Are Science and Faith Compatible in Mormon Religion?
It’s not uncommon for people to wonder if science and religious belief are incompatible. Read what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have to say about how science and our Mormon religion and beliefs for them (us) can and do co-exist.
Dr. Anne Osborne Poelman (a neuroradiologist), Dr. Phil Low (a Purdue biochemist) and others share some thoughts on faith and science in this article (a report of a LDS Life Sciences Symposium): “No ‘believing gene,’ just faith and work, says LDS doctor, scientist”
Dr. Larry St. Clair (Ph.D from the Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado) focuses his whole Mormon Scholars Testify entry on the question of “Faith and Science as Ways of Knowing: Dealing With the Ostensible Conflicts” (included in his essay are thoughts on evolution and the age/creation of the earth):
In all honesty, I have never encountered any idea or theory in science that threatened or challenged my faith. Why? Because there are a few things that are central to my testimony and I diligently protect and sustain them with my faith. For example, I know that God lives, and I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, is both the Creator and Savior of the world. These are gifts given to me and regularly renewed for me by the Holy Ghost. With this knowledge firmly in place, I find that I am free to explore and examine any combination of spiritual and/or temporal questions. There are times when I think I might have reached a plausible conclusion about an issue or question, but I carefully protect myself from the tendency to deal in absolutes. I am always open to more data and more revelation as I seek to refine and purify my knowledge. I am also perfectly willing to leave the resolution of some issues to a future “celestial classroom” where “perfect knowledge” will surely abound and where “perfect love casteth out all fear.”5
Dr. Milton Lee (Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Indiana University) talks of the pursuit of truth as a scientist and as a member of the Mormon religion:
As a scientist, I seek for truth, and as a believer in Jesus Christ and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I seek for truth. I believe that these two efforts are not exclusive of one another, but should come together when absolute truth becomes known. In fact, I have found that one enhances the other in a number of ways. For instance, the allegory of the seed told by Alma in the Book of Mormon (Alma 32) follows the pattern of the scientific method. -Dr. Milton Lee
Speaking of the scientific method, here’s another post, The Scientific Method, that explores similar thoughts: “In a science experiment you would use statistics to determine if your hypothesis can be rejected, something any statistician will tell you that you can never know for sure, but rather only with a certain level of confidence. Instead, when seeking answers to spiritual hypotheses, you have to receive your answer from the source of spiritual knowledge: God himself.”
Dr. Angela M. Berg Robertson (Ph.D., Harvard University, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology) shares her conviction that God knows “infinitely more” than we ever could.
“’[M]an doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend,” not only applies in research. I find great comfort in knowing that God understands what I do not. He understands how we can live again after we die. He understands how we can be bound forever to our families. He understands how the suffering of Jesus Christ paid for my mistakes. He understands infinitely more. [Link not in the original]
Dr. Lynn H. Slaugh (Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Washington)
It was never intended that we should prove scientifically the existence of our Savior and our Father in Heaven. Nevertheless, there are numerous observations that certainly proclaim a divine creator. Many have observed and marveled at the amazing ORDER and complexity of living things, especially man, and have taken this to be a strong indicator of a divine, all-powerful creator.
This essay on Mormon Science and Scientists looks at these questions with an historical perspective.
You can read numerous profiles of Mormons who are also scientists at Mormon.org
For example, Kenneth (a Mormon who has a Ph.D. in chemistry) says: ‘[D]espite all my schooling and secular knowledge, I know God is real and lives. Indeed all the science I understand shows to me The handiwork of a divine creator, God.”
Jon says: “I am a chemist who works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and love being both a scientist and a Mormon, because the ultimate goal of both is truth. I have absolutely no problem reconciling science and religion.”
See more about the faith of more Mormons who are scientists at Mormon.org
Kathleen has a master’s degree in physics and is working on her Ph.D. in astronomy (and is thinking about medical school!)
You can find many more profiles by going to “Meet Mormons” at Mormon.org and searching on ‘scientist’ in the search bar.
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