Bethany Theological Seminary
Bethany Theology Seminary wants students to glean practical insights from science that they can use in their ministry, and also to see how scientific discoveries open up large questions that call for theological and ethical contemplation. Bethany’s project is entitled “Binocular Vision: Seeing Life Through Eyes of Faith and Science.” The project coincides with its inauguaration of a new graduate level certificate in Science and Theology, which students will earn by taking courses that examine the intersections of these two areas.
But the project primarily aims to have all students in all degree programs receive added exposure to science. To this end, two core courses are undergoing changes. Russell Haitch, who teaches a survey course on pastoral ministry across the lifespan, has been revising this course to include insights from neuroscience. Nate Inglis has been revising his introductory course in theology to include insights from anthropology and biology. Other professors are taking up the challenge. A course that gives students a survey of modern Church History is now going to include a look at how the rise of modern science influenced religion in Europe and America. A new elective course is being offered, entitled “Science, Theology, and Ministry.” This course will examine lively topics, from NDE’s to AI (near-death experiences to artificial intelligence) through lenses of both science and religious faith. In addition, several other professors are submitting proposals to add a week or more of science to their courses, and the project will offer small stipends in consideration of their time spent making these revisions.
To cast its net more widely, Bethany is preparing for a three-day conference in April, 2019, for everyone on campus, as well as alumni, clergy in the area, and the general public. Called “Look at Life,” the conference will feature scientists and theologians in dialogue about questions related to the beginning of the universe, the start of human life on earth, and human development. Other component of the project include a series of sermons during weekly chapel services, which delve into passages of the Bible where faith and science intersect for today’s audiences, and a series of lunches, where students and local church leaders learn about opioid addiction and other pertinent issues, from the standpoints of both science and Christian faith.