Science in Christian Perspective





From: JASA 16 (March 1964): 20-26.

Science is, above all else, an empirical method, the social sciences use that method. The Christian who is a social scientist must see both his science and his religion in proper perspective. Resources in the Christian's faith ideally aid much of his scientific work, but scientific biases may result from incomplete assimilation of them.

The Christian social scientist is confronted by such problems as the imperfect agreement of Christian life with Christian ideals, philosophical-theoretical problems related to social determinism, and the evolution of man. Solutions to these and improved scientific understanding of social processes and structures can help Christians serve God and man more effectively. Empirical social science and Christian faith thus can be partners.

Both empirical social science and Christian faith have rapidly expanding horizons in a world that, from most perspectives of human understanding, is steadily shrinking. We have entered an era of history in which the social sciences are growing at a nearly explosive rate, and their growth is contributing to ever closer relationships between persons and groups in all parts of the world. Concurrently, thoughtful Christians are becoming increasingly aware of the relevance of personal faith to every detail of life, including scientific endeavor, and are increasingly convinced of the essential oneness of all men that dwell upon the face of the earth. Scientific and Christian horizons are expanding while the surrounding world seems to be shrinking.

Mankind has a host of problems. All of them are at least in some respect social, and many are primarily social. Relationships between man and the so-called natural environment are but one focus of attention of the biological and physical sciences; the social sciences are concerned more directly with man's activities and interrelationships. Their domain is the problems of communication, social control, leadership, production, distribution, social relations, social change, human organization, and many other types of interpersonal and intergroup relationships. These subjects are concerned with men's intimate personal experience, so most people have developed or accepted many preconceptions and prejudices about them. When research findings and theoretical implications of the sciences of anthropology, economics, history, political science, social psychology, and sociology or their numerous sub-disciplines and closely-related fields indicate that traditional answers to men's problems are

*Revision of a paper presented at the 18th annual convention of the ASA held at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, Calif., Aug. 19-23, 1963. Major portions of this paper were presented at the 1961 meeting of the Minnesota Conference on Christianity in Higher Education under the title, "Christian Faith and Empirical Method In the Social Sciences." Participants in both programs, colleagues, and friends have contributed to further development of the author's thoughts.

** Dr. Moberg Is Professor of Sociology and Chairman of the Dept. of Social Sciences, Bethel College, St. Paul, Minn.

insufficient to meet the complex demands accompanying expanding horizons in a shrinking world, opposition to the social sciences readily develops.

To give a complete survey of all the social sciences, their basic tools and techniques, the challenges confronting them, and their achievements and limitations is obviously impossible here. Little more will be attempted than to sketch briefly the empirical nature of social science, some reciprocal relationships between Christian faith and social science, and ensuing problems and benefits linked with those relationships. In this process implicit answers to such questions as the following will be given: Are the social sciences worthy of the name, science? Can a Christian be a true scientist? (Must he ever be merely a pseudoscientist? Do his religious biases prevent him from doing validly scientific work?) What additional problems confront the Christian social scientist?

The terms "Christian" and "Christian faith" as used here go beyond mere intellectual acceptance of the historic doctrines of Christianity; they incorporate both personal trust in its tenets and a complete commitment of life to God through Jesus Christ. Much of what is stated hence does not necessarily apply to every "Christian" nor to -all of Christendom.


There are, as you well know, numerous definitions of science. One category of definitions refers to the subject matter studied and the body of conclusions reached by scientists. These assume that subjects which are "natural" are the proper domain of science, while those which are "spiritual," "mental," or "subjective," including the social sciences which deal with man, cannot be science but must fall instead into the category of the humanities. Although man in certain respects is indeed different from the organic and inorganic subject matter of the biologist, physicist, chemist, archaeologist, geologist, and astronomer, this distinction is not wholly justifiable.

