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My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class
Science teachers must make their subject relevant to students' lives by tackling religion and ethics, argues Arri Eisen.
December 15th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology, and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life.

Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.

At the same time, in at what first appears to be in an unrelated domain, President Barack Obama and others call for more and better science education in America to compete in innovation with rising giants India and China. This at a time when American science literacy appears to be decreasing, and even students who like science drop like flies from that pursuit once they hit college and its huge introductory lecture courses.

Is it possible that rethinking the ethical calculus of how we teach science could enhance the pool of future scientists and enrich the quality of conversation around controversial issues?

What’s the connection? Well, from kindergarten on we often teach science as a body of information not relevant to anything going on in the world. This is a cell and these are its parts; memorize them and their functions. This is the human body and these are the different systems of which it is composed.

Such facts are important, but without a meaningful context (cell functions gone awry can cause cancer; all the body systems talk to each other, so depression can affect your cardiovascular system) such information has little real substance and is poorly retained.

This approach violates the first rule of good teaching: Integrate the information into your students’ lives and worldviews, including those based in religion or ethical systems, and translate it into something they can connect with and use. Science has an especially rich and often fraught role to play in society; if we don’t at least acknowledge this we imply it is unimportant.

Not surprisingly, studies show that when teachers do integrate science knowledge into students' lives, the students learn the science better.

But rather than incentivize teaching innovation that would allow science educators to discuss religion and ethics –- for example, creationism in light of evolution and vice versa, or the scientific and ethical implications of stem cells and in vitro fertilization – many teachers are afraid to even mention these issues, despite their importance, for fear of losing their jobs.

The classic example is the public school biology teacher without tenure who, understandably, finds it much easier to skip any discussion of evolution because of its potential controversial nature. This would be OK except for the small detail that evolution is the fundamental, underlying principle of all biology.

I teach biology at a private university. When I ask students in my cell biology course, “How many of you believe in evolution?” almost all of them raise their hands. When I ask them, “How many of you think something in addition to evolution accounts for humans being on earth as we now exist?” almost all of them raise their hands.

Two inconsistent thoughts coexist without an attempt to reconcile or integrate them. It is this kind of dissonance of fundamental beliefs and science that good education should address and help explore, and certainly not ignore. Only when science educators can proactively engage all societal elephants in the room and illustrate science's relatively limited power will two vitally important things happen:

First, as they are forming their beliefs — whatever they may be — students will be aware of the nature of science and its relation to complex ethical and religious issues. That means they’ll better appreciate different types of evidence and will be more likely to argue from and about that evidence rather than from emotion. Second, more students initially interested in science will continue to pursue it through college because they will better see its value and importance to the big issues and will learn science better.

How to accomplish this? How to break the vicious circle? One way is to frame the benefits differently — economic competition and innovation, national security, improved learning, or more substantial political debate — for different constituencies. For example, perhaps a politically conservative, religious audience might appreciate the importance of good science education through the lens of its importance to the economy or national security.

Another break in the circle is to help teachers learn how to teach science in context more effectively. I often find that simply acknowledging the ethical or religious issue relaxes students; a few others  have explored approaches for better integration of these issues.

In my cell biology course, we investigate the biology and chemistry of a cell surface receptor that helps induce good feelings in us when it binds to a chemical compound found in incense; this may help explain why so many different cultures and religions have independently evolved the use of incense in their ceremonies and rituals.

We discuss the detailed cellular and molecular biology of the research in the context of ritual; the students report this opens a door that’s usually closed between those two sides of their minds. Religious students, who say they often feel their beliefs are ignored or belittled on campus, find this discussion especially welcome and thought-provoking.

High school educators in Wisconsin showed that students who read original texts from Darwin and intelligent-design scholars, and discussing those texts, critically learned evolution better (without rejection of other worldviews) than those taught it in the traditional didactic manner. Teaching potentially controversial science can work if done in an interactive, engaging fashion and in a rich historical and societal context.

Clearly, there are a multitude of reasons for America’s polarized politics and decreasing science literacy and innovation that go beyond just teaching science better. But sometimes a little creative wrestling with and engagement in systems and programs that already exist can make a difference.

Once I offered the opportunity for anyone in the cell biology course to simultaneously take a seminar course focusing on the societal and ethical implications of the biology discussed in the cell course. Half the biology class wanted to enroll in the seminar.

A dozen students — all future scientists and health care workers — wound up in the course, representing seven different religions and traditions, from Christianity to Jainism to Judaism.

Students were amazed so many of their peers took religion seriously, and those students tell me that the conversations and debates we had in the course, together with the seminar, resonate to this day. Many say science is now woven together with ethics and religion in their minds; they can’t think about biology without thinking about its meaning in the greater context.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arri Eisen.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Education • Opinion

soundoff (2,297 Responses)
  1. Anita Bleaujob

    Proving once again that any nitwit can get a PhD.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • Jamie

      The only class on religion should be 'How generations of people fell for the biggest scam in History'. Now that I'd sign up for.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  2. Isaac

    how about keep religion out of schools PERIOD

    December 16, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • holy guac

      Agreed. Just for starters, with all the religions out there, it's really not even feasible. Should Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or atheists (just to name a few beliefs) have to sit through a Christians footnotes of the spiritual relevance of the Big Bang theory?

      December 16, 2011 at 3:27 am |
  3. Kyla

    I'm a Christian who thinks science teachers should never be required to teach religion, ever. It's not simply because I believe in separation of church and state. Religion is not the specialty of science teachers and scientists; science is. No matter who I believe created what or if I believe anything at all, I'd rather hear my science from a science expert and my religion from a religion expert, period.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:16 am |
  4. Cmac

    RELIGION IS NOT SCIENCE!!!!!

    Hey! Lets teach math during gym! We can teach Home Ec during history and English during Wood SHop. OR, we can ask science teachers to teach science, math teachers to teach math, and pastors to teach religion on Sunday.

    The premise for this article is so completely flawed I am livid just thinking about it. No matter your beliefs, subjects should be taught by experts in THAT field. Science class is not some omnibus for comparative religion. If you want a comparitive religions class, then ADD ONE TO THE CIRRICULUM!!!!!!

    December 16, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  5. Matt

    I have never read a more ridiculous article. Your students believing in creationism and evolution simultaneously is not grounds for supporting religious instruction in science class. I would expect such an unsophisticated argument from a 12 year old, not a Ph.D. I believe you need to familiarize yourself with Occam's Razor and start thinking on a higher level. There is no evidence what so ever for creationism (whatever that is) and overwhelming evidence for evolution. A Ph.D surely believes in evidence right? Though this one probably isn't sophisticated enough to distinguish between empirical evidence and anecdotal evidence. This is the problem in this debate: people are unable to separate childhood fantasy reinforced by their parents/priest from the adult topics that are relevant to this world.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • Interesting..

      Ive never read a more ridiculous comment. I guess you didn't read the article. His point was that he gets ppl to dialogue about what they believe. When you study something you should read the primary sources and understand them and dialogue two opposing views. Not just a tertiary sources like a textbook. A lot of science textbooks i read are often misrepresents the facts or are just outdated, why not read the latest and greatest from evolutionary scientists and see how that matches up to current contrary views. Macro evolution is not as cut and dry as you seem to think, and recently some athiest/agnostic scientist have come to concede of a possibility of supernatural causes involved in time/space/matter coming to existence. (eg. if the big bang was the point in which time/space/matter came into existence, what caused it? ockham's razor would imply something outside time/space/matter, which by definition is outside nature or supernatural) Also you tout philosophy, but you are ignorant of the basic premise of epistemology, which this author is imploring throughout.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • Craig Davison

      @Interesting – Your comment is the problem. You're suggesting into evidence things that are flagrantly untrue. You state that you read many textbooks that are wrong. So I challenge you, rather than making wild claims, site those mistakes, and how they are acknowledged by other scientific sources. Sure typos exist, and evidence changes over time (sometimes major principles are updated based on evidence... which is the nature of science, which always reflects the most current understanding of observable phenomenon). The theory of evolution did not become a theory because it's merely a loosely developed idea. Rather, by nature of being a theory it is well developed concept and is supported by a great abundance of physical evidence, and a workable, tangible, and observable mechanism, i.e., mutation of nucleotides over time.

