After class recently, a student and I were talking as we walked to our cars.  I described something being law versus grace “like Old and New Testament.”  A few sentences later, she sheepishly asked, “Are you a Christian?”  I assuredly affirmed.  “Really?  That’s great!  I never would have guessed!  May I ask you some other things…if you don’t mind standing out here in the rain?”  We talked for a while.  I then asked her why she was so surprised that I am a Christian.  Had I given a bad witness?  Had I behaved shamefully? Frankly, I was embarrassed and humbled that my light had apparently not been shining.  She said, “It’s just that you’re so…math-y.”

It was my love of scholarship that makes me an unlikely candidate?  I told her that a mathematician is more likely to believe in God than a scientist.  Usually, studies show a more dramatic difference than this one, but it seems to be the trend.  She asked me, “Why do you think that is?”  I said, “I guess because scientists are constantly trying to bring the makings of the universe down to palatable bites.    In order to continue the drive to understand and discover, they have to make science finite enough for a human brain to understand it.  A mathematician, however, has to accept concepts like infinity.”  She said, “So, that’s where God comes in.”  I said, “Yes, for the same reason I gave for putting a parenthesis on infinity in interval notation, I must accept that mathematics is bigger than I have the capability to understand.  A mathematician knows that there’s really no such thing as random.  Being a mathematician led me to the natural conclusion that there is a deity bigger than I can truly understand who is complex enough and powerful enough to construct an intricate and functional world.  When one accepts this, one has no other logical choice but to serve that Creator.”

Now, the most interesting thing to me is that many students complain that math is too difficult to understand.  Even at the algebraic level, they protest that they OUGHT not be required to begin to unravel its complexities.  So, I am truly astounded sometimes when I hear some of the same students declare anti-religious rhetoric.  If math, the gear that puts a universe of science in motion, is indeed as complex and multifaceted as they describe, they are making an excellent case for intelligent design!