Christianity and Modern Science

Science and religion may seem unlikely bedfellows, especially if popular narratives of a conflict between the two are to be believed. In this seminar, we will consider the relationship between various aspects of Christianity and modern science. While there are many ways to handle the (both real and perceived) tension between scientific and theological knowledge, we will take as our point of departure an assumption that contributions from both fields are intellectually valuable. From this lens, we will consider how relatively recent scientific developments such as evolutionary theory, quantum mechanics, and modern cosmology interact with classical Christian doctrines of creation, evil and suffering, divine and human agency, and the future of the cosmos. We will cover a new topic each meeting, basing the discussion on a short selection of readings.

Dates: Mondays on 3/15, 3/29, 4/12, 4/26

Time: 5:30-6:45pm PST

Location: Zoom

Discussion Schedule:

 

 

Week 1: Science and Religion

  • Joshua M. Moritz, “The Boundaries and Limits of Science and Faith,” in Science and Religion: Beyond Warfare and Toward Understanding (Anselm Academic: Winona, 2016), 58-81
  • Nathan J. Hallanger, “Ian G. Barbour,” in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity (Wiley-Blackwell: West Sussex, 2012), 602-606. NOTE: This is not the whole chapter, just the sections on critical realism and Barbour’s typology.
  • Optional: Mikael Stenmark, “How to Relate Christian Faith and Science,” in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity (Wiley-Blackwell: West Sussex, 2012), 63-73

Week 2: Quantum Mechanics and Agency

  • Robert John Russell, “Does ‘The God Who Acts’ Really Act?: New Approaches to Divine Action in Light of Science,” Theology Today54(1), 1997, 43-65.
  • William R. Stoeger, S.J., “Quantum Theory, Philosophy, and Theology: Is there a distinct Roman Catholic perspective?” iWhite Plains, NY 10605

Week 3: Creation, Evolution, and the Imago Dei

  • Deborah B. Haarsma & Loren D. Haarsma, “Scientific and Theological Issues on Human Origins,” in Origins (2e), Faith Alive (Grand Rapids, 2011), 229-250.
  • Keith B. Miller, “‘And God Saw That It Was Good’: Death and Pain in the Created Order,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 63(2), 2011, 85-94
  • Optional: Holmes Rolston, III, “Suffering Through to Something Higher,” in James W. Haag, et al. (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science, Routledge (New York, 2012), 248-258

Week 4: Modern Cosmology and Eschatology

  • Joshua M. Moritz, “The End of All Things and the New Beginning,” in Science and Religion: Beyond Warfare and Toward Understanding (Anselm Academic: Winona, 2016), 273-289
  • Robert Russell, “Eschatology in Science and Theology,” in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity (Wiley-Blackwell: West Sussex, 2012), 543-555
  • Optional: Laurence Krauss, “The End of Cosmology?” in The Scientific American, May 2008.

**This seminar is free and is open to all full-time college students and recent graduates.

Karl van Bibber
Professor of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley

 

 

 

 

Elliot Rossomme
Doctoral candidate in Physical Chemistry at UC Berkeley