At the end of a thrilling and delightful August 16 New Yorker article, “The Youthful Universe: A new space telescope will allow us to see deeper into the past than ever before,” Rivka Galchen talked to Bob Williams,
…the former head of the Space Telescope Science Institute, grew up in a Baptist family in Southern California, one of five children. He’d wanted to be an astronomer since the seventh grade, when he received a pamphlet on astronomy in science class; he then saved his paper-route money to buy a telescope. He earned a scholarship to U.C. Berkeley and studied astronomy there. “My father didn’t want me to go to college,” he said. “He told me that if I went to get an education I would lose my faith. And he was right about that. We were raised to take every word in the Bible as literally true. But then I was learning about continental drift. About evolution.” Williams said that he is often asked about faith. Many traditions use the term “God” to mean, basically, everything that is. In that view, the universe itself is the Book, and astronomers are reading it as it is.