You may have already seen the above test, given to 4th graders at Blue Ridge Christian Academy in Greenville, SC (as confirmed by Snopes, where you can also see the second page of the test and read the backstory). Yeah, that’s pretty bad.
It is those two juxtaposed images of youth engaging science with which I’m going to start my talk tomorrow at Fuller Seminary’s conference, Talk of God, Talk of Science, which is described thusly:
Every sermon is preached to people who both bear the image of God and live science-shaped lives. Preaching today must be an agent in helping integrate, encourage, and challenge our understandings of how faith and science can be understood together.
The problem is obvious: many teenagers see Christians as anti-science, and this isn’t just because of right-wing fundies. Even centrists — even, gasp, libruls — often don’t know how to talk intelligibly about science from the context of faith. My kids learn about science in school, of course, and they learn about religion in school. This year my middle schoolers have told me about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, all of which they’ve learned about in social studies when studying other countries and cultures.
But they haven’t learned about science in church. Not once that I can think of, and that includes that many churches I’ve attended with them over the past 13 years.
So, I’m asking you, dear readers, how do you think we should talk to youth about science in our communities of faith? Have you seen good examples of this? Have you done it yourself, at home? Drop me a comment with ideas about how we can catalyze healthy conversations about science at church.
And now, a gratuitous image of Jesus hugging a dinosaur: