The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) proposes a unique suite of activities expanding the role of science in theological education. Science for Seminaries Phase II follows a very successful pilot project (Science for Seminaries: Integrating Science into Core Theological Education). It is designed to leverage the significant interest in science engagement that we saw from nearly 40% of North American seminaries in the original project and expand science appreciation by providing opportunities for additional seminaries to integrate science in their core curricula.
Sci4Sem Phase II will be a 5-year AAAS initiative supporting 4 cohorts of 8 schools per year. A total of 32 seminaries (11% of ATS schools) will be added to Sci4Sem’s original 10 pilot seminaries. Sub-grants will fund 18-month projects, following a proposal selection process in late fall and award distribution in January. This proposed timeline is designed to coincide with the academic calendar, such that curriculum planning for science integration in two core courses will take place in the spring semester (January – June). Course implementation and one science-focused campus event will take place during a single academic year (July year 1 to July year 2).
By focusing on core seminary courses, we guarantee that all students at target institutions will be exposed to science and its many implications for religion. It ensures that more seminarians will graduate with an appreciation of science and its relevance to their future ministries. Those congregations will benefit from an atmosphere that is conducive to thoughtful engagement with science, allowing a larger number of parishioners to encounter science constructively. The religious public will increasingly find less conflict and more confluence between science and their faith. Finally, they will be better equipped to engage life’s big questions.