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How Science Shapes Culture: The Case of Marty Sampson

Marty Sampson

To be honest, I had not heard of Hillsong United or Marty Sampson, and I likely would have remained unaware of him had friends not brought him to my attention. The popular Christian musician has lost his faith, or is teetering on the brink of it. His fellow Christians are understandably regretful about that. This wouldn’t come up for discussion at Evolution News were it not for his statement about science’s role in his spiritual journey.

From an article at the Christian Post:

The “All I Need Is You” writer said he’s “not in” anymore and desires “genuine truth.”

Not the ‘I just believe it’ kind of truth,” he wrote. “Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion. Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of God. Got so much more to say, but for me, I keeping it real. [Emphasis added.]

The reporter points to an Instagram post Sampson wrote, expressing additional concerns. The article quotes other prominent people with more familiar names to me, who provide their interpretations of Sampson’s announcement. Meanwhile, I see that David French writing at National Review gives his own preferred reading, which concludes:

Expect to see more friends and neighbors retreat and conform. The church has its faults, yes, but the blame will lie less with a church that failed to instruct than with a person who didn’t, ultimately, have the courage to believe.

The Man’s Own Words

I’m not impressed by the psychologizing or the insinuation that Sampson’s problem lies in insufficient “moral courage.” Needless to say, you can never know what’s in someone else’s heart, especially a stranger’s, confiding to other strangers in the form of a now-deleted Instagram post. I don’t have any idea what the backstory might be in Sampson’s life. No doubt it’s relevant.

But listen to the man’s own words, which cite science as playing at least some role in his thinking. Yet other people trying to interpret the story make no mention of this.

The premise of everything the Center for Science & Culture does is that science shapes culture, just as culture shapes science. The reigning materialism of our culture, in the media and in academia, warps scientific thinking, including about biological origins. And that feeds right back into shaping how people feel and think about other matters, including their faith. With the story of Marty Sampson, taken simply at face value, that premise would seem to have received another confirmation. 

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



biological originsCenter for Science & CultureChristian musicChristian PostChristianitycultureDavid FrenchfaithHillsong UnitedInstagramMarty Sampsonmoral courageNational Reviewpsychologizingreporter