Interview with Father Cunningham of Loyola University Chicago

By: Kathleen Ferraro, Communications & Membership Coordinator

On Wednesday, February 4 from 11:30 AM – 1PM, Niagara is excited to host Father John Cunningham, physics professor at Loyola University Chicago. Father Cunningham will be discussing the dialogue between faith and science.

I chatted with Father Cunningham about his background in science and theology. Ever since developing an interest in applied mathematics in high school, Cunningham has been studying math and science. Between mathematics, physical science, meteorology and physics, science was his first great interest.

In his freshmen year of college, Cunningham began to consider the priesthood. After completing his postdoc, he pursued ordination as a Jesuit priest in earnest.

Father Cunningham explained that underlying his dual interests was the desire to be a teacher. Seeing as the Jesuits are historically tied to education, Cunningham jumped right in. After completing a degree in Theology (to complement a Ph.D. in Physics and an M.A. in Philosophy), he became both a priest and university teacher.

In regards to the dialogue between science and faith, Cunningham expanded upon the Jesuit connection to academics. Because the order is so involved in education, Jesuits are likewise involved in the topics of today–especially mathematics and science.

And this modern intellectual component of the Jesuit order naturally gives way to a relationship between science and faith. Cunningham explained that a typical area of contention between science and religion lies in religion’s faith component: while you can prove that gravity exists with a scientific experiment, the scientific method can’t prove God’s existence.

The degree of conflict between science and faith also depends on religiosity. There is a sweeping spectrum of religious experience, from fundamental to liberal and beyond. There are many religions, and many branches of faith within those religions. Accordingly, the dialogue between science and faith varies from perspective to perspective.

And Father Cunningham boasts a unique perspective in the midst of this dialogue, with expertise from both physics and theological angles. We are excited to enter into discussion with Father Cunningham, and learn more about the interplay of science and faith. Register today!

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