News Local

Diversitas opens series with talk about faith

Lauren MacGill

Dr. Patrick Franklin speaks to a packed room about faith and science.

Dr. Patrick Franklin speaks to a packed room about faith and science.


The room was full when Dr. Patrick Franklin stepped up to the podium and started his presentation. “Is Christian faith obsolete in a scientific age?” he asked the audience. “Is belief in God obsolete in a scientific age?”
“Can Faith and Science Coexist?” took place at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre’s Aquasaur Centre on March 22. It was the first event in the 2017 Diversitas series, and extra chairs had to be brought in to seat the 70 or so people that showed up.
This is the second year organizer Peter Cantelon has been bringing experts to the community in the hopes of keeping people informed about different topics. “I started Diversitas because I felt a need to get people down here that were experts in certain areas to talk about subjects that are of interest to folks in the region,” he said. “We try to be timely in terms of what’s going on in the world, but we try to also focus it on our region and try to make it relevant and contextual.”
As the evening progressed, Franklin went on to explain how he, as a Christian, approached this issue. He started by showing a number of renowned scientists from the Christian faith, and explaining that they felt faith can add an understanding of the world that perhaps science alone cannot. “Science does not give a comprehensive knowledge about reality,” he said.
During a lively question and answer period, Franklin also stressed that context and structure is important when reading the Bible.
Franklin has a PhD from McMaster Divinity College, and is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary in Otterburne, Manitoba. He is the vice-president of the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, editor of the theological journal Didaskalia, and has written a book about theological anthropology. Originally from the Greater Toronto area, he and his wife now lead a small church community in Mitchell, Manitoba.
The speakers last year included the president of the Manitoba Islamic Association, president of Pride Winnipeg, Senator Marilou McPhedran and Treaty Relations Commissioner Dennis Whitebird. Cantelon said he picked most of the 2016 topics with the help of some friends, but this time he chose experts based on feedback from people who attended Diversitas last year.
The next event in the series is a history of both secular and atheist movements in Canada, presented by Dr. Elliot Hanowski on May 24.