John D. Barrow (2006)
John D. Barrow, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, is a cosmologist whose writings about the relationship between life and the universe, and the nature of human understanding, have created new perspectives on questions of ultimate concern to science and religion. Barrow's insights from mathematics, physics and astronomy challenge scientists and theologians to cross the boundaries of their disciplines if they are to fully realize what they may or may not understand about how time, space, and matter began, and the behavior of the universe (or, perhaps, "multiverses").
His work – including 17 books translated into 27 languages and written in accessible, lively prose, hugely popular lectures, and more than 400 scientific papers – has illuminated understanding of the universe and cast the intrinsic limitations of scientific inquiry into sharp relief. It has also given theologians and philosophers inescapable questions to consider when examining the very essence of belief, the nature of the universe, and humanity's place in it.
In particular, Barrow's engagement with frontier science and mathematics, developing multidisciplinary perspectives on subjects such as the mysteries of nothingness and infinity, and the potentially intelligible realms of the laws of Nature and the limits of scientific explanation, has jarred religious and scientific perspectives in such a way as to open pathways of understanding which may allow both to comprehend each other more fully.
Barrow, who received his doctorate (D.Phil) in astrophysics from the University of Oxford in 1977, first caught wide attention with his 1986 book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, co-authored with Frank J. Tipler. The book investigates all aspects of anthropic principles in cosmology and other sciences, traversing history, philosophy, theology, astronomy, physics and chemistry. It has become an essential work for those who explore the deep questions at the interface of science and religion, while the anthropic principle has become an inescapable factor in the evaluation of contemporary cosmological theories.
In 1989, Barrow delivered the Gifford Lectures at Glasgow University in their centennial yea which led to Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation, published in 1991. The book weaves together considerations from a wide range of topics, raises as many questions as it answered, and shows clearly how it comes about that a "theory of everything," while necessary to understand the universe, is far from sufficient. His later books have explored a huge range of subjects on the science and religion interface at a level that speaks to lay readers and specialists alike. Topics include the nature and utility ofmathematics (Pi in the Sky, 1992), the links between the universe and human aesthetic appreciation (The Artful Universe, 1995 and The Artful Universe Expanded, 2005), and how the universe is peculiarly characterized by what cannot be known about it (Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits, 1998).
That provocative formula was expanded to the theater in 2002 with the Italian production of Infinities, directed by Luca Ronconi. Barrow's five-part play that picks at accepted parameters of infinity with dramatizations that disturb as often as delight introduced many new staging techniques to the theater. The play, which ran two seasons in Milan, received the 2002 Premi Ubu as the year's best work in the Italian theater and the 2003 Italgas Prize.
Barrow was also elected a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge and has been vice president since 2004. At Cambridge he was also appointed Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, a many-faceted education initiative aimed at young people, aged five to 19, to help them understand and appreciate mathematics and its applications. In 2006, the program was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the UK Honours list.
Barrow's research has been at the forefront of many areas of cosmology for thirty years and has most recently been concerned with the ways in which astronomy can test the constancy of the so-called "constants of Nature." His most recent book is The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless (2005), which considers all aspects of the infinite and explores its similarities and differences in the realms of mathematics, science, and theology.
Barrow has the curious distinction of having delivered lectures on cosmology in such unexpected venues as the Venice Film Festival, 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle and the Vatican Palace.
Professor Charles H. Townes (2005)
Charles H. Townes is Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 with Aleksander Prokhorov and Nikolai Basov for his investigations into the properties of microwaves which led to his invention of the maser, a device which amplifies electromagnetic waves, and later, his co-invention of the laser, which amplifies and directs light waves into parallel direct beams. His research opened the door for an astonishing array of inventions now in common use in medicine, telecommunications, electronics, and computers.
