Belief

Believe it or not, as science-oriented as I am, I am a Christian. And I’m not just a Christian in that I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. No. I am a Christian in that I believe in the whole thing, the whole shebang. I believe that he was born and lived and died for our sins, that he is the embodiment of God here on this little blue dot, and that God (for whatever reason) loves the heck out of us.

This puts me at odds with some people in my profession and even some of my colleagues at work because they are the kind of atheists that, while complaining about people who preach to them about God, preach to me that I shouldn’t believe in a god. I call them the anti-theists more than atheists. Over the years, I’ve come to befriend some very rational, very respectful atheists who are incredibly good people. I’m sure I’ll see them in heaven even if they don’t believe in an afterlife because them not being there, as awesome and caring and loving and hard-working for a better world as they are, them not being there would be an injustice.

God is not unjust, if history has taught us anything.

The anti-theists point at the problems based on religion as clear evidence that religion in any form is a cancer on the world. As such, they state that it must be purged. They claim that they would be very happy if there was no religion. To a certain degree, I can see where they are going with that argument. On the other hand, religion is a human construct that we devised in order to understand those things that are mysteries to us. As a human construct, it gets a lot of things wrong.

That’s why I proudly say that I am not religious. I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, period. Sure, I feel comfortable in a religious setting, with other believers. But I will not mince words when those who claim to speak for God speak ungodly things. I am also very comfortable in a scientific setting, opening up my mind to the posibilities that this universe has in terms of its mysteries.

To me, science doesn’t take away from the miraculous things everywhere around them. If anything, it enhances them. Looking at the moon through my telescope or the microbes through my microscope only make me love creation even more. Evolution explains to me how the world came to be, not why. And I am incredibly comforted by knowing in my heart that I am not the end-all be-all of all things.

I smile when I think that I’ll spend eternity with my loving wife and all those who love me, theists or not.

If I could just change one thing about being a scientist who believes in God, it would be to not feel a sense of embarrassment or shame. I read the blog posts of friends and colleagues, and they get kind of anti-theistic in a way that discourages me to comment or interact with them. And that’s not a good thing. Likewise, I try not to touch on theism too much for fear that they’ll stop interacting with me for the same reason.

I guess it’s true what they say about not discussing religion and politics (and soccer, in my household) with friends and colleagues. It gets kind of messy and no one is happy. Heck, even between my very religious family members and I there is disagreement. They believe that no abortions should be performed under any circumstances. I’ve come to learn, through science, that abortions, although ugly and totally something I don’t wish on anyone, are at times necessary and even recommended (e.g. saving a woman from an ectopic pregnancy).

Anyway, I thought I’d write this with the hopes that those who do not this blog exists will some day find it and understand why I shy away from mocking religions along with them, or from calling people who believe in a higher power “delusional”. It’s just not my style… ‘Cause I’m delusional as well, from a certain point of view.

 
Featured image credit: an untrained eye / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

I'm a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen