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Comparative Religion and Humanities

Gregory Cootsona

I began teaching at Chico State in Fall 2014 with Science and Religion (RELS 204/PHIL 240) and continued with a Great Books and Ideas course (HUM300Z) on Transcendence and Human Knowledge in Spring 2015. In addition, I am serving on a masters thesis committee supervised by Dawn Clifford in the Nutrition Department, helping direct a project that brings together nutrition and Christian spirituality. Teaching in the Department of Religious Studies and Humanities affords me the opportunity to engage in grand themes and ideas through a variety of disciplines such as philosophy, religion, and literature.

Before starting at Chico State, I completed my Ph. D. at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and wrote my dissertation comparing the thought of a scientist-philosopher and a theologian, Alfred North Whitehead and Karl Barth respectively. This project was revised and subsequently published by Peter Lang in 2000. I taught Religion and Science and Brooklyn College (CUNY) that same year and Western Religions at Butte College from 2005-7. My most recent book is C. S. Lewis and the Crisis of a Christian (Westminster John Knox, 2014). My current research areas are religion and science, the New Testament, western religions, and literature and philosophy since the Enlightenment. I am currently managing a grant on 18-30 year olds’ attitudes on faith and science, “Science for Students and Emerging, Young Adults,” and am simultaneously working on articles and a book manuscript, all of which arise from this research.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


Publications

book titled "Negotiating Science in Religion America" by Greg Cootsona

Negotiating Science and Religion in America: Past, Present, and Future

(Routledge, 2019)

Science and religion represent two powerful forces that continue to influence the American cultural landscape. Negotiating Science and Religion in America sketches an intellectual-cultural history from the Puritans to the twenty-first century, focusing on the sometimes turbulent relationship between the two. Using the past as a guide for what is happening today, this volume engages research from key scholars and the author’s work on emerging adults’ attitudes in order to map out the contours of the future for this exciting, and sometimes controversial, field. The book discusses the relationship between religion and science in the following important historical periods:

  • from 1687 to the American Revolution
  • the revolutionary period to 1859
  • after Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species
  • 1870–1925: the rise of religious modernism and pluralism to the Scopes Trial
  • from Scopes to 1966
  • the present: 1966 to 2000
  • the third millennium: the voices of Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and Francis Collins
  • the future and its contours.

This is the ideal volume for any student or scholar seeking to understand the relationship between religion and science in society today.

Purchase Book on Routledge


Mere Science Book Cover

Mere Science and Christian Faith: Bridging the Divide with Emerging Adults

(IVP Books, 2018)

Many Christians have been brought up under the assumption that mainstream science is incompatible with genuine Christian faith—so when they see compelling evidence for biological evolution, for example, they feel forced to choose between science and their faith. The devastating effects of this dilemma are plain to see, as emerging adults either leave the faith or shut themselves off to the findings of the scientific community.

But it’s a false dilemma. In this book, Greg Cootsona argues against the idea that science and faith are inherently antagonistic. We don't have to keep them scrupulously separated—instead, we can bring them into dialogue with one another. Cootsona brings this integration to a number of current topics in science and faith conversations, including hermeneutics, the historical Adam and Eve, cognitive science, and the future of technology. His insights are enhanced by his work with Fuller Seminary's STEAM research project.

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C.S. Lewis Book Cover

C. S. Lewis and the Crisis of a Christian

(Westminster John Knox Press, 2014)

C.S. Lewis has long been recognized as a beloved author of children's literature and an apologist for Christian belief to a skeptical modern world. In this new volume, Gregory S. Cootsona shows us how Lewis can also serve as a guide to the ups and downs of the Christian journey. Like many of us, Lewis suffered from a variety of crises of faith and personal experience. Like us, he came to faith in a world that no longer respects Christian commitment or offers much room for belief in God. Like us, he felt the absence of God when those closest to him died. Like us, he wrestled with doubt, wondering if God is real, or simply the projection of his own wishes onto the screen of the universe. Like us, he knew the kinds of temptations he described with such poignancy and humor in The Screwtape Letters.

By examining these and the other crises of C.S. Lewis's life, Cootsona shows us how Lewis found God in each one, and how he shared those discoveries with us in his writing. All those wishing to deepen and enrich their own spiritual journey will find much guidance and wisdom in these pages.

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Portrait of Gregory Cootsona