Ratio Christi holds lecture on science and faith


Hannah Murray

Speaker A.J. Roberts gives lecture on the views of faith and science.

Hannah Murray, Staff Writer

Hannah Murray
Speaker A.J. Roberts gives lecture on the views of faith and science.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— Tuesday, Jan. 29, Ratio Christi held their first event of the semester in Reid auditorium.

The event took the form of a lecture, given by a guest speaker, discussing science and faith.

The guest speaker, AJ Roberts, holds a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Tulsa, a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in Christian apologetics from Biola University. She is known for her contributions to infectious diseases, having received the Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health.

In the lecture, Roberts discussed four points of view on science and Christianity: conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration. She then made her case for the integration standpoint and allowed time for questions and objections at the end of her talk.

Overall, approximately 40 were in attendance, with much interaction from the audience. Roberts encouraged the audience to discuss questions with those around them, which stimulated discussion during her lecture.

Stephen VerHulst, a psychology and geology major, was one student who took part in the discussion.

I wanted to come see it because this is something I’ve been curious about,” said VerHulst. 

VerHulst says that he wished there had been more than one side presented during the event.

“It was advertised as a lecture, and it was, with questions at the end, not much different from class,” he said. “I would’ve preferred more of a debate setting, but that’s a personal preference. I feel like if you’re going to have stuff like this and if the club is going to try to challenge itself, they should have someone on an opposing side, not just agreeing with what they already believe.”

Andrew Hamm, who founded Ratio Christi last semester and currently serves at the president of the organization, says that the discussion during the event was what made it stand out.

“Our guest speaker did a really great job of including the audience in the material, forcing us to kind of wrestle with it on our own,” said Hamm. “She did a really great job of that and answering questions throughout her lecture, before the Q&A. She actually interacted with us throughout the whole thing.”

The event was one piece in the overall goal of Ratio Christi. Hamm says that the organization as a whole was founded to drive discussions about diverse topics and to help people answer difficult questions.

Ultimately, I want people to wrestle with difficult questions,” Hamm said. “This is a platform for that. So, what we do is we intentionally ask and discuss deep questions in different fields, such as philosophy, science, religion, history.”

The latin phrase “ratio Christi” translates to “the reason for Christ.” As such, the organization focuses on understanding the Christian worldview. While they do host weekly meetings geared more specifically towards this focus, the events they host are geared to engage the entire campus in these deep discussions.

Hamm says that through the event Tuesday night, he hopes some previously held views on Christianity can be broken down.

I think there’s a stigma on college campuses, in academia, about religion and about anything that has to do with faith,” said Hamm. “It’s automatically seen as unacademic and off-limits and biased, so I really hope events like these work at breaking down those perceptions.”

For its next event, Ratio Christi will hold a panel discussion on whether or not the Bible supports slavery. The event will be held on Feb. 26 in Gooding auditorium.