Bahá’í Women Blend Science and Religion

Baha'i Women Science

Lisa M. Ortuno, Ph.D., uses scientific methods to guide her and boost her progress in her faith.

Bahá’í Faith is rather unknown to American women. The Bahá’í Faith is committed to scientific inquiry, making it one of the rare ideologies where science and religion converge to provide answers to life questions and provide guidance on how one should live rightfully.

“More Light, Less Heat”, a part of a Sinai and Synapses series features Lisa M. Ortuno, Ph.D. and Dr. Carey Murphy as they show how this unique faith boosted their interest and love of science, instead of turning them away from its truths. Likewise, science helped strengthen their Bahá’í faith.

Lisa M. Ortuno, Ph.D.: A Doctor of Science and a Doctor of Faith

Lisa M. Ortuno, Ph.D. earned her doctorate degree in Biology. She works for Promega Corporation which is a biotechnology company. As an active member of Sinai and Synapses, her biology training and strict adherence in the scientific method led her to have a more fruitful journey towards being a Bahá’í. She used her scientific methods to guide her and boost her progress in her faith just like how she used what she learned in the Baha’i faith in her way of thinking as a biologist.

Looking back, Lisa was never able to stick to the religion that she grew up in. Instead, she held on to science and used its method and facts to find the answers to her questions. As she grew in the Bahá’í faith, she realized that aside from science, faith can also do the same – be used to find the answers to her questions about the world and about life.

As she moved on to graduate school, she also grew in her faith. This convergence of faith and science resulted to more intelligent and broad questions. She was able to create and compose novel questions that she would have never thought of otherwise. Her deep background on the scientific method helped her know what she should look for and what she should do to find it.

Dr. Carey Murphy: Teaching with Science by Faith

Dr. Murphy, on the other hand, is a teacher who used to teach 8th graders before her retirement. She taught science in a fundamentalist community. Her faith guided her in teaching her students the value and practice of critical thinking.

Carey also relayed her experiences on how her Bahá’í faith influenced her methods of classroom teaching. “The Bahá’í faith teaches that science must sanction religion, and religion fortifies science,” according to Dr. Murphy. She expressed how both science and faith are from God and these two should complement each other instead of compete with each other.

She helped develop students’ critical thinking and rationality – both of which are principles taught by the Bahá’í Faith. These proved to be essential in the students’ learning process especially in the fields of geology, physics, astronomy, paleontology, and evolution. Like science and religion, these should be understood through rationality.

She ended her video testimonial with Bahá’í writing that sums up the relationship between science and faith – science and religion should agree, otherwise, these are just imaginations and superstitions.


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