Engaging Hypotheticals: Groundwork for the Study of Theology in a Secular Academic Context
Research Conference with Dr. Kirk Wegter-McNelly and Respondents
The study of religion in the secular academy is dominated by the “religious studies” approach, which situates theological ideas within their social context and privileges the cornucopic variety of lived religion over more systematized expressions of religious thought. On the other hand, in religious academic contexts the sociological and psychological dimensions of religion often take a back seat to theological explication of scripture and tradition. One possibility elided by this dichotomy is the study of theological ideas and traditions from a secular perspective. In this paper I explore the potential fruits of treating theological claims not from a confessional perspective as products of “faith seeking understanding” but from a secular perspective as hypotheses to be investigated alongside those of science. My analysis hinges on the notion that hypotheses worthy of our consideration are not always testable hypotheses.
Dr. Kirk Wegter-McNelly, Dona and Marshall Robinson Assistant Professor of Science, Philosophy and Religion at Union College, in Schenectady, New York, is a theologian whose work focuses primarily on the implications of contemporary physics for our understanding of humanity, the cosmos and God. He is the author of The Entangled God: Divine Relationality and Quantum Physics (Routledge, 2011) and co-editor of two volumes: Quantum Mechanics: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (VO/CTNS, 2002) and Science and the Spiritual Quest: New Essays by Leading Scientists (Routledge, 2002).
This is an event of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences.
This event is online only