Friday, January 20, 2012

Student Opinions Welcome

I am taking an online class in Educational Research and Assessment at Liberty University. For the first week of class, we were asked to explain our opinions about the intersection of faith and research. Here are my thoughts and my responses to other students. Feel free to share your thoughts and responses in the comments section.

Educational research, and the ability to apply that research, are vital to figuring out the human psyche and empowering teachers to be better equipped to lead students in learning. Research is necessary for determining what works, and does not work, in any learning environment. Interpreting research through the eyes of faith in God imparts a bit of His wisdom to the learning environment. Wisdom comes from taking into account all findings from research and interpreting those findings with a heart turned towards God and His will. Without faith, the benefits of thorough educational research cannot be fully realized in either the teachers or the students.

Some say faith is blind. That may be true in some instances, but faith in Jesus Christ is most definitely not blind. Faith is not blindly following something or someone we know nothing about. I have faith in Jesus Christ because I have read His words and have seen His miraculous works both in history and the lives of people all around me. Proof of Jesus' divinity and God's sovereignty is all around us. I recognized sin in my life and knew, after listening to preaching and teaching by Godly men and women, that I was in desperate need of a Saviour. Faith is a deep, abiding knowledge in the absolute truth of God's word. The very earth testifies to the evidence of reality of God. Even people groups who have not heard the gospel recognize that there is a higher being and they seek to worship that higher authority, seeking favor from him/her/it. Those who make a conscious and willful decision to turn away from God are walking blindly by faith in something they cannot see or feel or comprehend. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Our faith in God is a direct result of someone telling us the good news of Jesus Christ. It is not a blind faith, but an enduring and secure faith in the eternal rightness of belief in absolute truth. When the Bible says we have faith in the "evidence in things not seen," that is directly preceded by the statement that "faith is the substance of things hoped for" (Hebrews 11:1). Substance here means evidence, meaning it can and has been proven. Faith is not blind. Faith is the accumulation of over 6,000 years of evidence of the existence of almighty God. In other words, faith in Jesus Christ is backed up by more research, data, review, and eye-witness accounts than anything else, ever.

Some say faith and research are incompatible and cannot coexist. Finding balance at the intersection of research and faith is a personal quest. The benefits of research cannot be fully realized without the benefit of faith in almighty God. Many researchers do indeed conduct thorough and resourceful research without benefit of a personal Christian faith. Many non-Christian educators, psychologists, and healthcare professionals are able to put that research into practice, and with good results. The benefit in the application of research through faith imparts wisdom in the manner in which that research is utilized. And that wisdom comes only through faith in almighty God.

Some say that because of their faith in Jesus Christ, they are intimidated by research conducted by non-Christians. There is definite benefit to humane research in varied fields. We will often find that research that is in opposition to faith in Jesus Christ will ultimately be revealed as fallacy. As such, I am not at all intimidated by research and see further research in many subjects to simply solidify the absolute truth of God’s Word. In accepting solid and valid research from sources that do not share our faith, we are given the opportunity to show others the love of Christ and lead those researchers to understanding of truth.

And as is often the case with academic writing, it can be a little dull. Feel free to comment, agree, or disagree. Your opinion is welcome!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. From my experience as a student, writing assignments are graded according to your participation. There is no right or wrong answer. It serves as a measurement to show whether or not one needs to grow and stretch their thought or opinion….kind of like an aptitude test revealing where you are academically, spiritually, and etc. However, if the student seems too off base, the professor will correct and guide the student back on track.
    Your comments and opinions on any given subject will differ from that of your peers. We are all in different places in our lives. Your life’s journey has shaped and molded you to believe what you believe about a particular subject. Take faith for instance.
    Your responses show that you have had to put faith into practice. You are not just regurgitating knowledge about faith, you “know” faith. You have been stretched, tried, and tested. Knowledge + experience + understanding = wisdom and skill.
    Just remember that others have not traveled the road you are on. And their thoughts and feelings may at times seem shallow, and that can be frustrating. God meets us all right where we are. In His time they will get there too.
    When you look back at the end of the semester, you will be surprised how far you have come. Yes, we all have room to grow. There will be struggles and challenges that will teach us and we will learn; together….

