By Matthew Zacher ’18
Some might assume that on a Catholic school’s campus, science and religion are the equivalent of oil and water.
In today’s world full of innovation and scientific discovery, perhaps nothing challenges our faith more than science, but faculty work to blend the topics in their classrooms.
Science Department Chair Mr. Andy Mazzolini teaches Honors and AP Chemistry and is religious as well.
“Science answers a lot of questions,” he said. “I don’t think that there is a way to prove that God exists, or that he doesn’t exist because I think that it is two different realms.”
Mr. Mazzolini said that his years studying science have fascinated him and allowed him to understand how the complex laws of science can lead someone to believe that God doesn’t exist.
“But somewhere down the line, it is a decision,” he said. “You have to say: Do you believe in God? You have to make a decision about your own faith, you have to make a decision about whether there is something else other than this physical world, and for me that answer is yes.”
Mr. Mazzolini said that his coming to this conclusion had to do with his interactions with people.
“I think that people do marvelously good things,” he said. “I think the reason why they do good things is that they’re influenced by God or they’re influenced by love and I think that love is something from God.”
Christian Kirkland ’18 is a Southern Baptist who said he believes that religion and science go hand and hand.
“I do think that there is some divine presence, which I do think is God,” he said. “I think we all watched the same video freshman year [in Scripture class] where it was saying that if the universe was any different then humans wouldn’t be able to inhabit earth, and I don’t think that was a mistake.”
Mr. Mazzolini said that the fact that faith doesn’t have to be proven is liberating, because you can live and explore your faith freely without having to explain it, something that is nearly impossible.
“Having that faith and believing in God makes looking at the physical world much more amazing,” he said. “It is so intricate, so fascinating. It doesn’t prove that God exists but it definitely shows that this is a beautiful place, a beautiful world.”
Mr. Mazzolini said that part of what makes the world so beautiful is that everything works together.
“Everything goes to entropy, everything goes to disorganization, but that’s part of the whole system,” he said. “The whole system is a flow of energy whether you are talking about predator-prey or the sun. This flow of energy, this flow of matter through the universe makes it fascinating if you look at it through the ‘eyes of God.’”
Kirkland said that the intricacy of the chemistry of life does not hurt his faith, but rather helps it.
“It makes it easier,” he said. “You’re made out of protons and neutrons and certain amounts, and you’re body can fight diseases that grow and try to kill you more and more each year. It’s crazy stuff. God is crazy; he created the most amazing vessel for our spirits.”
Mr. Mazzolini said that his faith makes his job more enjoyable.
“It makes my study of science more enjoyable,” he said. “It also makes my life more enjoyable because I think that there is something more to it than just the physicality of the world.”