“Science and the Spiritual Quest” was an international program conducted by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in collaboration with several partner organizations and funded by a major grant from the John Templeton Foundation. From 1996-2003, SSQ focused on the ethical and spiritual questions raised by the best of contemporary science particularly for its scientific practitioners. Our mission was to invite leading scientists into dialogue, through private workshops, on the connections between their scientific pursuits and their spiritual practices, and to present the results of this dialogue to a worldwide public audience through conferences, publications, and multimedia resources. SSQ did not advocate a particular religious or scientific position or a specific outcome for discussions between science and religion. Rather, we sought to promote open and authentic dialogue on this topic within the scientific community, and to offer the insights and questions resulting from these discussions to the public. The central question SSQ addressed to its distinguished scientist participants is this: “How and in what ways is your practice of science—both theoretical and experimental—a spiritual experience?”
During its seven years the Science and the Spiritual Quest program involved over 120 distinguished senior scientists in dialogue at the intersections of science and spirituality. In conferences and workshops around the world, SSQ demonstrated that scientists of Nobel caliber can also be people of faith, and that those who are not traditionally religious can offer insights of great value to religion. In an era of extreme specialization in the sciences, scientists need every opportunity to broaden their horizons to embrace larger philosophical and cultural contexts which will give their life's work meaning beyond the confines of technical proficiency and professional success. SSQ offered scientists free and open exploration of ideas, critical interaction with colleagues, and equips them with tools for interdisciplinary work.
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