Why Christians Should Support Scientists and Technologists

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Rev. Christopher Benek is the associate pastor of Family Ministries and Mission at First Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

It is often articulated in society that Christianity and science/technology are at odds. While most people of faith do not hold this belief, it is imperative that the church universal continue to dispute this negative stereotype. The most effective way that Christians can do so is by actively affirming their support for people called to work in the fields of science and technology.

The irony of the claim that Christianity is opposed to science and technology is that many of the people who make up congregations throughout the world are people who work in these fields daily. Yet even though this is the case, many times the church still fails to recognize the gifts of such individuals who are instrumental to the wellbeing of both the church and our global community.

I personally became starkly aware of this fact years ago when an elderly man approached me one morning after a worship service with tears in his eyes. He proceeded to say: "I've been going to church consistently for over thirty years and this is the first time that anyone has ever acknowledged my vocation as a chemist as a way to serve Christ. I can't thank you enough!"

I was shocked to hear these words from this devout man. Immediately my heart sank. For thirty years he had been faithfully attending worship services feeling like there was disconnect between his faith and the work that he did every day of the workweek?

The church universal had failed that man for thirty years!

Even worse — I couldn't help but to think of all of the young people who had been raised in the church that had potentially bought into the false notion that their science/tech interests and faith were somehow necessarily incompatible.

Fortunately for the church, while we may have collectively failed to do so in recent years, our opportunity to correct this misnomer hasn't past. We are just now entering into an age of emerging technology where exponential growth is occurring faster than ever before in the history of the world. This occurrence is leading people of faith to ask questions never before raised regarding the intersection of theology and faith/science. The church has the opportunity presently to encourage and affirm the scientist and technologist in our midst and to encourage efforts in these fields that promote Christ's redemptive purposes in the world.

So among the questions that we should ask ourselves are: Do we want diseases to be cured and our general health to be improved? Do we want famines to be eradicated? Do we want the environment and wildlife to be protected? Do we want to improve the ways that humanity interconnects relationally? Do we want all people to have a higher quality of life?

Scientists and technologists are the ones who God has called to help us accomplish these goals. And God has bestowed upon them unique vocational gifts that compliment the other gifts of the church in ways that are meant to help humanity more greatly flourish.

But pastors and congregations need to begin to affirm the importance of these gifts and these individuals in the church. We need to begin to host seminars in our churches on our how our faith and science and emerging technologies interconnect with to one another. We need to begin to, with integrity, talk about science and technology within the context of worship. Most importantly, we must begin to empower the next generation of scientists and tech specialists with the support and encouragement that they need to continue to bring humanity into a more advanced and humane technological future.

For all we know, the person who will discover the next big scientific or technological breakthrough will be sitting in a pew this Sunday at church. Doesn't the church have a responsibility in Christ to empower, affirm and bring about the abundance of that person's gifts in the world? That is something for us all to think about the next time we join together in praying Christ's prayer: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done — on earth as it is in heaven."

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek is the Associate Pastor of Family Ministries and Missions at First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Subscribe to his blog and connect with him on social media at www.christopherbenek.com.