Nanotech and Jesus Christ with Jim Tour, Ph.D., professor at Rice University

James M Tour’s website- http://www.jmtour.com. James M. Tour is a synthetic organic chemist, specializing in nanotechnology. Quote from Dr. Tour: People ask, „Does science draw me away from God? And, it’s just the opposite. When I study biological systems, it’s like, „Wow! This, to me is so amazing, how it happens. It is understandable, as we understand more, but, it draws me closer to God…. I see this amazing order and it causes me to love God all the more. That’s what it causes me to do.”

Among the great work Jim Tour does as one of the world’s top 10 chemists, and top scientist at Rice University is his work with nanotechnology. A tiny nano-sized car which can propel itself forward in response to while the first nano car (without a motor) was built by James Tour in 2005. Read about it here- http://articles.cnn.com

A stimulating talk/lecture about nanotechnology in the first 15+ minutes- Webster defines nanotechnology as ‘the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale’. At the 19th minute Jim shares how he came to faith in Jesus Christ. The talk lasts about 49 minutes, followed by a 48 minute question and answer session.

The following are some notes I jotted down form the talk.

The first verse Dr. Tour ever thought about at the age of 18, in his freshman year of college was pointed out to him by a college sophomore. He was doing his first load of laundry at college and another young man, a sophomore who played quarterback on the Syracuse Football Team  was also in the laundry room. This young man started talking to him and Jim asked him, „What do you want to do when you leave school? Do you want to play professional football?” He said, „Oh no, I’m not good enough for that. Maybe I want to do lay ministry.” Well, Dr. Tour being from a secular Jewish home in New York City, he didn’t know what lay ministry was. So I said, „Lay ministry, what is that?” He said, „Oh, like a missionary.” I said, „Missionary? We don’t need missionaries today. This is 1977. Why do we need missionaries today. We got TV, TV can do everything.”

He told Jim that he wanted to give him an illustration of the Gospel. Here are the things he told Jim:

Jim: „He had me read a verse from the Bible. This was the first verse: Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And, when I read this, I looked at him and said, „I’m not a sinner.” He was a bit taken back by that. Now, sin is not something that secular Jews in New York think about. This was never ever a topic in our home. We never discussed God, we never discussed any of this stuff. As far as I was concerned, as far as I knew you would go to the synagogue once a year and the rabbi would take care of all of that. And we never really thought about it, at least I never did. And then, lo and behold, I understood christians, every thought, „Oh, oh I have sinned.” It’s constructed around this. But, it was a new concept to me and I said, „I’m not a sinner.”

He looked a bit bewildered and then he had me read another verse, Matthew 5:28 ‘But I say to you that anyone who looks at a woman with lust for her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ I read this verse and it was as if a knife had been stabbed right in my heart, because when I was 14 years old, I started working in a gas station on a highway going in and out of New York City… I told the owner I was 16, I was 14 years old. I learned that when I cleaned the parking lots on Friday nights, that I could find an amazing stash of pornographic magazines, as the salesmen, on their way home on friday nights would throw them out.

And I became addicted to pornography at a young age, at the age of 14. By the time I was 18, I was well addicted. And, I didn’t think anybody knew this. And then this man, Jesus Christ, said something 2000 years ago that just zeroed right in on my heart. And for any of you that have ever been, or are addicted to pornography, ( in my day there was no internet, it’s much easier now to get addicted to it) you understand how compelling that can be. 

And I couldn’t get this off my mind. Then he had me read another verse. Romans 5:8 ‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ I didn’t even know that there was a claim on the table- that Christ died for me. You would think, someone growing up in the United States, born and raised in New York, would have heard this somewhere. And, I’m sure I heard it on some TV program. I remember when I worked at the gas station, some people would give me some little tracts sometime and I’d sit on the night shift and read these sometime. But, nothing ever registered. But, all of a sudden after reading these verse- somebody died for me. 

