CBS Allows Theologian to Defend Belief

Add one to the Man Bites Dog file: a television network gave an informed believer a platform to defend religious faith by exposing the fallacies of atheism. 

On The Early Show Monday, CBS co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Father Thomas Williams about his latest book, Greater Than You Think: A Theologian Answers the Atheists About God. Williams said he wrote the book to “debunk[s] atheism based on fact.”

Rodriguez asked Williams whether his apologetic was based on fact or beliefs, giving Williams ample opportunity to explain how to discredit atheism using objective evidence.  Williams said:  “And really, the purpose of the book is to show that a lot of the arguments brought forth by these new atheists are false.  They're either historically false or just statistically false.  And what they claim about religion—for example, religion and science, religion and morality, are simply false and verifiably false.”

Rodriguez observed that many atheists “believe that you can be good and moral without having religion.”  In his response, Williams explained why religion improves behavior.  He said: “Well, you can, theoretically, but I think that history shows that religion gives you a reason to be moral, gives you a reason to—because there's an accountability there.  I think that if you believe everything ends with death, then why not eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die?  I mean, really, there's no—there's no final accountability, then you can just do whatever you want.  And that's what ends up happening, in reality.”

Rodriguez also challenged Williams about the compatibility of religion and science: “And what about science and religion?  You know, you have atheists who say the Big Bang explains it all.  There's no more need to believe in God to fill in the gaps like there was hundreds of years ago.”

Father Williams responded:  “Well, I mean, they have a point if you have a very reductive idea of God, that God is just the God of the gaps.  And that's true.  The problem is that God is much bigger than that and how explaining how things actually get there in the first place, why there is something rather than nothing and showing how faith and science are really compatible, that's the purpose of this book.  Because they actually create this false divorce or false divide between faith and science, you have to choose one or the other.  And I'm saying, no, you don't.  They are completely compatible.”

Rodriguez followed up: “How do those two—how do they go hand in hand?  What do you believe?”

Williams responded:  “Well, at least—well, I believe that God is the beginning of all things, the first cause.  And you need a first cause no matter what.  And science will never be able to say, you know, the Big Bang—what caused the Big Bang?  I mean, everything has a cause, that's a principle of science.  And we believe that that is God.  And the fact that God may have created things over time through processes and things, that's fine.  There's no—we don't have any problems with that.  I mean, some creationists believe that it happened exactly like the Bible said, on the first day and the second day.  But the big problems with that, I mean, the sun was created on the fourth day, and what about the days before the sun?  What's a day?”

At the end of the interview, Rodriguez pointed viewers to CBS's Web site where they can read an excerpt from Williams's new book.

Julia Seward is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.