While the Science & Religion dialogue is proceeding among academics, this work has had little effect on Japanese religious educational practice. As a result, in a modern society like Japan that has been overwhelmingly influenced by science, youth and adults are cut off from ways to better appreciate the meaning of religion and from opportunities to consider religious responses to the scientific worldview and view of the person. This situation only exacerbates the tendency of those working in religion and science to keep their distance from each other. As a way of breaking this impasse, we will explore innovative and effective practical means for introducing the S & R dialogue to clergy, teachers of religious education, and their co-religionists and students in religious communities and their affiliated schools. To successfully achieve this goal, we first will assess the current understanding of the S & R dialogue on the theory of life within Japanese religious communities and their related educational institutions while simultaneously exploring what educational resources and methods will be most effective for use in each context. For this two-year Planning Phase of our research, we have assembled a research team, comprised of leading researchers on the S & R dialogue from various religious traditions, who will investigate the situation and issues attending the S & R dialogue within each tradition. At the same time, as a means of exploring the most effective educational methods and materials for introducing the S & R dialogue into contexts of religious education, we will gather and learn from teachers who are currently engaged in religious education in religious communities and schools. This research approach, which brings academic theory and educational practice into a mutually enriching conversation, is designed to disclose the most appropriate and effective educational materials which we will create during the subsequent three-year Execution Phase of the project.
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