And then I read that ‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord  and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.’ What an odd verse! Romans 10:9 If I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord- well, that’s pretty simple. But, ‘believe in my heart that God has raised Him from the dead’? Who could believe in a physical resurrection? Who could believe in such a thing? How could any thinking man or woman ever believe in a physical resurrection? Were it not for the case that it’s true. And God has set it in the very hearts of men and women to believe it’s true. Could that be? Could it be?

I was living at that time in a small dorm room at Syracuse University. On November 7, 1977 . So a couple of months after I heard this, that word was still  penetrating into my heart. And, I don’t know, to this day, what motivated me to do this. This was something that was not demonstrated to me in Christianity or in Judaism. I got down on my knees and I said, „Father, forgive me because I am a sinner.” At that moment it was as if somebody was in my room. I was all alone, my roommate wasn’t there. And I remember opening my eyes, because I felt somebody was in my room. I did not see anyone, but, all of a sudden there was this rush of cleansing over me and the feeling of conviction that I had about that lust in my heart about that pornography just went away. I started weeping. What a strange experience for some Jewish kid from New York City… to read a few verse… and I didn’t want to get up because I loved the presence of whoever was in my room. Something happened to me and I didn’t know what I was gonna do, what I was gonna say.

I remember a couple of weeks later, the young man who had shared these few verses with me looked at me a couple of weeks after this event (I didn’t tell anybody, what would this Jewish kid from New York say?)  and he said to me, ‘Jim, have you asked Jesus into your heart?’ I said, ‘I think I have, why do you ask?’ He said, ‘You haven’t stopped smiling for weeks. Something is different.’ And I sure felt different.  And I’ll tell you the other thing that happened to me on that day, which is really remarkable. There was no longer any hold of pornography over me. All of my magazines went in the trash, and never in all of these years has pornography been trouble for me again.

Now, this is very unusual. I have seen many men come to faith. I do prison ministry at a maximum security prison for 10 years. I’ve worked with many men, with many struggles. It is very rare that somebody on the day of salvation gets delivered in this way. What’s interesting is that I’ve been convicted of my sin through pornography. And on the day that I received Jesus, something changed in me.

Now, I’ll tell you what happened in my career, as a result…

 Jim Tour recounts some of the results of that experience and his decision to follow Jesus Christ.

  • First result was that he started striving to overcome sin on a daily basis.
  • One of those results is that he reads his bible every day. For over 30 years he has read from Genesis 1 through the end of Revelation. Then he started all over again and reads through the whole Bible. He doesn’t hurry. Every day he picks up where he left off the day before. As he reads, when he feels God speaking to him through the verses- he just reads that passage over and over.
  • He started seeking like minded friends.
  • He joined a church where he was mentored by godly men.
  • He started praying that God would provide a wife that He had for him. He realized that that would be a pretty important decision.
  • He started actively praying for God’s blessing on his studies.  Jim says he was struggling in freshman chemistry. He says he was never good or smart. His older sister was gifted, she is now head of Microsoft Research. HIs brother was one of those guys that always did well and never had to work very hard and now he’s a lawyer. As he was struggling with chemistry, he started praying for his class and ended the semester with a B+. After that, he took all the Organic Chemistry classes available and finished at the top of all of his classes. God really blessed his work and answered his prayer.

The impact of Scriptures on my career

  • Admonition to change my words and actions Proverbs 3:3-4 – Do not let kindness and truth leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. This transcends faith.
  • Admonition to value my family. I don’t know of many who marry and don’t do it out of love. But, love in itself doesn’t make marriage last forever. ~~Proverbs 5:18 ‘Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth.’ And then ~~Proverbs 22:6 ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.’ I invested in my children. We had daily prayer times.
  • Admonition to fear God and keep His commandments. ~~Ecclesiastes 12:13 ‘The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.’  ~~John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,’ Jesus said. ~~John 15:10- Jesus said, ‘If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.’ 

http://www.veritas.org/talks – Jim Tour, Ph.D., a professor at Rice University, is ranked in the top ten most cited chemists in the world. He is known for creating nanocars, nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures and carbon nanovectors in medicine. He will speak on nanotechnology, the impact of faith in his life and career, and about his love for Jesus Christ. Published on Nov 14, 2012 by 

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