[serialposts]“God, why is the sky blue?”

I was eighteen when I finally asked Him; not relying on the answers that I was taught all my life in school. His reply ended up being more deeply touching and radical than anything I’d ever heard, and, from that moment on, I felt in my heart that He had created it all. My brain no longer got in the way. That was the first time that my “science and God thoughts” weren’t a struggle for me, because I sure wondered before. Hundreds of times.

Growing up in a church setting usually means that science and God are not talked about together very often. I was never taught anything in Sunday School outside of the Bible, and so, because I never heard the Periodic Table of Elements or other assorted science “school talk” there, I guess I assumed they were separate subjects. God here, science there: they do not mix. Sadly, in my own personal walk, it took God showing me, Himself, that science and loving Him could go together: that in loving Him, and in being curious, searching for answers, and listening to arguments, my faith would be grown.

In the recent study released by Barna Group, it’s revealed that one of the reasons teens and young adults become disconnected from church is because they view the church as being antagonistic toward science. That resonates with me, because I’ve been there. I’ve been the young person wondering why.

My question today is, “how can things change?” Can young people discover that God and science do go together? Can we hear more about the sciences in church services? Can there be more teachers encouraging young people to look for answers?

As a twenty-eight-year-old, it doesn’t upset me that my church experience was relatively devoid of these conversations, but it does make me want to see change. Those searching need not be left believing that there is no place for science in a relationship with the Creator. As the church, we cannot be afraid. The God that created all most definitely can defend Himself.

Where can the change begin?

Letting God Lead the Way

Perhaps the first place change can begin is by not digging our feet in, but by allowing God to lead the way in feeling differently about science. The sciences in a secular setting show us some pretty amazing things. Consider snowflakes, stars, volcanoes, osmosis, DNA, string theory, human vocal chords, gravity, earthquakes, animal and marine life, magnets, and physics.

Really, the science arena that brings about the most inner angst for the church (forgive the dramatics) is what has been theorized of and about secularly. And that is not that scary of a place to go. Those who follow Christ should not fear the discussion of theories, because God has already given us answers to guide our explorations. Those rules cannot be broken. He has given us dominion of the Earth and the capacity to explore and wonder.

Perhaps God wants the cultivation of young people who will grow up to be biologists, meta-physicists, engineers, chemists, etc. The best group of people in the Earth today for the job are those that love God. Us. If we neither fear nor dislike science, but embrace God’s view of it, we are able to carry out change. Feeling different about the subject comes from allowing God to change our hearts toward what He has already created.

Engaging in Conversation

Conversation may be the second place to enact change. The Bible obviously gives us science answers that are crisp and easy. Contrast that with a secular humanity who tries to find out where we came from, how to cure cancer, and how far we can go in outer space and it’s quickly noted that secular words towards exploration and research will come against the church’s basic views.

As a simple example, ask a person who isn’t familiar with the Bible about where life came from, and you could get answers varying from theories they’ve been taught all the way to a simple “I don’t know.”  If those in the church say “we don’t know,” it negates the belief in the Bible as being infallible truth.

The answers the Bible gives are black and white, and therefore seems to exclude looking for answers since they’ve already been given. But, there it is: it “seems to exclude.” Both sides can be talked about together. The struggle might be named “Defense for God Himself,” but again, that defense is already in place. Perhaps conversations about science need to look more like playing devil’s advocate.

“I think that life started with The Big Bang.” Secular says.
“Is that so? Who all has suggested that?” Church asks.
“Everybody who’s somebody. All the scientists agree.” Secular boasts.
“One-hundred percent of scientists? I think those numbers are skewed.” Church raises an eyebrow. “Regardless, what if they haven’t seen all the evidence? What if they aren’t looking at all the possibilities? What if they are missing something?”
“They aren’t missing anything! This has been studied for many, many years.” Secular says.
“I’m simply saying, I think you are leaving out some facts. I encourage you to look for answers again. This time, add this to your research.” Church says, placing a Bible on the table.
Secular looks down at the book, and then looks back at Church. “We already did that. A long time ago.”
Church grins. “Do it again. I think you’re missing something.”
“Wait, is this a challenge?” Secular eyes narrow.
“Maybe.” Church’s eyes sparkle. “You know, I like hearing all your theories. I’m just here to make sure you look at all the facts.”

It’s just a little shift in church views: We’re not talking about it versus I’m listening.

Imagine if sermons and small groups chats included inserts of the latest science news, wonders, or puzzles. Not only would it help young people feel safe to ask their questions and state their opinions, but it would also show the grandeur of God’s creativity and how awesome He is.

Showing Support

Finally, what if the church became a form of cheerleader? Young people today need encouragement to be the individuals that God has knit into their DNA. *raises hand* Sometimes I need to hear from someone else that it’s okay for me to be fascinated by words. I’m sure pharmacy techs, budding physicians, future nuclear scientists, and upcoming mathematicians need to hear it in their field of fascination, too.

The highest form of praise for me is when someone older than me takes notice of what I’m interested in and reassures me that God can use me in that area. Churches encourage stay-at-home moms, single parents, business CEOs, and many other much-mentioned professions. Maybe the science realm of professions needs to be cheered on, too. Cheerleading starts with the leaders, and will soon spread to everyone else if they want to be a part.

Conclusion

Between letting God lead how we feel about the sciences, conversing more about the sciences, and cheerleading those that want to explore the sciences hands-on, maybe the change that is needed will begin. Twenty-something’s and teenagers need a place to belong to now. More of us are staying single, more of us are depressed, and more of us feel alone. We need church family. Now is the time, not later, for change.

So. Why is the sky blue? Have you asked Him yet? This is what He told me:

Because. It’s the color of life.

 

-Keviana Elliot

[reasons they leave #3] church antagonism towards science

by Keviana Elliot time to read: 6 min
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