The future of science and religion

The future of science and religion as an academic discipline has been pressing on my mind these last few days. I’ve just returned from the Science and Religion Forum‘s annual conference, held at Durham (UK), for three days, from 3 – 5 September. This being the 40th anniversary of the Forum (and its founding by Arthur Peacocke), the conference was billed as a look at the past, present, and future of the science and religion dialogue. Much to my interest, a number of the plenary speakers raised concerns about the current state of science and religion as an academic discipline. While much has been achieved over those 40 years in certain key areas such as the doctrine of creation, divine action, and the relationship between science and religion, there is much that is still unsolved in these areas, and also massive areas of concern elsewhere which have never been properly addressed. In short, there is an enormous amount of work still waiting for the current and future generations of scholars to take on. One of the wonderful things about the conference was that it became apparent that, despite the concerns, some completely new avenues are being opened up even now. The imperative will be to ensure that these new avenues become established research programmes across the field in time.