DUBUQUE, Iowa — St. Pius X Seminary at Loras College has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation’s Science in Seminaries initiative for development of a course titled “Science, Faith and Knowledge” to begin fall 2017. This is the first science course in Iowa funded through the foundation. The seminary is associated with Loras College and operated under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Specifically, the funds will go toward library purchases, visiting scholars, and developing curriculum. Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology and Christoffer Lammer-Heindel, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, led the effort to gain the renewable award funded by the foundation at John Carroll University, Ohio.
This course will provide an interdisciplinary theoretical and practical introduction to scientific literacy in the natural, human, and behavioral sciences. It will assist students in constructing intellectual frameworks based in sound reason with which to consider the dynamic relationship among empirical scientific research, philosophical commitments, and theological beliefs.
“Students will be challenged to engage and assess scientific data as well as critically reflect on its practical, personal, and pastoral applications,” Kohlhaas said. “It will also challenge students to understand themselves and their place within the material universe from philosophical, theological, and scientific perspectives.”
The course, open to all Loras students, is divided into five sections: Belief, justification, and knowledge; faith, reason, and the Catholic worldview; faith and science: compatible or incompatible?; science and the study of religion; and pastoral applications.
According to the foundation, 31 science courses at seminaries throughout the country are supported through the Science in Seminaries project. The first and primary goal of this effort is to affect seminary curriculum in a way that is reasonable, challenging, and sustainable by introducing courses in scientific literacy in pre-theology and college programs that will make a measurable difference for seminarians in their future theological studies as well as in their eventual pastoral ministries.
About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras is ranked 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings and the 11th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges.