B.S. Abilene Christian University at Abilene, Texas
Ph.D. Texas Christian University
Paul Morris is our resident theoretical physicist and philosopher, meaning that he is equally comfortable in both Cartesian coordinates and Cartesian philosophy. He was honored as ACU's 2003 teacher of the year.
History and philosophy of science, and science and religion
What made you become a Christian?
I grew up in a Christian home with my father as a minister. I had a very close relationship with my maternal grandmother and both of her parents - all wonderful Christian examples - and all of these have had a tremendous influence on me. There was a time in my life when I had very strong doubts about my faith and searched through various alternatives. In the end, I discovered that my Christian background made the most sense to me in explaining the vicissitudes of life. I believe that I can say that my beliefs are truly mine; they are tested beliefs, and they are beliefs which have both an intellectual and an emotional component.
Why would you recommend ACU's physics program?
The college years are very formative years; they are years in which your previous beliefs are confirmed or some of your beliefs are changed. I teach both physics and philosophy and most of the students I encounter are very serious about learning and also have many questions about many things - including God, creation, morality. The purpose of education is to be exposed to various alternative positions and to critically analyze those positions to see which are better. I believe that many of these questions are best dealt with in a Christian context rather than a secular one. Many professors here have struggled with these questions and can provide guidance into the good and bad aspects of various answers. In such a formative period of one's life, one needs real mentoring - which I believe entails taking the students questions seriously and treating them in a thorough manner. The professors at ACU provide that kind of Christian mentoring.
What are some Bible passages that are special to you?
- "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1
- "The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart. The second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37
- "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31
What are some of your favorite quotes?
- The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical (or the mysterious). It is the source of true science and art. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. - Albert Einstein
- There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not. - Robert F. Kennedy
I have a fantastic daughter, who graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. She is the pride of my life.
My two favorite books are The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevski (fiction) and The Embers and the Stars by Erahim Kohák (non-fiction). I love the playwright Tom Stoppard, especially Arcadia. I love poetry and many poets, including Thomas Hardy, William Wordsworth, Wallace Stevens, William Butler Yeats, Sara Teasdale, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Richard Wilbur and Billy Collins.
My favorite artists are Paul Cezánne, Pablo Picasso, René Magritte and Edward Hopper.
I love movies, and my two favorite movies of all time (very difficult choices) are To Kill a Mockingbird andVertigo.
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