Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Winslow, M., Staver, J., & Scharmann, L. (2011). Evolution and personal religious belief: Christian university biology-related majors’ search for reconciliation. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48, 1026-1049.

DOI 10.1002/tea.20417


Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Used by permission.


The goal of this study was to explore Christian biology-related majors’ perceptions of conflicts between evolution and their religious beliefs. This naturalistic study utilized a case study design of 15 undergraduate biology-related majors at or recent biology-related graduates from a mid-western Christian university. The broad sources of data were interviews, course documents, and observations. Outcomes indicate that most participants were raised to believe in creationism, but came to accept evolution through evaluating evidence for evolution, negotiating the literalness of Genesis, recognizing evolution as a non-salvation issue, and observing professors as Christian role models who accept evolution. This study lends heuristic insight to researchers and educators seeking to understand the complex processes by which Christian biology-related majors approach learning about evolution.