Religious Faith
and Scientific
Understanding

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Themes for Week 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Themes for Week 2: Science and Theology in the Enlightenment

1. The growth of the scientific method, particularly after Bacon, the contrast with the previously regnant Aristotelian science, and the exemplary successes and/or controversies associated with the names of Galileo, Kepler, and Newton.
2. The effect of Newtonian mechanics and causal determinism on conceptions of divine action; the meaning of deism vs. theism.
3. The origins and development of the so-called "Enlightenment Religion of Reason" and Christian theological reactions against it.
4. The origins and development of modern atheism in this context.
5. The powerful religious convictions of Enlightenment scientists (especially Newton).
6. The collapse of the religion of reason under the force of both romanticism and philosophical critique (especially Hume).
7. The accelerating advance of the natural sciences into every aspect of nature.

Themes for Week 3: Science and Theology in the Nineteenth Century

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 4: Science and Theology in the Contemporary Period

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Themes for Week 5: Ways of Relating Science and Theology

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 6: A Debate on Comparative Method of Science and Theology

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 7: Similarities and Differences between Science and Theology

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 8: Cosmology and Creation

Big Bang cosmology:
1. Basic account of Big Bang cosmology, including key events in the first three minutes.
2. Steady state theory-both the 18th century (Newton) and 20th century (Hoyle et al.) versions of it-and the decisive significance of the cosmic background radiation.
3. The dependence of the future fate of the cosmos upon the mass of the universe.
4. Reception of the Big Bang as religiously significant by both scientists and theologians.
5. The various ways of understanding the theological significance of Big Bang cosmology.

Quantum cosmology:
6. The variety of quantum theories of the origin of the universe.
7. The theological significance of Big Bang cosmology in the context of quantum gravity (attending especially to Hawking).

Other issues:
8. The Cosmological Anthropic Principle, and its philosophical and theological import.
9. The magnitude (size, age, complexity) of the universe, and theological implications.
10. The possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, and theological implications.
11. The nature of time in physics and human experience, and theological implications.
12. The laws of nature, contingency and determinateness, and theological implications.

Themes for Week 9: Chaos Theory and Divine Action

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 10: Quantum Complementarity and Christology

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 11: Information Theory and Special Revelation

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 12: Molecular Biology and Human Freedom

COMING SOON

Themes for Week 13: Social Genetics and Religious Ethics

COMING SOON

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