The field of social science is as divided as an academic field can be. True science must compete with the ever-growing menace of pseudo-science for attention and time in the media. Scientists debate endlessly as to whether qualitative or quantitative research suits the field better. In the political world, politicians seek out studies with ideologically desirable results and flaunt the conclusions to confirm that their beliefs must be correct. Yet the subject matter of political science is just as contentious. Bipartisan efforts have all but disappeared in the last decade. Policy issues like gun control, abortion, and immigration leave many hopeless as to the prospect of a productive and peaceful society.
Even still, there is hope for the field of social science in the form of Christian scholarship and policy. Christian scholarship is the study and enactment of ideas that have been created specifically with a Christian frame of mind. Christian scholarship and policy proves that faith and politics are not irreconcilable as they are so often depicted to be and that Christianity must not be separated from political life. With careful attention to the Christian mission and the needs of society, Christian scholarship creates and leads to the enactment of policies that promote peace, justice, and faith. Without it, Christians are forced to try to fit their doctrine neatly into one secular ideology. One such policy is restorative justice, an alternative approach to criminal justice where an offender is rehabilitated through the reconciliation of the offender, the victims, and the community as a whole. This approach is now used in school systems, for probation and parole programs, and in family counseling. Restorative justice is Christian and bipartisan in nature, in that it promotes justice and forgiveness, and in that it benefits all parties involved.
The mission of The Bell Tower is to promote undergraduate Christian scholarship of all disciplines at Hope College. Thanks to The Bell Tower, the Hope community can explore together what it looks like to put faith into practice in academics, politics, and beyond. We can introduce new ideas that will uphold justice and hope. In doing so we will learn to center our world around God in every area, instead of centering God around our own conveniences, political preferences, and motivations. We will become better, truer disciples who live and act according to our hope-filled knowledge that “we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”1
1 Rom. 8:28, NRSV