I grew up fearing science. That’s a weird sentence to write and a hard truth to embrace. But it is the truth. It wasn’t my friends or my schooling. It wasn’t my parents, siblings, or the broader culture I was raised in. It was exclusively and entirely due to what I was taught through the childhood and youth groups of my church and the particular section of “church culture” I was a part of.
Growing up I was taught repeatedly and emphatically that science was at war with God and that “the theory of evolution” would likely be the most significant threat my faith would face (it wasn’t). Unfortunately, the by-product of this alarmism and fear was that I became skeptical of “science”. I believed Science Classes primarily existed to use the public education system to undermine God and people’s belief in God. This impacted how poorly I approached the sciences in my schooling. To this day, I regret how disinterested and defensive I was in my science courses through high school and college. I didn’t learn, explore, or appreciate that “science” wasn’t something to fear – but a means by which God would and was revealing Himself to me.
My anti-science views also impacted my view of Academia as a whole. Thankfully, my parents had made their education a priority, and they passed that down to their kids. I continued to learn and went on to graduate college. But even in college, my guard was up – I viewed every professor as a possible anti-God advocate, and I was ready to defend my faith from them. Here’s what I didn’t realize then: A defensive faith is a weak faith. If it is shaken by sitting in a class or learning something that makes me ponder, wrestle, question, my faith probably needed the challenge in order to grow deeper roots into Jesus. I didn’t learn to appreciate the maturing process of refining my faith through learning and encountering different viewpoints until later in life, and I’m so thankful I did.
So, this is my confession: I grew up as an anti-science, anti-academia kid. I grew up a part of a church movement that pushed educated people, specifically scientists, and doctors, to the margins and looked at them skeptically as if they were dangerous. I grew up in an environment that taught young people that pursuing college and education was risky rather than refining to their faith. I do not want that for our church or our children, so I am embracing the hard truth of my upbringing and repenting of any residual impact that has had on the make-up of our local body.
I want the journey, testimony, and wisdom of those among us who have prioritized education, who work in Academics, and the scientists who see God through a much broader lens than I do – to be as seen, heard, and valued as anyone else. Unfortunately, “church” as a whole has not been welcoming to those I have just described, so the reality is that my recognition of my error and confession could be falling on deaf ears (or no ears, if no one from that “side” of things remains in our midst). And that might be the most heartbreaking thing of all.
But what can I do? What can we do? Apologize. Confess. Reflect.
For those who feel like your viewpoints aren’t welcome or have ever felt like your questions around faith, the Bible, and science won’t be answered honestly or valued highly, please forgive me. For those who feel like you can’t speak with wisdom on areas you have given your life to become an expert because your voice will be held in the same value as mine (or anyone else’s) because I read one blog on the topic, please forgive me. I apologize for the times you were minimized by my rudimentary understanding (or total avoidance) of science from the stage. Please forgive me for not holding better space for hard conversations, essential questions, or your perspective and testimony. I am looking around our church, and I have to admit that the residue of my early fear and skepticism toward the highly educated, those with Master’s and Doctorate level degrees, and the sciences has limited an incredible understanding and revelation of facets of God that could add much to our collective. To remedy this, let’s commit to taking steps within our small community to remove the walls between science and faith!
A Friendship I Almost Lost
A friendship I cherish with Corey McQueen was almost lost years ago due to my learned fear and disdain for Academia, and the “secular” education system. (This last sentence vastly undercuts a long and winding journey with Jesus for both of us, but for the sake of simplicity, I am comfortable leaving it at that). Corey is a brilliant scientist and a deep thinker. He holds an education track record that could easily be turned into Phds in chemistry, biology, and several other fields. It is my joy to invite Corey to teach an upcoming Living Waters University class called “Incompatible” (a nod to my upbringing, being taught that science and faith in Jesus and the Bible were incompatible). It turns out they aren’t, and we have much to learn in this area. Having a trusted friend like Corey willing to teach this course is an honor and a gift to our body.
I trust Corey. We don’t agree on everything. We don’t see everything in church, culture, and life from the same perspective. Which is exactly why I need and appreciate him. His understanding of creation and deep love and devotion to Jesus is challenging and refining to me!
Jesus is the creator and sustainer of all. Therefore, understanding and appreciating how everything is created and sustained reveals Jesus (and helps us better understand Scripture). I hope you’ll make space for LWU and this 6 week class with Corey starting February 21st. Childcare is available and the class only costs $25. Register here.
Who is this class for?
- It is for those who love the intersection of science and faith and long for an environment where these conversations lead us to Jesus and challenge our hearts and minds to grow!
- It is for those who grew up like me with a defensive posture toward science, believing that it is incompatible with faith and the “Christian worldview.” I humbly suggest that you and I need a place like this to learn, ask questions, and even be skeptical while processing new or different information than we were brought up with.
- Finally, I believe this class is for those who have chosen to walk away or deconstruct (or even dismiss faith in Jesus entirely) because of your belief that science can disprove God. This is a class for the thinker and the skeptic. Maybe that’s you or someone in your life. Please invite them to come with their skepticism and questions. I believe they will be challenged in a powerful and healthy way to rethink their view on church and their need for a relationship with Jesus.