Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When Teachers Mix Religion & Science

This New York Times article on an Ohio science teacher makes me wonder about priorities. As a teacher, who also happens to be Christian, I have something in common with Mr. Freshwater. However, I also realize that I am hired not to share my faith, but to teach my students. I have to wonder why it is that so many think it is acceptable to push one's faith into one's job. Should faith be a constant part of your life as a Christian? Absolutely. But should we go to work each day trying to convince our coworkers, customers, bosses or students that they, too, should become Christians?

No, for a lot of reasons.

First, I think the best way to share my personal relationship with Christ is through my own personal relationships. Not just people I see each day, but those whom I know well and count as my friends. I hope that others might see a bit of Christ in me, too, but I know perfectly well how turned off I am about people with "in-your-face" views - on politics, religion, TV, sports, or anything at all. Why should others be any different if my beliefs are "in-their-face"? A caring, trusting relationship is the perfect place for discussions about faith.

Second, how does it look to the world when we are unwilling to follow laws, policies, and good old common courtesy? How does it look to have a teacher in the news for (once again) trying to undermine scientific beliefs with scripture from a public school science classroom - something that has been made quite clear is neither legal or acceptable. From the outside, this looks like a refusal to submit to authority and social norms. It looks not like someone exercising their freedom of religion, but like someone trying to undermine someone else's. From the outside, people wonder just what this person would think if HIS child were in a class where someone tried to push Islam on them - and why, then, he thinks it is ok.

To American Christians (and those worldwide) - let's go about this how Christ intended, instead of doing it our own way and ruining Christ's good name for those around us. "They'll know we are Christians by our love", not by how loud we proclaim it.

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