Beyond Secularization:

Religion, Science and Technology in Public Life

Project Sponsor

About our funder:

 Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) is a global charitable trust chartered by Sir John Templeton in 1984 with headquarters in Nassau, The Bahamas. TRT has been active since 2012 and supports projects and storytelling related to projects seeking to enrich the conversation about religion.

TRT funds a variety of projects whose aim is to increase the level, degree, and quality of engagement between the methods and deliverances of the sciences, philosophy, and theology by supporting science-engaged theology and theologically-engaged science.

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Science & Religion in Context

Beyond Secularization & Sir John Templeton’s Vision:

The Beyond Secularization initiative affirms one of Sir John Templeton's core insights: despite its achievements, something fundamental is missing from the project of modern science. Science has been characterized not only by the search for knowledge, but also by the promise of progress. Yet modernity has tended to presume that advancing into enlightenment must at once be a movement toward disenchantment and away from a world of spiritual meanings and mysteries: as science advances, religion will wither. This vision in which science is the central protagonist of both secularization and progress is widely shared and culturally powerful. 

This project returns to the question of progress by stripping away this presumption and asking anew: what is progress, and how might it be imagined and theorized beyond the limitations of this presumption?  Sir John's vision called for humility, open-mindedness and integrated understanding at the intersection of science and religion. The idea of progress as science-driven secularization, by contrast, is hubristic in its confidence, forecloses inquiry and understanding, and engenders disintegration. 

Our aim is not to expose, unmask or otherwise depose this confidence in the name of replacing it with some alternative hubris. Rather, we seek to examine ourselves: the social communities and cultures in which we participate, the commitments we hold, and the worlds we thereby bring into being. We seek to recover capacities for imagining progress that derive not from some ostensible inevitability of history, but from the humility and hope that our earth-bound position demands.