Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Senator John Kerry: "On Faith"

Monday, March 19, Gordon welcomed John Kerry, Senior Senator from Massachusetts, as the inaugural speaker in the Richard F. Gross Distinguished Lecture Series at Gordon College.

In a public letter to Gordon President Michael Lindsay in honor of his inauguration this past September, the Senator reflected openly on his Catholic faith and its importance in his life. This new lectureship provided a fitting forum for Mr. Kerry, who discussed how his faith impacts his personal and policy decisions. The event closed with a rather candid question-and-answer time between the Senator and President Lindsay, which addressed the Senator's opinions on the KONY2012 campaign, abortion and more.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Princemere: the Gordon College Academic Journal

Hillary Sherratt ’12 is a Pike Scholar from Rowley, Mass, and student writer for the Office of College Communications. She writes about her experience as editor of the inaugural issue of Princemere: the Gordon College Academic Journal:

The Gordon student body is used to brightly colored signs and an endless supply of hot chocolate from the Academic Support Center during the final exam period each semester. Students carry stacks of books to and from the Jenks library and sit with each other late into the night in Chester’s Place, finishing the final papers and presentations for their classes.

When Alysa (Obert) Seeland ’11 suggested to me that there should be a way to honor the hard work of Gordon students in their classes, we immediately thought of an academic journal. I remember walking away and dreaming about how amazing would it be to gather a sample of excellent Gordon work, from different departments across campus, and share it with the whole community.


Friday, March 9, 2012

The Harmony Between Science and Faith

Dr. Karl Giberson, physicist and author of the recently published The Language of Science and Faith with NIH director Francis Collins, gave annual Crum Lecture, organized by the Center for Christian Studies, at Gordon College yesterday afternoon. Provocatively titled, “Are Science and Religion at War?” Dr. Giberson’s lecture aimed to “dismantle the falsehoods” that reinforce the concept of a war between science and religion in our culture. “How does pop culture feed this concept?” he asked, clicking through examples from The Simpsons, Family Guy, and the Ken Ham book, Answers in Genesis. In all of these examples, he argued, we can see the juxtaposition of the two camps.

For a recent book project, Dr. Giberson profiled six of the most influential scientists of our time—including Richard Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, and Stephen J. Gould. None of the scientists profiled have a particular religious conviction, which Giberson suggested feeds the misconception that science and religion are incompatible. “The public face of science is so different from the scientific community itself,” he remarked.

His lecture covered four key stories in the history of science that have been used to argue that there is a fundamental conflict between science and religious faith. The first was the Christian endorsement of the flat earth, followed by the story of Galileo and the inquisition, Darwin’s religious journey, and finally, the 1925 Scopes Trial in Tennessee.

In each example, Dr. Giberson pointed out that the historical evidence does not suggest there was a fundamental conflict between religious and scientific thinking. At the time of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas, virtually no one believed in a flat earth—instead, they were concerned that the earth was much bigger than Columbus suggested. “In the time between Christ’s life and Christopher Columbus, we know of two minor people who genuinely believed the earth was flat,” said Giberson. Those two minor figures were used to stand in for the church in Andrew Dickson White’s book, History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, published at the end of the 19th century to defend the secular charter of Cornell University. White popularized the notion that science and faith were fundamentally opposed using this and the other stories.

Dr. Giberson’s lecture revealed how historically nuanced each story is—from the papal politics surrounding Galileo’s inquisition to Darwin’s journey away from faith because of his daughter’s premature death. He noted that evolution during the Scopes Trial was closely associated with eugenics and the idea of categorizing people according to race in efforts to “improve” the human race. “It was not the theory of natural selection and mutation that was argued in the Scopes’ textbook.” In explaining the history of these stories, Dr. Giberson revealed many of our culture's misunderstandings about the relationship between science and faith. The speaker closed by urging the audience to see the absolute harmony between science and faith,
rather than thinking of the two in conflict

Dr. Giberson is currently teaching a course in science and writing at Gordon College, and his newest book, The Wonder of the Universe: Hints of God in Our Fine-Tuned World, has just been released from InterVarsity Press. 

Story by Gordon student Hillary Sherratt '12, a Pike Scholar from Rowley, Mass, and student writer for the Office of College Communications.


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Justice Conference

Theresa Bennett '12 is an international affairs major from Mesa, Arizona. Bennett has just returned from the national Justice Conference in Portland, Oregon. She shares her story with Notes Along the Way:

It was a typing mistake that first led me to the World Relief website where I noticed an advertisement for the Justice Conference in Portland, Oregon. But once on the Justice Conference website, I quickly recognized that typo as a blessing.

I was instantly enthralled by the Justice Conference materials intoducing me to the largest gathering on social and biblical justice, with keynote speakers like Shane Claiborn, The Simple Way; Richard Twiss, Wiconi International; John Perkins,; and author Francis Chan. I'm an international affairs major with a minor in peace and conflict studies, and my vocational focus at Gordon is community development—with a particular emphasis on education in sub-Saharan Africa. I was excited to connect my vocation and academics with the Justice conference and it wasn't long before I registered and purchased my plane ticket.