On Monday 13 November our Religious Education teachers from years 7-12 had our final Professional Learning Community day for the year. The focus for this session was the relationship between Science and Faith, with the morning led by Rev Dr Chris Mulherin Executive Director of ISCAST (Christianity and Science in Conversation) and teacher at Catholic Theological College.
Chris led our RE team through the ways Christianity has historically embraced science, including many Christian scientists such as Isaac Newton, inventor of the laws of gravity and motion, and Franics Collins the American Physician-Geneticist who discovered many disease genes and was Head of the Human Genome Project. We considered how science would regard the mystery of the miracles of Jesus as well as those of our galaxies and natural world. Whilst looking at the differences that exist between faith and science, the key message was that they are ‘friends’!
Chris also unpacked some of the implications of Artificial Intelligence and bioethics for us, and the challenges that transhumanism poses for faith. Staff then worked on creating curriculum for students that will offer the opportunity to grapple with questions around our humanity, faith, and technological advancements. We had surveyed our students prior to the session to find out about their beliefs around faith and science. Here is a particularly thoughtful response from Olivia in year 9 who was happy for it to be shared more widely:
“I think lots of people try to argue about faith vs science when really faith and science are the same thing. I think of God as metaphorical, the universe, and in Christian faith, God is spirit. In the medieval period, many people thought that things like thunder were created by God’s wrath. I think that is a valid explanation if you believe in God. But the science behind the thunder can also be seen as God because the science is almost miraculous. I don’t think religion and science need to argue about everything, I think that they are very much connected.”
Pedagogy of Encounter Leader