Day 7 of SBLAAR20

STEM, Science Fiction, and Religion—Seventh Day of a 10 day Academic Conference in 2020

Today marked my earliest morning attendance for this virtual conference. The “wildcard” session on religious responses to the coronavirus showed up on my daily ATIV email, and I listened in even before my first cup of coffee.

The session looking at religious responses to coronavirus is tied to an ongoing research project called CoronAsur: Religion & COVID-19. This project has collected stories about how people around the world perceive coronavirus through a religious lens. The project also looks at how religious ceremonies continue during the pandemic. This collection of human responses to particularities of this pandemic are important to inform what will be essential to religion in the future.

Another session I joined later in the morning covered intersections of science, technology, and religion. Panelists shared very brief summaries of their contribution to the T&T Clark Handbook of Christian Theology and the Modern Sciences. This work marks a movement growing in the past several years to engage religion, philosophy, and theology responsibly in discussions raised by S.T.E.M. scholarship. This interdisciplinary approach is a practical way forward in a world where humanities are seeming disengaged.

For years, I have attempted to bring theological and biblical concepts into conversation with scientific conversations by means of themes raised in science fiction, as a literary extension of S.T.E.M. disciplines. I am currently working on a book that seeks to engage ethical themes raised by technology and futurism in the 21st Century series Battlestar Galactica. During the research and writing process for this project, I have felt encouraged to seek further intersections of scholarship between theology and science.

If you are interested in furthering this discussion, this Wednesday, there is a discussion entitled Imagining Different Worlds: Science, Ethics, and Faith in Science Fiction, hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Registration is free; all are welcome.

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