One of the unexpected roles that I have found myself playing since coming on staff with InterVarsity has been that of dispelling common misconceptions about the university for Christian laypeople. And there has been no more common misconception that I have run into than that the natural sciences and the Christian faith are locked in mortal combat. The truth is that in contemporary academia the culture of the humanities is far, far more hostile to Christianity than are the natural sciences. In any case, the misconception that the university laboratories and observatories are environments inherently dangerous for Christianity is deeply lodged in our public discourse, and that makes the Christian who is also a scientist something of mystery to many Christian pastors and laypeople.
Christian author and cultural critic Andy Crouch has addressed this problem with a great little essay over at The Well, “What I wish my pastor knew about…the life of a scientist.” Crouch is writing particularly with reference to his wife, Catherine, who is an experimental physicist at Swarthmore College. The article highlights many of the virtues of practicing scientists that oft go unnoticed by pastors and laypersons alike. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what scientists’, particularly scientists who are Christians, lives are like.