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  • Religion and Science in Pastoral Ministry

    This page began as an archive of a series of lectures given from 2011-13 as part of “the atom + Eve Project: Using Science in Pastoral Ministry.” It continues to grow to include other religion and science resources of value to the ecumenical communtiy. 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.

    In addition to the below items, here are some additional resources in religion and science:
    Ecology and the Churches–inclusive resource of Christian, Jewish, and interdneominational position statements (and resources) on the Environment

    Evolution, Faith, and Original Sin–a study guide written by faculty at Howard University and Catholic University on the science and theology of human nature.

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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.

    Conf-1-Topper

    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.

    Conf-2-TopperB

    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