Since the nonprofit organization I co-direct has a mission of “cultivating a stronger church through meaningful dialogue with mainstream science,” I thought I’d give the key reasons why the task of Science for the Church is strategic and valuable.
Here are my top five.
- Why: Because the Church needs a viable Gospel.
- In their research, the Barna Group found one of the top six reasons emerging adults are leaving the church: They see it as “anti-science.” Too often this perception is accurate, and we need to stop this. Barna also found that 49% of church-going teens believe the "church seems to reject what science tells us about the world."
- Why: Because, without this dialogue, the church loses the glorious insights of science. With it, the Christian community flourishes.
- Following Psalm 19, as well as Francis Bacon in the 16th century, and Francis Collins in the 21st, we see that God has written two texts: the book of Scripture and the book of Nature. Since these have one Author, these two books do not contradict. Our task, as the church—as the people who follow Jesus—is to bring together “mainstream science and mere Christianity.”
- Why: Because this is our heritage as Christians.
- The Scientific Revolution arose in the Christian west. This, of course, isn’t to say that all of science arose from Christianity (that would discount Muslim science, for example). Still, I will say (along with many others) that the Christian doctrine of God’s creating a cosmos, and not a chaos, means that we can study it and understand it. This is our Christian heritage, and we must not forsake it. It’s also a key part of our American history. I think of the Puritan pastors, like Jonathan Edwards, who, as the most educated people of the day, regularly combined reflection on theology with “natural philosophy” (the name for science in those days).
- Why: Because the United States needs Christians engaged in the sciences.
- In order for the country to stay as leader in this world, we need the two-thirds of our population who names Christ, to be pro- science and technology. There are far too many examples of Christians denying science.
- Why: Because, as people disaffiliate from churches, we need to Christians to be in the world of science and technology.
- God gathers the church in worship, to be sure, but God also sends out the church scattered. This is naturally an evangelistic task, but also, as Makoto Fujimura calls it, the task of “culture care.”
Those are my top five. How would you prioritize them? Do you have any to add?