BY Deanna Reinhardt
On Feb. 5, Sacred Heart University welcomed guest speaker Sr. Ilia Delio, Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Theology, recipient of a Templeton Course in Science and Religion Award, and Theology Professor at Villanova University.
Delio’s presentation, titled “Evolution, Posthumanism, and the New Catholicity,” brought light to the inevitable evolution of society as it pertains to science, religion and emerging technology. With this, Delio feels a necessity for catholic development.
“We are called to do new things, and to live in a new way,” said Delio.
Many students who were in attendance appeared to have taken great interest in this new outlook on societal and religious evolution. Likewise, they each found there to be many aspects of Delio’s presentation that could also be applied to their personal lives as college students.
“One point of hers that really stuck with me was ‘Contemplation maximizes consciousness.’ I liked this quote because it can be easy to get caught up in life and not really be present and focused on what really matters. This is something that I hope to focus on in my own life. Even if not in a religious sense, I think it’s important to think about things and understand yourself and others,” said sophomore Joseph Rice.
Furthermore, this topic was rather poignant for college students who are experiencing their own time of transition, as it coincides with a similar world-wide growth.
“Students are always on the technology, especially our phones. This presentation showed us how we as humans are transcending, and changing the way we think about ourselves,” said sophomore Melaina Roberto.
“One of the most important points Delio made is that we need to think critically about our relationship to technology, which obviously plays a large part in the lives of many college students,” said Catholic Intellectual Traditions professor Daniel Rober.
“She proposes that spirituality can provide a space in which we can appreciate technology’s good aspects while at the same time not letting it take over our lives,” said Rober.
Delio rounded out her presentation regarding evolution as a whole, and how it must be responded to by mankind.
“Evolution has come to its end in terms of diversity. If we are to survive on this earth, the only way to move forward is to converge and unify. We are on the cusp of evolutionary convergence and we are fighting it tooth and nail. This is the only way forward and technology can help us,” said Delio.
However, Delio also stated that technology and science without the “why” of religion can have counter-effects.
“We have a new wholeness on the horizon, but it is awaiting a new understanding of a new relationship with god, a new type of worship, a new way of forming community, and without religion, I think AI has no real purpose. We can get smarter, we can move faster, but we won’t know where we are going,” said Delio.
“For her, technology represents certain kinds of challenges but more importantly an opportunity to embrace a new vision of what it means to be human and to be Christian,” said Rober
Delio also stressed that God is whole and the center of all things within the realm of the world.
This point resonated greatly with the students and allowed them to better grasp the overall message of Delio’s presentation.