Francis Collins Templeton Laureate!

Augustine Pamplany CST

Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), United States, was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 2020. The dollar 1.3 million prize is considered to be top, awarded by the John Templeton Foundation, in faith and science. Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, etc. are some of the other recipients in past years. In declaring the Prize, Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation, said: “Collins has encouraged greater curiosity, open-mindedness, and humility among scientists and religious believers with the aim of illuminating a pathway toward, as he has written, ‘a sober and intellectually honest integration’ of the scientific and spiritual perspectives.”

Collins is a geneticist and physician who was the Director of the Human Genome Project. He was a hard-core atheist in his 20s and his constant search for meaning through science led him to be a believer. With his exposure to the mysteries of DNA, he stated that the mysteries of DNA helps him appreciate the spiritual side of life. Later he founded the BioLogos Foundation, an organization committed to the promotion of the reconciliation between evolution and Christian faith. Since then he is an eloquent champion of the science-religion dialogue world over. In his bestselling work in 2006, titled, The Language of God, Collins argued that religious faith can motivate and inform serious scientific research. “This book argues that belief in God can be an entirely rational choice, and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science.”

The longest serving director of the NIH, Collins said about his job, “If my calling was to try to use the tools of science to reduce the human suffering, this is an amazing job. The job is probably the best job in the world to make those dreams come true.” He works over 100 hours a week during this pandemic. A copy of the Psalm 46 printed out on his desk reads: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” In a recent Interview to Washington Post in the context of the fight against Covid-19 he took reference to the verse in Joshua 9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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