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Christians in Science: AJ Roberts, the Microbiologist Apologist

Former Homicide Detective, Jim Warner Wallace teaches children how to use the tools of a detective to analyze evidence for Christianity.

Microbiology concerns biology on the smallest possible levels.

Microbiology concerns biology on the smallest possible levels.

Interview With Dr. Anjeanette “AJ” Roberts

Dr. Anjeanette “AJ” Roberts is a microbiologist... and a Christian. I recently had the opportunity to interview Roberts on her faith and her career.

When AJ first saw the Starship Enterprise float across her television set accompanied by the eerie chorus of theme music, she was hooked. As a child, watching Captain Kirk and his friend (the stoic alien scientist Spock) explore the unknown and conquer mysterious threats not with force, but rather with science, AJ knew that she was destined to be a scientist herself. This passion for science was fueled by her sixth-grade science teacher, who encouraged her to pursue her dream. And pursue, she did.

In college, AJ was particularly drawn to the intricacies and mystery of microscopic organisms. These were mysteries she intended to unlock. AJ laid the foundations for her future by gaining her BS degree in chemistry. She followed that up by obtaining her doctorate in molecular and cellular biology. Now a Ph.D., AJ’s course was set. She spent the next 13 years of her life performing bench research, and she also spent ten years as a Professor, teaching and lecturing on topics such as virology, public health, and molecular biology.

Dr. AJ Roberts

Dr. AJ Roberts

Science and Faith

Before Roberts ever transitioned into her career in microbiology, she had found her identity as a Christian. Says Roberts:

“I surrendered my life to Jesus as Lord and Savior, and became a born-again Christ follower, at the age of 12. It was through Christian music and the testimony of one of the band members at a concert I attended, that I realized the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection for my forgiveness and salvation. I knew I needed a savior—which he was by what he accomplished on the cross, and I knew I wanted him to be Lord—accompanying and guiding me through life—which he could do since he was alive—having risen from the dead thus demonstrating that he was indeed God, as he himself claimed to be.”

Roberts claims that her Christian beliefs caused some speed bumps in her pursuit of a career in science, but only from those who were, for personal reasons and experiences, opposed to Christianity or religion in general. Says Roberts:

“One professor tried to threaten my post-doctoral and following career if I continued to acknowledge God for His role in successfully completing my PhD (which I did at the end of my graduate research presentation that I would give on interviews). I have also had colleagues who inappropriately biased consideration for admission to study programs based on perceptions of applicants' Christian faith. There have also been individual challenges in sharing my faith with some of my colleagues: hostile responses, scoffing, fewer opportunities to socialize, etc. But there have also been great opportunities as I patiently persevered.”

Further Education in Christian Apologetics

As Roberts continued to encounter the occasional bias to her Christian beliefs, she turned to the field of Christian Apologetics in order to defend these beliefs. Finding Apologetics to be a very powerful tool in integrating the Christian Worldview with science, Roberts pursued and obtained an MA in Christian Apologetics.

Dr. Roberts' Work Today

Roberts has since devoted herself wholly to the defense of Christianity via the sciences. For four years, Roberts worked for the organization Reasons to Believe, where she continued her work by reading broadly in general science, molecular biology, cell biology, virology, and biomedical sciences journals. From recent reports, she generated blog posts, articles, podcasts, and talks that demonstrated how recent discoveries supported faith in the biblical, transcendent God and Creator.

These discoveries in nature, she says, reveal God's divine power and nature as Paul says in Romans, chapter 1. Roberts works to harmonize and integrate the revelations in nature (scientific discoveries) and Scripture for public presentations and engagement, hoping to give people reasons to believe in Jesus.

As of this writer’s interview with Roberts, she had almost 3 years of experience in leading discussions and producing material for public and academic engagement upon the interface of science and faith issues.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.