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Various intellectual trends have left many people under the impression that a scientific worldview is incompatible with a spiritual worldview. This grant would support the 18-month planning phase of an effort to: (1) develop and articulate a worldview that qualifies for the term “spiritual” yet is compatible with—and informed by—modern science, and can appeal to diverse groups, ranging from atheists to adherents of the world’s great faith traditions; and (2) encourage respect for spiritual discourse more broadly—in particular by fostering the exchange of ideas at the intersection of scientific, philosophical, and spiritual inquiry.

The project would be based at Union Theological Seminary (UTS). There, systematic interaction with students and faculty would aid in the development and articulation of the new spiritual worldview. Public events under Union’s auspices would highlight this and other scientifically viable spiritual perspectives and would challenge the view that science leaves no room for spirituality.

A key component of the project would be a video website, MeaningofLife.tv. The site would host thinkers—scientists, philosophers, theologians, clergy, journalists, etc.—who hold a variety of views, ranging from traditional religious belief to atheism. Interaction among viewers could lead to the incipient formation of communities of shared spiritual interest. UTS-based public events (lectures, debates) conducted as part of this project would be featured on MeaningofLife.tv, and UTS faculty would appear on the site.

Outputs from the project would include public lectures, interviews, and debates; a seminar taught at UTS; diverse video products on MeaningofLife.tv; and a proposal for creating a Center for Science and Spirituality at UTS to advance the vision developed during this planning phase. Anticipated outcomes include heightened awareness of the compatibility of science and spirituality and public engagement with a new spiritual worldview.