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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 20 - September 2007

 

A highlight of this month’s Faraday Institute activities has been the publication of Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living, SPCK, 245pp. by Nick Spencer & Bob White. This is the outcome of a collaborative project between the Faraday Institute, the Jubilee Centre and the John Ray Initiative. Prof. White has been concerned for some time that while Christianity and other monotheistic religions believe in a creator God, the state of the planet and our responsibility for it has often been neglected by those with religious commitments. Now climate change has forced us to realise that ‘environment’ is an issue for literally everyone. The Jubilee Centre has been researching many of the social and relational fallouts of our ‘unsustainable’ lifestyle, and this book combines science, theology and praxis. As Sir John Houghton writes in the Forward: “Don’t read this book if you are not prepared for its challenge!” It can be ordered at a special discount price of £8.00 inc UK p&p (the normal cover price is £9.99) from the Faraday website at www.faraday-institute.org.

August has been a good time to get some research done, a reminder that the central aim of the Faraday Institute is to engage in various research projects. Our historian Jason Rampelt completed a chapter this month on the American experimental chemist Edward Williams Morley, in his book on the relationship between religious belief and scientific creativity. Our theologians Hilary Marlow and Jonathan Moo continue their research into the ‘Transformation of the natural world according to the Christian Scriptures’. Hilary Marlow has recently completed an academic paper on Psalm 8 entitled WHO AM I? Psalm 8 and the Question of Human Existence as part of her research into the biblical understanding of the nature and role of humanity. Jonathan Moo has been immersed in the book of Revelation in the New Testament and its relation to the understanding of the cosmos in first century Palestine.

Both the Director and Associate Director were plenary session speakers at the CiS/ASA Conference held in Edinburgh this month under the title ‘New Frontiers in Science and Religion’, when 330 delegates, mainly from the US and Europe, came together for three days to address a broad array of current issues. In addition, Jason Rampelt gave a parallel session paper entitled, ‘Mediating Conflicts in Science and Theology: The Example of John Wallis (1616-1703)’ Jason also represented the Faraday Institute at a conference at Lancaster University, ‘Science and Religion: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’. This meeting was organised in honour of the career of John Hedley Brooke, retiring Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford, who has pioneered historical studies in this area over the past few decades. We wish him a happy and productive retirement! The Andreos Idreos Chair is now occupied by Prof. Peter Harrison and both remain regular lecturers at Faraday Institute activities.

The forthcoming September Course on ‘God and Biology’ is now full but there are still some places left for Short Course No 8 (‘Science and Religion for Church Leaders’, Nov 6-8, 2007) and it is worth emphasising that this Course is also open to lay workers, ordinands and others training for leadership.

Denis Alexander                                                       Bob White

            [Director, Faraday Institute]                          [Associate Director]