Track 1: Science and Religion

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The Changing Landscape of Religion in America

Stephen B. Murray, Ph.D.

It has been argued that the United States has become the most religiously pluralistic country in the world. This course will examine the history of how so many religious traditions came to be in this country and what the diversity of faiths means for increasingly intercultural communities. This phenomenon is commonplace, and yet many Americans remain unaware of the profound changes that are happening at every level of their society.

Stephen_MurrayDr. Stephen MurrayDr. Stephen Murray is Dean of the College and Associate Professor of Theology at Barrytown College of the Unification Theological Seminary. An ordained Baptist minister, he also serves as Senior Pastor of The First Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts and as American Baptist Chaplain to Harvard University and Denominational Counselor to Baptist Students and Lecturer in Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Murray served previously in higher education as the chaplain and on the faculty of Endicott College, Skidmore College, and Suffolk University, and as Magee Fellow and Director of the Public Internship Program at the Dwight Hall Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale University. A graduate of Bucknell University, he also holds the M.B.A. from Endicott College, the M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and the M.Phil. and Ph.D. in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.


The Challenges of Interfaith

Frank Kaufman, Ph.D.

What can we do to engage with one another in a positive way, in which this religious diversity may be something that we foster and encourage, rather than see as a barrier to peaceful living? How might we be committed in a particular religious path, while simultaneously functioning effectively and with integrity in the arena of interfaith? In this sense, we do not describe “interfaith” as pleasant talk and discovery, but as a vital component in the need to bring religions to collaborate for the sake of building a peaceful and morally upright society and world.

frank_kaufmannDr. Frank KaufmannDr. Frank Kaufmann is executive director of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP) and editor in chief of New World Encyclopedia. Additionally Dr. Kaufmann runs a private consultancy, and serves as special representative for Unificationism to Luxembourg.

Frank Kaufmann's work for peace includes efforts in over 65 countries with successes in conflict ridden and violent environments.This mission to produce and maintain The New World Encyclopedia involved the creation of a virtual academy of over 500 international scholars as contributors. Dr. Kaufmann's peace missions include work in Israel and Palestine, Croatian Refugee Camps, the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, Hindu-Muslim conflict zones in India and Kashmir, revolutionary centers of southern Philippines, the Gulf, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. Dr. Kaufmann has taught in the area of religious thought and history in New York area universities and graduate schools.


Scientific Perspectives on the Origins and Nature of the Universe

Alison Wakelin

This seminar will offer historical views of matter and origins of the universe, from atoms to specific representations of extended quantum fields and relate them to religious views such as the Alison_WakelinAlison Wakelineightfold way in Buddhism and in physics (Tao of Physics), the correspondence between structures in the mind (Hinduism, Buddhism) and the structures of Particle Physics (John Hagelin) as well as the debate about consciousness: primary or resultant, the Big Bang, and Multiverse theories – justification from quantum physics and design arguments, with perspectives from Unification Thought.

A graduate of Edinburgh, Cambridge and Princeton Universities, as well as Unification Theological Seminary, Alison Wakelin is a Senior Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy at Widener University. She also has experience lecturing at other universities in the U.S. and in Korea on Mathematics/Physics/Astronomy.


Technology and Theology in Futuristic Perspectives

Stephen B. Murray, Ph.D

The distinctively human enterprise of scientific achievement progresses in leaps and bounds. As it does, we increasingly find the line between “technology” and “human being” blurred through a socially constructed, evolutionary process. All human societies utilize devices of various sorts to aid the task of living. Our species adapts to new situations by inventing technologies that enable us to survive and thrive through environmental changes, dangerous situations, and the realization of opportunities previously unavailable. A study of human history indicates that the encounter of different cultures leads to the appropriation and incorporation of the ingenuity inherent in one culture’s discoveries by another’s body of knowledge and practice. As these tools become increasingly pervasive and blend into our social norms, they affect what it means to be human when we cannot imagine human living without the use of such devices. Whenever our current conceptions of what it means to be human lose their integrity, the instinctive call to meaning-making ought not be ignored. Any destabilization in what it means to be human reverberates throughout the complex interplay of religious doctrines and systems. I argue that both our biological and theological understandings of humanity change as a result of our technological advancement.

Stephen_MurrayDr. Stephen MurrayDr. Stephen Murray is Dean of the College and Associate Professor of Theology at Barrytown College of the Unification Theological Seminary. An ordained Baptist minister, he also serves as Senior Pastor of The First Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts and as American Baptist Chaplain to Harvard University and Denominational Counselor to Baptist Students and Lecturer in Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Murray served previously in higher education as the chaplain and on the faculty of Endicott College, Skidmore College, and Suffolk University, and as Magee Fellow and Director of the Public Internship Program at the Dwight Hall Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale University. A graduate of Bucknell University, he also holds the M.B.A. from Endicott College, the M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and the M.Phil. and Ph.D. in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.


My Neurons Made Me Do It: The New Brain Science

Kathy Winings, EdD

Why do we do what we do? What really is going on in our brains? Does our brain stop growing and learning at some point? How is our brain tied to our human nature – both sinful and ideal? Why is it so difficult to make changes in our life, in our character and how is that connected to our brain? Is there a difference between the male and female brain? The new neuroscience field is opening up so much understanding about who we are and how we make sense of the world in which we live. More specifically, the sub-fields of neuropsychology and neuroeducation are now beginning to produce numerous books and materials that shed light on these essential questions. And the really exciting part of it is how compatible this field is with spiritual and faith-based perspectives on human life and human behavior.

Through this course, we will look at the human brain and: (1) investigate how the individual neurons “communicate with each other” so we can “learn,” (2) discuss how neural pathways are formed, (3) look at the relationship of these pathways to our behavior, (3) discover if one can “teach an old dog new tricks” through brain plasticity, (4) consider the role gender plays in our brain and (5) investigate how all of this shapes our behavior and our “human nature.” Learning and change will take on an entirely new dimension as a result of looking at our amazing brains.

kathy_winingsDr. Kathy WiningsDr. Kathy Winings received her Undergraduate degree in both Elementary Education and Media Studies from Fordham University, her Masters of Divinity from UTS, and her EdD from Teachers College, Columbia University.Dr. Winings was voted into Kappa Delta Pi, the National Honor Society for Education, and also received a special award for Women Educators from Teachers College. In 2007, Dr. Winings was a recipient of the Harriet Tubman Humanitarian Achievement Award. She is also listed in Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in International Education, and Who’s Who of Women Professionals.

Dr. Winings currently serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and is director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at UTS.