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Proceeds of ‘Professor, does God exist?' to the Eric Bleumink Fund

23 February 2017

Astronomy Professor Peter Barthel will donate the proceeds from his new book ‘Professor, does God exist?’ to the Eric Bleumink Fund.

As part of the 400th anniversary of the University of Groningen in 2014 people could send interesting questions to the University. One came from the 7-year old Anco: ‘Professor, does God exist?’. Scientist Barthel, himself a ‘critical member’ of the Protestant Church, gave it a lot of thought and discussed it with theologians Carel ter Linden, Klaas Hendrikse, and Harry Kuitert. ‘No, God does not exist as a person who lives in heaven, rules the world, and takes care of you. All the good and beautiful things in this world, that is what I would call God. God exists in how you and I live. People who want to take care of each other: that is where you can see something of God’, he concluded in his answer to Anco. In a lecture during the 'Night of Arts and Science' in 2014 he expounded that answer.

Dutch newspaper Trouw published the letter, causing an honest-to-goodness polemic. Several theologians rejected his progressive vision. For example, Barthel dismisses the Creation narrative. But the majority of the reactions he got were laudatory. The astronomer was praised for his ‘open and clear view’. Reason enough for Barthel to elaborate on his answer and disseminate it as a book. On the 1st of March, Barthel will hand the first copy of his book to Anco, now ten years old, at the Riemer bookstore in the Oude Ebbingestraat. Scientific journalist René Fransen and UG professors Geurt Henk van Kooten (theology) and Franjo Weissing (biology) will discuss Barthel’s answer with the audience. The event is free and doors open at 7.30 p.m.

The proceeds of the book will be donated to the Eric Bleumink Fund, that gives out grants to talented students from developing countries.

Last modified:11 July 2019 1.09 p.m.
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