The mission of the Center for Spirituality and Health is to pursue research and provide curriculum at the interface of spirituality and the health sciences. It is designed to promote within UF the rigorous, interdisciplinary study of the human experience of faith, belief and spiritual knowledge in relation to health at the individual, community and global levels. The Center will foster free and creative communication about these issues. We are also committed to the academic exploration of the wider contexts of spirituality, religion and sciences as a whole, using the interface of spirituality and health sciences to bring Humanities, Natural and Social Sciences into relationship.
Spirituality deals with what we find eternal, beautiful, meaningful and just, and asks us to contemplate “the imperceptible”. Science and technology deal much more with “the measurable” and how best to predict and manipulate it. The interface between these powerful forces is of immense and immediate importance because their interaction is likely to strongly influence how the next generations shape the future of our world. Careful analyses of our debates about healthcare, ecology, economics, politics, nationalism, educational policy and even law often reveal this underlying conflict between “faith” and “fact” based realities. We believe that universities must become even more deeply involved in this arena. Institutions of higher education can create the space where human experience, faith and belief can be discussed and examined along with the notion of rigorous scientific evidence and methods in broadly interdisciplinary and scholarly fashion. Our Center seeks to help create this space by promoting the process of individual and collective self-discovery, thereby fostering human qualities often called wisdom, consciousness, noble purpose, awe, mystery, wholeness, harmony, connectedness, tolerance and/or awareness.
To this end, the major activities of our Center include conducting and/or organizing:
- interdisciplinary “for credit” courses at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels;
- certificate program;
- seminars about research and scholarship that are at the interface of spirituality, biomedical science and health;
- community-wide educational programs and workshops;
- research projects and programs that focus on the interface between religious traditions, spirituality and health;
- interdisciplinary discussion groups and journal club; and
- retreats and parallel activities led by students and student groups.