns, Kenton Sparks, and John Walton since I had read their books beforehand) have been engaging and stimulating. I had been hesitant to accept a union between evolution and faith; I am now happily exploring their blessed union. May the Lord grant Biologos many more years!

Rick W. - #11686

April 29th 2010

As others, I visit this site without commenting.  However, let me join in the celebration.  Congratulations and keep up the good work.  Thanks for all you do

Ben Landrum - #11688

April 29th 2010

Happy birthday, BL!  I would say you don’t know how critical your service is, but you probably DO know!  Praying that you guys would be regularly inspired and that you continue in fruitful service of YHWH and fellow Christians.

I’m wondering where you expect future funding to come from.  How much longer are you under the grant from the Templeton Foundation?  I’d love to contribute in some way.

Glen Davidson - #11691

April 29th 2010

Thank you, and keep it up.  I do think that meaningful discussions are happening here that are, at least, hard to find elsewhere on the web.

Happy birthday.

Glen Davidson

Gregory - #11695

April 29th 2010

Happy Birthday, BioLogos Foundation website!

(and as the UN would add…)

كل عام و أنت بخير (kul ‘am wa antum bekheir)

生日快樂 (shēngrì kuàilè)

joyeux anniversaire

с днем рождения (s dniom roždeniya)

feliz cumpleaños!

A.A. Lyrae - #11708

April 29th 2010

Happy Birthday indeed BioLogos!

As a young (21 in a month) Biology and Philosophy undergraduate with a Christian background in the Assemblies of God, my regular college-age intellectual growing-pains, already tough enough, were only made worse by the struggle with my convictions in faith and science.

I read “The Language of God” 3 years ago, early in my college career, the summer before I’d take my introductory Bio course in Evolution.

By that point, I didn’t know what I believed anymore, but I walked into that lecture hall with the conviction that, whatever evidence was presented to me, God would be the one to evaluate it, and not I. He would show me whether or not my faith would be forever at wr with what I would come to see as an elegant paradigm of scientific rigor. (cont’d)

A.A. Lyrae - #11709

April 29th 2010

3 years later, and I’m now a student-researcher in a Molecular Evolution lab, my faith enhanced through witnessing the beauty of God’s foresight at work in the very molecules that contain our genetic information. But, in my spare time, when an experiment is at work, and my lunch hour arrives, I turn on my laptop, glance over my “Science & the Sacred” news feed and find myself wondering at the sublimity of it all, that the two aspects which define me, in conflict not three years ago, could now be seamlessly integrated into my daily life.

As one of the “silent” readers, I thank you immensely BioLogos, for providing me with peace, intellectual guidance, growth and an awareness of a community that seeks to find the same serenity as the one God has shown my heart.

Chris Massey - #11712

April 29th 2010

Happy Birthday Biologos! I’m excited to hear about the upcoming conferences as well as the workshop for Christian high school teachers. There is such a need for people who can take the message of harmony between faith and science into the evangelical community - to people who won’t visit this site of their own accord. A few months ago someone from ICR came through my parents’ church spreading misinformation and peddling his videos, books and magazines. The creationists have made a cottage industry of doing presentations to congregations. I would love to see Biologos involved in retaking that ground. Keep up the good work.

Amy B - #11715

April 29th 2010

Happy Birthday, Biologos!. I am appreciative of everyone in the Biologos community. I found this site last year in the midst of a spiritual crisis that is ongoing. This website has been part of my life on a nearly daily basis since then. It has allowed me to explore topics that I had no way to explore in my life outside cyberspace. However, I have now found a few people in my life that I can talk to about such topics and we now have a venue to discuss them within the Biologos book club we just began at my church.

Sarah J. MacDonald - #11725

April 29th 2010

Happy Birthday and Excellent job for Biologos!

I’ve been watching the Biologos videos on youtube long before I started browsing the site, but hopefully I’ll be able to make some contributions (both text and financially). I have been part of the science and religion seminar series at Missouri Valley College for two years now and the student responses I have gotten from the series reinforce the importance of the work Biologos is involved in. May of our students come from a fundamentalist background, as I did. And they are encouraged to hear scientists speak and tell them they do not have to shut their brains off to believe their faith nor give up their faith in order to accept science.  I try very hard to help my students through the transition since I meet many of them in my biology classes. Biologos has been and will continue to be a valuable resource for me, Thanks!

John VanZwieten - #11726

April 29th 2010

Happy Birthday, BioLogos, and thanks to everyone who has contributed!

Reading and discussing these issues has re-awakened a passion for studying God’s world along with His Word.  I think it has also helped me be a better father to my kids and pastor in my church, as I can encourage others to understand the essential harmony between faith and science.

Keep at it!

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