Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science – Spring 2007

Evil: Perspectives from Theology and Science

John R. Albright and Carol Rausch Albright Monday Evenings 7:00 PM — 10:00 PM, February 5 through May 7, 2007 Common Room 350, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615

The seminar will explore perspectives on the nature of evil drawn from the Abrahamic religions and from various sciences. Given these perspectives, what are appropriate responses to evil for our time?

Questions regarding the nature of evil, and ways in which to cope with evil, contain it, or redeem it, have occupied men and women throughout human history. In our time, evil has assumed both age-old and novel forms, and the sciences as well as philosophy and religion continue to try to understand and deal with it. The exploration will proceed through three steps:

  • What are some basic theological, philosophical, and scientific understandings about evil?
  • What do the sciences tell us about current evil?
  • What initiatives for coping with evil are being explored in our time?

Scholars knowledgeable in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives on evil will bring us their perspectives, as will specialists in various sciences, including psychology, anthropology, ecology, applied technology, and pastoral care and other perspectives. Current attempts to cope with evil will be described by persons with knowledge of attempts at social change, legal solutions, ethical systems, personal spiritual growth, and the theology of the cross.

Offered by the Zygon Center for Religion and Science (ZCRS), the Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science is designed as a research seminar for faculty and graduate students.  Course credit is available via registration through the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) or cross-registration through member schools of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS).  All participants, whether taking the seminar for credit or not, are asked to pre-register with the seminar chairs by contacting ZCRS at or 773-256-0670.  For more information about ZCRS, please visit For more information about Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, visit

Advanced Seminar Schedule - Spring 2007

Section I: Orientation to Theological, Philosophical, and Scientific Issues
February 5, 20077:00 PMThemes of Evil in the Hebrew TraditionTamar Rudavasky, philosophy, Melton Center/Ohio State University
February 5, 20078:30 PMThemes of Evil in IslamMark Swanson, Christian-Muslim Studies, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
February 12, 20077:00 PMThemes of Evil in the New Testament and Early ChurchHans Schwarz, Systematic Theology, University of Regensburg
February 12, 20078:30 PMContemporary Pop Culture and the Marketing of Good and Evil: Evil Never Looked So Good!Rod Boriack, ELCA Youth Ministries
February 19, 20077:00 PM'Creator of Weal and Woe': Predestination, Free Will, and Human ResponsibilityRobert A. Cathey, theology, McCormick Theological Seminary
February 19, 20078:30 PMDeterminism and Chance: A View from the SciencesJohn R. Albright, physics, Religion and Science, LSTC
February 26, 20077:00 PMThe Judeo-Christian Mythos of Evil as Seen by Paul RicoeurDon Browning, Ethics and Social Sciences, University of Chicago
February 26, 20078:30 PMPersistent Myths of Good and Evil in Western CultureJohn R. Albright, Physics, Religion and Science, LSTC
Section II: What Do the Sciences Tell Us about Current Evil?
March 5, 20077:00 PMHurricanes, Tsunamis, and Other "Natural" Evils: The Human ElementPaul Heltne, Primatology, Center for Humans and Nature
March 5, 20078:30 PMThe Human Biological Heritage: Altruism and Aggression in Humans and Other PrimatesBill Irons, Anthropology, Northwestern University
March 12, 20077:00 PMGood and Evil in Humans from an Evolutionary PerspectiveKarl E. Peters, Philosophy and Religion, Rollins College
March 12, 20078:30 PMStructures of Evil Encountered in Pastoral CounselingMarjorie H. Davis, Pastoral Counseling Center of West Hartford, CT
(March 19, 2007: reading week)
March 26, 20077:00 PMEvil and the Human Psyche: Insights from Freud, Fromm, and BeckerTerry Cooper, Psychology, St. Louis Community College
March 26, 20078:30 PMNot Guilty by Reason of Insanity? Mental Illness and SociopathyDan Liechty, Social Work, Illinois State University
April 2, 20077:00 PMAddressing Evil through Technology: Steps Forward and Unintended ConsequencesJohn Maxwell Kerr, Former Warden, Society of Ordained Scientists, Science and Religion, Oxford U.
April 2, 20078:30 PMMedical Issues: Healing, Wholeness, JusticeJohn Maxwell Kerr
April 9, 20077:00 PMWhy So Much Genocide Now? Is Xenophobia "Hard-Wired?"Mladen Turk, Religion, Elmhurst College
April 9, 20078:30 PMOpen Discussion: Religion as Source of Good, Source of Evil
Section III: Coping with Evil: Initiatives for Our Time
April 16, 20077:00 PMSocial Reorganization: The News from ChinaGladys Horvath, The Asia Institute, KY
April 16, 20078:00 PMJurisprudence and the Rule of Law: Deliverance from Evil, Cause of Evil?Richard Busse, Law, IN
April 23, 20077:00 PMComplexity and Spiritual Growth: An Ethical Option?Carol Rausch Albright, Religion and Science, LSTC
April 23, 20078:30 PMA Process-Oriented Ethics?
Joseph A. Bracken, S.J., Philosophical Theology, Xavier University
April 30, 20077:00 PMEvil and the Theology of the CrossVitor Westhelle, Theology, LSTC
May 7, 20077:00 -10:00 PMPanel: How Shall We Think of Redemption and Salvation?
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