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A Busy Week at the College including a Conversation about Faith and Reason – Science and Religion

By: Dr. John Smetanka
Posted Sat., November 17, 2012
The beginning of November brought a number of very exciting events to our campus. On November 2, Dr. John Spike gave this semester’s Threshold Lecture.Catholic Art Show - 2012 This lecture series began with Carl Sagan and included Alex Haley, Tom Wolfe, Stanley Jaki, O.S.B., and Isaac Asimov to name a few. Dr. Spike was the judge of the forth National Catholic Arts Competition currently on display at the Saint Vincent Gallery. This is an exhibit that no one should miss. Br. Nathan Cochran, O.S.B., curator of the Gallery, has been the driving force organizing all the exhibits in the Gallery including all four National Catholic Arts Competitions. Br. Nathan was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last weekend.

Then last Tuesday, November 6th, the College hosted a Wellness Roadshow that included a lecture, folk dancing, traditional Chinese musical instruments, and kung fu demonstrations with weapons. The performers interacted and taught those present. A great time was had by all.
Chinese Roadshow
On Wednesday, November 7th, Dr. Anthony Serapiglia from the Computing and Information Science Department organized a panel discussion on Science and Religion. He was inspired by similar seminars in his undergraduate education and a workshop conducted by Fr. Tom Hart, O.S.B., Assistant to the President for Mission, on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition last summer. The panel he assembled included faculty with specialties in astrophysics (Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk and I), bioinformatics (Dr. Mike Sierk), business (Dr. Bill Hisker), philosophy (Dr. Eric Duffy), and politics (Dr. Jerome Foss). Each spoke about the relationship of faith and reason from the perspective of their discipline to begin the evening and then the audience was able tPope John Paul IIo chime in with their thoughts and questions. All the presenters agreed on the importance of an overall educational philosophy that permitted theological questions to be addressed on equal terms as questions from other disciplines. In addition, all were also thankful that they were raised and educated in an environment in which as Pope John Paul II described “Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.” This “friendship” characterized by an openness to dialog and mutual understanding was identified as a preferred way of relating science and religion at a Catholic, Benedictine, and Liberal Arts College.

The first week of November featured Catholic art, Chinese culture, and faith and reason. Every week brings a number of events to campus worthy of attendance. Most are free and open to the public. Keep an eye on the home page for upcoming events.

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Dr. John Smetanka,
Academic Affairs

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January, 2008.