Can Religion and STEM go Hand in Hand?

By Ilse Kremer, MA, MS
Faculty, College of Science, Engineering and Technology 

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At Grand Canyon University, a religious foundation permeates all aspects of academic life. Walking around campus, one can observe students holding prayer circles and professors invoking biblical quotes in their lecture classes.

This faith integration is an active pursuit of many faculty at GCU as we progress in our teaching careers. Especially in STEM fields, which have historically been viewed as largely secular and incompatible with religious teachings, a focus on faith integration maintains the mission critical values of the university.

Few scholarly articles are available on the degree of religious affiliation of scientists around the world. One recent study explored survey data from eight countries: France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States (Ecklund et al., 2016). Each of these countries was found to have varying degrees of scientific infrastructure and varying degrees of religious involvement.

In most of these national contexts, scientists were indeed found to be more secular than their academic counterparts in other areas and in the general population. Surprisingly though, almost all scientists surveyed stated that science does not present a conflict with religion. In fact, they saw science as operating in a different sphere from religion, the former being confined to observable phenomena and the latter dealing with matters of faith and the unseen (Ecklund et al., 2016).

As a student of science, it is important not to come to any unfounded conclusions, not only about the religious inclination of your science professors, but also about the general notion that scientific pursuits and religious pursuits are incompatible.

A simple look at the classrooms at GCU reinforce the idea that the two can go hand in hand, whether by conscious partitioning or by seeking common ground.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology offers a STEM-focused education that nurtures and supports a Christian worldview. To learn more about us, visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.

References:

  • Ecklund, E., Johsnon, D., Scheitle, D., Matthews, K. & Lewis, S. (2016). Religion among scientists in international context. Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, volume 2. Doi: 10.1177/2378023116664353

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