Using Science in Pastoral Ministry

Welcome to friends of the atom + Eve Project! All of the materials associated with the 2011-13 set of conferences related to the exploration of using science in pastoral ministry have been relocated to this page. The Washington Theological Consortium is a strong proponent of dialogue between religion and science and, in cooperation with one of our founding members, the Washington Theological Union, we were pleased to be part of this important undertaking. Please continue to make use of the printed materials, audio files and videos from these presentations in your academic or ministry settings.

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The Washingon Theological Union with the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, initiated a program to encourage a lively conversation between scientists and theologians on big issues of common interest such as creation, evolution, and spirituality. Under the leadership of Rev. Joseph F. Wimmer, S.T.D. and Daryl P. Domning, Ph.D., four public conferences featuring scientists and theologians were held between fall 2011 and spring 2013 on various issues of the interaction between science and religion. The results are published here and available to all.

 

Conference 1: November 2011

Scientists Stephen M. Barr (Univ. of Delaware) and Sten Odenwald (NASA), along with Catholic University theologians Robert D. Miller and James Wiseman, OSB, provided us with much food for thought and a sophisticated understanding of divine creation in their November 12, 2011 presentations on the Origin of the Universe.

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Session 1: Modern Physics, the Beginning and Creation

Dr. Stephen M. Barr, PhD, University of Delaware

PDF | Audio-Lecture | Audio-Q&A | Video

Session 2: What the Bible Can Contribute to an Understanding of Divine Creation

Dr. Robert D. Miller, II, SFO, PhD, Catholic University of America

PDF | Audio-Lecture | Audio-Q&A | Video

Session 3: Modern Cosmology, Building a Better Container for the Human Soul

Dr. Sten Odenwald, PhD, National Aeronautics & Space Administration

PDF | Audio-Lecture | Audio-Q&A | Video

Session 4: Theology and the Big Bang

Rev. Abbot James Wiseman, OSB, STD, Catholic University of America

PDF | Audio-Lecture | Audio-Q&A | Video

 

Conference 2: April 2012

Evolutionary biologists traced the scientific basis of the origin of life and its development, including that of higher primates and humans.  Catholic theologians proposed a view of the creation of the human soul that is in harmony with scientific findings.  Both groups sought to answer questions on the origin of life, from the viewpoint of their own discipline.

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Session 1: Mutualism in the Darwinian Scenario

Dr. Robert Ulanowicz, PhD, Emeritus, Maryland University, Center for Ecological Studies

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 2: Darwinian Natural Selection and Why Theology Can’t Do Without It

Dr. Daryl Domning, PhD, Howard University

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 3: What Does It Mean to Have a Soul?

Rev. Abbot James Wiseman, OSB, STD, Catholic University of America

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 4: Human Development: Ethical Implications

Rev. Dr. John W. Crossin, OSFS, PhD, Executive Director Emeritus, the Washington Theological Consortium

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 5: The Origin of Life and It’s Development – Panel Discussion

Audio | Video

 

Conference 3: November 2012

Scientists reviewed studies on the group behavior of higher primates which is homologous to human competition and cooperation, and looked at the evolutionary roots of human morality.  Catholic biblical and moral theologians laid out a contemporary view of evil, theodicy, original sin and moral life that is harmonious with contemporary science.  A major goal was to offer ministers a more adequate way of addressing the “problem of evil” in a pastoral context.

Conf-3-Topper

Session 1: Sin, Suffering, and Salvation: What Does Evolution Have to Say about Them?

Dr. Daryl Domning, PhD, Howard University

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 2: Human Evolution and the Development of Intellectual and Spiritual Culture

Dr. Richard Potts, PhD, Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 3: The Bible, Evolution and the Catholic Understanding of Original Sin

Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Wimmer, O.S.A., STD, Washington Theological Union

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 4: Evolution and Ethics: Suffering, Moral Evil, and Virtue

Rev. Kevin O’Neil, C.SS.R., S.T.D.

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 5: Primate ‘Ethics’ and Human Morality – Panel Discussion

Audio | Video

 

Conference 4: March 2013

Scientists and Catholic theologians examined Divine Providence, the Cosmological Anthropic Principles and new insights gained from a holistic view of science and theology in an increasingly interconnected world. What spiritual benefits can be gleaned from a heightened scientific awareness?

Conf-4-Topper

Session 1: Are the Universe and Its Laws “Designed for Life”?

Dr. Stephen M. Barr, PhD, University of Delaware

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 2: The Anthropic Principle in Psychological Science and Christian Theology

Dr. Everett Worthington II, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 3: The Material Turn

Rev. Dr. Michael J. Scanlon, O.S.A., STD, Catholic University

PDF | Video

Session 4: Christ in Evolution

Dr. Ilia Delio, O.S.F., PhD, Woodstock Center, Georgetown University

PDF | Audio | Video

Session 5: Spirituality in an Evolutionary World – Panel Discussion

Audio | Video