Townes has spent decades as a leading advocate for the convergence of science and religion. His 1966 article, The Convergence of Science and Religion, in IBMs Think magazine, established Townes as a unique voice especially among scientists that sought commonality between the two disciplines. Long before the concept of a relationship between science and religion became an accepted arena of investigation, his nonconformist viewpoint jumpstarted a movement that until then few had considered and even fewer comprehended. So rare was such a viewpoint at the time that Townes admitted in the paper that his position would be considered by many in both camps to be extreme. Nonetheless, he proposed, their differences are largely superficial, and
the two become almost indistinguishable if we look at the real nature of each.
Townes often cites his discovery of the principles of the maser an insight that suddenly occurred to him as he sat on a park bench in Washington, D.C. in 1951 as a revelation as real as any revelation described in the scriptures, and as a striking example of the interplay of how and why that both science and religion must recognize.
Townes was educated at Furman University, Duke, and received a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1939. He served on the technical staff of the Bell Telephone Laboratories during World War II, developing radar systems that effectively performed in the humid conditions of the Pacific Theater. He was appointed associate professor of physics at Columbia University in 1948, professor of physics in 1950, and served as chairman of the physics department from 1952 to 1955. After serving as vice president and director of research at the Institute for Defense Analysis in Washington from 1959 to 1961, he became provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961. He was appointed University Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1967. His book, How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist, was published by Oxford University Press in 1999.
Most recently, Townes has been a champion of optical searches for extraterrestrial intelligence, using methods he first proposed in 1961 as a complement to searches for radio transmissions from distant solar systems. His current work uses lasers to help combine images from distant telescopes.
George F. R. Ellis, Ph.D. (2004)
George F.R. Ellis, professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, is a theoretical cosmologist specializing in general relativity theory, an area first broadly investigated by Albert Einstein. Dr. Ellis is considered to be among a handful of the worlds leading relativistic cosmologists, including luminaries such as Stephen Hawking and Malcolm MacCallum. His first book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, written with Stephen Hawking and published in 1973, continues to be a standard reference work on the subject. His most recent investigations question whether or not there was ever a start to the universe and, indeed, if there is only one universe or many.
Dr. Ellis bold and innovative contributions to the dialogue at the boundary of theology and science led to his being named the 34th Templeton Prize Laureate. He has advocated balancing the rationality of evidence-based science with faith and hope, a view shaped in part by his firsthand experiences in South Africa as it peacefully transformed from apartheid to multi-racial democracy without succumbing to racial civil war. Ellis describes that history as a confounding of the calculus of reality that can only be explained as the causal effect of forces beyond the explanation of hard science, including issues such as aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and meaning.
Ethics is causally effective, he says, referring to the power that ethics has to change the world, and provides the highest level of values that set human goals and choices. Describing himself as a moral realist, Ellis argues that ethics, like mathematics, is a part of the universe that we discover rather than invent, and that there are deep ethical truths built into the physical universe.
His work on the origin of the universe, evolution of complexity, the functioning of the human mind, and how and where they intersect with areas beyond the boundaries of science, has been covered in such books as On the Moral Nature of the Universe, written with Nancey Murphy. He believes that kenotic behavior is deeply imbedded in the universe, both in ethics and in other aspects of our lives and that it is the only way to achieve what might otherwise be rationally impossible. Self-sacrificing love, according to Ellis, is the true nature of morality, another area that he says cannot be explained with simple physics or indeed by any science.
Beyond ethics, Ellis contends that there are many areas that cannot be accounted for by physics. Directly challenging the notion that the powers of science are limitless, Ellis notes the inability of even the most advanced physics to fully explain factors that shape the physical world, including human thoughts, emotions and social constructions such as the laws of chess. He comments that this is not a claim on behalf of vitalism: rather it is a simple statement of fact as regards present day science.
Dr. Ellis recent books include The Universe Around Us: An Integrative View of Science and Cosmology, comparing the natural and life sciences, and The Far-Future Universe, edited from the proceedings of a 2002 symposium at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences examining cosmological, biological, human, and theological aspects of the future.