      A conversation, such as suggested in this article, cannot coexist with the realities of science if those on the side of creationism refuse to embrace well accepted facts into evidence. As to whether or not a creator exists is not a testable question science can address. But science can address the timeline described in the Bible, and as such there is an inconsistency with the facts observed in nature.

      Personally, I'd like to think there is some greater purpose to it all... call it nostalgia, wishful thinking, or lapse of rationale. And perhaps, somewhere in quantum mechanics rests some bit of mystery that a spiritual aspect may rest comfortably, such that we may never have all the answers. Still, we can't deny the physical facts, and usurp them with fabrication. This is why the dialogue suggested above is untenable. Creationists are more intent on dismissing facts in favor of "feelings" and myth, rather than being intellectually honest.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • Primewonk

      " Macro evolution is not as cut and dry as you seem to think, and recently some athiest/agnostic scientist have come to concede of a possibility of supernatural causes involved in time/space/matter coming to existence."

      Then by all means, please list these scientists and the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research that supports your contention.

      Although, first could you explain how these scientists managed to confound "macro" evolution with cosmology?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  6. Tom

    The argument to include these viewpoints in a science class have a warm fuzzy feel to them, but just aren't practical...how much time do these educators have to teach science? And which religious viewpoints do we include? Christianity is only one of the dogmas(and many differing sects inside xtianism) with anti-evolution views and creation theories...who gets to decide which religious ideas are important enough to include? Wouldn't it be better to include science in a religion class? Isn't there only usually one scientific theory to deal with at a time?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • yeah..

      You make a good point. I dont see how he can include that much. But i dont think he was including "religions" persay but more-so views that are just not necessarily naturalist, such as a intelligent design which would encompass in some sense most religions, but to be honest this view has even been expressed by some agnostics and a few atheists. Although he flip flops quite often in his views even Dawkins has said in one particular area at one point nothing makes any scientific sense without invoking some type of supernatural force. Also i would like to point out a quote from an atheist, evolutionary scientist (i forget who i can look it up and post it later if need be) (paraphrased) "Either half of my colleagues are idiots or evolution is not incompatible with being an Evolution." He's implying that half of evolutionary scientists are not Atheist. Ppl of who do not know much science tend to think Evolution proves atheism, which i think just proves ignorance more than anything.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:42 am |
  7. Craig Davison

    Funny but creationists don't seem to have a problem teaching their views without integrating evolution into their sermons.

    If you want to integrate cell biology to your students' personal understanding of the world, talk about how cellular receptors are important in the metabolism, sequestering, and elimination of lipids from the body (i.e., maintain proper cholesterol levels); and how changes in these receptors can change one's lipid profile. Talk about how blood vessel cells, when damaged by prolonged exposure to sugars, can impair micro and macrovasculature permeability, and how this can lead to high blood pressure and kidney failure. You don't have to talk about religion to make science relevant in your students' lives. It's called pathology; we're all familiar with how a deviation of these normal mechanisms can lead to disease.

    And while you're at it, if you're going to talk about Christian creationism, perhaps you should include the other great world religions.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:51 am |
  8. djlockerthebrain

    The concept of hell proves that the God of the Bible is evil by nature. Christians say hell is the result of free will but since we are not given the option to exist or not exist then there is no such thing as true free will. You are forced to play a sick game for some ancient sky god who loves you but will curse your entire family if you make him mad.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • hmm...

      You DO realize this is a philosophical and logical train wreck, right? This is about as an ignorant statement (both factually and philosophically) as a so-called "Christian" who says, "God disproves science."

      December 16, 2011 at 3:50 am |
  9. philip

    Some people see science as studying God's creation. Science does not have to mean the material explanation for all things. Leave metaphysics out of it. By making theological claims (there is no God), you are actually not being a scientist. You can assert that there is no proof of deity, but you'd have to be agnostic at best. Being an atheist means making metaphysical extrapolation, a place where science has no authority. Science should state facts, not metaphysics.

