The best seller god, science, evidence claims to “reveal contemporary evidence for the existence of God”. Meeting with the authors and deciphering their controversial theses with the physicist and theologian Thierry Magnin.
Undoubtedly, God sells even in countries that are largely de-Christianized. Five months after publication, Dieu, la science, lesproofs (1) surpassed 140,000 copies sold. The success in the bookstore is due not only to the catchy (sounding?) title and the attractiveness of the topic – the inexhaustible question of the existence of God – but also to the active promotion of this book with its controversial theses in French. conservative press. The magazine Le Figaro dedicated its cover and an eight-page dossier to him, the title of which brings to consciousness: “When science believes in God, a book that overturns our confidence.”
Undoubtedly, God sells even in countries that are largely de-Christianized. Five months after publication, Dieu, la science, lesproofs (1) surpassed 140,000 copies sold. The success in the bookstore is due not only to the catchy (sounding?) title and the attractiveness of the topic – the inexhaustible question of the existence of God – but also to the active promotion of this book with its controversial theses in French. conservative press. The magazine Le Figaro dedicated its cover and an eight-page dossier to him, the title of which brings to consciousness: “When science believes in God, a book that overturns our confidence.” The media controlled or in the process of being controlled by billionaire Vincent Bolloret (CNews, Europe 1, Paris Match) are on par with riverside interviews by Michel-Yves Bolloret or Olivier Bonnaci, co-authors of the bestselling book. The first, a 76-year-old businessman, is the older brother of a wallet industrialist. A traditionalist Catholic, he is a member of Opus Dei, an institution of the Roman Church known for its penchant for secrecy and its influence in economic circles. Entrepreneur Olivier Bonnaci, he founded the Catholic information website Aleteia and is a promoter of the cult of Mary. He lectures on the Shroud of Turin, which, he says, “can only come about as a result of the resurrection of Christ” (however, research has shown that the mythical cloth that was supposed to wrap the body of Jesus actually dates from the Middle Ages). Mr. André Léonard, former Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, considers the work “remarkable in every way”. The former primate of Belgium dedicated a lengthy laudatory article to him in the February issue of La Nef, a traditionalist Catholic monthly close to the conservative right. Interest in the thesis of the book is manifested far beyond the “Catholic tradition”. Authors they met during their recent visit to Belgium confirm this: “More than 1,100 evangelists attended one of our conferences in Créteil, near Paris,” says Michel-Yves Bolloret. The video of our interview on YouTube at the Beur FM studio has almost 800,000 views! The cover of an Israeli magazine is dedicated to our book. And I was invited to speak about it before the National Grand Lodge of France. The authors seek to demonstrate that knowledge of God can be based on reason. Their work is “the fruit of a collective effort of several years,” they note: each chapter brings together advice and corrections from experts, including scientists. Their names are listed at the end of the volume. Most of them are militant Catholics or intelligent design theorists. According to these neo-creationists, the complexity of the world strongly suggests the hypothesis of a “first cause”, a “creator” who would direct the birth of the universe and the emergence of life on Earth. The book also flirts with “concordism,” a current of thought that mixes theology and cosmology in an effort to reconcile sacred texts and scientific advances. Michel-Yves Bolloret and Olivier Bonnaci set the bar very high: they claim to “discover modern evidence for the existence of God.” Proof”? We look in vain for them throughout the 577 pages of the book. For the physicist and theologian Thierry Magnin, Vice President of the Catholic University of Lille (author of The Scientist and Theologian in Search of Origins, Desclée De Brouwer, 2015), the authors deliberately play on ambiguity of the word “They make one believe that the book contains scientific evidence, while their approach is not an exact science, but logic and metaphysics, like Thomas Aquinas, a philosopher who intended to bestow faith and reason. ” Michel-Yves Bolloret agrees: “We cannot present absolute proofs because these certainties belong to the register of mathematical proofs. The Pythagorean theorem was true over 2500 years ago and will remain true in 500 years. In our book, the word ‘proof’ is used in a different sense, in the sense of converging elements, which support belief in a creator God.” What elements? “New scientific knowledge in cosmology and thermodynamics has exploded the confidence that in the collective consciousness since the beginning of the 20th century, to the extent that the materialistic view of the world has become untenable,” Olivier Bonnaci answers. The polytechnic, in its own way, picks up the phrase of Louis Pasteur: “A little science takes God away, a big science brings him back.” “For almost four centuries, from Copernicus to Freud, through Galileo and Darwin, scientific discoveries have given the impression that it is possible to explain the universe without resorting to the help of a creator god,” the authors continue. Theories of the Big Bang, the expansion of the Universe and its heat death swung the pendulum of