does God belong in the science classroom?

As I was waiting to pick my daughter from the Lutheran school she attends I was perusing the pamphlets and books that were on display by the sanctuary. One set of materials addressed the topic of creationism vs. evolution – some pointing out the holes in the scientific theory of evolution, others meant to show how one could introduce creationism into the discussion of human history. The church was hosting a lecture on the subject. These made me very uncomfortable but I’ve really had to think through why that was.

I like to think of myself as an open minded person who is very willing to listen to all sides of an argument. Evolution doesn’t bother me; it doesn’t offend my religious sensibilities. I believe strongly that it was God’s influence that created our solar system and beyond. I don’t believe for a second that there were 6 days of creation with different things being created on each day, etc. Some people do and that’s great; they are entitled to that opinion because at this point that’s all it is: my opinion vs. someone else’s.

Scientists have done a lot of research and have discovered a lot of information about our universe and the beginning of human beings. They are in no way complete, final discoveries that we can claim have definitively proved how or why earth/life was created. The history of scientific discovery has proved to us time and again, that we are frequently wrong about something and need to modify our hypotheses and theories with new information. Historically, organized religion has reacted negatively to those scientific theories that throw into doubt religious beliefs (Galileo would have a lot to say on this subject). That does not mean that science is always right and the church is always straggling behind in these matters, I’m just stating what I know to be the historical tendencies.

For a church to host such a lecture and open the discussion on creationism sounds reasonable. I welcome a healthy debate on subjects to give people a more in-depth understanding of both sides. What bothered me was what my daughter would be taught in science class. While I’m fine with discussing God’s role in the history of man in church, it’s quite another in the science classroom. Bringing a deity (a concept that is completely improvable no matter how good your scientific method) in a science classroom does not make sense.

If we had regular religious classrooms those would be a perfectly logical place to address these questions. My children go to religious schools for many reasons, but one of them is to be exposed the ‘spiritual’ aspect brought into their world. I want them to have an understanding of religious theories, practices and sensibilities. I also want them to get an education on the latest theories and practices in science. God does not belong there.

It would be too easy for me to just say “…it’s so because God did it, it’s in the bible, so let’s not question it.” I don’t think God gave us the brains He did so that we would sit back and not wonder about and attempt to explain things. We should not be afraid of what we will find. What if the answers we find disprove something in the Bible? God forbid! But what if it proves something else? What if what we find brings us to a greater understanding of God and His will?

Science can gather and test and retest and postulate and theorize. It can never tell us God’s intentions, His methods; the thought is ludicrous. I want my children’s scientific education to give them the wonder of what man and learn and discover based on the gifts that God has given us. I want their religious education to open their minds to the awesome possibilities we have with God’s strength.

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2 thoughts on “does God belong in the science classroom?

  1. “When I found that I no longer believed everything I thought Christians were supposed to believe, I asked myself, Why not just leave Christianity-”

    I am curious what it is that you “no longer believe?”

    -J. Kaiser

  2. Jodi says:

    Well, although I can’t speak for Ms. Pagels whose exact words these are, for me I no am no longer sure I beleive what really defines Christianity. That Jesus was the actual son of God as well as being God. That he died for my sins. I don’t have too much trouble not taking the Bible literally – there are many who support the more metaphorical reading. But to not beleive in the whole Jesus thing – I mean can I even call myself Christian??

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