This morning on the website, A Deeper Story, I saw a post from a mom about story and science. She shared about her child’s inquisitive brain and his love for all things science. She shared these thoughts after listening to his questions.
I’ve never been much of a science buff myself, I only had the mild interest required to master the content for school-sized exams. My imagination soared in stories, words penned in ink, metaphors drenched in meanings. But I’ve always encouraged my son’s curiosities about storms and other weather, life under the sea, planets and stars and the pull of the moon. I’ve told him the world will need people skilled in math and knowledgeable about science for the next set of necessary innovations, especially to contribute to solutions and advances for his homeland of Burundi.
She then took the time to sit down with him and watch The Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. There, together, they found ways that story and science can come together and be deeply meaningful without being forced to choose creation or evolution. They both have a place.
I spend all my years in a conservative Christian school. From K-12 I learned some amazing things, but creation was the bottom line and there was no room for evolution. I missed out on a whole heck of a lot of information. And just like this other mom, I have never had the mind or the love for science. I preferred the literature classes and the writing. So honestly, I never even thought much about it.
But then- you get married. And, your spouse hasn’t had the same experience as you. AND, your spouse loves math and science over literature. So, you begin to talk about these things. AND THEN- you have kids. Your kids love to read, but they also love science. Math makes complete sense to them (for me- a foreign language that I never could learn.) They read and read and read. Ocean life, space, evolution, biology and more. Their minds soak it up and spit it out, teaching you things you never knew. A pretty awesome combination of genes-if I do say so myself.
But the questions unsettle you. They only lead to more questions. The science of it all amazes you and you realize how completely complex the universe is. The things you learn contradict the literal creation story, the only story you knew. So you wonder. They wonder.
What a beautiful idea, that story and science can come together. For those with minds that science and math make sense, it’s a great big world out there, just waiting to be explored. Science is a gift. Science should not be feared. But often, faith and science don’t seem to go hand in hand. We won’t let it. In that process so many minds are then forced to release that faith that has no room for science. When you are parenting those minds, you don’t want to deny the science, so often it’s hard to discuss faith. And trust me, I couldn’t even argue science and math with my kids. They are beyond what I ever knew.
I have made a discovery.
The best way to discuss these faith matters with my kids, is often through the lens of science. While at times it is still a fearful place for me, I cannot deny that this is how they understand the world.
So, we are driving home from the airport last week. The same subject came up that has been coming up for a while. Mom, how do we know what religion is real? Which God is the right God? Everyone believes something different, but have you noticed how similar their stories are? How do we know what is really true?
I refuse to give pat answers. I share what I think. I say what I’ve been taught. Let me tell you, for these minds, a Bible verse doesn’t solve it all. But I let them process what they know as well. After a moment, this is the response that comes out of my 11 year olds mouth…
I think God’s story is like Pangea. You know, like a supercontinent. Pangea started as one and then broke up into many. That’s how I see God in all these religions. Different, but same.
Ok Christian friends, don’t panic. I know this is just the stuff we were “warned” about.
But for me it was fantastic. This was about wonder. My science minded child catching a glimpse of the faith story. He’s just striving to understand how God could possibly be in all things. He reaches for God in his understanding of Pangea. I sit in the front seat and marvel. We are learning so much from each other. This isn’t just about learning a theory or some theology. This is about how different minds created in such complex and amazing ways process life.
Science and story- it’s a beautiful thing.
****Side note- Not much blogging going on these days. While at times life feels packed full of writing material, it’s been hard to find the words. We’ve had some pretty fierce ups and downs in our house the last few months. It’s hard to know what to write here and what to keep in a journal. I’ve had a harder time connecting with you all via blog and so I’m careful about which parts of my heart to show and which to keep for those around me. But writing has always been a way for me to understand myself better and a place to find healing and release.