Welcome to the ITEST website. We invite you to explore the many facets of ITEST that are available here: issues of our quarterly bulletin, past conference proceedings, announcements of future events, and our educational program for elementary school children, Exploring the World, Discovering God. A synopsis of our history, and our mission statement, are only a mouse-click away.
If we had to condense our theme into a bumper sticker, it would be “reject scientism.” We consider it far too limiting to think that all knowledge must be scientific, and anything else isn't worth knowing. We completely reject the media-driven notion that science and religion are at war.
ITEST focuses on the many ways that faith and science complement each other in the advancement of human knowledge. The Nicene Creed begins “We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and of all things seen and unseen.” What is “seen” is what reaches our senses, including via the sophisticated instruments of science. But God also created the “unseen” realm that goes beyond physics, chemistry and biology, beyond the confines of space, time, atoms and molecules. At ITEST, we don't regard humans as confined to the physical world alone. We don't believe God keeps His creation compartmentalized, and so humans shouldn't either. Religious faith is one way for humans to probe into God's higher realm, despite our limitations. To whatever extent science and faith can help each other advance, ITEST wants to be there.
St. Augustine said (400 CE) that “the book of nature and the book of scripture were both written by the same Author, and they cannot be in conflict when properly interpreted and understood.” ITEST agrees with that completely. The dialog that we have maintained for 40+ years begins from the belief that God revealed scientific knowledge for a purpose: to use it wisely for the betterment of all humankind. God's word in scripture is similarly intended, with a richness that transcends human experience. We view the role of religious faith in human history optimistically. Our task is to travel both paths toward God. ITEST strives to have theology and science/technology encounter each other.
The Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (ITEST), launched in 1966 and incorporated in 1968, studies the advances in science and technology and their meaning for the Christian understanding of the human being and of creation.
ITEST has a long history and mission as an interdisciplinary, interfaith, international community of Christians concerned with promising but urgent issues facing the churches and the civil society: for example, consider the many recent advances in science directed toward living systems. Religiously, these developments are important to human dignity, freedom and bodily integrity. Socially, the advancing life sciences have the potential of being used to create either a far better society or one where humans are just interchangeable parts of the social machinery. ITEST is attentive to getting it right.
ITEST functions with a Board of Directors representing the academic and professional disciplines, among them, science/technology, philosophy, theology, law and education. In late 2010 Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, agreed to become the ITEST Ecclesial Advisor. ITEST has members worldwide – representing 30 countries – as well as members from most areas of the United States. In effect, the Institute’s concern and interest “spans the globe” both geographically and intellectually.
ITEST produces a quarterly Bulletin covering timely and relevant topics in the encounter or meeting with faith and science/technology. ITEST also holds yearly symposia on theology and science/technology -- issues which concern the churches and which demand an informed response. Also available for reference is a variety of media – books, and award-winning DVD’s and videos.
ITEST completed the first phase of the project, Exploring the World, Discovering God, (EWDG) in 2008. Funded largely by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute, the project consists of faith/science interface modules for Kindergarten – 4th Grade. ITEST completed the second phase of the project in 2012 and uploaded lessons for grades Pre-K and 5 – 8. Currently there are 397 lessons available online for free download. Since January 2009 there have been over 1/3 of a million downloads.