This I Believe

Carl - Marshall, Texas
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: legacy, science


My dad never talked much about God or evolution when I was growing up but now I realize that he was my main teacher in these areas. I remember my first car, a jalopy that broke down on the way home from the used car lot. My dad gave me a basic set of tools and we worked on the car together for months. My dad taught me that the car was understandable and that the different parts made sense.

My dad never graduated from high school but through self-education he became the head of the power plant for the Texas Medical Center in Houston and was responsible for insuring that there was electricity, water and air conditioning for the patients there and for the likes of Dr. Michael DeBakey. I grew up in the bowels of the medical center amidst a maze of boilers, pipes and instruments. My dad taught me like he taught all the men under him that all this was understandable and made sense.

I went to college to be an engineer like my dad but when I took a freshman biology course I discovered that my professors held a surprising belief about nature. They believed that the natural world was understandable and the only possible way it made sense was through evolution. Things that seemed to make no sense at all like kangaroos in Australia or mammals that looked like fish made a lot of sense as part of an evolutionary process. Theodosius Dobzhansky, a famous geneticist, said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

I realized then that the image of god I held was one who created things without rhyme or reason and who, like the Greek gods of old, kept man in the dark concerning nature. I stopped believing in god and received a master’s degree in evolutionary studies before becoming a physician.

Years later with children of my own I began to seek god and asked if there is a god, what kind of god would give us an understandable world? I remembered dad and my first car and realized that it would be a god who was a loving father and I recalled this had been taught some two thousand years ago. I eventually became Catholic where god as father is a major emphasis and the priests who represent Christ are called Father.

So what do I believe? I believe that God is my father and not a mysterious creator whose designs are unintelligible. I believe that nature makes sense and that evolution is the choice of a loving father. One other thing about my dad was that he always had a sparkle in his eye when he explained how something worked. His other message to me was that all we have been given is very interesting.