Evangeline Colarossi-Staff Write
Twenty-four faculty members from across the United States and Canada will take part in Bridging of the Two Cultures II in July. Each of the participating members come from a college that is affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. During the conference, Dordt professor Channon Visscher will have the opportunity to attend various lectures, work on his own research and travel around to experience the culture of Oxford.
“The names on here are amazing,” Visscher said as he looked at the list of speakers for the event.
The lecturers will be covering topics of science and faith and ways of understanding the limitations of knowledge.
As a professor who is always teaching other people, Visscher said he is expecting to absorb information from other teachers this summer and the next.
“I really do want to treat it as something where I will learn a lot,” Visscher said. “I want to become more familiar with the history and philosophy and theology surrounding those questions.”
Visscher, along with the other attendees, will have time to work on his own research project and have each of the Oxford libraries at his fingertips to use as resources. The professors will each continue their research through the course of the year, returning to Oxford during July 2019 to attend more conferences and present their research conclusions.
The aim of Bridging the Two Cultures II is to amend the gaps between the sciences and the humanities. Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) wants to help professors address both sides of this gap and assist them in developing their own literature that supports science and religion combined. Science and faith can be controversial topics, so SCIO wants to motivate professors from differing studies to work together and talk about these questions.
Visscher’s research project fits alongside the cosmology and humanity course he is co-teaching with Professor Cosgrove this semester. He will be studying how science stories behave in their own way as creation stories.
“It’s very easy for us to separate myth from truth,” Visscher said. “One of the goals of the cosmology class is to stop using ‘myth’ as a bad word.”
He wants to explore the stories that come along with science and learn how to reflect the creation of the world.
“I think where you can have the most interesting conversations is at the intersection between these two fields of science and the humanities,” He said.
Who influences whom: how have past resources influenced the science and humanity stories that we hear? How do we define truth? These are gaping questions that loom overhead, but they are some of the questions that will be addressed in these discussions.
Visscher’s main focus will be on creation stories for the solar systems and examining the role of violence in creation. The big question he is asking is, “How do black holes and collisions mix with our understanding of God and His creation?”
It won’t be all work and no play, though. One thing Visscher is very excited for doesn’t even take place at the seminar. The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford is hosting a Tolkien exhibit throughout the summer, and he is planning on attending. This will feature original manuscripts, artwork and other artifacts from Tolkien’s various handiworks, along with personal letters and photos.