Vibrant Dance: Fuz Rana’s Testimony
Each of the primary speakers had a scheduled time in which to share their testimony of coming to faith. In some ways, taking notes on these could be difficult as it is harder to summarize a story than an academic talk on a specific subject where a series of logical arguments are presented. However, in the case of Fuz Rana from Reasons to Believe, there were some key elements that made an impression on me.
Rana’s father was a Muslim from India, and his mother was Catholic, and they agreed to disagree on religion. I guess this stuck out to me because a couple that are good friends of my parents are similar—he’s Egyptian, and she’s small town Roman Catholic. They agreed to raise their son Muslim. In Rana’s case, he and his brother were brought up without a lot of spiritual direction. As his dad was a Ph.D. nuclear physicist and his mom a science teacher, spirituality had an even lower place in the family priorities.
As Rana moved through college, studying biochemistry from a secular viewpoint, he was personally overwhelmed by the complexity he found within the cellular processes. Over time, this lead him to the conclusion that there must be a Creator, and eventually he gave his life to Christ.
Even so, for years, he fought with compartmentalization—there was his scientific world and his spiritual world and they were separate for him. Eventually, he began to see that they were connected and even intertwined. This led to him reading Hugh Ross’ books, which finally resulted in him joining Reasons as a staff biochemistry scholar.
What is your story? How has your field influenced your faith and vice versa? Are your scholarly pursuits and your walk with Christ non-overlapping magisteria? There are a growing number of books by scholars/academics who describe their spiritual journeys, and these may be inspirational devotions for you. As examples of what is out there, I recommend Finding God at Harvard and Finding God Beyond Harvard by Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Hope for the Thinking Christian by Stephen Reese, Witness to Grace by John Goodenough (might get a better deal on this one from the author directly!), Professors Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of Christian Faculty by Paul M. Anderson (ed.), Believing Scholars: Ten Catholic Intellectuals by James L. Heft (ed.), and others. Here at UT, a similar project to the Harvard books is being put together. Would your campus benefit from the Christian community sharing their stories of faith on campus? Students find it a tremendous encouragement to know that some of their professors profess the same faith. Consider writing your story and putting a link to it on your website. Also, there are other sites that serve as a collection point for faculty of faith. They are links to them on the right hand side of this page.
As an academic, much of your life is spent on campus, so that is your primary area of influence. Take advantage of it.