Science for Seminaries

With this project, MTSO expands its commitment to the respectful engagement of science and religion.

MTSO has a longstanding commitment to preparing religious leaders who are conversant in and respectful of science, including scientific contributions to the divisive issues of our times. An important part of that effort is “Questioning Science with Good Faith: Shifting the Engagement of Science in Seminaries,” a project that enhances the Master of Divinity program by further integrating science into church history and theological studies curricula while also contributing to the public discourse on intersection of science and religion.

This project is made possible by a grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion program. AAAS’s partnership with the Association of Theological Schools, of which MTSO is a member, provides resources to integrate science into coursework and campus-wide events. The grant is funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

“Questioning Science in Good Faith” gives students and faculty the opportunity to participate in an advanced research workshop series on science and religion offered through MTSO’s Dickhaut Library. The project is led by MTSO’s Elonda Clay, director of the library (; Tejai Beulah, assistant professor of history, ethics and Black church and African diaspora studies (; and Elaine Nogueira-Godsey, assistant professor of theology, ecology and race (

Taking discussions on the intersection of science and religion beyond individual courses, MTSO is presenting a digital program series called “Science and Religion Digital Dialogues.” Streamed live and archived for viewing after the event, the series engages scientists and scholars in conversations about their work at the science-religion nexus and how post-pandemic trends might reshape the future of seminary formation and science-religion dialogues.

Seminarians’ Science Competition

The Seminarians’ Science Competition is open to students enrolled at MTSO, either full- or part-time. The contest requires works to be original (not previously published) with permissions from competition winners to make their works available on the project website. The work can be a research paper, a podcast episode, a sermon or an essay.


Fall 2022: Ronicesha Wearren, Science and Religion Podcast (audio).

Spring 2022: Adam Barborich, “Somewhere Between the Beasts and the Angels: Thomistic Philosophical Anthropology as a Schema to Reorient Modern Psychology towards Human Experience in the Lifeworld” (PDF); and Heather Bennett, “Earth's Lament: A New Perspective on Scripture” (PDF).

Archived events

Pastors, Pandemics and Public Health: Building Collaborative Responses to COVID-19
Sept. 16, 2021

This multi-professional conversation brought together panelists Emanuel Cleaver III, senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri; A. Oveta Fuller, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School; and Rachel Schneider, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University.

Trust in Science? Responses to the Challenge of Science Denial
May 10, 2022

Psychologists and authors Gale M. Sinatra and Barbara K. Hofer, authors of Science Denial: Why It Happens and What to Do About It, discuss pressing issues related to science denial and the role of religion.

Technology, Older Adults and Churches: Opportunities and Challenges
Aug. 31, 2022

Panelists Heidi Campbell, Texas A&M University professor of communication, and Marilyn Stratford, an independent scholar and consultant, discuss serving older parishioners for whom digital connections aren’t second nature.

All About Waste: Sanitation, Justice, and Reinventing the Toilet
Sept. 15, 2022

Panelists Elizabeth Allison, professor of philosophy, cosmology and consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies; Marc Deshusses, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University; and Sarah Nahar, a Ph.D. candidate at Syracuse University, discuss one of the most pressing environmental problems of our time: human waste and how to manage it sustainably and ethically.