Abrahamic Reflections on Science and Religion: Activities



Activities strip

EVENTS

Each year, we will gather together to lay the foundation for a robust Abrahamic scholarly community. Together as a group, we will think out loud and at the highest levels about issues in science and religion. Each gathering will include an introduction to one of the three religions. We aim to build bridges, learn about one another’s faith traditions, inspire new thinking, and generate new writings in science and religion.  

The gatherings and their related activities include (locations are tentative):

1. 2017 May 9-14 at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. We began with a session led by our Muslim participants, “What is Islam?” Senior scholars led presentations that set up both problems and prospects. Finally, we assembled multi-faith teams who will work together the next two years to produce the project’s scholarly writings. We also participated in the Grand Dialogue in Science and Religion at Grand Valley State University. Check out the full conference summary here: 2017 Conference

2. 2018 gathering in Ohrid, Macedonia. We met together to share midterm/preliminary results of our research and to continue to build bridges/relationships. The Jewish participants offered a workshop, “What Is Judaism?”  Check out the full conference summary here: 2018 Conference

3. 2019 gathering in Casablanca, Morocco and Amman, Jordan. This gathering will include a concluding workshop for all scholarly participants as well as a concluding conference. At the workshop, Christian scholars will lead a session, “What is Christianity?” Participants will also present their written work with comments received from our Abrahamic scholarly community. We will use the comments and criticisms to prepare our final drafts for the books. At the concluding conference, all of the participants, along with some locals, will present on issues in science and religion to a wide, public audience at the King Hussein Convention Center, Dead Sea - Jordan. More info here.
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KEY QUESTIONS 

  • Is randomness a feature of reality or is it a feature of human cognitive limitations?  

  • Should we be wary, given the current state of science or of human cognitive limitations, of supposing that fundamental physical indeterminacy is real? 

  • Does quantum randomness impact genetic mutations? 

  • Can we infer metaphysical theses or theological doctrines from the biological and physical sciences? 

  • How can or should science inform questions about providence (or theology, or metaphysics more broadly)?

  • How might randomness affect our conceptions of divinity, especially our understanding of divine providence?  

  • Is it possible for random processes to be employed for the successful attainment of one’s purposes?   

  • Assuming randomness, could God have intended and achieved the creation of specific human persons? 

  • How might randomness be reconciled with God's omniscience or foreknowledge? 

  • What are the implications of randomness for divine omnipotence? 

  • Are there implications of randomness for understanding God’s relationship to time? 

  • How is contingency constrained in ways that facilitate the progressive emergence of biophilic properties and the directional amplification of life itself? 

BOOKS

At the conclusion of the project, this Abrahamic scholarly community will collectively publish two books: 

  1. Scholarly book – a monograph on randomness and providence suitable for publication in a major university publisher. 

  2. Popular book – a jointly authored book aimed at non-scholars on randomness and providence from the perspective of the Abrahamic traditions. 

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If you're free tomorrow night (Tuesday, Aug 6 7:30pm), I'm giving a public talk, "Strangers, Neighbors, Friends: Muslim-Christian-Jewish Reflections on Compassion and Peace" at Beacon Hill (1845 Boston Street SE #GrandRapids MI 49506) Free event.
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