The topic of science and/or religion is one that is debated the world over. From my point of view, and indeed that of my co-authors, this question is central to the search for truth, and the proper relationship between science and religion.
As Alfred Pritz puts in his opening foreword, the search for truth is interpersonal and personal, because we exchange our views and knowledge on what we call truth, but find that it lies in the personal, subjective world.
The progress of modern science and technology has led to remarkable insights into the nature of the universe and of human life. These insights have challenged and transformed former traditional worldviews and narratives.
For some time the literature on ‘science and religion’ was limited in its focus. To be honest it focused largely on physics and Christianity. Recently it has broadened and that is reflected in this volume.
It has certainly broadened in terms of faith traditions and, at this conference, Islam was well represented. Bringing a wider range of religions into the dialogue certainly makes it more interesting. It may also make a contribution to improving relations between religions.
The science and religion dialogue has also broadened in terms of the sciences it considers. In particular there has been a broadening to include the human as well as the natural sciences. That includes the study of religion by the human sciences, something else that is represented in this volume.
The book includes chapters dealing with a wide range of topcis:
Science and Religion in a World Of Religious Pluralism
Philip Clayton, Claremont School Of Theology, USA
The Role of Christian Theology in the Conception of Modern Science
Nancey Murphy, Fuller Theological Seminary, USA
Naturalism Versus Theism: What is at Stake?
Mikael Stenmark, Uppsala University, Sweden
Religious Naturalism: Oxymoronic Muddle or Future Spiritual Juggernaut?
Wesley J. Wildman, Boston University, USA
Is Our God Big Enough for Big History? Reimagining Religion in an Age of Science
William Grassie, Metanexus Institute, USA
The Origins and Functions Of Religion
Fraser Watts, University of Lincoln, UK
Changes and Transformations of Individual and Collective Meaning-Giving Beliefs
Shiva Khalili, University Of Tehran, Iran
From Morality to Religion? An Interactionist View of Human Personhood. Wentzel Van Huyssteen, University Of Stellenbosch, South Africa
A New Dualism: Understanding Imago Dei
Noreen Herzfeld, St. John's University, USA
Can Science and Religion Live Together Harmoniously?
Michael Ruse, Florida State University, USA
Mutual Cooperation Between Religion and Science
Abdolrahim Gavahi, World Religions Research Center, Iran
Science Education and Ethics Education in Faith-Based Schools
Michael J Reiss, ISSR & UCL Institute Of Education, UK
In my own chapter, I discuss the assumptions of Cognitive Science of Religion about the origin and function of religion, and suggest an alternative position about the evolution of religion that better addresses its social context, and recognizes the rich diversity of religion. It assumes that religion starts with embodied practices rather than with cognition.
The book includes papers arising from the International Society for Science and Religion conference with the Sigmund Freud University on the same theme, held in Vienna in August 2015.
A 21st Century Debate on Science and Religion
Editors: Fraser Watts, Shiva Khalili and Harris Wiseman
Published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017, is available to buy here
Fraser Watts is a former Reader in Theology and Science at the University of Cambridge, former Director of the Psychology and Religion Research Group and a Fellow of Queens’ College. He is a former President of the British Psychological Society and of the International Society for Science and Religion, and former Chair of the British Association of Christians in Psychology. He remains Research Director of the Cambridge Institute for Applied Psychology and Religion, a Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln, UK, and Executive Secretary of the International Society for Science and Religion.