A Grand Dialogue in Science and Religion for the Greater Grand Rapids Area
Grand Valley State University
An outgrowth of a faculty discussion group founded in 1997, composed of faculty from departments of physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, philosophy, history and campus ministry at Grand Valley, this effort now invites participation through an inter-institutional advisory board to expand programs with partner institutions in the area. Religious backgrounds of core participants include the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu faiths. This society pursues a two-fold program agenda, both internal and external. The internal agenda expands the original bi-weekly reading discussions, bringing to campus one of the authors of the books or articles being discussed to introduce students and the public to the ideas presented in the reading through public lectures. The author also meets with the local society group in a weekend seminar to explore views and ideas more deeply. A summer seminar is sponsored to provide an extended effort and develop ideas into publication or curriculum offerings. The external agenda engages other institutions in addressing issues in science and religion to create a broad “grand dialogue” for the Greater Grand Rapids Area, encouraging various traditions and faith communities to share their insights and refine their ideas in an interfaith, interdisciplinary dialogue. Grand Dialogue acts as a nucleus for the development of an inter-institutional structure in science and religion that encourages both specific religious and disciplinary focus, while facilitating the cross-pollination of faith and community perspectives. Outreach targets nine area institutions of higher learning and several faith-based and civic institutions. An advisory board representative of the broad scope of the program has been developed. Matching funds are provided by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Grand Valley State University.