Professor Holmes Rolston III (2003)
Known as the "father of environmental ethics," Holmes Rolston III is one of the world's leading advocates for protecting Earth's biodiversity and ecology in recognition of the intrinsic values of creation. He is University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and a Presbyterian minister. His 30 years of research, books published in 18 languages and lectures delivered around the world on the religious imperative to respect nature have established the field of environmental ethics.
Professor Rolston is at the forefront of those who join biology and religion for the understanding of Earth's evolutionary ecosystems, an effort made all the more critical by escalating environmental concerns worldwide. He first achieved wide recognition in 1975 for an article in Ethics, "Is There an Ecological Ethic?", that challenged the widespread idea that nature was value-free and that all values stem from a human perspective. Nature, Rolston contended, contains intrinsic values independent of humans and deserves to be treated as such out of respect for and love of creation.
Science and religion have usually joined to keep humans in central focus when valuing the creation of the universe and evolution on Earth. Rolston, by contrast, takes an approach that looks beyond humans to include the fundamental value and goodness of plants, animals, species, and ecosystems as core issues of theological and scientific concern. His 1987 book, Science and Religion - A Critical Study and his 1988 Environmental Ethics re-opened the question of a theology of nature by rejecting anthropocentrism in ethical and philosophical analysis valuing natural history.
In contrast to other advocates of theology/science dialogue who begin in religion and move to embrace science, or vice versa, Rolston has spared neither religion nor science. "The trouble is making peace between the two," Rolston noted, "but equally I have had to quarrel with both about value intrinsic to nature. Science thought nature to be value-free. Monotheism thought nature fallen owing to human sin. They agreed that humans were the center of value on Earth. I had to fight both theology and science to love nature."
His outlook has often left him an outsider among his peers. His first efforts to introduce an environmental ethic were rejected by mainstream philosophical journals. He reacted in shock when invited to deliver the world-famous Gifford Lectures in 1997-98, because prominent publishers had turned down the manuscript at the heart of his lectures. Subsequently published as Genes, Genesis and God by Cambridge University Press in 1999, his book is now acclaimed as a monumental work.
In his book, Science and Religion, Rolston argued that each discipline needed the other lest they both miss the opportunitiy to be fully insightful and relevant. Recalling a proverb, "The religion that is married to science today will be a widow tomorrow," Rolston wrote, "The sciences in their multiple theories and forms come and go. Yes, but science is here to stay and the religion that is divorced from science today will leave no offspring tomorrow. Religion cannot live without fitting into the intellectual world that is its environment. Here, too, the fittest survive."
Rev. Dr. John C. Polkinghorne (2002)
John C. Polkinghorne is a mathematical physicist and Anglican priest whose treatment of theology as a natural science invigorated the search for interface between science and religion and made him a leading figure in this emerging field. Dr. Polkinghorne resigned a prestigious position as Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge in 1979 to pursue theological studies, becoming a priest in 1982. Since then, his extensive writings and lectures have consistently applied scientific habits to Christianity, resulting in a modern and compelling, new exploration of the faith. His approach to the fundamentals of Christian orthodoxy creation, using the habits of a rigorous scientific mind have brought him international recognition as a unique voice for understanding the Bible as well as evolving doctrine.
Dr. Polkinghorne has established himself as a scientist-theologian much more comfortable with traditional interpretations of Christian scripture and dogma. Still, he steadfastly defends the role of science in advancing understandings of the workings of the universe.
Dr. Polkinghorne established himself in the world of mathematical physics when science was being revolutionized with discoveries about sub-atomic particles. An important contribution was his creation of mathematical models that calculate the trajectory of fast-moving elementary particles. His work led to his selection as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974.
