06 January 2009

the gloves are off now

As an inaugural post, let me explain why I'm writing.

I am a chemist. I have been fascinated with science ever since 3-2-1 Contact told me that "if you like to take things apart and put them back together again...you're a scientist!". I fell in love with biology as a freshman in high school, with chemistry as a sophomore, with physics as a senior. I have been working in research laboratories since 2001, studying everything from birch sap to hibernation to organic synthesis to cancer to the proteomics of infectious disease. I love to think critically, I love problem solving, I love the big picture and the little details. The world is my laboratory.

I am a Christian. I have attended church regularly since I was an infant. The Christian world view has been present in every part of my upbringing and development. My parents converted to Christianity at a Pentecostal church, I attended a primary and middle school run by Calvinists, I went on mission trips with Charismatics, I became an Episcopalian in college, was friends with Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and Undeclareds, and married a Lutheran. A belief in God, the teachings of Christ, and involvement in church play a fundamental role in how I understand people and the meaning of life. The world is my church.

I am a conflicted person. Science is my vocation. Christianity is my faith. These two do not play well with each other.

Many Christians warn me that our values are under attack, that we are losing ground to the liberals and atheist secular humanists who use science to spread their agenda of a world without God. They tell me that the theory of evolution is a tactic from Satan meant to deceive the world and lead us all to hell.

Many scientists (and educated people who believe that the scientific method is our best way to know truth) warn me that our educational system and enlightened culture are under attack, that we are losing ground to conservatives and religious fundamentalists who advance their agenda in the form of the Religious Right and the Republican Party.

I know people on both sides who fear the other, loath the other, vilify the other. The ideologies they embrace seem mutually exclusive. And here I am, a chemist and a Christian. So, whose side am I on?

Who says I have to pick sides?

It is my intent with this blog to explore the motivations, world views, hopes, and fears of those engaged in the culture wars between science and religion. It is my hope to show that the culture war between science and faith is, at its core, a misunderstanding between people who share a common desire to see humanity fulfill its greatest potential.

Of course, some people are probably just jerks. But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled over your blog while reading comments on Chris Guillebeau's Art of Nonconformity.

    I think this is a great topic to explore. I have a similar history, in so far as I come from a Christian upbringing and I am aware of the conflict between faith and science. In recent years I've begun to lean more towards the side of science, and my faith has devolved into some kind of luke-warm agnosticism that recognized the merits of Christianity, but can't reconcile the supernatural claims of the Bible with observed nature.

    At any rate, I look forward to any future posts you have to offer. Cheers!