Thursday, February 11, 2016

Compatibility: Christian Mission and Commitment to Science

A kind editorial in the Longview News Journal recently made the point that science and religion aren't in competition at LeTourneau University.

The newspaper pointed readers to our popular science seminars which are now underway. Lectures still to come this semester feature speakers from the UT Health Northeast, Stephen F. Austin, Rice, Baylor and Southern Methodist University campuses. Topics range from drinking water in Thailand to intersteller space travel. One of the highlights will surely be Jim Tour, esteemed chemist from Rice University speaking on "A Faith Journey: Christianity from a Scientist's Perspective."

The editorial reminded readers of LETU's Christian mission and also our recognized commitment to teaching science. The writer then concluded, "It might seem those two work at cross purposes but that isn't the case..."

Amen! Somewhere along the way, evangelical Christians have been labeled as non-intellectuals and anti-science. LETU stands as an example that this isn't true. Christianity and science are not at odds. One can be a scientist and a Jesus-follower. A student need not abandon his or her Christian faith to study the physical sciences and the application of science like engineering and aviation at LETU.

Our philosophy at LETU is that "all truth is regarded as God-given and is considered sacred. It should be pursued with diligence and received with humility." To be sure, the pursuit of truth means we will not all agree as we pursue understanding. But if we can go forward together with humility we can honor God as we seek to make sense of His creation. This combination of diligence and humility is the hallmark of studying science at a Christ-centered university like LETU.

Let's embrace our important place of leadership as a university both Christian and scientific and not conflicted. CS Lewis said it this way: "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." Our Christian faith is infinitely important if one sincerely seeks to understand our physical world.

Thanks to our Chemistry and Physics department for their commitment to these science seminars which add to the intellectual life of our campus and also remind the general public that science and faith are not at odds when we embrace the truth that God is the ultimate creator, sustainer and source of all truth in the universe.