While the study of science and religion has exploded in the West, it has been less explored of late in Muslim-majority countries. Since Islam and Christianity are both religions of the Book, and since they share many theological beliefs, working side by side on issues in science and religion should prove mutually beneficial. Shared common grounds can and should encourage shared insights as well as generate new insights. Of course, there are deep theological differences between the traditions which, respectfully understood, can help both traditions develop tradition-specific understandings of the issues. Finally, religious and academic freedoms in Turkey make Turkey an ideal place for Christians and Muslims to work freely together on projects of mutual interest in science and religion. Can Christians and Muslims work together in ways that take both faith and science seriously, and offer deeper understandings of both?
We propose an 18-month joint Muslim-Christian dialogue on science and religion, one aimed at developing a longer, three-year scholarly proposal. Turkish Muslim and US Christian scholars would work alongside one another to (a) consider together various approaches to issues in science and religion, (b) understand their differing theological and cultural contexts, (c) encourage tradition-specific approaches to science and religion, and (d) develop a proposal for continuing scholarly cooperation. The primary activities include a joint Muslim-Christian workshop in Istanbul in June 2014 and a workshop/conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Participants will serve as keynote speakers at the GVSU Grand Dialogue on Muslim-Christian science and religion in 2015.
We will begin building a network of Turkish-Muslim/US-Christian scholars dedicated to developing, jointly and separately, first-rate scholarship in science and religion. Finally, we will develop a three-year plan for expanding the partnership, scholarship, and the number of scholars.