On Common Ground

The aims of the ‘On Common Ground’ project by Exeter Cathedral:

  1. Can there be a mutually enhancing relationship between science and faith?
  2. Do the findings of science challenge our faith in any way?
  3. Can God feature in scientific discourse?
  4. Is faith relevant in our contemporary ‘scientific world’?
  5. Are scientists playing God? Can we use Christian ethics to evaluate the applications of science?

Project activities

The main activities were four events, described as a brief Lent Course, with the first timed to coincide with the start of National Science Week.

The first event was a talk entitled ‘The Continuing Dance between Theology and Science’ by Professor Tom McLeish in Exeter Cathedral, followed, after a break for refreshments, by questions and discussion. This was chaired by Prof John Bryant

The second was a panel debate on ‘Are Scientists Playing God? – Science and Christian Ethics’, in the style of Question Time, held at the University of Exeter. The discussion was chaired by Dame Suzi Leather who had prepared ‘starter questions’ on several topics which in turn stimulated questions from the audience

The third was a conversation on the topic of ‘Beauty, Awe and Wonder in Science – but what about God?’ between a Christian biologist, Dr Ruth Bancewicz and an atheist Earth Scientist/Climate Change Expert, Professor Tim Lenton. The conversation was facilitated by Professor John Bryant and followed with questions from the audience.

The final event was a panel discussion, entitled ‘My Science, My Faith’, with five scientist-Christians, representing a range of disciplines. The chair for the discussion was Dr Cherryl Hunt who holds PhDs in both Cell Biology and Theology. Questions before the refreshment break had been complied by Professor Bryant and Dr Hunt and included questions that had been submitted on-line.  After the break, questions came from the audience.


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