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Student group mixes science, faith to accent intellectualism in Christ
Most students raised with a public school education are taught to keep science and faith separate, but for students in Ratio Christi, the goal is to bring the two disciplines together.
Ratio Christi, meaning “the reason of Christ,” is a national group dedicated to establishing philosophical and scientific reasoning for believing in faith, and the Ohio University chapter works to facilitate that message, said Sarah Welch, co-president of the chapter and a sophomore studying music.
“What we exist to do is to establish an intellectual voice to Christ,” she said. “Christianity is intellectually robust.”
The group reads books throughout the year that present scientific and Christian perspectives, and everybody discusses what makes sense to them, Welch said.
Faith itself, she said, is intellectually stimulating.
“A common misconception is that faith shuts down intellectual thought,” Welch said. “But what faith is, is having a set of facts and determining a conclusion, which doesn’t change the way we do science.”
Science and faith go hand in hand, said Justin Robe, treasurer for the chapter and a junior studying math.
“Some people think that faith is blind faith with no real reason behind it,” Robe said. “But at the same time, they don’t recognize that science itself requires faith.”
Not everybody in Ratio Christi has to be Christian, and everyone is welcome to attend the meetings, Robe said.
“Our main purpose is to have progression among science and faith, so we welcome everyone who has any material or questions they want to present to us and discuss,” he said.
The Skeptic Society has partnered with the chapter this year and hopes to organize a debate between the two groups about whether there is scientific evidence for believing in a god, said Audrey Larcomb, president of the Skeptic Society and a senior studying philosophy and linguistics.
The Skeptic Society is a group that meets weekly to promote scientific and critical thinking while exploring the dangers of pseudoscience and talking about scientific stories, Larcomb said.
“Ratio Christi seems to promote the idea that there is scientific and logical evidence for believing in God,” Larcomb said. “As a claim which can be examined by rational and scientific reasoning, I think it’s important for Skeptic Society to join in the conversation.”
Differing perspectives can work together by promoting dialogue and encouraging intellectual honesty, Welch said.
Larcomb added that she doesn’t see faith and science as two opposing sides of a single issue.
“Science is a methodology for discovering things about the natural world, and faith is a set of beliefs that doesn’t necessarily come from evidence,” she said. “I think which one you look to depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.”
For Robe, however, faith completes an overall picture of science.
“As a math major, religious and philosophical thought help to complete the overall picture of my scientific belief,” he said. “I need them both.”