How Science Led an Atheist Astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, to God.

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Image Credit: Ed Young, YouTube, 2014.

*Views expressed in the testimony provided are expressive of the individual’s own beliefs and reasoning, and are not necessarily held by James Bishop.

Hugh Ross, a former atheist (1) (2), has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc. degree in physics from the University of British Columbia. He founded the ministry and theistic think tank Reasons to Believe in 1986. He still runs his ministry today, and promotes progressive and day-age forms of old Earth creationism.

Ross says that he grew up in a morally upright but non-religious home, and that he was also surrounded by a community that were mostly non-religious. Thus, he had little exposure to Christians and Christianity during his youth years, “Our neighbors could also be described as non-religious. I did not know any Christians or serious followers of any other religion while I was growing up.”

At the tender age of seven he already had developed a passion for physics. If, by any chance, this makes you feel a bit dim, you’re in good company. After all, while I, and probably just about every other adolescent with a television, was watching cartoons or playing Call of Duty, Ross was reading books on the sciences and physics! Nonetheless, when he was 16, with his “dad’s help and the money I saved from collecting pop bottles,” Ross built his first telescope. At the age 17, while he begun to serve as director of observations for Vancouver’s Royal Astronomical Society, Ross privately studied some of the world’s sacred texts, testing them for accuracy. Amazingly, Riss was the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver’s Royal Astronomical Society.

As Ross matured, he would discover that Big Bang cosmology proposed a dilemma for his atheism, and over “the next several years my study of the big bang convinced me that the universe had a beginning, and thus a Beginner… because the big bang implies a cosmic beginning, it also implies a Beginner, a Causal Agent outside or beyond the universe… But, like the astronomers whose books I read, I imagined that the Beginner must be distant and non-communicative.” At that same time, Ross begun finding issues with the anti-religious perspectives and ideologies presented by many notable 18th century Enlightenment thinkers, “Knowing that the European philosophers of the Enlightenment largely discounted religion, my initial response was to study their works. What I discovered, however, were inconsistencies, contradictions, evasions, and circular reasoning.”

However, having compared the Bible with other religions, other sacred texts, and atheistic ideologies, he discovered it to be “noticeably different.” It thus appealed to him as a scientist, “It was simple, direct, and specific. I was amazed at the quantity of historical and scientific (i.e., testable) material it included and at the detail of this material. The first page of the Bible caught my attention. Not only did its author correctly describe the major events in the creation of life on earth, but he placed those events in the scientifically correct order and properly identified the earth’s initial conditions.”

For Ross, the Bible thus proved to be an exception because not only did it provide hundreds of statements that could be tested for accuracy but it also anticipated, thousands of years in advance, many facts of socio-political history and of nature that research would only much later confirm. For example, Ross highlights its anticipation of the history and current tensions in the Middle East, as well as four fundamental features of big bang cosmology:

1. The beginning of space and time coincident with the beginning of matter and energy;
2. continual expansion of the universe from the cosmic beginning;
3. the constancy of physical laws; and
4. the pervasiveness of entropy (decay).

Ross, as an astrophysicist, became convinced that belief in God was reasonable. The case was so impressive that it led him to understand Jesus Christ as “the Creator of the universe, that He paid the price that only a sinless person could pay for all of my offenses against God, and that eternal life would be mine if I would receive His pardon and give Him His rightful place of authority over my life… Through nearly two years of study this book’s predictive power persuaded me that it must have been inspired by One who knows and guides the past, present, and future. I had essentially proven to myself that the Bible is more reliable than the laws of physics I focused on in my university courses. The only reasonable conclusion I could see was that the Bible must be the inspired Word of God.

Today Ross speaks and writes about how scientific evidence supports belief in scripture, including its account of creation found in the book of Genesis. The ministry currently has over 25 staff members and thousands of volunteers across the world with the mission to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating to both skeptics and believers alike that sound reason and scientific research consistently supports, rather than erodes, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both scripture and nature, “I never tire of sharing this news with others or of seeing the joy that shines from the face of someone who has just opened his or her heart to new life in Jesus Christ.

If readers wish to engage Ross’ views in more depth be sure to check out some of his most important books such as The Fingerprint of God (1989), Why the Universe is the Way it Is (2008), Navigating Genesis: A Scientist’s Journey through Genesis 1-11 (2014), improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home (2016).

References.

1. Theology, Philosophy, and Science. 2014. Atheist Scientist Becomes Christian After Researching Evidence for God. Available.

2. Bishop, J. 44 Quotes From Former Atheists. Available.

3. Ross, H. My Story: Dr. Hugh Ross. Available.

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12 responses to “How Science Led an Atheist Astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, to God.

