"Do You Really Believe That?" a Faith and Science Gathering

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University Lutheran Church

66 Winthrop Street

Cambridge, MA 02138

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What does it mean to say you “believe” in something? Is “believing” in science comparable to belief in God? What role do uncertainty and healthy skepticism play in each system, and what happens when they brush up against core values and truth claims?

The Rev. Dr. Lucas Mix will help us navigate these questions. Dr. Mix studies science and religion, focusing on the meaning of “life” in biology and theology. In addition to being an Episcopalian priest, he has a doctorate in evolutionary biology (Harvard, 2004) and a sixth degree black belt in Hapkido, the Korean martial art of balance taking. He has been working with NASA astrobiology for 20 years on interdisciplinary communication in the search for life beyond Earth and serves as an officer in the Society of Ordained Scientists. For more about him and his work, see:


Friday, October 13

6pm: welcome dinner

7pm: Session I: What do you know? What do you believe? (And are they the same thing?)

Using the Nicene Creed as a starting point, Dr. Mix will address what it means to think something is “true.” What evidence do you have and how does it change your behavior? Participants will be encouraged to discuss with each other how they use the vocabulary of truth, and Dr. Mix will provide some suggestions for creating a more integrated worldview that contains both science and faith.

Saturday, October 14

8:30am: breakfast

9:30am: session II: “The Truth is Out There.” Aliens and the challenge of common knowledge

Is there life out there? What would it take to convince us? Astrobiology, the modern science of looking for life in the universe, challenges us to think about how we know things in science. It also gives us a chance to look at how knowledge and belief are formed within groups. Participants will be encouraged to think about how their communities (scientific, professional, religious…) shape their understanding.

12:30: lunch

1:30: Session III: “Getting Thrown By the Truth.” Martial Arts and experiential learning

Some things must be seen to be believed; others must be experienced. Balance-taking techniques from the Korean martial art of Hapkido reveal some of our misconceptions about conflict and communication. Rethinking our approach to the body and physical conflict provides more and better options when dealing with difficult situations. Dr. Mix will introduce a few simple self-defense exercises that demonstrate the importance of experience in knowledge and belief.

6pm: Dinner

Sunday, October 15

10:30am worship at University Lutheran Church, Lucas Mix preaching

12:30pm closing lunch


Who is this event for?

Anyone interested in how we understand the world and make a difference in it.

Science and engineering students (undergraduate and graduate) and professionals who wish the church did a better job of speaking their language and understanding their worldview.

Theology and Religious Studies students (undergraduate and graduate), scholars, and teachers interested in epistemology (how do we know what we know?), authority (who decides what we claim?), and religious practice, especially those who want to communicate better with scientists and engineers.

Pastors, campus ministers, and teachers looking to share the good news in the scientific vernacular, particularly those dealing with issues of credibilty for youth and young adults.

May I come to just part of the event?

We think you'll have so much fun, you'll want to be here for the whole thing. But we also know about leading a busy life. So yes, feel free to come when you can, and leave when you must. For the Saturday dinner, we will be asking for RSVPs.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

UniLu is located in Harvard Square, which makes it super easy to get to by public transportation. Parking, on the other hand, is much harder to come by. Go here for more information:

Where can I stay?

We have 24 bunk beds in the dormitory area in the basement of UniLu, which are available on a first-requested, first reserved basis. There are bathrooms with showers in the space as well.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Pastor Kari Jo Verhulst, Lutheran Chaplain to MIT and one of UniLu's pastors can be reached at:

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University Lutheran Church

66 Winthrop Street

Cambridge, MA 02138

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