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Science & Theology Dialogues: Does the universe have a "purpose?"­

"Are there certain facts that suggest the Universe has a Purpose?"  That's the question the October Science & Theology Dialogues will take up.  We started to dive into the materials in August with 9 people but participants felt like we only scratched the surface, so we'll restart the conversation in October. Don't worry, though, no prior experience is needed to participate since there's so many dimensions to the issue.  In fact, you can say this is one of the "biggest" of the "big questions" in life, so you won't want to miss this one!  :-)

The DC Theology Pub & Emerging Christianity meetups continue the Science & Theology Dialogues on October 6th by looking at what some scientists and philosophers have called the Anthropic Principle, the Universe seems to possess the perfect combination of some 20 plus scientific laws and materials (according to one count) to produce life & human consciousness.  One slight deviation in even one of those laws would have prevented the evolution of life and human consciousness.  That's the argument at least.  So, does the Universe a Purpose then?  Share your conclusions on October 6th!

The Templeton Foundation has published an interesting exploration of this topic on their website, so participants can just download it and avoid ordering and reading a whole book.  This is the sixth and last topic down from the top of the page found at the Templeton website (click here) or cut and past the following:

The paper we will discuss includes a range of opinions, some supportive and some opposing, on the question. Please read as many of the essays as you can, and then let's talk about the ones that gripped your imagination the most!

We are switching to essay discussions found at the Templeton as well as Faraday Institute's website: With are latest conversations, we have switched gears a little bit.  Our last few discussions required that we purchase and read a book.  Many indicated to me that they felt like they could not participate since they did not have the time to purchase and or read the book. Because these Templeton & Faraday Institute's essays are online they can be downloaded and printed out and sometimes read on mobile devices (here's the link to the Faraday Institute's papers on their website).

Your input is needed and valued: The Templeton essays promise to be a great resource for our conversations. If you know of any other sites that have interesting topics that would make a great source for our conversations, please share with the group by placing the links in the comment sections. Also if you are not able to attend this conversation gathering, please vote for your topic choice for our next gathering.

Hope you can join us for this interesting conversation!

Best, Larry

More about the Purpose of the "Science & Theology Dialogues:" We are trying to create a safe space for people to pose basic questions about how their faith background and science training & interests interrelate.  Many people either have given up on this quest (they never could fit the pieces together), or they try to make hard-and-fast rules where there's a lot of ambiguity and mystery.  We, on the other hand, have not given up on the quest to integrate faith and science.  But, to be clear, our group never seeks to "prove" God or any claim, but to "explore" and "evaluate" new ideas and theological models over a beer or meal.  We don't really have debates as much as conversations about new ideas from a range of disciplines (science, social science, theology, literature) that help us make sense of the world and our place in it.

More about our Facilitator of our "Science & Theology Dialogues": Going forward we are hoping Larry Branch and others interested in faith and science issues can host future "Science & Theology Dialogues" through DC Theology Pub & An Emerging Christianity Conversation in DC.  Larry’s interest in science & theology comes from his life experiences in the areas of computer science, social justice, and local church involvement. Larry is a software developer working on a number of projects as a contractor at the US Department of Labor.  He lives in Loudoun County where he has chaired the county Board of Social Services. While serving on this influential board, he developed a special passion for providing affordable housing to all county residents. He also has attended a non-denominational church in the county since 1985, and he has served as an elder for several of those years. Larry describes himself as a “sojourner on a spiritual quest like many others in DC; but an unusual person in the District in that I do not have a political affiliation; rather, I enjoy meeting a variety of people. Even though I am committed to the Christian discipline and worldview, I especially love conversations with those of other spiritual disciplines and worldviews.” The diversity of Larry’s experiences makes him an ideal facilitator for this science & theology dialogue.


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  • Larry B.

    It is my earthly Father's 80th birthday. Rick Barr as agreed to moderate the conversation. I would that every participant has a chance to host our conversation. What America needs right now are many people with the skill to host conversations with people of differing views. Thanks for you participation.

    October 6, 2013

  • Glenn Z.

    Hi Larry and everyone, I checked out some of the short papers on the Faraday website, and I think people will indeed enjoy them as much as the Templeton website. Best, Glenn

    September 29, 2013

  • Larry B.

    Suggestions for future topics This is an open group and we are always looking for suggestions for future topics. We have two more possible topics for discussion left on the site of essay questions. 1) Does evolution explain human nature? 2) Will money solve Africa’s development problems? I am not sure if any of those subjects are something we want to tackle.

    I have also found another site at the Faraday Institute which has papers that we can read and discuss. ( ) Please follow the link and make some suggestions for the group to vote on at our next conversation on the October 6th. If you are not attending please reply to all or reply to this comment with your top 3 suggestions for our next conversation. Thanks!

    September 23, 2013

  • Larry B.

    So the topic for this month will be a continuation of our discussion from last month. “Does the Universe Have a Purpose? I had a great time listening to all the comments and we had many diverse backgrounds represented. At 8pm the general consensus was that we could do this for another few hours so we decided to extend our discussion for another month. So please join us and share.

    September 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Mom will be in town!

    September 12, 2013

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