    Also, in my humble opinion, the wonderful way our physical world exists really seems like someone designed it that way. From microscopic to macroscopic, to disregard the excellence and precision of creation would make Galileo, Isaac Newton, Kepler, and Copernicus cringe. All of these men believed in the Christian God. Im not saying that proves anything, but I find it interesting that these scientists were inspired to discover the secrets of the universe because they wanted to know God and his creation better.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Observer

      Even if "creation" is true, that does not in any way prove that God of the Bible exists.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • HellBent

      Depending on the di.ctionary you use, you'll find different definitions for atheist and agnostic. Most atheists I know would consider themselves agnostic (I cannot know) atheists (I lack belief). Even Dawkins falls into this category?

      And excellence and precision of creation? How so? Are you looking at the universe and it's laws? What makes, say, gravity, perfect? If you're looking at biology, you have to look no further than the energy efficiency of nearly any living organism to realize that we are far from perfect.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:57 am |
    • Craig Davison

      Phillip – There is indeed an elegance to the physical universe, but the question of whether or not a prime mover is necessary for the existence of the most basic mechanisms is not anywhere near a default answer (such as a god). The question is more a philosophical one, rather than a religious or scientific one. Quantum physics, at its core, is perhaps where you may want to seek answers to these vexing questions. For example, the wave function collapse occurs simply by observing a proton, but before that all possibilities exists... strange indeed. String theory, or the Higgs boson are also quite different than what we may think of the universe, they challenge our basic understanding of reality. It's all very strange and beautiful, yet do not necessarily require a god for these realities to be possible. Yet, they don't negate the possibility of a creator either... for example, many astrophysicists believe that reality may in fact be a hologram projection. What we can say with some certainty, is that the plan, as laid out in the Bible, is not consistent with the physical evidence we observe in nature. This should be reconciled with clarity and honesty; without which, a meaningful dialogue between believers and scientist may not be possible.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Cmac

      Good for you and your fairy-dust view of the world. People that actually use a rational mind can appreciate beauty without having to attribute it's existence to something else. Just because you need to include magic faeries to appreciate a sunset or the color of a bird's wing does not mean your opinion is one based in fact.

      Grow up. Stop living in pretend world where you "feel" there must be a creator because something is beautiful. I so detest this sort of soft-logic. Why are China and India overtaking the USA? They teach their children hard science as fact. We barely teach science and engineering, and idiots like you ignore actual facts and instead attribute the physical world to magic faries.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Damo

      And Hero of Alexandria believed in Zeus. Quite a few Islamic scientists made important contributions while believing in Allah. Pythagoras believed in reincarnation, and that beans were the most evil thing on the planet. Empedocles discovered centrifugal force, that the Earth is round, and that air is a gas, not a vacuum. He also happened to believe he was himself a god.

      Unlike his peers, Empedocles did a scientific experiment to test his hypothesis, by jumping into a volcano.

      Clearly the beliefs of these brilliant men are true, because they were smart, just like all those men that believed in your favorite primitive tribal sky god.

      Any day now, Empedocles is going to come out of that volcano and write up a paper about his findings.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:18 am |
  10. NGN

    Religion in science class? Great! Here are a few ideas for science projects:

    Prove the existence of Hell. Measure its actual temperature. Then calculate the probability of going there.
    Use geological surveys to find Sodom and Gomorrah. Then use DNA testing on some salt to prove that it is Lott's wife.
    Study the anatomy of a snake to understand how it can talk a naked lady into eating forbidden fruit.
    Build a life-size replica of Noah's Ark and then get a male and female of every species to get on board.
    Answer this question: Since Adam and Eve were once the only people in existence, did their children commit a lot of incest?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Observer

      Noah's family all committed incest too, but of course the Bible says incest is wrong.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • djlockerthebrain

      Like!

      December 16, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Epiphany

      LOL! Super Like!

      December 16, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • Kamikaze

      Also if you believe in Adam and Eve and do not believe in evolution then where did black people come from?

      December 16, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • truth and freedom

      Hey has anyone ever seen a monkey turn into a man?

