Society for Religion and Science Spirituality in the Age of Science: Foundations, Challenges, and Surprises Chairpersons: David A. Dunbar, Ph.D., Leonard Norman Primiano, Ph.D.
The Cabrini College Society for Religion and Science celebrates and promotes diversity of opinion and openness of expression for the intellectual nexus of religion, spirituality, and science. Through regularly scheduled programs—book discussions, meetings, and lectures—the College community considers important topics such as the historical relationship and philosophical foundation between religion and science, the challenges of the scientist as believer or non-believer, and new worldviews on cosmology, evolution, intelligent design, environmental issues, neurotheology, and spirituality and medicine.
The work of the Cabrini College Society—a core group of interdisciplinary faculty from departments including religious studies, philosophy, and science, and additional members from outside the Cabrini community—is enhanced, framed, and informed by the participation of invited guests who lecture or lead discussions for the Society. David J. Hufford, Ph.D., professor and chair of medical humanities at Penn State's College of Medicine, is one of the pioneers in the study of alternative medicine, and scholar of the interface of religion and science as systems of belief and practice He serves as a mentor and advisor to the Cabrini College Society.
Program and Activities Religion and science stand together, and faculty and other members of the College community believe that a dialogue about important issues from the perspective of science, theology, and religious studies is needed to strengthen and integrate the relationship of these significant components of intellectual life on the campus.
What challenges does the growth of science present to the contemporary Roman Catholic liberal arts college? Is science a challenge to spirituality? What is the role of believer in science and the role of non-believing scientist within a religious environment? The Metanexus Local Societies Initiative (LSI) provides the impetus and larger context for a creative and constructive engagement of religion and science. This will not only energize this campus, but connect it to the other Metanexus LSI dialogues, both locally and internationally. Most importantly, the Cabrini College Society for Religion and Science makes visible the expanded presence of scientific study and research on this campus, along with an appreciation of the institution's Catholic intellectual heritage.
Membership The Local Society Initiative at Cabrini College draws on the 65 full-time faculty members of the College representing all fields. Chaired by David A. Dunbar, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, and Leonard Norman Primiano, Ph.D., professor and chair of religious studies, the Cabrini College Society consists of 17 faculty and administrators, including the campus minister. The Society's activities are open to all faculty, administrators, staff, undergraduate students, and members of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the founding religious order and sponsor of the College. Beyond the campus community, the Cabrini College Society invites scientists from the College's Biotechnology Advisory Board who represent regional pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, science educators from the surrounding school districts, and members of local churches. LSI membership is also extended to faculty members from Cabrini's neighboring institutions: Eastern University and the Valley Forge Military Academy and College. In addition, the Cabrini College Society invites and advertises its opportunities for dialogue to the schools that form the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for High Education (SEPCHE), an eight-member group of area Catholic and private colleges that work collaboratively on projects. The Cabrini College Society, therefore, looks to expand its ranks with individuals from these institutions, which include Arcadia University, Immaculata University, Gwynedd-Mercy College, Chestnut Hill College, Holy Family University, Neumann University, and Rosemont College.