Monday, March 24, 2014

Scientists Who Believe in God

Our back yard, about a month ago

It is claimed by Richard Dawkins and other evangelistic atheists that if one is a scientist, then one will tend less to believe in God. I think this claim is misleading. (For recent data see Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, which will surely disappoint many Facebook atheists.) 

When I went to college as an undergraduate I was a math-science type of person majoring in metallurgical engineering. I did well in math and science in high school and tested out of some college math. In my first semester in college I had chemistry, some kind of advanced math course (I can't remember which one!), another science course, and so on.

When I became a follower of Jesus I changed my major  to philosophy. That, for me, was where the big questions were. I thought I would be an engineer, but all that changed upon my conversion from a practical weak atheism to Christian theism.

When I went to seminary I discovered a lot of other seminary students who, like me, did Bachelor's and sometimes even Master's and Doctoral work in one of the sciences, only to change and devote their studies to pastoral ministry and theology. Sometimes I wonder how many of us there are? When I read Dawkins's claims that really "bright" people (like himself, though he is not an actual scientist) tend to disbelieve in God, I think of many pastors and theologians and biblical scholars who gave up potential and even actual scientific careers for the sake of studying their newfound love.

And, BTW, when I was a pastor at Michigan State University, the Christian churches, including mine, were filled with science professors and Ph.D students in all the sciences. (See Ecklund - 50% of scientists at elite universities believe in God.)

And, BTW once more, I have met a fair share of scientists who are not so "bright" but exemplify what Jose Ortega y Gasset once described as "learned ignoramuses"; that is, learned about one very small part of life and ignorant about the rest of life.

See also - "Study: 2 Million U.S. Scientists Identify as Evangelical."