The Christian and Science

The question has often been asked why it is that so many young men who in their youth were brought up in the church, after entering careers in the fields of the sciences, such as medicine, chemistry, and physics, deny the very existence of God. becoming the rankest of atheists. In the light of this tendency is it not dangerous for any Christian young man to seek a career in any of these fields? Is not the reason for this departure from the faith to be found in the antichristian character of science itself? Or must we look elsewhere for the reason, and is a Christian scientist really a possibility?

In answer to the questions I would like to point out that there are many scientists who remain sincere Christians even though they are also physicians, chemists, or physicists. But nevertheless the fact remains that in the field of the sciences more than in most other fields there has been a tendency to drift away from Christianity toward atheism.

The reason for this forsaking of Christian principles is twofold. First, the Christian scientist is usually denounced by the worldly scientists. The applying of his Christian principles in the interpretation of scientific facts is branded as being unscientific. The atheist scientist defines science in such a way that it includes only the mere observation and classification of facts. According to him the true scientist comes into the laboratory without any preconceived notions or beliefs. He draws his conclusions from the facts which he observes, and from these facts alone. He therefore can have no preconceived ideas concerning religion either. If he is to have any religion he must reach it through the observance and classification of scientific facts. In other words, the true scientist, according to him, must be an agnostic until such a time as he has collected and classified sufficient scientific facts to enable him to come to a conclusion regarding the existence and nature of God. This scientific god is, naturally, a man-made god, a god which differs from one person to another, a god who usually is nothing more than a mere blind force or an all-pervading spirit. And there are large numbers of scientists who come to the conclusion that there is no God at all.

But are these worldly scientists correct in their definition of science? My answer to this is an unequivocal, “No.” The worldly scientists does not even hold to this definition himself. For if he did there could be no science at all. For, is it not true that every scientist holds to the preconceived notion that it is possible for him to gain knowledge? And does he not also believe that it is possible for him to observe and classify facts? The worldly scientist charges the Christian with being unscientific because he begins with certain beliefs about God and religion, but at the same time the worldly scientist himself also begins with certain beliefs. The worldly scientist is therefore inconsistent. What he condemns in the Christian as being unscientific he himself is guilty of. From this point of view, therefore, a Christian scientist is a possibility.

But sad to say the Christian scientist is also to a certain extent shunned by the church. People look upon him with a sort of uneasiness. They cannot quite see how he can be a true scientist and yet a true Christian also. I have often heard it mentioned that medical men are not very religious. They may belong to some church, but they are usually nothing more than mere nominal members. And I will agree that this is true of by far the greater majority, but we must always remember that true church members are a very small minority in any group, a fact to which our boys in service will certainly testify. But perhaps this fact is more evident here because it is far from easy to be both a Christian and a scientist: and, therefore, an unregenerated scientist will not very likely remain in the church. In many other occupations it is much easier for a Christian, and there is a greater possibility that an unregenerate man will retain his membership in the church. We certainly must agree that there is a great deal of “dead wood” in even the best church.

And does not some of the blame for the forsaking of the church by the young scientist rest with us other church members? Do we really show them all the cooperation we should, especially in view of the very trying situation in which the Christian scientist finds himself? I don’t think we do. How often don’t we debate with them about the interpretation of certain portions of scripture which are not nearly as fundamental as others which we are likely, at the same time, to completely ignore. I have been told of one instance in which a reformed man debated with a young chemist, just out of graduate school, on whether or not it rained before the flood. The young scientist maintained that it must have rained unless the laws of the universe were entirely different at that time than what they are now, an assumption that the young scientist could not make. But the other person went so far as to call this young scientist an atheist just because he did not agree with him on this minor point. The fact is that this young scientist was also an Arminian. And I maintain that it would have been far better for the reformed person to point out the errors of Arminianism to this young scientist, which after all is much more fundamental than the foolish question of whether or not it rained before the flood. Sad to say this young scientist later left the church, because it was incompatible to be both a scientist and a Christian. And I believe that it was debates like the above mentioned that led him to this step. Can’t we then be a little more tolerant to the Christian scientist? Must we antagonize him to such

an extent if his faith is not too strong he will be forced to leave the church? Or is it our Christian duty to help him along as much as possible, realizing his great problems? If the latter then let us practice it.

The question may now arise if we should not discourage our young people from entering the fields of science. If they are sincere Christians I don’t think there is any more danger than in other occupations. How many of our young people aren’t being called upon today to take even greater risks in the armed forces of our country, and yet we feel that God will certainly preserve them. And science today badly needs Christian people: The reason for its prevailing anti- Christian attitude is that there are so few Christians among the scientists of today. Such false and anti-Christian theories as that of evolution, have gained their adherents because there were no capable Christian scientists to refute them. It is true that sincere attempts have been made but they have failed mainly because the authors have known so little science.

Science reveals the glory of God as perhaps no other field of study. The great stellar bodies, so massive and at such great distance, as well as the small invisible atoms and molecules, each travelling in its own determined course, bears record to this.