Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


Computer science as a discipline and computer scientists as a group tend to exhibit a technical, skills-focused disposition. Curriculum standards demand students acquire a long list of mathematical and programming abilities. Students both expect and are excited by the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of cutting-edge technology. Furthermore, programming a computer is an exercise in exactness and specificity. Is the semicolon in the right place? Are all of the parentheses matched? Does this Boolean logic or loop control statement contain an off-by-one error? Failing to state all of the required commands fully and exactly will result in a program that works incorrectly, incompletely, or not at all. It is no surprise that so much classroom time is spent on the technical details involved in writing code. This emphasis leaves little room for contemplative, philosophical reflection, yet the guiding principles of Northwestern College include “seeking opportunities for growth and reflection that integrate faith and learning” and “discerning and developing unique gifts in service to Christ, the church, and the world Christ loves and redeems” [31]. How can this be accomplished in computer science? What can computer scientists learn about God through engaging their discipline? How can computer science be used to pursue God’s redeeming work in the world?


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