How can one draw a dividing line between that which is and is not "natural" in any discipline? If human behavior is not natural, is it artificial? or unnatural? or synthetic? or supernatural? (Even in daily speech we refer to people's behavior as "natural" for those in certain circumstances, and our Scriptures refer in several passages to man's "nature.") Although he is uniquely distinct from the rest of creation, man is a part of nature.

As long as the term "natural science" is not extrapolated into a denial of the supernatural and a complete rejection of man's autonomy as a creature of God who has been given a "free will," it can be applied as appropriately to social science as to the physical and biological sciences, for the subject matter of all the sciences is "natural" (cf. 5, Chap. 3). All seek principles and laws that describe "natural" characteristics which are empirically observable rather than those which are imaginary, unique, nonrepetitive, or super natural. The social sciences are less highly developed along empirical lines than physics and chemistry, but it is evident from their findings that much of man's behavior is repetitive, uniform, and, within limits built into the conclusions, predictable. Hence man's social life is a suitable subject for scientific investigation.

Another category of definitions refers to science in terms of fields of knowledge carved out by scientists. As an outgrowth of the medieval heritage, these also emphasize the physical and biological sciences and leave the social sciences to the limbo of philosophical disciplines which are presumed to be speculative, conjectural, and metaphysical, hence non-scientific. A major difficulty of this approach lies in its use of tradition to determine which new areas of knowledge are to be labeled as scientific or not. What is shared by the astronomer studying the atmosphere of a distant planet, the paleobotanist analyzing fossilized plant life in a stratum of coal, and the biochemist investigating the chemotaxis of a cell which justifies calling all of them scientists? Are there not at least as great differences between the analysis of radioactive decay in U238 and the study of genetic mutations among Drosoph11a fruitflies as there are between analysis of human systems of social organization, ecological study of the distribution of a particular tribe of people, and sociometric investigation of attraction-repulsion patterns in a group of school children? Different instruments are used by the various scientific disciplines in their observation and analysis, but they are not defined as science or not-science solely on the basis of the specific microscopes or telescopes, micrometers or odometers, balance scales or sociometric scales, odontographs or bar graphs which are used in their research.

In essence these first two types of definitions of "science" rest ultimately upon a third. Science is essentially a method-a method which is empirical. Only on the basis of whether that method is used can a body of knowledge or a scholarly discipline be classified as a science.

Science as a method has been described in various ways. Some emphasize its three, four, or five basic steps of scientific research procedure, while others use definitions that are less operational. Basically, however, science rests upon observation. Scientific observatiGn can be made only through man's senses, which may be aided and extended by scientific implements to increase their acuity and precision. With a body of verifiable knowledge as its goal, science is concerned primarily with that which is repetitive in the universe and aims at generalization (laws, theories, principles) which apply to a large number of phenomena rather than to unique events. It is not simply a body of systematized knowledge, nor is it merely a branch of knowledge concerned with classification of facts and ideas, for all scholarly disciplines do this.

The application of empirical methods of investigation to the study of man is the essence of social science.

 Although its tools and techniques differ from most of those used in the biological and physical sciences, the same basic scientific method is applied.

Science is largely limited to observations based upon use of the known and recognized senses. Yet these senses are influenced by internal nonsensory experiences. Conclusions based upon various forms of extrasensory personal encounters and perceptions may become a part of science as the relevant experiences are shared with others through communication, for at least the communications are empirically observable. Furthermore, man is both the object and the subject of social science research; the scientist studying social structures and processes is himself engaged in them. Hence there is a place in the sciences of man for consideration of internal experiences interpreted through introspection, intuitive insight, and sympathetic or empathetic understanding, as well as for that which can be externally, independently, immediately, and directly observed by two or more persons (12). Of course, conclusions based upon these subjective sources must be carefully validated as "spirit bears witness with spirit"; they must be only tentative until more solid evidence brings them into the sphere of scientific truth.

