This project exists to promote the vision and growing scholarship of Science-Engaged Theology (SET). While some theologians hesitate to engage with empirical research, SET encourages active engagement with the natural sciences to shed light on some of the deepest theological issues. Indeed, we take science to be an authentic theological source – alongside scripture, tradition, and reason.
Here it might be worth contrasting SET with the traditional “Science and Religion” discourses that have dominated much of academic scholarship. Although Science and Religion cannot be characterised in terms of one specific approach, it has since the 1960s tended to focus on the broader terms of science and religion, treating them as unified and monolithic entities. In contrast, the SET project suggests that there is no such thing as science with a capital S; there are a plurality of sciences, each with their distinctive presuppositions about the world and tools for exploring the world. Likewise, SET proceeds on the assumption that it is not helpful to focus on the umbrella term of Religion, and it urges us instead to bring out the distinctiveness of different theologies, with their particular ways of conceptualising the world and humanity.
SET encourages interaction, not between science and religion, but between theological and scientific subdisciplines: neuropsychology and liturgy, genetics and theological anthropology, cognitive science and ecclesiology, etc. More so, SET seeks to employ science to shed light on what we dub theological puzzles. In our view, a theological puzzle is a theological question that heads toward a concrete answer, deals with possible objections, is transparent about using a methodology appropriate to its success conditions, and in principle is unsolvable without the help of, at least some, empirical data. In this project, we strive to keep the topics we study narrow by prioritizing and developing puzzles of this sort.
The goal of this project is to exemplify the pursuit of Science-Engaged Theology.
This project is generously funded by the John Templeton Foundation.