Working Group on Religion, Ethics and Nature
Ohio Northern University
The principle objective of the Working Group is sponsorship of on-campus and local forums encouraging dialogue and interaction around the world’s diverse religious traditions, ethical theories, and the sciences. In particular, they are concerned with the ways that these interactions relate to the natural environment. The group hopes to encourage interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration between faculty, students, and the general public to increase awareness of diverse religious perspectives on specific scientific and environmental issues. According to core members these environmental issues, though often raised in liberal arts institutions by specialists in science and technology, are most fruitfully addressed through interdisciplinary conversations between specialists and laypersons from all disciplines and backgrounds. A core member committee composed of ten representatives of the three related constituencies that the initiative seeks to engage (faculty, students, and the local community), oversees and steers the group’s activities. Public lectures, roundtables, symposia, and a major conference augment regular member discussion groups – reaching out to other academic and surrounding communities. Main goals are to ensure the society’s long-term activity through seeking additional financial support; developing a resource library for members; launching a website to promote activities; and enhanced outreach. Other plans include the development of special, interdisciplinary courses; sponsoring of student and member attendance to the Goshen Conference (sponsored by another active LSI group); and a retreat to support members’ strategic planning, focused discussion, and intellectual reflection. Ohio Northern University provides matching funds.