Logical and rational elements are also as significant in the social sciences as in the others. It is particularly difficult to draw a sharp distinction between social science, social philosophy (evaluative interpretation of social phenomena), and social engineering (application of social science to practical problems), for empirical observations must be interpreted by logical reasoning, value judgments on many topics are unavoidable because of the scientist's peculiar involvement with the total human race, and an implicit practical goal stands behind all of science. This definition of science as a method is not narrowly positivistic, although it undoubtedly is modified by neopositivism," for it acknowledges the scientific role of interpretative understanding (Verstehen). Certain aspects of positivism are often distorted or misrepresented by its critics. For instance, sociological positivism is not necessarily logical positivism. Logical positivists hold that only that which is empirically observable is true or real; numerous sociological positivists would disagree with that proposition, saying that only that which is empirically observed can be a part of scientific knowledge, but acknowledging that there also are other kinds of knowledge which are a product of deductive reasoning, intuition, revelation, sympathetic insight, and the like. A sociological positivist is in essence one who believes that the viewpoint and methodology of the natural sciences may be applied to the study of man's social relations and society. As a movement to discredit idle speculation, mystical contemplation, illogical reasoning, armchair theorizing, and vague generalizations in social science, positivism has made a significant contribution. If, however, it be assumed that positivism requires a belief that only that which can be operationally defined, objectively measured, inductively analyzed, and empirically observed is real, true, ontological, or factual, then positivistic science must be rejected by the Christian as being inconsistent with both the revelation upon which his faith is based and with his own subjective transcendental experiences with God.

Recognizing science to be primarily a method resolves many so-called conflicts between science and religion. It frees one of some of the dangers of scientism which would, in effect, deify science by making it a "sacred cow." As a method, science is a tool or instrument which can be used by men toward the achievement of their goals. It is not a pseudo-religion. It is instrumental, not an end in itself.

It is simple to assume from this definition of science that there are two major realms of truth, the scientific and the non-scientific; that which cannot be relegated justifiably to the domain of science must be subsumed under the heading of philosophy, religion, commonsense knowledge, or other metaphysical or speculative category. In practice, however, science and religion are not so clearly distinguishable. The Christian must see both in proper perspective. The two overlap in the everyday life of the scientist as well as of the nonscientist; Christian faith demands that everything be kept in subjection to the lordship of Jesus Christ.


Does such subjection of scientific activity to Christ mean that one's scientific work must be so biased that it is non-reliable and non-scientific? Not necessarily, for the scientific method makes demands upon its practitioners which, when rightly understood, are strengthened, not weakened, by Christian commitment. Science involves a search for truth, whether the truth be pleasant or painful. It demands of the scientist rigorous honesty, love of truth, self-discipline, and a humility which recognizes the ever-imperfect nature of scientific knowledge. Far from being inconsistent with Christianity, these virtues are at the core of Christian morality. The Christian in science therefore ought to be a better scientist than he himself would be if he did not share the motivating force of Christian ethics to buttress his scientific morality. A major difference between the Christian and the non-Christian in science, and hence a major source of "bias" in interpretations of observed phenomena, lies in the values which undergird the activities of the Christian.

POSTULATES OF SCIENCE. Science rests upon a series of presuppositions which are unproved, if not unprovable (2; 3, p. 20; 5, pp. 8-9; 7, pp. 11, 332-333). These assumptions include the assertions that the universe exists, that it is orderly, that knowledge about it is desirable, that man is capable of knowing it objectively, that he can know it adequately through his senses which provide a channel for the acquisition of knowledge about it, that language symbols (including logical and mathematical notations and other symbols as well as words) adequately represent the responses of men's senses and are sufficiently communicable to make possible the sharing of their understanding of the universe, that phenomena in the universe are causally or at least sequentially related in time and in space, and, in the social sciences, that all of mankind share a, common "human nature" which eventually can be described by scientific laws and principles.

