Iliff School of Theology

The Iliff School of Theology’s project, “Incorporating Science and Launch of Artificial Intelligence Institute,” began with the launch of our Artificial Intelligence Institute in fall 2019. The Artificial Intelligence Institute seeks to partner with organizations across the country to examine artificial intelligence (AI) from both a theoretical and practical stance. Theoretically, we are re-framing questions of ethics as questions of AI, human nature, and how humans and machines can flourish together. Practically, the Institute is focusing on three tasks:

  • Curriculum: developing courses on AI and theology, and (with the generous support of AAAS) incorporating AI and physics into required courses so that every master’s student is exposed to science.
  • Community: We are building a set of tools to help AI-developing enterprises build AI in a framework that builds an ecosystem of trust (they will think of this as ethics; we draw on the philosophical and theological work of human flourishing mentioned above).
  • Coding: We are building an AI “Learning Partner” to participate in our online and hybrid classes to help our students learn better critical thinking skills by increasing the diversity in the class. This will also provide more frequent and specific feedback than a single human professor can do. We expect this Partner to be a disruptive pedagogical tool in the world of higher ed.

Iliff is incorporating AI into Introduction to Theology and quantum physics into Ethical Analysis and Advocacy. Both courses are required for master’s students. Additionally, we plan to incorporate science into two additional core Master of Divinity courses and to create at least one science-based theological course that will be offered as a First Year Interdisciplinary Course, which is a type of course required by all master’s students.

Our first campus-wide events will be occurring during the 2020 Renewal Conference ( for details and online participation) and will include a full day dedicated to “Science & Theology: Making Connections” on Monday, February 3, 2020. The plenary, by Dr. Philip Butler, is titled “Encoding Spirituality in Digital Eternalities.” There will be a coding workshop, afternoon panels on Iliff’s AI Institute, and a presentation on “Socially Useful Artificial Intelligence” by Dr. Mohammad Mahoor. Additional events will be finalized soon!

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Ethical Analysis and Advocacy II

This course, taught by Jennifer S. Leath at Iliff School of Theology, invites students to think about ethical analysis and advocacy from a variety of different lenses. Beginning with attention to ancient Egyptian and Greek morality, this course provides a framework for modern historic, modern, and post-modern models of ethical analysis. Interwoven throughout this course…
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