Published on February 14, 2014 by Sean Flynt  

Samford University’s Center for Science and Religion has received two new grants totaling $281,620 to advance its mission to promote education and research at the interface of science and religion. 

A $200,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation and an additional gift of $81,620 secured with assistance from the Issachar Fund will support projects including an international conference at Samford, a series of noted speakers, pastor workshops, a visiting professor, a full-time project administrator and educational collaborations between the Center and Samford’s Beeson Divinity School and Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence.

“From the beginning, our vision has been to create a major international center” said Samford computer science professor and project leader Steve Donaldson. “These new opportunities, combined with a current research grant and other foundational Center for Science and Religion activities, have opened the door to long-term influence in our geographical region and beyond."

The Templeton Foundation grant is the largest of three such grants the center has earned since 2011. Previous awards of $30,000 and $170,000 supported a series of public seminars and ongoing computer-based evolutionary simulations, respectively.

Highlights of the new work include:

Science and Religion Course and Lecture Series—Starting in fall, 2014, the Center will partner with Samford’s Beeson Divinity School and the Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence to host classes and public lectures by six major figures in science and religion.

Pastor Workshops--Starting in February, 2015, the center will partner with the Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence to conduct three one-day science and religion workshops for pastors. Workshops in Birmingham, Auburn, and Huntsville will explore crucial issues in discussing science and religion in church settings.

International Conference on Transhumanism and the Church--A June, 2015, conference will explore how radical changes to human physical and cognitive capabilities enabled by emerging technologies will affect conceptions of what it means to be human, influence views of spirituality and deity, impact the church, and modify ways of living and interacting. The best papers presented at the conference will be included in an edited book.

Visiting Professor--Starting in fall, 2015, the Center for Science and Religion will partner with Beeson Divinity School for two semesters to host a visiting professor with significant academic credentials in science and religion.
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.