      December 16, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • HellBent

      @Truth and freedom,

      Has anyone ever seen an electron? Maybe they don't exist. And yes, we can witness evolution, just not on the time scale required for a change that you refer to. You're either being totally disingenuous or you haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • truth and freedom

      Oh I know what I'm talking about. Basically you are believing something that you never witnessed but just read about. That is what you accuse Christians of. The only difference is there are historical accounts outside of the bible that do back up the accounts in the bible. Evolution started off as just a thought. Keep in mind it is still just a theory.

      December 16, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Primewonk

      " Hey has anyone ever seen a monkey turn into a man?"

      No. Why?

      By the way – the folks who aren't ignorant creationists never said monkeys turned into men. It's only you wack-jobs who claim we say this.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • truth and freedom

      Ok let me use the correct terminology: Has anyone seen a monkey evolve into a man?

      December 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  11. djlockerthebrain

    How about the fact that the Bible has over 1,000 direct self contradictions in it. Who's perfect now fools! lol

    December 16, 2011 at 2:41 am |
  12. chris hogan

    I say teach a religion class that treats the Bible as mythology along with other holy books and then let the students choose to believe what they want. Just the facts, ma'am. But separate from science class.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  13. djlockerthebrain

    They should teach religion is science class. Day 1: Christianity is a lie. Class dismissed.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  14. biglio

    this would make sense for only one thing...the countries that are eating our kids lunch and their future lunches too don't teach religion with science....and they are pretty traditional in their teachings....mhhh how to explain that? if I had religion with my science class i would say that God prefers them over us....

    December 16, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  15. djlockerthebrain

    Christianity is the dumbest thing we've ever fallen for. It's a complete rip off of every religion that came before it and that can be proven with a simple google search. Also while you're at it, google "Bible contradictions" and you'll be very amused at how un-examined the religion really is.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  16. Kamikaze

    Middle Eastern people were scientific at one point. Where do you think Algebra came from. Then that Muhammad guy comes along and religion restricted any type of thought regarding infinity which leaves out calculus. Look were it got them.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • djlockerthebrain

      The Catholic church used to torture scientists who disagreed with the Bible.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • biglio

      sorry man but algebra was invented after Muhammad, not before....got too much religion with your history class?

      December 16, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • @bigilo

      I think Algebra existed before Muhammad. While the seminal work "Kitāb al-muḫtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-ğabr wa-l-muqābala" was written after Mohammad, it is like Euclid's Elements. Like the Elements, it codified existing knowledge. There is good reason to believe that the basic algebraic principles existed significantly earlier. Many basic concepts can be traced to Babylonians and Greeks, and much of the machinery and notation the Arabs used existed long before Mohammad.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Kamikaze

      @biglio

      The point was calculus. Learn some history.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:05 am |
    • Kamikaze

      Right. Basically my point is that the area is doing good. They had a good grip on Algebra. Science was flourishing. They even had makeshift batteries made out of pots that they most likely used to deal with pain. Then religion killed it. Religion is fine as long as it does not affect the scientific growth of the community. Unfortunately religion is based on emotion and that causes people to make irrational decisions.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • Craig Davison

      @ djlockerthebrain – religion and science make for odd bedfellows.

      The person who proposed the Big Bang theory... he was Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain.

      The father of genetics, and the person who discovered the mechanism of inheritance, Gregor Johann Mendel, an Austrian scientist and Augustinian friar (a priest).

      Things are not always is simple as they appear.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  17. trollol

    TROLL ALERT!

    Professor Arri Eisen is a first class TROLL.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  18. Mirosal

    If one attends a Lutheran, or a Catholic school, for example, that school can teach what it wants, The parents are paying for it. But those kids will be sorely disillusioned once they leave and enter the secular world away from that school. "Religion" should NEVER be taught in a public science class for two reasons. They are supported by public taxes, and by teaching a monotheistic approach establishes that belief, contrary to our 1st Amendment. The second reason is that kids from MANY, MANY faiths attend public schools. Xtians, Jewish, Muslims, Hindus (a polytheistic religion BTW), Native Americans, Atheists, and the list goes on and on. To use a bible in that science class would be an incredible slap in the face for those kids who are NOT Xtian. Not to mention that the Torah, Bible, or Qu'ran do NOT have chapters in them for science. It would be like using a textbook on phys. ed. for a history class.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • Kai

      Perfectly put.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:44 am |
  19. Gauntletwielder

    Keep religion out of the science classroom. Religion is fiction. If my child's school started "teaching" religion in public school, I would sue the school.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • MrCurve

      Please, if you will, enlighten me as to why religion is fiction?

