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Facets of Faith: Events consider science and mental illness; books look at Jewish and Christian history

The Advocate - 10/1/2022

Oct. 1—I appreciate hearing from readers and organizations about upcoming events and recently published books on religious topics. Here are some recent and upcoming highlights:

Science and religion

The Word on Fire Institute, with support from the John Templeton Foundation, is hosting its first Wonder Conference, Jan. 13-14, in Dallas. During this two-day conference, experts in the fields of physics, philosophy, technology, theology, and history will come together to discuss the perceived gap between faith and science.

Recent data shows that alongside the religiously unaffiliated, 60% of religious believers agree with the statement "Religion and science conflict with one another," a press release said. This misconception is most common among young people.

"Wonder is a great basis for re-framing the narrative around science and religion. Instead of pitting these two against each other, we should recognize that both science and religion share something fundamental. Both explore domains vastly bigger than us, and awe, wonder, reverence, and humility are the best postures in which to seek understanding," said John Cunningham, director of public engagement at the Templeton Foundation.

Registration for the conference is open. Visit

Mental illness service

Celebrate National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding with the United Methodist Church on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Go to Church and Society's YouTube page or Facebook Live. The broadcast begins at noon, coming from the Simpson Chapel in the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. It will focus on the strength and vitality of those recovering from mental illness.

"As United Methodists, we believe those coping with mental illness are human beings made in the ever divine, ever loving and ever image of our almighty God," a press release said. "Persons with mental illness and their families have a right to be treated with respect on the basis of common humanity and accurate information. This should be evident in how we welcome, assist, uplift and support those with mental illness in our congregations and in our communities."

Church history for children

The Christian History Institute has an animated series called The Torchlighters, aimed at ages 8-12. Each episode looks at a hero from Christian history.

Stories include Jim Elliot, William Tyndale, John Bunyan, Eric Liddell, Gladys Aylward, Richard Wurmbrand, Perpetua, Amy Carmichael, William Booth, Samuel Morris, Augustine, Corrie ten Boom, John Wesley, Robert Jermain Thomas, Martin Luther, Adoniram and Ann Judson, Harriet Tubman, George Müller, St. Patrick, Mary Slessor, John Newton, and Richard Allen.

The 22 DVD set may be purchased, or people can stream each episode at

Jewish history

"The Book of Jewish Knowledge" is a comprehensive 496-page coffee table-style book exploring the teachings, observances and history of Judaism. It offers 1,200 answers in 1,200 voices, presenting the story of Judaism via the variety of media that capture the Jewish experience.

Collectively, these present the reader with an encyclopedic overview of Jewish history, an in-depth examination of four millennia of Jewish wisdom and an intimate tour of Jewish traditions and observances.

"The Book of Jewish Knowledge" consists of five sections: Jewish History, Jewish Teaching, Jewish Practice, The Jewish Year and Lifecycle Milestones. It also contains a short biographical description of 225 personalities and works cited in the book. It also has art and photographs, as well as 78 full-color graphs, tables and maps.

It can be ordered at


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