To the postulates which undergird all science the Christian adds certain assumptions which grow out of his experiential faith and especially out of what he believes to be God's revelation, the Bible (11, pp. 14). These Christian postulates include the belief that God is; that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the great First Cause, and the Father of all mankind; that man has an eternal soul and an eternal destiny; that man is endowed by his Creator with a free will, is morally responsible to Him, and may choose to accept or reject God's will for his life as he understands it; that each man is a steward under God personally accountable for his use of the time and possessions entrusted to him and for those aspects of the welfare of his fellowmen over which he has some direct or indirect control ("the brotherhood of man"); that man fails to achieve God's ideal of perfection (he sins) and hence needs to be redeemed in order to have "eternal life"; that God made provision for that redemption through Jesus Christ, and that God has revealed Himself and His will to man through the natural universe, the Bible, the person of Jesus Christ, and the still small "voice" of the Holy Spirit. (Interpretations of these as well as of additional presuppositions of Christians vary somewhat from one theological circle to another.)

IMPLICATIONS OF CHRISTIAN VALUES. The interaction of a Christian's faith with the postulates of science should make him a more dependable scholar than he himself would be as a non-Christian with only the mores of science and society to guid* him and with no external sanctions beyond those of his immediate discipline and culture. The Christian believes he is responsible to an Eternal God. Idealy, he lives his life in the present with reference to a transcendent Judge who will not merely reflect a specific cultural situation but will be far beyond and above it. If a man believes himself to be merely a product of chance, a result of biological and cultural forces which happened to result in big emergence, will he see any ultimate purpose and responsibility other than to glorify his social group or magnify himself? In contrast, if he truly operates upon Christian perspectives believing himself to be created by and eternally responsible to God, should he not sense a higher destiny of pleasing God, supporting the welfare of others, and advancing God's Kingdom in all that he does, including his scientific work? Should he not be less apt to become involved in bestial, inhumane activities like some that emerged from the Nazi "scientists?" Is not the man who recognizes a higher morality than that which immediately advances personal, self-seeking ends usually more to be trusted in scientific as well as in other endeavors than the one who is solely self-centered? Recognizing man to be more than a product of chance evolution, relating oneself through personal faith to the Creator of the universe, and transcending limitations of time and place to whatever degree this is possible by seeing oneself in relation to eternity and to the whole universe introduces sanctions for ethical values which the non-believing scientist is likely to lack or to possess only in attenuated degree.

The Christian is less likely than the worldly-oriented man to be certain that mere intellectual knowledge and the spread of education and science will lead to utopian conditions among mankind. He knows that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23, RSV). His optimism for the future hence rests in God's purposes and God's redeeming grace rather than in man's own qualities and achievements.

The Christian social scientist ideally realizes that he, like all other men, is lured by "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (I John 2-16, RSV) and may succumb to the temptation in his science, as well as in his religion, to find support for vested interests and fond ideas through biased observation, erroneous interpretation, and fallacious hermeneutics. He knows that he is a sinner, albeit a sinner redeemed by God's grace. He therefore seeks God's help in attempting to avoid the barriers of sin to truth, and he maintains a spirit of humility and of openness to other evidences rather than one of ill-founded pride or self -righteousness.

If he fully implements his Christian values, his attitudes toward himself, science, his fellowmen, and the universe and his scientific activities will be different at points from those of non-Christian colleagues. In his selection of research topics or projects he will be motivated by a desire to "do all to the glory of God." His work will not be determined by a search for fame or status-seeking nor even by desires to secure the greatest research grants. He will be motivated by Christian aspects of the "Puritan ethic" believed by Robert K. Merton (6, pp. 574-606) and others to have been linked with the progress of western science, for he will do his daily tasks in a consciousness that they must be kept in proper relationship to eternal verities. He will not see his human subjects as mere dehumanized objects of study but will be their "keeper," protecting them from any harm that might otherwise result from the research process.

The Christian in the social sciences has an organizing principle around which all of his life can be oriented. At his best he realizes that to make his home, church, science, pleasures, scholarship, research, or any other activity or institution an end in itself is a form of idolatry, putting other gods before the one and only true God.

The resulting self-concept of the truly Christian scientist hence determines his daily actions. He has great freedom in his choices, but these choices are made with a conscious recognition of overarching goals that go beyond the temporal values of this life; they grow out of a conscious search for the guidance of the Holy Spirit who dwells within to guide him into all truth.

