Going Deeper: Presenting Faith and Science in a Postmodern World
In the last two years, a strong community of scientists and theologians has coalesced under the umbrella of New Zealand Christians in Science (NZCIS). Funded by a Templeton World Charity Foundation grant, NZCIS enabled them to engage the big questions around science and faith. Its online blogs, regular talks, and high-profile visiting speakers have facilitated helpful, innovative, and robust theological discussions. Core groups have formed at the University of Auckland (UoA) and at Otago University.
Now, NZCIS seeks to expand and deepen its impact. First, it will expand its presence in university centers in several ways:
- Partner with students by resourcing local small groups and liaising more deliberately with national student organizations.
- Broaden the range of voices in the theology and science conversation by including Maori and Pacifika, increasing the number of women, and inviting members of other faiths to speak at the NZCIS seminar series.
- Encourage conversations and dialogues with more depth and longevity by holding small groups and a seminar series and by partnering with a university to run an undergraduate course once every two years.
Second, NZCIS will cultivate leaders in local churches, especially those serving young adults. Taking inspiration from the STEAM project in the United States learning, NZCIS will engage churches in the following ways:
- Provide churches with speakers who can communicate the complementarity of science and theology. It will also provide resources for sermon and discussion groups for church leaders in four cities to provide safe spaces for discussions.
- Produce resources such as topic pamphlets (like the ASA pamphlet “When God and Science Meet,” but adapted for the New Zealand context), online resources, and an edited book of New Zealand contributions suitable for a church audience.
By expanding NZCIS’s geographical impact, breadth of voices, quality of discussions, and resources for churches, project director Graeme Finlay and his team hope to see a new phase of growth and an enhanced ability to engage the public.