McCormick Theological Seminary

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McCormick Seminary is committed to preparing men and women for ministry that will be faithful, relevant, and effective in our contemporary context.  For religious leaders today, capacity for thoughtful interaction with the sciences is not optional—it is essential.  People of faith engage science daily.  There are scientists and science teachers in the pews of our churches.  How are these church members integrating what they are learning from science sources with the life of faith?  How can their pastors help?  The really big questions people of faith in fact ask, are likely to be deepened and illumined through engagement with science.

Our grant from the AAAS/ATS Science for Seminaries project is empowering us to make a greater impact in this important work.  Ten of our faculty are now engaged in an incentivized program of continuing education in science engagement to better prepare ourselves.  A first installment on this was participation in a religion and science focused event in conjunction with the American Theological Society.  There we heard from five scientists and theologians who were contributors to he edited volume, Interactive World, Interactive God, which participants received in advance of the meeting.  The second installment of this has been a faculty book discussion group.  We just finished John Haught’s, The New Cosmic Story:  Inside Our Awakening Universe, and three faculty members prepared responses for our discussion.

We are redesigning of two required foundational courses to engage the relevant science.  Introduction to Theology, for example, will ask questions such as:  How do we think about God as Creator in light of what we know about the origin and evolution of the cosmos.  How do we think about God acting in world process in ways consonant with what we are learning from science about the way the world works?  The Introduction to Ethics course will explore issues around the evolution of morality and issues around race—particularly the discovery from the genome project that there is no biological basis for division of the human family into races.

Two Science Events will take place embedded in these courses and will be open to the entire McCormick community as well as local alums and church leaders. On February 28th Grace Wolf-Chase, Astronomer at Adler Planetarium, will offer an event on “Stars, Planets, and Prospects for Extraterrestrial Life in our Interactive Cosmos.”  On April 25th Ron Cole-Turner, Professor of Ethics at Pittsburgh Seminary, will offer an event on “The Human Future” considering human enhancement technologies and the theological/ethical questions they pose.

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In furtherance of the AAAS mission of advancing science in service to society, AAAS|DoSER’s role in the Science for Seminaries project is to support efforts to integrate science into seminary education. AAAS|DoSER does not advise on or endorse the theological content of the participating seminaries.