In summary, the Christian social scientist uses the same basic research tools and techniques as the non-Christian, but his religious commitment adds checks and balances upon his work and influences his application of scientific procedures, especially interpretative conclusions and suggested inferences for action emerging from his research.

VICES OF CHRISTIAN BIAS. Personal faith can produce bias in scientific research. It can tempt the scientist to observe whatever his intuition or preconceptions tell him "ought" to be true or to promote the goals of his denominational subculture and turn to theologians for "scientific" truth. It is especially difficult to control these religious biases when one's fellow scientists, faculty colleagues, students, college administration, and supporting constituency are all sympathetic to the same theological and metaphysical viewpoints and, in some cases, demand unquestioning adherence to traditional dogma in defiance of contrary empirical evidence. Hence those who are in church-related institutions must face this problem all the more frankly and openly, seeking constantly to see "the other side" and at times playing the role of the devil's advocate. They must control the evils of bias by conscientious awareness of this tendency, by cautious efforts to see all sides of the subjects they study, by mastery of the tools and techniques of observation and analysis which are the essence of scientific methodology, and by consistent efforts to apply the teaching, "Judge not lest ye be judged," whenever judgement should be left in the hands of God alone.

Writing reports of research for presentation at scientific meetings and in professional journals often produces a rigor otherwise not present. Upon writing for skeptical colleagues of diverse backgrounds, one usually finds minor and sometimes major flaws, imprecise details, and poorly established conclusions which have been glossed over in the initial analysis. Preparedness to interpret possible findings, which at first glance might appear contrary to the tenets of one's faith, in a manner compatible with it also helps remove blinders that might hinder objective observation because of subconscious fears of departing from the faith. For example, in a major study relating personal adjustment in old age to religious faith and activities (9) 1 was prepared to argue on religious grounds in favor of whatever finding might emerge. If poor adjustment were connected with religiosity, this could be due to otherworldliness in Christians' orientations for the future; if good adjustment were linked with religiosity (as in fact proved to be the case), this could result from the "abundant life" promised by Christ to His disciples.

While I use this illustration commendably, let me also add that it can be taken as an illustration of what may be an all-too-common fallacy among evangelical Christians. We are tempted to go to the Bible to discover "social science principles," which we then test as scientific hypotheses. In the selection of these principles we may misinterpret the Bible, and in our observation of data to "test" these hypotheses, we may be so blinded by preconceptions that we fail to observe evidence which could lead to rejection of the hypotheses. We also may "glean from the Bible" principles which are really from the social sciences through the use of devious interpretative approaches that read into the Bible that which is not really in it. To help us avoid such errors, we need the correctives of scientific methodology and sound theology, especially hermeneutics. We also need complete and true Christian commitment.

Too many Christians suffer from the malady of "fractional conversion." They have committed their eternal destiny to Jesus Christ but have failed to see the full implications of Christian faith for their daily round of activities (7, pp. 383-393). The more legalistic their religion is, the less prone they are to see its implications for acts not directly mentioned in their lists of right and wrong. As "babes in Christ," the scientists among them may fail to discern the all-encompassing role of Christian faith ' to which reference already has been made, and lapse into pseudo-scientific and nonChristian fallacies of the types alluded to above.

Some Christians in science act in an anti-Christian as well as a non-scientific manner even when they osten sibly are defending Christian faith, organizations, and movements. The narrower their scientific education and the more provincial their religious experience, the more prone they are to fall prey to such hazards.

The Christian who has attained the wisdom of intel lectual and spiritual maturity senses an eternal personal responsibility to God and to all of mankind, not just to his own nation or his own religious group. His ultimate commitment helps him qualify his generalizations and provides normative standards that sit in judgment over the ethics of his methods and conclusions. To the extent to which he permits Christian virtues to reign in his life, his formulations of reality and of truth are superior to those he would develop were he to ignore or renounce those resources.