      Also, I'd be more concerned if the public school system was showing my child films and reading booklets that were given out about how Johnny's parents are named Joe and Jim, and hey; it's okay...

      December 16, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Q

      Fiction: A literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact.

      Sounds about right when considering the relevant holy books...

      December 16, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • AF

      A smart religious person can see why others perceive religion as fiction instead of saying foolish comeback which does not defeat the conviction of religion as fiction. A belief is a belief there is no way to disprove or prove a belief. To me common sense leads that religion is fiction.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • No Gimmicks

      YOUR DOPEY GOD DOESN'T EXIST.

      IF YOU WANT TO PRETEND THAT YOUR DOPEY GOD EXISTS, AND WANT TO RAISE YOUR KIDS TO BELIEVE THAT YOUR DOPEY FAKE GOD EXISTS, THEN PUT THEM IN PRIVATE SCHOOL - KEEP THEM OUT OF CLASSROOMS THAT INTELLIGENT/EDUCATED PARENTS WANT TO PUT THEIR KIDS IN

      December 16, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Observer

      MrCurve,

      So you think it's good to teach your kids that unicorns exist but bad to let them know that not every family has a "mom" and a "dad"? I'm not sure you know what "education" means.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • DarkMarcsun

      So...no teaching your kids anything from The Odyssey, The Illiad, Upanishads, etc even though they are widely quoted in other notable literature? It is possible to teach historical (and religious) texts without pushing religion.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • MrCurve

      Most individuals who speak ill of religion, whatever religion it may be, are the ones who say, "If there is a God, then why is there world hunger?" and things of that nature. Well, that's liken to an adult wondering why Santa Claus doesn't come to his house anymore like he did when he was a child. Most do not really understand truly what religion means (God), and when a person doesn't understand something, whatever it is...they're either scared of it, fight it, ridicule it, or abandon it.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Observer

      "Well, that's liken to an adult wondering why Santa Claus doesn't come to his house anymore like he did when he was a child."

      Not remotely close. Adults know Santa doesn't exist. They question the existence of God because of knowledge of science, math, logic, etc.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • HellBent

      "Well, that's liken to an adult wondering why Santa Claus doesn't come to his house anymore like he did when he was a child"

      Santa is definitely the correct ana.logy, just not in the way you intend it.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • MrCurve

      Observer, I am not certain what school you're referring to who teaches children that unicorns exist. Furthermore, I'm not certain any school, with the exception of religious schools, cram religion or the idea of God down any child's throats. If they do, I don't agree with that. When I was going to school from '69-'82, the only time the word "God" was mentioned was when we all stood proudly and said the "Pledge of Allegiance", and as far I can tell, no one ever had any problems with it and turned out okay.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • Observer

      MrCurve,

      If science classes are to follow the Bible, they need to talk about unicorns and talking serpents existing and how all the laws of physics are optional depending on God's mood at the time.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • MrCurve

      Observer and HellBent, you two clearly don't 'get it'. I could be wrong, but there's many out there who think just because they locked themselves in a closet while hungry, prayed for a hot dog, and because God didn't deliver, then there must be no God. Those who believe that are foolish.

      People who rebel against the idea of God ultimately are rebelling against themselves and what they inwardly know is right.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Observer

      MrCurve,

      Changing the subject didn't work. You didn't respond to my comments.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • MrCurve

      Observer, I apologize, I didn't know where you were going with the unicorn thing. I should've stayed with the article above and what it addressed as you were. Regarding the article, no, I don't think religion and science would be a good mix in a classroom environment.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Observer

      MrCurve,

      Should science classes follow the Bible and teach that talking serpents and unicorns are real?
      Should science classes follow the Bible and say that all the laws of physics are optional depending on God's will at the time?

