Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Seventh place (tie) — High school essay contest: Kaitlin Eblen

Vol. 37 No. 07 September 2020
Kaitlin Eblen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Irony of Christian club held in science lab

FFRF awarded Kaitlin $750 for her essay.

By Kaitlin Eblen

It was during my freshman year, at the request of many of my religious friends, that I attended my first Christian club meeting. A local church sponsored this on-campus club at my high school, which met every Wednesday at lunch.

Not lost on me was the obvious irony of the location of this club in one of the science labs. In the very classroom where students had, only minutes earlier, been observing scientific phenomenon and empirical evidence, a guest speaker was now reading from passages of the bible. Unlike the principles of kinematics and osmolarity that had underlaid the physics and biology experiments performed here, the foundations of these “truths” rested on faith and written word alone.

I couldn’t help but think that the club’s presence was entirely counterproductive to the goals of a public education. Why do we adhere strictly to the rules of nature in one area of study only to blindly follow faith in another? And how can such divergent modes of thought be taught nearly simultaneously, in a classroom, only minutes apart? I believe strongly that their coexistence is impossible, their differences, irreconcilable. 

When I raise my hand in math class to express an objection to the series of derived equations on the board, I am expected to substantiate my argument, to provide evidence.

Religious beliefs, however, can never withstand the same examinations and scrutiny. Objections to its validity can be dismissed simply on the basis of a few verses of scripture or on the ultimately incomprehensible power of a divine being. And when so much of faith is centered on individual interpretation and personal experiences, how can it really be questioned at all? 

Even in regard to more subjective areas of study, such as English, literary commentary and analysis are still based upon a firm understanding of both the book and its author. It is therefore that I implore you to consider the baselessness of religious claims. With nothing more than holy scripture and personal conviction to its favor, religion cannot be defended.

Kaitlin, 18, is from Temcula, Calif., and will be attending UCLA, with plans to major in international relations. She is a member of the National Honor Society and was an active member of Political Youth Club, Vegan Club, California Scholarship Federation and co-president of the Global Awareness Campaign.