I acknowledge the most weighty problem implicit in the preceding discussion: the above is an idealized picture of the Christian scientist. In practice, Christians seldom live fully in accord with the ideal. Not only is their knowledge of Scriptural values imperfect, but the biases of selfishness and other sins often intrude to make them less than Christ-like in scientific and other conduct. The earthly rather than the heavenly orientation of their dual citizenship tends to take precedence and they become like ordinary men of the world. Dual commitments also may prevent them from being "men of science" in the fullest sense of that term, if being such necessitates taking a completely detached view and letting only empirical evidence reign in every sphere of life.

SOCIAL DETERMINSM is a philosophic viewpoint commonly held by social scientists. To oversimplify, it is the doctrine that men as well as institutions are what their surrounding circumstances have made them to be. To a certain extent it is a postulate of all the sciences that, at least to some degree, an event is explicable in terms of its antecedents. It is assumed that, given complete knowledge of antecedent conditions, one could have complete knowledge of what will follow, including how a person or group will and indeed must act. (Contemporary social science determinists typically go beyond the boundaries of social determinism per se, with its stress upon the social and cultural environment; they include a recognition of the biological inheritance. They hold that, given complete information about the biological heredity and environmental surroundings of a person from the time of his conception, scientists ultimately will know infallibly what that person will do and become.)

The goal of social science research may be viewed as that of complete understanding of social structures and processes which enables perfect predictions of social acts and events. The Christian must have certain reservations about this, for if his postulates are valid, man is an autonomous being with a "free will" and is therefore morally responsible for his deeds. God has given him the opportunity to make choices between alternatives; if complete determinism prevailed in the universe, there could be no such choices. While one certainly is not free to choose to ride a ricksha to work if none is accessible in his culture nor to do other things impossible because of limitations in either his social milieu or personal abilities, numerous choices are before him every day of his life. Many of these can be predicted or are potentially predictable, but the Christian must always leave room for his omnipotent God to break through or transcend the natural order, working in a miraculous manner if He sees fit to circumvent natural circumstances and to cause the unexpected to occur. (It is my personal belief that God usually works through rather than outside of the natural events and processes of man's social life. To whatever extent scientific laws are a discovery of "natural law" in the universe, they reflect principles and relationships established by God. To understand certain aspects of how God ordinarily works is not to explain Him away.)

Christians are not compelled to choose, in other words, between self-determination and social determinism. They may accept elements of both, recognizing the qualifications each imposes on the other, just as they believe in both individual autonomy and God's foreknowledge of the choices made by exercise of man's "free will." (See 1, pp. 187-207, and 4.)

OTHER SKIRMISHES occur when contradictions emerge between accepted interpretations of the Scriptures and the conclusions of social science research. Whenever this happens, examination of both the limitations of the research and the nature of the interpretations usually reveals that the research findings rest upon shaky grounds in the tentativeness of science and cannot yet be accepted as final scientific truth (indeed, there is no such thing!), or else that there is too narrow a view of God's working among men, a fallacious understanding of Scripture passages and their contexts, or erroneous interpretations of them. Cautious adaptations of both scientific and theological conclusions thus provide a basis for reconciling contradictions. The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) can be of inestimable help on matters of these kinds as relevant resources from science and theology are brought to our attention by other members who share our faith in Jesus Christ.

I personally am not disturbed, as some of my fundamentalist friends are, by the increasing evidence from the physical and biological sciences that the earthnay be extremely old, that biological species may be linked in a chain of progressive development, and that the human organism may have evolved gradually to its present biological form. I have a great God, an infinite God who is far more than the "god of scientific gaps." If He chose to create man's body by a progressive process, at some point in which He made man "a living soul," let us praise Him for it! If even today He is continuing a gradual process of evolving different, perhaps higher forms of human life, who am I to say that, if He works in a way I cannot understand or cannot accept emotionally, He must be rejected entirely? After all, He has told us,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa. 55:8-9, RSV)

