New Horizons: A Society for the Study of Science and World Religions
Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy
With an advisory board of academicians from Hendrix and other area institutions representing the fields of biology, religious studies, psychology, epidemiology, physics, mathematics, along with an Imam from the Islamic Society of Little Rock, New Horizons explores “the theoretical and practical intersection of science and religion as they jointly shape the minds and actions of citizens in central Arkansas, with special attention to students considering science as a vocation.” The planners “offer students and citizens opportunities to think critically about science and religion without being shaped by the politically charged atmosphere.” Nine monthly discussions per year present relevant themes and hold open discussions on issues in science, world religions, and sustainability. Two interested or identified students who have chosen science as a vocation (health care, environmental research and other ‘hands on’ application of scientific methods) are awarded internships to work with the New Horizons program to encourage the development of spiritual sensitivity. The society also hosts eight monthly ecumenical book study groups, inviting students and citizens for dinner to consider contemporary books in science and faith. The Steel Center sponsors an annual, public religion-and-science lecture focusing on topics especially relevant to society in Arkansas. To support this effort and broaden outreach into new scientific and faith communities, a website focused on science, religion, and sustainability will be launched. The site will be specifically tailored to provide access for public school teachers and college students to issues pertaining to Arkansas and links to the many pre-exiting science-faith sites. Some planned topics include altruism in biology and religion, Big Bang theory and creationism, how science influences images of God, mystical states and neurobiology, psychological studies faith in relation to health, Buddhist images of consciousness, karma and determinism, quantum theories and implications for understanding the universe, meditation and health, language of religion and language of science, and mindfulness and science “accepting reality on its own terms.” Matching funds are provided by the Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy and the Career Services Office of Hendrix College.