Hello! My name is Cole. I am 20 years old from Bangor in NI and I am a second-year medical student at Dundee University. I became a Christian in May 2018.
My university “fresher’s” experience in hindsight was something of a stereotype: lots of drinking, going out, meeting new people, and contemplating at 2am that not starting my work until 2am is generally not a good life choice. Like many other students, I arrived at university keen to have a good time, but at the same time my state of mind was one of very much trying to figure myself out.
I had grown up in a Christian household but as I entered my teenage years, I decided that Christianity was nothing but nonsense and wishful thinking. It was an odd experience then to find my new University friendships included a significant number of Christians– and so I found myself in many heated discussions in the small hours of the morning. Whether it was questions about God, morality or the meaning of life, nothing was off the table, and I really enjoyed the sparring.
The sport of poking fun at my Christian friends generated a lot of heat but not a lot of movement on either side of the discussion. It was in February 2018 when they invited me along to an event, run by the Science Network of the University Christian Union, and I agreed to attend. Drs Andy Bannister (of Solas) and David Booth (University of Dundee Evolutionary Biologist) took part in a dialogue around the question, “Can science explain everything?” At the time I didn’t think the event had any real impact and it didn’t change my mind about anything, but over the next few days questions that had been raised started to chip away at my belief that science was an all powerful tool that could explain everything. I couldn’t explain through science alone where morality came from, or why humans feel such a desperate desire to find meaning and purpose. I held that atheism and therefore nihilism was true, but saw the inconsistency of my own strong conscience and need for meaning. Christians seemed to have better answers as to where to find meaning and purpose than nihilism, scientism or atheism.
I started asking more questions in a variety of settings: within a local church; with Christian Union members and with the staff worker from the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF). Growing up, I was eternally frustrated with Christians who couldn’t justify their beliefs but now I had found not only an invaluable space to air my questions and feelings, but also to find answers.
Eventually, I gradually realised that I was not capable of getting through life by and for myself and so surrendered my life to Christ in May of this year. This change has brought with it a few things I did not expect. I thought people would judge me or act differently around me but instead I find myself often presented with opportunities to talk about my faith with people who want to listen. Becoming a Christian has also not meant a lack of questions but on the contrary, I have become more curious about the big questions of life. I now however find myself unencumbered by what previously held me back – my proud desire to wanting to look smart and to prove others wrong.
Overall, my fear of what people think of me has been quelled and my desire to know truth has only strengthened.
I hope that this story is an encouragement to Christians, especially those in the sciences, to get involved with a group like the Christian Union Science Network. These are ideal places to invite your friends to, where they can discuss their queries and questions, and begin the dialogue. Although it can be daunting or frustrating, you may just change their life.
“Can Science Explain Everything?” https://www.uccfleadershipnetwork.org/posts/dundee-cu-science-network-discussion-can-science-exlain-eveything
UCCF Science Network