FASTLY - Faith & Science Teaching

Faith: Faith


The worship of reason is arrogance and betrays a lack of intelligence. The rejection of reason is cowardice and betrays a lack of faith. — Abraham Joshua Heschel

The sacred/secular divide is the idea that the secular world, guided by reason, is the setting for our public lives, while the sacred world of personal religious belief is a private hobby. This view implies that faith does not affect public life or any part of a school curriculum except Bible or religion classes. Many assume that faith and reason are opposed to each other and that there is a rivalry or a conflict between faith and science.

When this split between the sacred and the secular shapes curriculum, faith can become detached from our everyday teaching and learning practices and from our life choices. To disregard faith in any aspect of the curriculum is to ignore areas of life that have been significant for most of humanity throughout the ages and around the world.

Christian faith is more than an abstract set of beliefs; it is a growing trust in God that is based on evidence of God’s character and experience of him and his creation (Romans 1:20; Psalm 22:5). Faith in Christ draws people closer to God (John1:12). This relationship affects how the whole of life is lived. For Christians, faith and reason are not opposed; we are commanded to love God with all our minds (Matthew 22:37). Reason and faith go hand in hand. All reasoning begins with something that is trusted as a starting point.

Many scientists are Christians and do not leave their faith outside when they enter the laboratory. Faith plays many roles in the life of a scientist, helping to guide choices about what to research, framing ethical questions, prompting a sense of wonder and curiosity, motivating service and love of neighbor when collaborating with colleagues, and provoking disciplined thought about difficult questions at the interface of faith and science. Teachers can help students see the constructive role of faith by making these connections visible and bringing them to students’ notice.

Teaching FASTly does not mean appealing to faith for quick answers to every difficult question, or denying the fruitfulness of scientific investigation. Rather it means acknowledging that faith continues to shape the motives, attitudes, callings, and thinking of many people, including scientists. It means helping students see these connections and encouraging them to explore the relationship between faith and science without assuming an inevitable conflict. It means honoring the complexity of the relationship between faith and science.

As you explore the FASTly activities, consider how they affirm the role of faith and science. Consider the ways in which faith is given space and the manner or tone with which it is approached. The following activities are worthwhile examples and helpful starting places for your consideration and use:

What Can We Learn About Bodies?

Evaluating Ethical Issues

Confessing Faith and Studying Nature