By resigning his position at Cambridge and entering the priesthood, his decision led to wide-ranging discussions with theoretical physicists which became the foundation of many books in which Polkinghorne grapples with issues of science and theology. His best-known books include The Way the World Is (1983), a short, but detailed explanation of how a thinking person can be a Christian; The Faith of a Physicist (1984) (in the UK entitled Science and Christian Belief), based on Polkinghorne's Gifford Lectures which defend the rationality of the Nicene Creed phrase by phrase; and Belief in God in an Age of Science (1998), which defends critical realism as the proper philosophical attitude in both science and theology.
In 1997, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for distinguished service to science, religion, learning and medical ethics.
Rev. Canon Dr. Arthur Peacocke (2001)
As senior lecturer in biophysical chemistry at the University of Birmingham in England, conventional church teaching left him disenchanted. Seeking an alternative to automatic acceptance of scriptural authority of the Church, he began a thorough study of theology, with the encouragement of a professor, Geoffrey Lampe. In 1960, he received a Diploma in Theology and in 1971, a Bachelor of Divinity from Birmingham University. It was at this time that his scientific and theological pursuits tangibly merged with the publication of Science and the Christian Experiment, which he wrote while still a full-time scientist with a research group working on the physical chemistry of DNA and proteins. In 1973, the book won the prestigious Lecomte du Noüy Prize, the first global recognition of Peacocke as a leader in the new discipline of science and religion. That same year, he became Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, allowing him to pursue more fully his interdisciplinary vocation.
In 1986, he founded the Society of Ordained Scientists (S.O.Sc.) to further advance the development of the field of science and religion. It is an ecumenical, international order that seeks to foster the spirituality of those working as scientists and as ordained persons and to act as a bridge between the Church and science. Among his major publications in this area are Creation and the World of Science (1979), which established further his international reputation, Intimations of Reality: Critical Realism in Science and Religion (1984), Theology for a Scientific Age (1990, 2nd edition 1993, including his 1993 Gifford Lectures), God and the New Biology (1994), From DNA to DEAN: Reflections and Explorations of a Priest-Scientist (1996), God and Science: A Quest for Christianity Credibility (1996), and Paths from Science Towards God: The End of All Our Exploring (2001).
Professor Freeman J. Dyson (2000)
Of the many qualities attributed to physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, perhaps nothing more fully captures his personality than "optimist." Dyson has received 17 honorary doctorates bestowed by Oxford, Dartmouth, Princeton, Yeshiva and other universities. Dyson has staked out his positions in several lecture series and books that followed, including his Gifford Lectures at Aberdeen, Scotland in 1985 (which led to his book, Infinite in All Directions), the Danz Lectures at the University of Washington in 1988 (published as From Eros to Gaia), lectures at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1995 (which became Imagined Worlds), and in 1997 at the New York Public Library (source of the book, The Sun, the Genome and the Internet).
Professor Ian Graeme Barbour (1999)
Professor Ian Barbour is one of the world pioneers in the integration of science and religion. His books and articles are helping to expand the field of theology not only for Christians but also for other faiths. A physicist and former chair of the religion department, Dr. Barbour is Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Professor Barbour is the author of many books, including Religion in An Age of Science, Science and Religion, Issues in Science and Religion, and Christianity and the Scientist.
Sir Sigmund Sternberg (1998)
Sir Sigmund Sternberg, a Hungarian-born British philanthropist and businessman, has consistently encouraged interfaith dialogue for decades. His behind-the-scenes diplomacy played a critical role in relocating a Catholic convent at Auschwitz in the 1980s. He also has been influential in organizing the first-ever papal visit to a synagogue, negotiating the Vatican's recognition of the state of Israel, and opening Vatican war-time files relating to Nazis and Jews. His leadership in promoting better relations between Muslims, Jews, and Christians continue to bring about extraordinary breakthroughs in interfaith dialogue.
Pandurang Shastri Athavale (1997)
In 1954 in the villages around Bombay, nineteen of Athavale's most dedicated co-workers, primarily professionals, began bhaktiferi -- devotional visits to the villages to spread the message of love for God and others. Through bhaktiferi, Athavale and his co-workers developed the practice of swadhyaya, a form of self-study that inspires each individual to recognize an inner God, cultivate an increased self-respect, and abandon immoral behavior. By believing that God also dwells within others, those who pursue self-study can develop a loving relationship with all persons, resulting in a reduction of crime, the removal of social barriers, and an alleviation of poverty, hunger and homelessness.
