***Article by Ben Emmett***
“And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
Historically, society tends to believe that science and Christian religion cannot get along because of such topics as the theory of evolution and the big bang theory. One implication from this belief is that higher education detracts from Christian beliefs. However, a new study from the University of Nebraska refutes this belief by correlating higher education to higher levels of religious belief in a random sampling of adults. Here are some of their findings:
- Education had a strong and positive effect on religious participation. With each additional year of education, the odds of attending religious services increased 15%.
- Increases in education were associated with reading the Bible. With each additional year of education, the odds of reading the Bible at least occasionally increased by 9%.
- Education was related to respondents’ switching of religious affiliations. The odds of switching to a mainline Protestant denomination increased by 13% for each year of education.
- The more educated respondents were, the more likely they were to question the role of religion in secular society. Yet, they were against curbing the voices of religious leaders on societal issues and supported those leaders’ rights to influence people’s votes.
This should come as no surprise to those of the LDS-Christian faith who have been taught by the Lord to seek out the “best books words of wisdom.”
We also learn from Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, that “all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44). So we can see that by learning more in any good subject, we are in fact learning about God.
Sometimes, as in the case of the theory of evolution, scientific findings may not match up immediately with our religious beliefs. This is where the trouble starts between education and religion. But it doesn’t have to raise contention.
I remember my 5th grade teacher becoming very emotional when she declared that we would be skipping the next chapter in our science books because it covered the theory of evolution which contradicted her religious beliefs. I admire her religious convictions, but turning a blind-eye in the name of religion will only cripple one’s faith in the end.
Remember that all things denote there is a god. The caveat is that when we don’t see the whole picture we may not understand just how this is so.
As an example, take someone who has never baked anything in their life. They may not see what a few cups of flour and a couple eggs have to do with a cake. They look nothing alike. Eggs are hard and cakes are soft. Four is dry and flavorless and cake is soft and sweet. What they don’t understand is that it takes all the ingredients mixed together and baked just right to understand the proper relationship. Throwing out good education because we don’t see how parts of it match up to our faith is just like throwing out eggs and saying that they will never become a cake. The scriptures teach and the recent study at the University of Nebraska confirms that seeking further education will not diminish our faith, but strengthen and increase it.
“There are few things more fulfilling and fun than learning something new. Great happiness, satisfaction, and financial rewards come from this. An education is not limited to formal study. Lifelong learning can increase our ability to appreciate and relish the workings and beauty of the world around us. “
- Dallin H. Oaks
Personal Notes: I know that God, our heavenly Father, is the creator of all things and that all things testify of their divine creator. As I progressed through my college education, I have enjoyed gleaning the testaments of Christ and his love for us in all subjects of learning. One day, as our learning of the gospel of Jesus Christ and our learning of the good things of the world progress, they will come together and we will understand the truth.