Scientists Are People

Cathy Lundeen

Last week in the news was coverage of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit attended by 47 nations where discussions took place about the need to secure loose nuclear material, recover stolen nuclear material, and maintain secure nuclear weapon arsenals.

All this talk about nuclear weapons got me thinking about an ELCA member’s request in 2008 for a copy of an article that appeared in the February 1, 1967, issue of the Lutheran Church in America’s (LCA) magazine, The Lutheran.Scientists Are People” was written by the Rev. Raymond Tiemeyer who at the time was pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, an LCA congregation in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Bethlehem’s membership included many scientists who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory — famous for its contributions to the development of the atomic bomb, but since that time had moved into other areas of scientific research.

Pastor Tiemeyer wondered if Bethlehem members who were scientists would believe anything they couldn’t prove. His article attempts to answer questions he had about the effects of scientists’ work on their faith, what questions would future scientific discoveries raise for the faith of all, and did scientists believe they were bringing in the kingdom of heaven?

Sometimes we wonder if science and religion complement or contradict each other or even compete against each other. It’s interesting to read from one pastor’s unique perspective of ministering to a congregation filled with scientists, his attempts to answer questions about scientists and how they see their work affecting their faith.

If you wish to read “Scientists Are People”, click on the link in the second paragraph for a PDF of the article as it appeared in The Lutheran. One caveat: the author consistently uses the male pronoun to refer to the scientists – this was common for 1967.