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A narrative has developed in the Western world that scripture and science are incompatible. Many believe science has shown the Bible to no longer be relevant and even responsible for holding back human progress. There are also those who believe that scripture necessitates an adversarial position against science. While elements of this narrative are certainly understandable in our current cultural milieu, we believe they are mistaken and damaging. The MOTB has an opportunity to help overcome these misleading views.
We will use this $217,400 planning grant from the John Templeton Foundation, along with $232,600 from MOTB ($450,000 total) to determine the best, most effective ways to develop initiatives, programs, research, scholarship and exhibits focusing on the Bible and its impact on science in an accurate, comprehensible, compelling and memorable manner. This grant will support planning for the Bible and science portions of a signature traveling exhibit and for the Museum itself, and add rich science and scripture content to other projects and initiatives of MOTB.
The planning grant will enable us to plan and facilitate up to seven strategic gatherings involving scholars, theologians, scientists, practitioners, literary and cultural experts who will together explore how MOTB and its initiatives can enhance the public dialogue concerning the convergence between the Bible, science and scholarship. In addition, we will engage in a small but high leverage research project to assess secular openness to initiatives we hope will change the conversation in the broader culture concerning the relationship between science and the Bible.
This project will produce a detailed plan for compelling exhibits focusing on science and the Bible and create a fully- developed proposal for the John Templeton Foundation requesting support to implement plans. We believe the stakes are high if the presentation of the Bible and Science relationship is not informative and intelligent.