There is every indication that very few young people in religious contexts are engaged in knowledgeable conversations about science and religion. Such conversations are not happening in public schools. If religious communities are failing to take up the task of cultivating conversations and explorations that lead to a constructive engagement between domains of religion and science among youth, how else or where else will youth be introduced to the way these domains positively and constructively interact with each other and make possible an engagement with the fullness of reality?
A primary question to be explored and elaborated in this planning grant is this: Are high school youth involved in religious communities effectively engaged with the wide range of questions, issues, concerns that come under the umbrella of religion and science? A secondary question will be: If this is dimension is essentially missing from youth ministry, what resources are required to remedy that situation?
Through this planning grant, we intend to discover how youth are engaged with or disengaged from the interaction between religion and science; to identify, through extensive interactions with youth and those who lead them, the core questions, concerns, and issues youth have about the relationship between religion and science; and to propose (in the form of a white paper) a range of strategies, resources, and initiatives that together would constitute an appropriate response to our findings.
As far as we know this planning grant would constitute the first formal attempt to assess the status of engagement with religion and science among youth in the context of youth ministry. In doing so, an enduring impact of this project would be to lay the groundwork for a range of initiatives for science for youth ministry that would result in an unprecedented engagement with religion and science among youth.