Christianity and Scientific Concerns
Henry: What about the problems that are posed for man as a distinctive creature, as a specifically human being?
Dr. Walters: Sigmund Freud launched what he announced would be the third great revolution. The first, he said, was cosmological: man discovered how large the universe is and how small and insignificant the earth really is. The second was the Darwinian revolution, which taught that all species are derived from lower forms of life. Now, Freud, the third great revolution established that man, because of his unconscious, is not even master in his own house. With Freud began the great impact upon the present age of the emphasis upon the unconscious in psychology and psychiatry. But we have seen a turn, a revolt against the determinism inherent in the Freudian concept of human personality. I believe that psychoanalysis has passed its peak in this country. We are seeing a return to the idea that, in the absence of psychopathology, man does know in great measure what is going on in his own life. There has been a return to the preeminence of the conscious and a diminution of the idea that man is basically irrational and does not know what is going on in his own house. What is most lacking in the series of revolutions of which Freud spoke is, from the Christian point of view, a still more significant dynamism, that of spiritual regeneration.
Henry: Since a clinical psychiatrist has spoken of spiritual regeneration, I should like to ask Dr. Buerger whether he thinks it desirable that a scientist should be a Christian.
Dr. Buerger: Well, I suppose that I am addressing Christians, who believe with me that God made the universe—this world and the stars in the firmament and the planets. And whoever believes this, whether a scientist or not, has the opportunity of going directly to God and asking for wisdom. I think it is James 1:5 that says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." We who are Christians, who accept Jesus as our Saviour, have access to God through prayer. Personally, I like to start out the day by reading my Bible. This puts me in the mood to ask God for what I really need. And as a Christian, as a professor, and as a scientist I do not hesitate to ask God for anything that I think I really need. I ask him to help me in my work as I lecture to my students, that I may put my ideas across effectively to them. If my research strikes a snag—mine certainly does many times, and whose does not?—I have no hesitancy in asking God to help me over this. You may remember what the Bible says, "While you are yet asking, I will answer." It is a marvelous thing when God answers while you are yet asking him. This is one of the greatest thrills on earth. There is such a thing as a jag that one gets as the research comes to its fruition. But there is nothing like the jag of having God answer one's prayers.