Special Issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith: Christian Faith and the Choice of Research Topic in the Natural and Applied Sciences

The Special Issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, volume 53, number 4, December 2001, reports on the presentations from the conference, “Christian Faith and the Choice of Research Topic in the Natural and Applied Sciences,” organized by InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries, held October, 2000, at the University of St. Mary’s of the Lake, Illinois (asa@asa3.org).

It starts with the call, “Jesus, the Lord of science, invites you to reflect his grace and to build God’s Kingdom through your research“. Then it takes readers to several thought-provoking issues.

“Does God Care About Our Research?”
“How Can I Make Jesus The Lord Of My Research And Teaching?”
“How Does God Guide Our Decision?”
“How Does God Lead Us To Our Calling?”
“What Discipline Perspectives Guide Us: Bioscience, Physical Science And Applied Science?”

“What Is The Role Of Worship?” “What Are The Christian Foundations For Doing Science?”
“What Lessons From The Past Aid Our Choice?”
“What Are The Research Needs In Science?”

These issues are addressed by leading scientists. The presenters include John Suppe (Princeton University professor and authority on structural geology and plate tectonics), Brad Keister (National Science Foundation program director), Colin Russel (United Kingdom Open University professor and interpreter of science history), William Demski (Baylor University philosopher, mathematician and spokesperson of intelligent design), and Calvin Dewitt (University of Michigan professor and advocate of environmental ethics). The vibrant discussions with participants including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and professors follow through discussion columns. The discussion session shares how to play wisely as a Christian within the system of the science profession. It also gives very practical advice on how to choose advisors and research topics. It can take you beyond graduate school to your profession of calling.

Christian graduate students will find many kindred spirits in this book and can obtain better understanding of their own struggles as Christians in the science profession as they watch these sincere Christian participants pray together, ponder and discuss issues, debate critical points, and listen to testimonies. Their thoughtful presentations will make readers gain new understanding, enlarge their perspectives and strengthen their faith in God who delights in us as we study science.

I was most touched by the testimony, “How does God lead us to our calling,” by Charles Harper who is executive director and senior vice president of the John Templeton Foundation. He shares his spiritual and intellectual turmoil as God blocked his way to what he perceived to be his calling:

I thought that I had made a mistake in my calling, that I had been stubborn and foolish and stupid, and that God had just decided to let it crash for me.

Oh, that is precisely what I screamed when He led me into unimaginably difficult paths! The only difference was that I screamed in Korean. Do you feel as if you are left alone and isolated in the vast and secular field of science? Do you hear the small but clear voice that you may find friends who can share your love of God and science but in a different language? This book invites again, “Be aware of the larger community that carries many of the same concerns and passions that you do in your science work.

Open your heart to this challenge. Share their insights and enlarge your dialogue in the Christian community. You will be blessed.

* (편집주) 영어로 받은 원고의 원래 의도와 뉘앙스를 제대로 살리기 위해 영어 원문 그대로를 싣습니다.

University Of Texas at San Antonio 기계공학과 교수. Northwestern Universtiy와 Case Western Reserve University에서 공부했다.