William R. "Bill" Bright (1996)
In 1951, Bill Bright sold his specialty-foods business and began a person-to-person sharing of New Testament scripture on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles, calling his movement Campus Crusade for Christ. Beginning with a small cadre of converts, Bright led the organization through enormous growth to become a colossal set of ministries that reach around the globe. Campus Crusade for Christ International currently serves more than 650 university campuses in the United States and 470 overseas. His efforts near the end of his life included calling for worldwide spiritual revival through prayer and fasting.
Professor Paul Davies (1995)
Paul Davies is one of the world's most brilliant scientists. He works at the forefront of research in fundamental physics and cosmology and has sought out those areas of scientific inquiry that made outstanding contributions to quantum physics and cosmology and has gone on to examine the philosophical and theological implications. As a result, he has initiated a new dialogue between science and religion that is having worldwide repercussions. Among his many books are The Mind of God, God and the New Physics, Other Worlds and The Cosmic Blueprint.
Michael Novak (1994)
Michael Novak, journalist, university professor, former U.S. ambassador, and currently resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, revealed revolutionary insights into the spiritual foundations of economic and political systems. His groundbreaking book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, and other writings are credited with influencing such diverse personalities as Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Vaclav Havel, all of whom have been drawn to his extraordinarily original thought. Besides being a pioneer in the theology of economics, Novak's writings, lectures, and commentaries have also extended the boundaries of religious thinking into aspects of culture rarely associated with spirituality, including ethnicity, sports, poverty, the family, and the moral foundations of democracy and capitalism.
Charles W. Colson (1993)
Charles W. Colson, the former Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon, began Prison Fellowship after serving a sentence in federal prison for Watergate-related crimes. It is now the largest prison outreach program in the world, operating an international network of prison ministries in 60 nations. The organization has made substantial gains in breaking the cycle of crime and recidivism through the work of more than 50,000 volunteers in more than 800 state and federal prisons in the United States, who reach one quarter of a million inmates each year.
Rev. Dr. Kyung-Chik Han (1992)
Rev. Dr. Kyung-Chik Han was one of the world's most successful Christian evangelists. Founder of Seoul's 60,000-member Young Nak Presbyterian Church, Dr. Han's fervent work for refugees and the poor epitomized the growth of Christianity in Korea. His experience as a survivor of the ravages of war and political oppression made him one of Korea's most respected religious leaders and a symbol of the evangelism that has extended the Presbyterian church to unprecedented numbers in Korea. His church, the world's largest Presbyterian congregation, has founded more than 500 churches in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, including the 5,000-member Young Nak Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles.
The Rt. Hon. Lord Jakobovits (1991)
Lord Jakobovits, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth from 1967 to 1991, spent over half a century as a spiritual leader of steadfast principles and unwavering ethics. Author of the groundbreaking book, Jewish Medical Ethics, he helped found this discipline of thought. Highly regarded for his extraordinary scholarship, his sometimes bold positions -- including opposition to violence and polarization in the Middle East and his advocacy of education and spirituality to promote religion -- extended his moral authority far beyond the Jewish community.
Baba Amte (1990; awarded jointly)
Baba Amte left his comfortable life as a wealthy Hindu lawyer to follow a personal calling, developing modern communities to help those with Hanson's Disease (leprosy) and other so-called untouchables of his native India. By building and funding hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, a bank, library, post office, and cooperative shops, his community brings employment, education, health, and other services to citizens long denied dignity and compassion.
