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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Equipping Religious Leadership in an Age of Science - New Directions in Complexity

1st July 2013, 11:00 to 2nd July 2013, 15:00, St John's College, Durham University

The science-religion dialogue has become increasingly polarised in popular discourse. ‘New atheism’ proclaims that religion has been disproved by science. Christian believers are routinely represented as backward-striving, anti-science and even deluded. The conflict model of science and religion is also followed by growing numbers of creationists within faith communities. At the same time, developments in science pose unprecedented ethical and existential questions which science alone by no means can answer.

Our project, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, recognises that religious leaders faced with these challenges require confidence in their relation to science and the science-religion nexus. One way to renew confidence, we believe, is to engage strategic groups of church leaders in the constructive, fruitful science-religion dialogue which is quietly taking place at the cutting edge of scientific research, far away from the popular media. Our conferences bring together people from very diverse backgrounds – senior religious leaders, media professionals, theological educators, scientists, science-faith communicators and key academics – who through their strategic roles have in common the potential to affect the public science-religion dialogue here in the UK.

During the conferences we offer:

  • Opportunity to meet leading Durham scientists in their departments to learn about new developments relevant to the science-religion nexus
  • High quality theological input and reflection
  • Critical examination of the populist representation of the science-religion conflict model
  • Discussion of strategic plans for denominations and ministries in equipping church leaders
  • Historical case studies of the science-religion dialogue

The project is founded by Professor David Wilkinson, astrophysicist, theologian and Principal of St John’s College and Professor Tom Mc Leish, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research, physicist and Anglican lay reader.

Thinking Deeper into Complexity and Theology, Institute of Advanced Studies, Durham University, 3-5 July 2013.

Please contact if you would like to attend.

Contact for more information about this event.