science in the opposite direction. The universe is not stationary. It unfolds in a precise and organized from the absolute beginning of space, time and matter, a primordial singularity that reinforces the idea of a creative gesture.” And to refer to Georges Lemaitre, a priest and a great scientist, who proposed in the early 1930s the scenario of the “primitive atom”, a model subsequently confirmed by other researchers. But what they don’t mention is that the Belgian scholar opposed those who identified this zero point with the “fiat lux” (“let there be light”) of God at the beginning of Genesis. Another “element” used by the authors to support their demonstration: today we know that the emergence of life became possible only due to the extremely fine tuning of the fundamental parameters of the universe. “They believe that attributing this appearance to chance does not stand up to scrutiny. This fine-tuning of cosmological constants invites us to see the work of intelligent thought in creation.” Therefore, God would be a brilliant mathematician. This concept of a higher being is nothing new: Voltaire viewed the universe as a clock whose complexity would motivate them to create a watchmaker (Les Cabales, 1772). Deciphering the physicist and theologian Thierry Magnin: “The universe has a beginning, but this does not mean that God gave the first impetus. Science cannot demonstrate either the existence or absence of God. brought complexity and uncertainty. They question the “basis of things.” But they do not prove the existence of a God who would have adjusted the mechanics of the universe and the living. The God of Jesus of Nazareth, of course, is not such an impersonal “Great Watchmaker” who owns a screwdriver, that higher intelligence that will guide the ocean liner of the universe and humanity. He is the God of love, who left us an unfinished world, allowing beings to continue it freely, in complete autonomy, for better or worse.” In the second part, about God, science, evidence, the most controversial, the authors move away from new scientific knowledge and rely on the Bible to “prove” the existence of God. In their opinion, the Jews, a small semi-nomadic people deprived of wealth, scientists and libraries, could access the great truths about the cosmos and about man only because they had access to “humanly unattainable truths.” Only “revelation” would indicate that they could know that the Sun and Moon worshiped by the Babylonians and Egyptians were only luminaries. That forests, springs and other forces of nature are not divine. That the universe had a beginning, it will have an end, and therefore it is not cyclical. That all people come from the same breed. According to the authors, everything in the Bible is correct. The Inspired Book contains no errors. Those noted by experts are explained by the fact that the story had to take into account the lack of culture of the Jewish people, its limited vocabulary, “a serious shortcoming for the expression and transmission of revelation with a universal vocation.” If, according to the Book of Genesis, the world was created in six days, when in fact it took more than thirteen billion years for the universe to form and lead to the appearance of man, then this is because the concept of a billion did not exist at that time. time of writing. Likewise, the episodes of the exodus of Moses and the Jews are “not legends, but supernatural truths hidden in colorful stories based on historical events.” Thus, the passage through the Red Sea should not be regarded as a mythical story, but as a “great spiritual truth.” For Michel-Yves Bolloret and Olivier Bonnacie, the fate of the Jewish people is itself supernatural, “inexplicable by rational facts”. They describe them as “probably the only surviving people of antiquity”, “people who survived extreme hardship” and “the only people who regained the land for themselves eighteen centuries after its loss.” This fate “beyond the incredible” is, in their opinion, proof that the history of the Jewish people and the history of the world cannot be considered “free from all divine miracles.” They imply that the Jewish state enjoys divine protection: “During recent wars, it has caused astonishment with unexpected and impressive military victories.” Despite its “manifest inferiority,” Israel won the 1967 Spring War in six days, an “astonishing biblical coincidence.” In the same way, for our two believers, the unexplained events at Fatima are necessarily a “miracle,” and therefore new proof of the existence of God. They devote almost forty pages to the “striking and inexplicable phenomenon” of October 1917 in Portugal. Recall that at noon, tens of thousands of people saw the rotation of the sun, a phenomenon that three months earlier was reported to three illiterate children by the “beautiful lady”, who was supposed to be the Blessed Virgin. The Catholic Church has never officially declared the “miraculous” nature of the celestial phenomenon. This does not prevent both authors from considering “rationally impossible” any other explanatory hypothesis, except for a miracle. Father Thierry Magnin commented: “They systematically make God the “plug” of our ignorance, the only possible explanation for phenomena that retain part of the mystery. The miracles of Christ are signs of openness to faith, not “proofs” of the existence of God. … The authors confuse science, metaphysics and faith, while for their articulation it is necessary to distinguish between these areas. The success of their work says a lot about the anxiety of part of society, the need for people to cling to “evidence”, reliability.