Science in Christian Perspective



Science and Religion in the University

J. W. Haas, Jr.
Gordon College
Wenham MA 01984

From: PSCF  47 (September 1995): 149

The John A. Templeton Foundation initiative to support science and religion courses at institutions of higher learning has drawn a strong response from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, and the Near East for the 1994-5 round of competitive applications. Some 97 courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels will be supported at universities and colleges without religious affiliation as well as in Roman Catholic and Protestant schools and one Muslim institution. Both the teachers and their institutions receive financial incentives. The faculty members come from a wide diversity of backgrounds in the humanities as well as the social and natural sciences. The majority come from biblical studies and philosophy departments, departments more hospitable to the notion of religion than science departments. A teacher may often have degrees in both science and theology.

Participation in a recent workshop for 1994-5 course awardees has reinforced my appreciation for the special challenges faced by those offering courses in secular institutions. It has been suggested that the post-modern mood allows Christianity a niche in the academic marketplace, but some philosophy and science departments think otherwise. I would challenge our readership to consider contributing to this programˇespecially those who serve in non-church related institutions.

The diversity of teacher backgrounds and types of audiences has resulted in strikingly different course objectives and syllabi. We hope to bring condensed examples of these courses in subsequent issues. The Templeton Foundation and Science- Religion Course Director Robert Herrmann have provided a path-breaking program. Readers are encouraged to write the Templeton Foundation, 12 Spillers Lane, Ipswich MA 01938 for information concerning the 1995-6 competition.