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Why chemistry matters to your faith

At Calvin, faith isn’t compartmentalized. You might pull out your Bible in a science class. And you might learn about science in chapel.

Case in point: chemistry professors recently led several of Calvin’s daily chapel services, and talked about the interconnection between faith and chemistry.

“My hope is that when you leave Calvin, your studies and your faith will matter to the world. You took chemistry and were a part of this faith community — and those weren’t totally separate things,” said chemistry professor Chad Tatko at one of these chapel services.

Crisis here in Michigan

Professor Tatko showed students how knowledge about chemistry can help Christians better understand—and respond to—problems in the world, like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

In 2013, the city of Flint, Michigan decided to change its water source to a new, but unfinished pipeline. In the meantime, its water would come from the Flint River. However, this decision would have major consequences—contaminated water for the entire city and the third worst outbreak of disease in the history of the U.S.

“In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services director—the guy who was overseeing the water system in Flint—he’s being tried for manslaughter,” Tatko solemnly stated. “87 people were infected, 12 people died.”

A higher calling to react

This news should grieve us and compel us to act differently. “It should,” says Tatko. “But chemists have a dodgy past with ethics. We’re the polluters, we’re the contaminators, and at the very least, we’re the enablers—our track record is bad.”

Here’s where the hope comes in: Christians, like you, working in the field of chemistry for the greater good. At Calvin, students are learning about science through the lens of faith, and learning to operate as caregivers to all of God’s creation.


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