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Winter 2003 | Volume 26, Number 1 | Campus
Thanks to New Grant, SPU Will Host
Lecture Series on Science and Faith

BEFORE 1980,
almost no university courses seriously examined science and religion together. Now many institutions, including Seattle Pacific University, offer courses creating a dialogue between the two fields. Beginning this quarter, Seattle Pacific is also bringing to Seattle noted speakers on the relationship between science and faith, thanks to a three-year grant from the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science and matching funds from the University.

SPU Professor of Theological Studies Randy Maddox, who wrote the grant proposal, says it funds the newly created Seattle Initiative in Science and Religion Dialogue. As part of this initiative, Seattle Pacific will host a series of lectures, inviting Seattle University, the University of Washington and the greater Seattle community. The series features experts who explore topics such as ecology, genetics and psychology, relating them to issues of faith. “Many students come to college with science and religion in two parts of their brains,” says Maddox. “Some think Christianity cancels out scientific theories, while many in our culture think science has disproven traditional Christianity.”

On January 16, the first speaker in the series was David C. Lindberg, co-editor of God and Nature, a groundbreaking book of essays that in 1986 helped recharge college-level discourse on science and faith. While on campus, Lindberg also met with faculty and with University Scholars to discuss his article “Galileo, the Church and the Cosmos.”

Maddox serves on a steering committee for the initiative with Bruce Congdon, professor of biology; John Lindberg, assistant professor of physics; Patrick McDonald, assistant professor of philosophy; Tim Nelson, associate professor of biology; and Rod Stiling, associate professor of history.

Says Maddox, “If there’s a place that can explore sympathetically, yet honestly, the disciplines of science and religion, it ought to be SPU. The borders between the two fields are becoming more permeable. Science and religion can learn from, not replace, one another.”

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