Secular culture and the church often tell the same story of conflict between science and Christian faith. Countless young people today receive the explicit or implicit message that they must choose between God and science. But this is a false choice, and it’s a damaging one.
The conflict narrative damages the church, because today’s Christian young people experience severe cognitive dissonance. They hear one thing on their favorite nature program, and something completely opposite at church. At BioLogos, we believe God’s word and God’s world can’t conflict. According to Barna’s 2018 Gen Z report, however, only 28% of all teens believe science and the Bible are complementary. Nearly half (49%) of churchgoing teens perceive that “the church seems to reject much of what science tells us about the world.”
Why do so many Christian leaders tell our kids misleading or factually incorrect things about the world God has made? Why have scientists been vilified and stereotyped as atheists? And what kind of witness is this to the watching world? I don’t doubt these folks mean well, but the effects are devastating. We have witnessed a dramatic increase in the “nones” in recent years. Another Barna study found that about 1 in 4 young people who leave the church feel “Christianity is anti-science.” More than a third felt they couldn’t ask their most pressing questions in church.
The warfare myth also impoverishes the scientific community, because it contributes to severe underrepresentation of Christians in the sciences. According to a 2009 Pew study, 75% of Americans identified as Christian, compared to only 25% of scientists. This cultural mismatch leads to an erosion of the public understanding and trust of science and scientists. As we have seen in the current coronavirus pandemic, that can have deadly consequences.
As Christians, we should care about this underrepresentation also. We can’t be salt and light if we haven’t earned a seat at the table. It’s hard to influence research priorities and ethical decision making, or disrupt the anti-science, anti-intellectual stereotypes that the secular world has about us, if we aren’t in the room. While the reasons for underrepresentation of Christians in science are complex, at least part of the problem is that too many of us misunderstand and undervalue science.
But there’s hope! INTEGRATE can help you prepare your kids to be the leading scientists of tomorrow. We want Christian students to lean into hard questions with humility and curiosity. We want them to value both science and theology as important and complementary ways of knowing. And we want them to see science as a worthy Christian vocation. Add to that a desire for them to have informed, biblically-based perspectives on particular topics, such as ethics of genome editing, how creation and evolution can fit together, and why creation care matters, and you have a pretty good list of our overall objectives.
What makes INTEGRATE unique?
In the early years of BioLogos, we conducted focus groups with Christian school science teachers and homeschool parents. It became clear that they didn’t need a complete new science curriculum. What they wanted were vetted, high-quality resources to supplement their existing curricula, so that they could teach from a distinctly Christian perspective. Faith-learning integration is surprisingly hard to do well, and teachers are busy. It takes time to evaluate a potential resource and figure out how to connect it to your lesson in a meaningful way.
When we first envisioned INTEGRATE, we thought we’d simply package our favorite BioLogos articles and videos by topic and add some discussion questions. But soon we realized that many articles were too advanced for high schoolers, and students learn best through active learning. Furthermore, we realized that other educators and ministry partners had also produced lots of great resources that we wanted to highlight. So we compiled the best, created lots of brand-new content, and wrote complete student-centered lesson plans. Each unit is packed with engaging, hands-on activities that may be adapted for one student or a large class, active reflection on Scripture and Christian virtues, interviews with leading scientists and other Christian role models, and yes—dozens of links to high-quality resources from BioLogos and many other places around the web.
Each of the 15 units contains a series of 6-9 modules (110 modules in the complete collection!). The modules can be used in any order, but they are designed in sequence to develop understanding of particular concepts and ideas. Each unit has one or more of these 5 module types:
- Meet: A short video introduction to a Christian role model in an academic field that relates to the unit’s topic. Discussion questions are provided to help students personally connect with the content of the video and get them thinking about some of the essential questions the unit will explore.
- Grow: A devotional on a Christian virtue that includes guided Scripture reading and reflection questions. While the Grow module typically appears near the beginning of the unit, it could really be used at any point.
- Engage: An activity that invites students to explore a topic related to the intersection of science and faith and respond in a meaningful way.
- Experience: A hands-on activity that interacts with specific (often scientific) content that is important for students to understand and address from a Christian perspective.
- Integrate: A final, reflection-based activity that invites the student to assess and apply what they have learned in the unit as a whole.
As another bonus for busy teachers, each module includes clearly defined learning outcomes, estimated teaching time, and alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. Most of the handouts are Google Docs that instructors can share with students and adapt with maximum convenience. The easy, open-and-go format makes INTEGRATE the perfect supplement to your existing science or Bible curriculum. It also works well as a stand-alone resource.
It Takes a Village
One of the greatest features of INTEGRATE, in my opinion, is that it really is the product of a huge community. I already mentioned that we leveraged the work of many others in the content. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also draw attention to our curriculum development team. They’ve been an absolute dream to work with. Rarely have I encountered a group with such commitment to Christ, drive for excellence, complementary experience, and a collaborative spirit. True and long-lasting friendships have been forged these past four years.
Thirty expert reviewers offered suggestions and corrections that we incorporated in the final revision. Bible scholars, theologians, and pastors helped us make the content orthodox, broadly ecumenical, and pastorally sensitive to those with different viewpoints. Scientists ensured the scientific content is accurate, objective, and representative of the scientific consensus. Education researchers checked to make sure the activities are pedagogically effective.
Over two dozen educators participated in our pilot program over two academic years, and we have incorporated their feedback and the feedback of their students to make the final product as effective and user-friendly as possible.
Come and Join Us!
After all the listening, dreaming, planning, creating, and perfecting, we are thrilled to finally make INTEGRATE available. Check it out and see if you agree with these educators, Bible scholars, scientists, and other thought leaders that INTEGRATE is just what Christian parents and teachers have been waiting for.
Last but not least, please share biologos.org/integrate with your friends and social media followers today!
Dear BioLogos reader ...
In the escalating vitriol in our culture, “science” and “faith” have found each other on opposite sides of a polarized divide. Truth and community are under attack.
If there is one thing the pandemic has shown us, it is what science can and cannot do. Scientists and doctors have done amazing things during the pandemic—identified the virus, treated the disease, and developed safe vaccines that work.
But in these polarized times, science can’t reduce anger, forgive sins, build mutual respect, or fill us with compassion for others.
Science alone can’t give us hope. Faith can. Join BioLogos today in reaching a world desperate for hope. Your tax-deductible donation will be the difference between someone encountering misinformation, or a thoughtful, truthful, and hopeful Christian perspective that shows faith and science working hand in hand.
Join the conversation on the BioLogos forum
At BioLogos, “gracious dialogue” means demonstrating the grace of Christ as we dialogue together about the tough issues of science and faith.