Professor L. Charles Birch (1990; awarded jointly)
Dr. L. Charles Birch, Emeritus Professor at University of Sydney, Australia since 1983, has been engaged in new and adventurous reflection on questions of science and faith throughout his career as a biologist-geneticist. He sees modern discoveries about natural science as expanding humankind's understanding of God as designer and creator of the universe and its creatures. He has been credited with the development of a new understanding of the nature and role of God for a scientific age and helping to reconcile the biological and the religious understanding of creation.
The Very Reverend Lord MacLeod (1989; awarded jointly)
The Very Reverend Lord MacLeod, founder of the monastic Iona Community, located on an island off the west coast of Scotland, spent his life reviving a prayer-centered spiritual movement that now has more than 100,000 supporters worldwide. This ecumenical community's work to encourage peace in the world and help common men and women through their struggles continues to operate with simplicity, depending on the Scriptures to infuse new meaning to ancient ideals.
Professor Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (1989; awarded jointly)
Professor Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker's work has explored the intersection of physics, cosmology, and theology, consistently putting him at the forefront of the reconciliation between religion and natural science. His several key discoveries in modern nuclear physics, along with his application of nuclear physics to astrophysics caused him to begin questioning the estrangement of religion and science and led to his investigation of Christianity's obligation to technology.
Dr. Inamullah Khan (1988)
Dr. Inamullah Kahn, founder and former secretary-general of the Modern World Muslim Congress in Karachi, Pakistan, devoted his life to working tirelessly to advance peace among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. This interfaith activism provided important, new opportunities to foster good will and understanding. In particular, he played a crucial role in helping to settle the war between Iran and Iraq and to bring a message of peace to formerly-apartheid South Africa.
Rev. Professor Stanley L. Jaki (1987)
Benedictine monk and professor of astrophysics at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, Rev. Professor Stanley L. Jaki is noted as a leading thinker in areas at the boundary of science and theology and issues where the two disciplines meet and diverge. His more than two dozen books carefully delineate the importance of differences as well as similarities between science and religion, adding significant, balanced enlightenment to the field.
Rev. Dr. James McCord (1986)
Rev. Dr. James McCord, Chancellor of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, and president for 26 years of the Princeton Theological Seminary, spent his professional life investigating the relationship between science and religion through his studies of the nature of reality. His center continues to serve as scholars' residence that encourages scientific and theological theories to be developed and then published in books that detail the findings.
Sir Alister Hardy (1985)
Sir Alister Hardy, founder of the Sir Alister Hardy Research Centre at Oxford, England, began his career as a marine biologist, but went on to gain prominence for original empirical studies that for the first time used scientific methodology to investigate religious experience. He spent a lifetime seeking evidence of God's centrality to the human condition, in the process gathering massive amounts of information pointing out the key role religious experience plays in humanity.
Rev. Michael Bourdeaux (1984)
Rev. Michael Bourdeaux, founder of Keston College in England, spearheaded a laborious, often lonely struggle to examine and explain the systematic destruction of religion in Iron Curtain nations during the Cold War. From his time as an exchange student to Moscow in 1960, he worked to defend the rights of faiths in these countries to worship as they chose. When the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc regimes collapsed, Bourdeaux's efforts for universal religious freedom were embraced by authorities, evidencing the strength of his beliefs.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1983)
A living symbol of freedom of thought and conscience, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's struggle for open expression makes him one of the world's most respected men. Under the repressive Soviet regimes, he held on to his beliefs and shared his worldview through his powerful writings and devastating critiques of the Soviet Union. His work renewed vitality in the Orthodox tradition of spirituality and evidence profound Christian faith, expressing a spiritual dimension long neglected by most novelists, and delivering a message of the unique and indestructible quality of the soul.
Rev. Dr. Billy Graham (1982)
When the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham took his message of Christianity into the electronic world of radio and television, he invigorated an entire generation with a simple, yet poignant message of salvation. During his rise as media celebrity, however, he maintained a dignity that continues to draw enormous audiences and enthusiastic support with an interpretation of the Gospel that speaks to the problems and pressures of today.
