A welcome message from Richard Randolph, our Founder.

This one-day conference explored CRISPR, a new technology that allows geneticists to selectively modify the DNA of living organisms.  Although it has the potential for much good, CRISPR also raises cultural, spiritual, and ethical challenges.  For recordings of presentations, as well as interviews during the conference, click here

Mission Statement

Through publications, podcasts, seminars, and other online resources, the Science and Spirituality Institute (SSI) provides the resources and opportunities needed by individuals and faith communities to develop their own, informed understanding of how science and spirituality relate to one another.

Richard Randolph, Founder and Director

Richard Randolph is the Founder and Director of the Science and Spirituality Institute. He grew up in North Carolina.  Richard received his Bachelor’s degree from Duke University in North Carolina.  Following his undergraduate studies, he earned a Masters of Divinity degree and a Masters of Arts in “International and Developmental Economics,” both from Yale University in Connecticut.

Richard was ordained in the United Methodist Church and served parishes in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference for seven years.  After seven years in parish ministry, Richard was appointed to return to school.  He received his Ph.D. in Philosophical and Theological Ethics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. 

In addition to his doctoral studies, Richard also served as Program Director, from 1996-1999, at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley.  Since leaving Berkeley, Richard has taught ethics in both a seminary and a medical school. 

Richard’s scholarly interests have centered primarily around issues of science and faith.  He has published in journals as diverse as The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics and the international journal, Astrobiology. He has also given invited lectures in Brazil, South Korea, and Russia. 

In 2011, Richard decided to return to parish ministry.  Since then, he has served churches in Kansas and Nebraska.

Richard and his wife, LaGreer, have been married for 39 years.  They have two children.  Their son, Justice, lives in the Washington, DC metro area with his wife, Lisa, and their 3 year-old daughter, Sophia.  Richard and LaGreer’s daughter, Eden, also lives in Washington, where she works as a special ed teacher for the DC Public Schools.

Join the Dialogue and Share Your Ideas and Interests

The Science and Spirituality Institute is just beginning. We recognize that we have lots of planning and building to accomplish. However, we are also very interested in your ideas and interests. Please share them with us by clicking the button below:

Share Your Ideas and Interests

Here are some of our ideas for the future:

Youth Engage Science and Faith

Most Christian churches, as well as many other faith communities, provide very little assistance to their youth, as they enter science classes in middle school, high school, and early college. Although faith communities work had to help children and youth learn the stories and values of their faith, we have usually not effectively equipped them for the necessary work of integrating science and faith. The first three of these integrations will be:

1. Ecology and Faith

2. Big Bang Cosmology and Faith

3. Evolutionary Biology and Faith

What spiritual, philosophical, and ethical issues are raised by the emergence of AI?

An interesting question to consider would be: Is AI capable of having a “spirituality”?

If so, what does that tell us about human spirituality?

What if they really do Exist?

Popular culture is filled with many, many fictitious stories concerning the existence of extraterrestrial life, visiting from outer space.  In many ways our culture has become jaded by the prospect of extraterrestrials.  But, what if they really do exist?  This study would examine two different dimensions of the possibility of a visit from sentient extraterrestrials.  First, we will explore the faith and spiritual issues raised by extraterrestrials.  Second, we will examine what ethical obligations humans might owe to nonsentient extraterrestrial life, if we discovered it in our solar system.

Neuroscience and the Human Soul

Central to the understanding of most religions and spiritualities is the concept of a human soul. But, persons of faith are often fairly vague, when asked to describe the soul. What exactly is the human soul? Can contemporary science, particularly neuroscience, offer any help in trying to conceptualize the soul? Neuroscience struggles in its account of the phenomenon of human consciousness. In this study, we will put religious notions of the soul into dialogue with the best cognitive and neuroscience in what should be an awesome dialogue between science and spiritualities.
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