Humanity at a Crossroads
We have reached a pinnacle in our knowledge of science and our use of advanced technologies. We can travel beyond our planet, cure diseases, master the power of the atom, take control of our own genetics and we can share information among billions of people in an instant. We have built machines that have begun to surpass own human intelligence and abilities.
Yet, with all of our great scientific and technological achievements, where is the respect, praise, honor and glory to God for these gifts? And where are the Christians?
Research continues to show that Christians are underrepresented in scientific and technology leadership roles and Christian lay people continue to be less engaged in science and technology.
In research conducted by Elaine Howard Ecklund and her team via the Religious Understandings of Science (RUS) studies:
- Non-religious people and those in non-Christian religious traditions (Jews, Buddhists, Hindus) are at least two times more likely to be interested in new scientific discoveries than evangelical Christians (only 22 percent are interested).
- Only 30% of scientists in the U.S. identify themselves as religious compared to 67% of the general population.
- Richard Dawkins, the high-profile, atheist, British scientist, is more than five times more widely known in the U.S. population (21% recognition) than US-based, Christian scientist, Francis Collins (4% recognition).
Many Christians have been a key part of scientific discoveries and technology innovations through the years and continue to be. Still, the current trends seem to be showing that we have mostly retreated from leadership positions in, and influence within, science and technology.
This trend has origins in multiple sources at both ends of the spectrum. First, organized science has more and more tried to squeeze God out of the equation. Second, within organized Christian religion, with concerns over evolution, cosmic origins, artificial intelligence and biotechnology,
Christians seem to have come to mistrust the public "spokespeople" in science and technology fields as some of them begin to attack tenants of Christian beliefs. Christians may also see a lack of shared ethics when it comes to the pursuit of, and potential uses of, scientific and technological advancements.
Christians are called to get involved
Like many of the leading Christians in science and technology that we have spoken with, we believe the "faith vs. science" conflict isn’t really a conflict at all. God and science not only go well together, they are a necessary combination for us to obey God’s commandments for us to know and love Him and to love and serve each other.
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Matthew 22:37-39 (NRSVCE)
To learn more deeply about God and His creation, we need God’s gifts of science and technology. And we cannot fully serve and love each other on this earth, without the necessity of using God’s gifts of science and technology to feed the poor, cure disease, ease suffering and build up God’s church on earth.
God wants wants us to use our minds to love Him and to serve each other. What better way to do this than through science and technology?
Christians need to be at the forefront of discovery and usage of those discoveries. We also need to be “at the table” of discussion around humanitarian and ethical issues. This is what we believe we are called to do as God’s people.
However, unless we have been educated in these areas or are working within them, the changes are happening so fast that we will soon be caught off-guard. While we are waiting for Christ’s return, it will be the future that will come like a “thief in the night,” leaving the our churches and its members woefully unprepared.
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