Dame Cicely Saunders (1981)
As a longtime caregiver, Dame Cicely Saunders spent years close to the dull, agonizing suffering of terminally ill patients as they expressed their physical, psycho-social, and spiritual pain. From this, Saunders moved to found the Hospice and Palliative Care Movement, invoking a scientifically rigorous program combined with a unique social and spiritual awareness. The program continues to develop across cultural borders worldwide.
Professor Ralph Wendell Burhoe (1980)
As founder and former editor of Zygon, Journal of Religion and Science, Prof. Ralph Burhoe pursued a passionate investigation into the differences and similarities of theology and science, becoming one of the world's most informed voices in communicating this evolving research. Zygon has played an unparalleled role in the interdisciplinary pursuit of issues at the boundary of science and religion by offering a common ground for dialogue.
Rev. Nikkyo Niwano (1979)
Literally translated, Rissho Kosei-Kai means "establishing the teaching of the true Law in the world, mutual exchange of thought among people of faith, and the perfection of the personality." When Rev. Nikkyo Niwano and Masa Naganuma founded Rissho Kosei-Kai, they set forth on a mission that has blossomed from a handful of adherents into the world's largest Buddhist lay group of more than five million people. Niwano is also the founder of the World Conference of Religion and Peace.
Professor Thomas F. Torrance (1978)
Through his intense scrutiny of the relationship between science and religion, Professor Thomas Torrance, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, became one of the first religious thinkers to win the respect of both theologians and scientists. His revelations on the rationality of the universe attempt to evidence God through scientific reasoning.
Chiara Lubich (1977)
Unhappy with the limitations of the cloistered existence for women dedicated to becoming Catholic nuns, Chiara Lubich founded and developed Italy's Focolare Movement as an alternative. Her community in Trent, Italy, dedicated itself to serving the poor. Soon, it expanded to include men and married people. It then spread to other Italian cities, followed by Focolare settlements in Belgium, Germany, France, the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong. She has underscored this legacy with longtime efforts to heal the theological breach between Catholics and Protestants.
Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens (1976)
Cardinal Suenens, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Belgium, was a pioneer in the research and discourse of the Charismatic Renewal Movement. As the movement gained popularity in the early 1970s, many worried what effect this ancient, Biblical phenomenon would have on modern Christianity. The Cardinal's enlightened discourse on the movement provided guidance and reassurance, eliminating misunderstanding and offering thoughtful insight to followers and observers alike.
Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1975)
Throughout his life, Sir Sarvepalli - President of India from 1962 to 1967 - served as a voice of peace and justice. An Oxford Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics, he consistently advocated non-aggression in India's long-simmering conflicts with neighbor Pakistan, maintaining a defensive military posture as well as working to end political corruption in his nation. His lucid writings underscored his country's religious heritage and presented it in a way that made it accessible to all. He also sought to convey a universal reality of God that embraced love and wisdom for all people, regardless of race or religious belief.
Brother Roger (1974)
When the Nazis occupied France during World War II, Brother Roger, founder and prior (director) of the Taizé Community in France, harbored Jewish refugees. It was typical of Brother Roger's long history of helping the less fortunate. After the war, when he established the religious brotherhood known as the Taizé Community, he initiated efforts to aide orphans in the region surrounding the community. This led to the founding of the Council of Youth, and then the Intercontinental Meetings of Young Adults, which annually bring tens of thousands of young adults from throughout the world to pray and reflect in Taizé.
Mother Teresa (1973)
Six years before Mother Teresa, founder of India's Missionaries of Charity, received the Nobel Peace Prize, she was recognized by the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion for her extraordinary efforts to help the homeless and neglected children of Calcutta. Her heroic work not only affected real change among those she served, but inspired millions of others around the world.
We welcome new nominations for the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities.
Information forms may be obtained by contacting:
Templeton Prize Office
Canyon Institute for Advanced Studies
3217 East Shea Blvd, Suite 622
Phoenix, Arizona 85028