I had an unusual childhood for an American. Members of my extended family were union organizers and left-wing radicals, and my parents had even been members of the American Communist Party. My indoctrination in the dogmas of communism and atheism was deep and long lasting. At the same time, my father gave me a love of science and reason, and he taught me the importance of asking questions. These gifts, along with my training in scientific thought and research, eventually cracked open the prison cell that held my soul captive during those early years.
Breaking free was a slow process, akin to chipping away at a dungeon door with a dull spoon. Early on in life, my curiosity led me to ask questions. I saw contradictions in some of what I had been taught. If humans were a blind product of evolutionary chance, with no special purpose or significance, then how could the stated goals of socialism—to advance human dignity and value—make sense? And if religion, particularly Christianity, was really such a terrible historical evil, then why were so many Christian clergy members involved in the civil rights movement?
As I studied science and began my research career in biochemistry and molecular biology, I formed a passionate attachment to a life of knowledge rooted in the scientific worldview. I found comfort and joy in the beauty, complexity, and wisdom of the scientific description of reality. But I also began wondering whether there might be something more to human existence than science and pure reason.
At this point, the question of faith was off the table. I knew that evolution was true and the Bible (which I hadn’t actually read) was false. I knew that a supernatural god living in the sky ...1
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