Santa Clara University

Community Newsletter

Speakers Seek to Answer, What Good Is God?

Santa Clara University's Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education will focus on the tension between secular and religious culture in its yearlong Bannan Institute called 'What Good Is God?' Starting in October, about 20 different events will explore the issue from different perspectives.

Each quarter will have a different theme. In the fall, speakers will discuss "God and Culture: Secular and the Religious Good in Civil Society."

"We are living in an era which is historically remarkable in that plenty of people live good, quality lives without reference to any sort of religion," said Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., executive director of the Ignatian Center.

The winter quarter’s theme will be "God and Reality: Emergent Scientific, Technological, and Religious Paradigms." Marilyn Robinson, a novelist and essayist, will give the 2014 Santa Clara Lecture, entitled "Grace in Shakespeare," on Feb. 26.

The Bannan Institute Symposium on Feb. 28 and March 1 will further explore the intersection of science and religion. One session will explore the work of George Romanes, a scientist who worked with Charles Darwin. Last year the University was given the bound typescript of a 117-page poem Romanes wrote on Darwin's death. It will be on display for one day of the symposium, along with other rare manuscripts and books related to science and religion.

In the spring, speakers will explore "God and the University: Religion in Higher Education." Speakers from disciplines as diverse as biology and theatre will discuss the place of questions about God outside of religious studies.

"The primary purpose is to generate important conversation in a way that is authentically respectful," McCarthy said. "We talk about the importance of cultivating an ethic of dialogue among people of very different points of view."

For a complete schedule of events, go to

2013-2014 Bannan Institute