I’m Catholic and I’m proud of it. I’m also a Biology major who wants to become a surgeon. To me, they marry together easily. Apparently, that is not the case for some people. To some people, religion and science are enemies. To me, science is a tool to discover the world God has set out for us. I was raised in a science-loving Christian family. My father is a now-retired Army engineer who majored in geology. My mother was a life and earth science teacher for middle schoolers and a health science and physical education teacher for high schoolers. My father is Methodist and my mother is Catholic. For some reason, there is a type of person who believe that because a person is religious, said person cannot understand the sciences. I just can’t understand why.
When I lived in Washington State, I was in the minority where I lived, ideology-wise. At my first academic team competition, my teammates and I were discussing bits of our lives to get to know each other better. I had happened to mention that I wanted to become a doctor and research cancer. Later I mentioned that I was Catholic. One of my teammates, who was atheist, immediately asked me this, “Wait, how can you be Catholic and want to be a scientist?” I was honestly confused by this, so I asked for clarification. She responded, “Well what do you think of the Theory of Evolution?” I had to think for a moment, trying to figure out what she was getting at. I finally pieced it all together. She wanted “test my faith,” because to her, Christians rejected evolution. I had never heard of such a thing and I honestly felt insulted that she thought I was stupid. Not to say those who don’t agree with evolution are stupid, they are unfortunately viewed that way by many people. After a few seconds of silence, I gave my facetious response, “I believe God created evolution.” It got a few laughs, but it also got me thinking about how religion and science are viewed.
Part of the problem is the connotation with the word Christian in scientific debates. Christian is a large umbrella term; it covers Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, etc. Each branch of Christianity has different views and interpretations. With evolution as an example, both the Catholic and Methodist Churches say that the Theory of Evolution is possible within their church doctrines. On the other hand, some branches, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, vehemently deny evolution. All are denominations of Christianity, but they all are not the same. When you decide to have a scientific discussion with someone, don’t make an assumption based on their faith. Go into the discussion with an open mind, they may surprise you.