I've talked about the false divide between science and faith before, but I'd like to continue this conversation a bit. When I've talked about this before, I mostly addressed the animosity I feel Science is expressing towards people of Faith... But the truth is that, in my experience, this is very much a two-way street.
I believe that many Christians are avoiding science, fleeing from science, in fact. It's not that we don't like it-- but we're not quite sure what to do with it. Scientists make some claims that go against what we (some of us) believe (ie, evolution), and- unsure of how to handle it- we jump ship.
We ask ourselves, "Is it possible for a Christian to be successful in a Science career?"
And when we see someone travelling that route, we fear. And then we ask, "Can a Scientist be a 'successful' Christian?"
My answer to both, of course, is yes.
Hearing all the debates that go on, I am quite proud that I had a really strong science education in my little Christian school that I went to for K-11 (and an online Christian school for senior year). So much so, that from the 3rd grade, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was a scientist (this went on until 10th grade, when I discovered music theory and decided I wanted a music career- I'm now a scientist who studies music- God's plans are perfect).
We learned all kinds of science in my little Christian school, including about evolution. No, it wasn't presented as fact, but it was presented as scientific theory and we learned it because of state tests. However, at some point-- and I'm not sure where this came from to be honest-- there began to be some kind of mental conflict that arose when thinking about taking future science classes in college.
The conflict, you see, is on both sides. It is not just Christians asking, "Is it possible for a Christian to be successful in a Science career?" and "Can a Scientist be a 'successful' Christian?" It is also the scientists, the professors, and academia as a whole who must ask and grapple with these things. And in our responses- or struggle to respond- by academic or Christian (or both or neither), we respond not only to the question, but to the other responses we hear.
When I've talked about this before, I advocated for the scientific community to be more welcoming. I'm sure I'll do this again. But mostly in this series, I'd like to spend some time on the fears held by the Christian community in regard to Science.
I had learned about evolution. I had learned evolution in a "safe" environment, a Christian one. Was it wrong to take classes in college that taught evolution as fact? And I had learned just as many arguments for why evolution was not true. Did I have to debate professors who taught me about evolution? Or even if evolution was plausible (and there are a variety of theories of this that Christians believe as well), certainly the existence of God was an issue that might come up. Did I have to stand up and make my beliefs known? I had learned to "defend my faith." I heard people did that sometimes. And if I did, did I have to do this in front of the whole class? Was making my opinion known in an office hour the way to go? Or a paper? I knew that the Bible was not viable evidence for such a claim-- not in a science class. (I learned that also in my little Christian schools.) So, I'd need to find scientific evidence to back up my claims. And I had some already, but certainly I'd need more. It sounded like a lot of work. It would probably be easier to avoid science classes that included evolution and these kinds of topics on the syllabus...
To Be Continued.
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