  1. “inconsistencies, contradictions, evasions, and circular reasoning.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Projection. Look it up. (the psychological kind)

    If ever there is a science that leads one to religion, you are doing science incorrectly. On the other hand nothing the rubes love more than a convert with a science background. I’ll bet you a cup of coffee and a box of donuts this guy was a stealth creationist the entire time, and banked on the so called deconversion making him a hero with the x-ian talk circuit.

    • You know there is an american co scientist in a similar field – Associate Professor Dr Danny R. Faulkner. He offers some reasonable arguments discrediting Ross, and supporting creationism, estimating the universe (based on some scientific observation) is six to eight thousand years old.

      This begs the question where does the first book of the bible come from, because it still has a grip on some of the smartest people on the planet.

      To me the bible is a contemporary model of the universe, it revolves around the promotion of a tribe, the jews. So where do the jews come from. They can trace their genealogy from memory back to Adam, and who was Adam a creation of god. Which begs what is god. To me not something understandable but a lot people conclude god exists.

      But the problem I have with creation is that the bible goes on to ( wrongly) promote prayer and praise of god, so why should I have any faith in where the bible starts other than its an historical document that struggles to detail what god is, and where the universe and man came from.

      But I sense science is struggling with god, little better than the authors of the first book of the bible

        • Like Ross (use to be), and yourself, we can thank religion for the atheist. I would struggle to explain why your an atheist without including the concept of god, in that religion as my book is entitled pushes away god, often leaving us with the atheist.

          There are two types of human, those that god directly interacts with usually via saving their life and tells them who it is, and those who this does not happen to. Hence why the concept of god persists.

          Science struggles with god, that is probably at war with them so why shouldn’t they struggle. But I don’t know exactly what god is, I only make use of a model of god, that needs to make sense of science, history, humanity and human behavior or it is very quickly discarded. Science does march forward, but let me know when science creates another earth, sun, solar system, another universe, or multiverse. I may want to move.

          • 1. “Like Ross (use to be), and yourself, we can thank religion for the atheist. I would struggle to explain why your an atheist without including the concept of god, in that religion as my book is entitled pushes away god, often leaving us with the atheist.”

            That would be an assumption. Baseless even. Just because that is what you want to be true, does not make it so.

            2. “There are two types of human, those that god directly interacts with usually via saving their life and tells them who it is, and those who this does not happen to.”

            Citation please. Also see #1.

            3. Science doesn’t give a shit about gods. Yours or any other. Science deals with facts. The gods run terribly short in that department.

            Also there are galaxies beyond count in our observable universe. There are thousands of galaxies in every direction we look. All of these galaxies hold a near infinite number of stars. Each of those stars capable of its own solar system. It is beyond silly to assume science could create these realities.

            Multiverses while still hypothetical, have more evidence to support their existence than any god.

            Unless you are aware of some obvious observable, repeatable, falsifiable facts, I am not. 🙂

            • No citation except I suggest regularly in my book, that religion generates the atheist. I should not be here, I should have choked to death via illness a few years back, but it allowed me to live so as un privileged as you sound, at least you have one (rejected) explanation of why you are an atheist.

              I can give you a good friends account who I think considered himself as someone who had no great interest as to whether god existed or not. He was about to be hit by a speeding car, but ‘it’ lifted him over and clear of the car that passed beneath him. And told him who it was, this kind of thing happens all over the world every day. But it clearly hasn’t happened to you, and even then some people still don’t get it.

              I’m glad you think it silly that your beloved science cannot create universes, my model can. I would go onto suggest, ducking your abuse that science is simply the study of god, the most advanced entity man is likely to be aware of.

              If we get the model right, we can achieve more than if we get the model wrong. However, I tend to think if we are at war with god, and few realize this, and fewer still are adamant “what god|? what war?” very little is going to change, (religion will continue to generate atheists) with the exception of Trump trying to obliterate Pyongyang – before he himself has managed to get America obliterated in the process. An example of where your atheism can or is taking us.

              • I guess if antecdotes and big dreams sell a book, who the hell am I to argue?

                Wait, how is it exactly that Trump/N. Korea’s antics has anything to do with an atheist? You’re going to pin that on atheism…? lol! C’mon man, what are you smoking?

              • When religion kills you, I doubt I’ll see the funny side to it, maybe if I was smoking something I might, but drug use / abuse on the whole does the same thing as religion. So it shouldn’t surprise you to hear, if you are still not laughing, I do neither.

                ‘Religion Separates Man From God,’ an e book

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