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God and physics

  1. May 20, 2016 #1
    A question that I find quite troubling, how can I remain Christian, but also have a career in physics? I understand that physics does not set out to disprove God, yet I still feel as though some may look on it as such. Any advice is welcomed and appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    [Moved to career guidance]
    Your own personal beliefs are yours to struggle with, but from a practical standpoint, you don't have to discuss religion with your colleagues. I know the religious persuasions of very few of my colleagues.
  4. May 20, 2016 #3
    There are many physicists who are also christians. Historically, one might say almost all physicists were christian. But still nowadays there are still many christian physicists. For example, the person who first came up with the big bang theory was a christian priest (George Lemaitre). Here is another interesting person: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/sa-scientist-wins-r10m-prize-208381#.UCY3X6HibVo

    I don't see how your religion could be anybody's business though. If somebody doesn't like you being christian, then tough for them, it's not their business. Your religion is your own. Whether anybody thinks you're being a bad christian for being a physicist is something you should learn to ignore. Everybody will have their own silly opinions on everything. You should ignore most of them.
  5. May 20, 2016 #4
    It seems that you are concerned about your image (in the eyes of others) as a Cristian rather than about your inner beliefs coming in some contradiction with physical world. In this case, it depends more on what kind of community you live and what is their take on this.
  6. May 20, 2016 #5
  7. May 20, 2016 #6
    I am a Christian too and I do not understand what is the problem?
  8. May 20, 2016 #7
    If you're going to have faith, you should be confident enough in your belief that you are not afraid of scrutiny. Is this not how science works also, what good is a theory if you are afraid to tell it for fear of criticism?
  9. May 20, 2016 #8


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    Science Advisor
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    Sometimes the root of a question like this lies in unwritten implications.

    Being a "Christian" can mean a lot of different things. To most it simply means the belief in a particular god (Christ) and the pledge to follow certain doctrines. To some however it can mean that one must accept some very specific, literal interpretations of the Christian scripture that are at odds with a scientific understanding of the universe - examples such as evolution vs. creation or the Earth being either 4.5 billion years old vs. six thousand. And for those in the latter group, there can be some terrible consequences to a public denial. They can be ostracized from family and friends, cut off from a base of financial support, or threatened with eternal damnation that they honestly believe in by people they otherwise trust and respect. So embarking on a venture that by its nature challenges doctrine can be difficult to reconcile under some circumstances.

    Ultimately I tend to lean towards the Richard Dawkins' line of thought. It's difficult to reconcile scientific pursuits with religious dogma because the two are so diametrically opposed, but obviously people do and in some cases quite successfully so.
  10. May 20, 2016 #9
    I thank you all for your opinions. I will take a look at all links attached, and again, thank you.
  11. May 20, 2016 #10
    On the level of serious philosophy, Christianity does not contradict to any scientific knowledge. Richard Dawkins argues only with very crude versions of Christianity. Sometimes he argues with his own statements which he imputes to Christians.
  12. May 20, 2016 #11
    Please don't get into a discussion of science versus religion. This is forbidden here and such threads are locked very frequently. The OP has a serious problem and I really don't want this thread to be locked because of people defending or attacking religion. It would do much harm to the OP.
  13. May 20, 2016 #12


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    Staff: Mentor

    Or denigrating specific religious groups, or a discussion of whether a certain group is "genuine <insert religion here>".
  14. May 20, 2016 #13


    Staff: Mentor

    After discussion amongst the mentors we are going to close this thread now. The comments so far have been helpful and fairly complete, and we prefer to end on a positive note rather than after a bunch of infractions or bans.
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