Challenges for Christians in Medical and other Science-Related Careers

A recent conversation elsewhere inspires this question:
Christians working in science-related careers, how discreet do you need to be about your faith and views of origins (EC/TE/ID/YEC/Whatever) in your workplace and why?

Have you ever faced repercussions for having revealed your faith and views at work?
Thanks for any input you provide.

2 Likes

From time to time i have experienced some resistance, however, i try to not get over enthusiastic in the workplace with my Christian beliefs so as to cause people to avoid me who are not also of my faith.

I will admit though, i find it difficult to hold my breath when others come out with attacks on religion that are complete ****** and i have had a few arguments over the years under those kinds of circumstances.

To be honest, i am not so much worried about workplace issues, one of the sadest memories i think i have had was when i attended the funeral of my 16 year olrd second cousin (who my mum knew well but i didnt really know her at all). She died long with i think from memory it was 2 or 3 other girls in a car accident. Anyway, at the funeral i looked around me at a crowded room of young people and the looks of hopeless loss on almost all their faces was heartbreaking…truly heartbreaking. It still brings tears to my eyes when i think about it all these years later. I still think if only someone taught these children about God in school…give them the opportunity to decide based on a complete trail of evidence for and against…however, i would suggest that very few to none of these kids were given that choice and so they stood in a funeral facing the loss of a friend who would never return.

My point is, society are taught to blame God for all the bad but not turn to Him for hope and support. It is so very sad really.

I hope my comments above dont seem offtopic…i am simply trying to articulate why i think it is that you feel you needed to ask your question in the first place…people see God as someone they should avoid (and religious folks who talk about Him)

1 Like

Your comments aren’t what I expected, but questions are interpreted in different ways, and particularly, if one wonders about the motivation for the question in the first place. I didn’t give you any context; it’s fair to ask.

I was in a conversation with folks outside the U.S. regarding Christians with various views about creation — and particularly christians working in medical fields. One person mentioned a geneticist in the U.K. who had to be very discreet about his faith in his workplace. The person wondered if people in science-related careers in the U.S. had similar experiences, etc. I said I’d ask around. And so I did.

By the way, Adam, I don’t remember your line of work. If you feel comfortable mentioning it, would you, please?
Thanks.

  • As a former Internal Revenue Agent and a U.S. Federal employee, I’d imagine–because I never saw it first hand–that a rogue Christian who tried to turn a work-place group meeting into a prayer meeting with or without hymns or a Bible study session would have been reined in “rat quick”.
  • Purt’ near everybody knew who the Jehovah’s Witnesses were, but I never saw any fired for leaving tracts in the bathrooms or on everybody’s desks after work.
  • And as a Union Steward for over 3 years, I never had to defend a Christian for preaching or proselytizing at work.
  • Loss of income and/or a job kinda tames religious zeal.
3 Likes

Interesting question. No problem at all for me in medicine. Thanks

2 Likes

Tagging more people, hoping to get responses. Feel free to pass the tag.
@bness2 @beaglelady @glipsnort @jammycakes @klw @knor @mitchellmckain @pevaquark @rsewell @Vinnie
I’m sure I missed loads of people. Please feel free to tag them, too.
Thanks!

Is your friend in France, I am curious? They frown on even cross necklaces or abayas, I understand.

1 Like

No. UK.

France’s enforced public secularism is incredible.

1 Like

I’ve never had a problem and never felt any need to be discreet, not that faith or religion come up very often. Religious affinity groups of several flavors are supported by my employer, although I can’t say religious adherence is very common. And no one is likely to mistake me for a creationist of any anti-evolutionary stripe.

3 Likes

In engineering no one cares; just don’t waste their time.

Those I know all hold the same views as anyone in mainstream science, so the discretion happens not in the workplace but at church.

4 Likes

That seems to be the key, doesn’t it?

5 Likes

The attitude and consequences depends on whether you tell something as a personal opinion or as the representative of the organization. If you are in a responsible position in the organization (superior, teacher, nominated representative of the organization, etc.), there is a need of wisdom in how to tell your personal beliefs because these may be associated too strongly with your position in the organization.

As the representative of the organization, you need to follow the guidelines and principles of the organization. Most universities and other science-related organizations want to stay neutral regarding matters of faith, and may consciously advocate science-based approaches. If someone is claimed to spread ideas that are against the guidelines, that may lead to an internal investigation where the focus is on potential misconduct, not the personal beliefs of the person. The higher you are in the organization, the more strict are the demands related to behavior and spreading of personal beliefs.

Personally. I have not faced repercussions, except some amount of distancing from me. Even that has been very minor as the focus has been on what I do rather than what I believe. I have been cautious in telling my personal beliefs, probably even too much, so the lack of repercussions may be partly that I have not witnessed enough after being a student.

What I have witnessed is that those that have worked in USA for some time have been quite negative or even allergic to some type of ‘Christian’ beliefs. Other colleaques were more neutral. Universities with the word ‘Catholic’ were considered ok but, as one professor told me, if someone was studying in a ‘Christian’ university in USA, those credit points were not usually accepted here although transfer of credit points earned in respected universities were otherwise a standard procedure. The professor told that he warns any student planning to go to a university in USA about this limitation.

3 Likes

Since I originally worked for a church organisation, no problem. After changing to a secular organisation, I was the manager, so I had no problem and even held devotionals when the pastors were unavailable. I have been fortunate.

3 Likes

Thanks for responding, Rob. i forgot you are in healthcare.

1 Like

Was, thankfully I am now retired … :wink:

2 Likes

As a biology faculty at a secular Canadian university we were expected to teach evolution (just the science!) in the classroom and would have been reprimanded, or fired, for speaking of one’s faith (whatever faith that might be) publicly in that setting. There were a couple of strident anti-theists on staff who occasionally mocked religion around the lunchroom. Generally, it is impolite to talk about one’s faith in Canadian culture unless it’s volunteered. So it was mostly a “don’t ask, don’t tell” vibe. Would I have been hired if I had disclosed my faith during the interview process? I’m not sure, given those few but loud anti-theists. Lucky it isn’t an allowable question to ask an interviewee. After 30 years in the dept, I am aware of only 1 other professor who was a Christian (an Anglican) out of a typical faculty complement of 25 in the department. After I got tenure, gradually 3 of my closest colleagues came to know I was a Christian as a result of some private conversations. But they were not interested in pursuing conversations about faith, and never spoke of the topic publically, either.

9 Likes

Thanks for this. Sadly, the scientific theory of evolution (ToE) has become so conflated in people’s minds with an atheistic worldview, that I am curious: were you allowed to tell your students that you were teaching ToE, and NOT in any way challenging their theistic beliefs? Or, was even that considered out of bounds?

In my workplace, as a software engineer, ToE never once came up in an official setting (we never used so-called “evolutionary algorithms”). Talking about one’s faith in a work-related setting would have been frowned upon, and I didn’t try it. However, in personal interactions I found out that I worked with a decent number of Christians of various forms (although by no means a majority), and also people of other faith traditions.

5 Likes

We certainly see that reflected here by more than one participant!

Hi Andy,

I did open my introductory lecture to the first-year students by making a distinction between methodological naturalism versus philosophical naturalism (although I didn’t use those words :wink: ) . I said something like “science can’t study God and so can’t determine whether or not he has acted in the world, so many religious people do not see any conflict between evolution as a mechanism versus their belief in God”. and "what we will be studying in this class is the scientific explanation for how biodiversity arose…if you are interested in the question of why life is here, or if there is anything else behind the mechanisms, those questions can be explored in the realm of philosophy and religion…

9 Likes

This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.