Belief in Special Divine Action (SDA) has had an incalculable impact on civilization. Whatever the overall assessment of the effects of this belief, many of the noblest of human achievements have been the work of human persons shaped by the conviction that God can and sometimes does intervene in the world. Contemporary society is different. Many today express an a priori commitment to the impossibility of such interventions, even though developments in philosophy and the sciences do not seem to preclude them and, indeed, may offer broader possibilities for understanding such interventions than in the early scientific age. Such commitments are often articulated in regard to the impossibility of miracles, but the implications frequently apply to SDA considered in a broader sense, such as inspirations, providence, grace, and the divine effects of sacramental actions.
The proposed project will address this challenge by providing research tools for scholars, educational tools for students and assistance to adult learners whose needs intersect with these two groups. The intention is to create the world’s premier online resource on SDA, making the key insights of centuries of valuable scholarship easily available together with contemporary thematic overviews, audio and visual resources. The project will also organize summer schools, course and cluster group competitions, international conferences, sponsored debates and presentations at third-party events. The ultimate aim is to change minds by challenging uncritical or uninformed positions, increasing awareness of the range of alternatives that thoughtful, intelligent people can and do hold, assisting in understanding the reasons for this range of views, and encouraging and enabling far better informed research in future.