      December 16, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Observer

      MrCurve,

      Good. We can finish up in agreement.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • MrCurve

      Observer, no.

      I would also like to add, the problem I see with the Holy Bible is how you can get 10 people to read it, and afterwards, you will probably get 7 different interpretations, and depending on what level of thought an individual has evolved to will also depend on how they will interpret what they read. A child may believe in talking serpents and unicorns just like they might believe in the bogeyman. As they get older, their thinking may evolve to a place where they may not believe as they did when they were a child, but merely think of it in a different more realistic way but at the same time the principle will remain. The Holy Bible is FULL of stories (symbolism) and it's for one to interpret the meaning behind the stories which ultimately lead to peace and fulfillment. At least that's my take on it. I have no problem with that. That's my religion...

      December 16, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • MrCurve

      Observer, sorry, we're criss crossing each other...

      Anyways, peace to you, and good night...

      December 16, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • HellBent

      " I could be wrong, but there's many out there who think just because they locked themselves in a closet while hungry, prayed for a hot dog, and because God didn't deliver, then there must be no God. Those who believe that are foolish."

      I find that many believers have this view of atheist because they lack the ability to comprehend that people do not believe as they. For nearly all atheist I know this is absolutely incorrect. As a smarter man than I once said, I contend that we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. The fallacy in your argument is that you think people have a particular reason for not believing in YOUR god, but you neglect the reason for believe in the many thousand of other gods. You don't have a monopoly on deities. Arguments about an all-loving god who allows for suffering and pointing out that, despite claiming to do so multiple times throughout the bible, 'god' does not grant wishes is an attempt to use logic to discredit religious claims, not something born of bitterness.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Epiphany

      MrCurve: "Most do not really understand truly what religion means (God), and when a person doesn't understand something, whatever it is...they're either scared of it, fight it, ridicule it, or abandon it."

      Most people don't really understand the science of today, and when a person doesn't understand something, whatever it is....they assume some form of higher power is involved (whatever religion they believe in).

      MrCurve: "I could be wrong, but there's many out there who think just because they locked themselves in a closet while hungry, prayed for a hot dog, and because God didn't deliver, then there must be no God. Those who believe that are foolish. "

      And how are they foolish to not get acknowledgement from this "God"? You would call someone foolish if they asked for proof to believe that your God exists? Your analogy of someone locking themselves in a closet waiting for a hot dog is not the rationale of what people would normally do, but to promise that God speaks to you magically in some way and you just never hear it? Yea, works with brainwashing the sheep perhaps.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • MrCurve

      Hellbent, I appreciate your input. There's no argument here.

      Like I wrote above in my reply to "Observer", the Holy Bible can be interpreted many ways depending on one's own level of thought and reason, but the principles are not left open for interpretation, and you will find the same 'principles' that are found in the Holy Bible are in ANY religion. All religions essentially teach the same basic principles, and it's okay to live by those principles.

      Good night HellBent (for leather)...

      December 16, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • MrCurve

      LOL@ Epiphany!

      December 16, 2011 at 4:01 am |
  20. wwjd?

    God is the greatest scientist.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Q

      Maybe, but his manuscript completely left out the methods section. And all that genocide...?

      December 16, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Observer

      He sure didn't share his knowledge of it with man. Instead, God must have suspended all of the laws of physics and logic. Jesus could have save a great amount of suffering by telling people about germs, but didn't bother.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • clearfog

      A scientist wouldn't turn a woman into a pillar of salt for being curious.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • aaaa

      If your god is already all-knowing, he by definition cannot be a scientist.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Mirosal

      If this 'god' of yours is the greatest scientist, then where are its notes? Lab ana'lysis? Field research? If you call the bible a "thesis", you need therapy.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • djlockerthebrain

      Bigfoot was the greatest scientist!

      December 16, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Primewonk

      You'd have thunk that the universe's greatest scientist could have figured out that pi is not 3.0

      December 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.