Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I know you’ve probably heard of these kinds of cases before, but I just read about a valedictorian who was denied the ability to address her fellow students in 2008 because her pre-written speech mentioned “God” and “Christ.”  And now, a Montana judge has ruled in favor of the school’s actions.  I wasn’t aware that the First Amendment had been repealed!  What has this country come to when it’s no longer tolerable to even mention the name of God in schools?  Ridiculous!

Many people think that as one grows in knowledge of science, they will give up their faith in God.  There are probably several reasons for this belief.  For one, many of the scientists that are household names are atheists.  For example, Stephen J. Gould and Richard Dawkins.  Also, we have probably known individuals who have abandoned their faith after studying science (even if just a course or two in school).  But the idea that the majority of scientists are atheists or agnostics is not true.

In May-June of 2009, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of the religious beliefs of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  They discovered that 51% believe in God or some higher power.  Only 41% do not.  Interestingly, the number of scientists who believe in God is higher today than 100 years ago.  In 1914 a survey of 1000 leading U.S. scientists revealed that 42% believed in a personal God, while 42% did not.[1]

No doubt, the number of practicing scientists who believe in God is far less than the number of non-scientists who believe in God (92% of Americans), but the fact remains that unbelief in the scientific community is not as rampant as many believe.  One is just as likely to meet a believing scientist as an unbelieving one.

This data ought to dispel the myth that science and theism are necessarily at odds with one another.  They are not.  Indeed, many would argue that science is serving to confirm the existence of God.  I agree.  Science is a friend of Christianity, not an enemy.

[1]Admittedly, the sources chosen for these various surveys may skew the results at times.  For example, a survey of members of the National Academy of Sciences found that 95% of them were either atheists or agnostics.  There is also evidence to show that belief in God is more prevalent in some scientific disciples over others (more in physics, less in biology).  Overall, however, most of these surveys show that a large minority of scientists—if not a slight majority—believe in a divine being(s) of some sort.