Zygon Center for Religion and Science

Welcome

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The Zygon Center is located at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). It is dedicated to relating religious traditions and the best scientific knowledge in order to gain insight into the origins, nature, and destiny of humans and their environment. The purpose of the Center is to bring together scientists, theologians, and other scholars to discuss and carry out research on basic questions and issues of human concern.

Mission

The Zygon Center for Religion and Science is dedicated to relating religious traditions and scientific knowledge in order to gain insight into the origins, nature, and destiny of humans and their environment, and to realize the common goal of a world in which love, justice, and responsible patterns of living prevail. Seeking to harness religion and science together in this shared purpose, Zygon Center takes its distinctive name from the Greek word for “yoking” or “joining.” Zygon Center brings together scientists, theologians, philosophers, and other scholars to address basic questions and issues of human concern that include:

  • how we understand the world in which we live and our place in that world;
  • how traditional concerns and beliefs of religion can be related to that understanding;
  • how the joint reflection of scientists, philosophers, and theologians can contribute to the welfare of the human community;
  • how dialogue and cooperation can be promoted among the world’s religions;
  • how to promote international discussion of the Center’s theme areas.

History

Established in 1988, Zygon Center is a partnership of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) and the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science (CASIRAS). Ralph Wendell Burhoe, winner of the 1980 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, helped establish the center and provided an endowment for its programs, serving as Senior Associate until his death in 1997. Philip Hefner, then Professor of Systematic Theology at LSTC, was the first Director of Zygon Center (1988-2003). Antje Jackelén, then Professor of Systematic Theology at LSTC and now Bishop of Lund in the Church of Sweden, served as the second Director of Zygon Center (2003-2007). Gayle Woloschak, molecular biologist and professor in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, served as the third Director (2007-2009) and continues as Associate Director. Beginning in 2010, Dr. Lea F. Schweitz, Professor of Systematic Theology at LSTC served as the fourth director (2010 - 2017), followed by interim director Dr. Kristel Clayville (2017-2020). In July 2020, Dr. Benjamin Stewart, Gordon A. Braatz Associate Professor of Worship at LSTC, became the fifth director of the Zygon Center.

Contact Information

Zygon Center for Religion and Science
1100 East 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615
773-256-0670
zygoncenter@lstc.edu

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