Many other topics need the special attention of Christian social scientists. These include the question of cultural and ethical relativity in contrast to the ethical norms of Scripture (8), Christian ethics in research, naturalistic conceptions of man and the universe, and the doctrine of the perfectibility of man (1). Fellowmen who are confronted with analogous quandaries can help us directly and indirectly toward reaching a theological-philosophical-theoreticaI solution which is consistent with both Christian and scientific values. Some of these problems already have been attacked in the ASA; others provide a fertile field for future ASA activities. Increased knowledge of social pro cesses and structures helps us to understand more clearly the ways in which we can serve and glorify God and to appreciate more fully the manner in which He makes even ungodly men and movements contribute to the praise of His glory.


All in all, Christian faith has much to contribute to empirical social science. It helps the scientist see his life and actions in broader perspective than the immediate here and now. It gives him a goal or purpose around which to integrate all of his life, including his scientific work. It provides motivations which help him to further that goal. To some degree it helps him transcend the limited social organizations which have helped to make both him and the culture which binds and limits him. When he does research on religion, personal experiences of trusting God, believing in Jesus Christ, and being led by the Holy Spirit furnish insights into religious behavior that he otherwise would lack. His faith helps him see how the methods and findings of social science research can be applied to the work of the church in its endeavors to carry out the will of God (10). Scientific values which stress objectivity, demand verifiable evidence, insist on crucial tests of hypotheses, and emphasize valid reasoning strengthen Christian ethical behavior and are linked with it. Some of the logic and all of the honest seeking of science must also be applied in religion.

Empirical social science and Christian faith are partners. Each has its own special sphere of thought and action; yet paradoxically each cuts across, checks up on, and to some extent includes and modifies the other. Neither can be divorced from the other in the mind of the believing social scientist. Of the two, Christian faith is the broader. Science is only one area or part of life; the scientific role is one that periodically is taken on and shed. But one's role as a Christian is on a higher level which encompasses all other roles and ideally is never cast off. Christianity is an all-embracing reference group, while one's scientific role reflects but one of many membership groups (cf. 6, pp. 225-386).

In scriptural terms, Christ in the Christian is his "hope of glory" (Col. 1:27), his life (Col. 3:4), his all (Col. 3:11). The eternal Christ abiding within the believer, with all that this implies, is the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian in contrast to the non-Christian social scientist. Living by faith in constant awareness of Christ's presence is, after all, what God has revealed to be His will for all Christians.

For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth-as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords'~-Vet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist (I Cor. 8:5-6, RSV).


1. Casserley, J. V. Langmead, Morals and Man in the Social Sciences, N .Y.: Longmans, Green & Co., 1951.

2. Cohen, Morris R., and Nagel, Ernest, Introduction to Logic and Scientific Method, N .Y.: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1934.

3. Goode, Wm. J., and Hatt, Paul K., Methods in Social Research, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1952.

4. Hook, Sidney, ed., Determinism and Freedom in the Age of Modern Science, N.Y.: Collier Books, 1961 (c. 1958, New York University).

5. Lundberg, George A., Foundations of Sociology, N.Y.: Maemillan Co., 1939.

6. Merton, Robert K., Social Theory and Social Structure, Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, rev. ed., 1957.

7. Moberg, David 0., The Church as a Social Institution, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962.

8. Moberg, David 0., "Cultural Relativity and Christian Faith," Jour. Amer. Scient. Affil, 14:3448, June 1962.

9. Moberg, David 0., Religion and Personal Adjustment in Old Age, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Minnesota, 1951.

10. Spaulding, Helen F.. ed., Evaluation and Christian Educa. tion: Discussion of Some Theologicals Educational, and Practical Issues, N.Y.: Bureau of Research and Survey, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., 1960.

11. Stotts, Herbert E., The Church Inventory Handbook, Denver: Wesley Press, 1952.

12. Weber, Max, Methodology of the Social Sciences (trans. by E. A. Shils & H. A. Finch), Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1949.