  3. Thanks for the comment. I always appreciate your insight. :)

  4. Faith and Research

    In terms of the coexistence of Faith and Research, I believe it is important to conduct research on contemporary health issues through the lens of Christianity. As a nursing student, I did some basic survey research to augment my clinical experience through a Vanderbilt University Nursing Externship and published the results to help other students seeking more time at the beside in BSN programs (Cress-Ingebo, 1985). Whether it is general nursing education or the teaching of nursing specialties, like psychiatric care, both rely on research to meet all the needs of today’s patients. Research is essential for empowering nurses to understand and to work with the human psyche and spirit. Using the Trinity, Father-Son-Holy Ghost, we have a model for treating a patient holistically. Mind of God, body of Christ and spirit of the Holy Ghost as a conceptual truth provides us with a template in a postmodernist world attempting to respond to the mental and the spiritual needs of the health crisis. In essence our faith and tested research in tandem guide us vis-a-vis potentially misinformed trend based theories.

    Evidenced based nursing is the most ethical way to approach patient care because it is not just based on our clinical expertise, but also the examination of other experts in a given field such as psychiatric nursing. Because Christ’s teachings motivate us to do our very best, faith helps nurses tailor applications from effective research to our patients’ lives. It was a group of nurses who started RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association to help couple’s deal with the emotional aspects of the conception care crisis. This was the subject of my Community Health Nursing master’s thesis research (Cress-Ingebo, 1987). I witnessed Christ’s miraculous works in the lives of the couples desperate to be parents with the aid of scientific interventions and the emotional support of RESOLVE.

    There are many ways in which Christianity interacts with a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, scholarship and scientific work. Transcultural Nursing is an example of a subspecialty that evolved from a nurse theorist who had attended Catholic Nursing Schools. Madeleine Leininger developed the first conceptual frameworks for nurse anthropology. Faith is a deep conviction in the abiding truths stemming from God’s sovereign word. The goals and objectives of any professional working in the biopsychosocial world of health care can see the wider implications if they are faith based practitioner. It was a Jewish nurse from Cincinnati, Ohio who developed the first settlement house for the indigent and immigrants in New York later spawning the Visiting Nurses Association. My own limited cross-discipline experience between nursing and library science was summarized in a literature survey of the topic bibliotherapy as a spiritual tool published in the Journal of Christian Nursing (Cress-Ingebo & Chrisagis, 1998).

    And lastly, Faith imparts wisdom for the interpretation of good research and respectful collaboration between scientific entities. We can track public health trends through interagency longitudinal studies of psychosocial behaviors in epidemics (e.g. AIDS which was a rampant new disease in the eighties when I was an MSN student and Med-Surgical nurse at Hialeah Hospital in south Florida). Long-term studies can map the recoveries of communities after natural disasters like Hurricane Andrew and Katrina, which both impacted the lives of our Homestead military friends and our New Orleans family.

    We should always embrace valid research on every topic from the intimate needs of psychiatric patients to the restoration of ill-fated populations. Faith in Christianity and faith in scientific research should coexist because both can be backed up by systematic data collection, expert analysis and eye witness accounts.

    1. Not sure how all this electronic world works...don't know what Live Journal, Word Press, and all the other options entail...but my name is mentioned in the citations. Anonymous was the easiest way to load this...could use a lesson...anyway, I am also an EdS student at Liberty...just starting out and agree with your perspective!!!

  5. I am just starting the Educational Assessment and Research course through Liberty. Did you post other topics on your blog pertaining to this class? I am feeling overwhelmed with the class and it just started yesterday. Would love to read through your blog if you have posts relating to the challenges of being a student as well as course comments if possible.

    1. Shawn-

      I am taking the course as well this semester! Glad to know I am not the only one feeling a bit overwhelmed! Keep your head up.

    2. Kayleigh,
      I think your post on BB is blank for this past week. You might want to check that.
      I look forward to learning with you and am glad to have another classmate who is overwhelmed.

  6. I just started the same course a few hours ago-Overwhelmed? Agreed!!!