The Templeton Prize is one of the largest annual awards given to an individual (it is actually a bigger award than the Nobel Peace Prize), and this year has been awarded to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the US National Institutes of Health, and known for his early work on the Human Genome Project. Collins is a passionate Christian, and an advocate for creation care, something that came out clearly in his talk, “In Praise of Harmony”.
Read more about the prize and Collins’ qualifications here; below is an excerpt from his talk as well as the video of his remarks.
For my theme this evening, I have chosen to speak about a phenomenon that I believe ought to attract our interest and devotion, but which seems to have suffered some significant downgrading. The phenomenon I speak of is Harmony. I first learned about that term as it applies to music….but harmony applies in other realms as well. It is to be contrasted with dissonance. In many areas of current experience, harmony seems to have lost out to dissonance and polarization. We have a lot of dissonance in our current experience. We need to resolve that. We need more harmony.
First, we need a renewed commitment to truth and reason. Of all the developments that cause me concern over the past few years, none is greater than the growing disregard of maintaining a high standard of objective truth. We have no future as a society if we abandon that framework.
Second, we need to address the growing spiritual void that leaves many of us adrift, unmoored, feeling precarious. We need to be re-anchored in those ancient spiritual truths that provide a rock upon which we can build our future.
And third, and most importantly, we need to return to our calling to love one another. Not just those who agree with us, but also our enemies. Love is stronger than hate. You cannot pray regularly for someone and continue to despise them. One of my favorite verses about love comes from Colossians 3:12: ‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.’ Can you imagine what would happen to our fractured society if we all tried to live out this exhortation?”