Science and Faith – A Platform for Dialogue and Education in Sweden
Sweden is among the most secularized countries in the world. In a survey about 50% concur with the statement that the more science advances, the more difficult it is to believe that God created the world. Recent figures point in the same direction. The general aim of the present project is to increase commitment to and knowledge of the constructive dialogue between science and religion primarily among religious leaders in Sweden, among their constituencies and ultimately the general public.
The general aim can be broken down into three more specific sub-targets. The first sub-target of this three year project is to create venues especially directed to develop the understanding of scientific results and theories and the relation between science and faith among those involved in work with religion in Sweden as theologians and/or as leaders within religious organizations and institutions. The second sub-target is to make constructive models about science and religion visible on different public arenas and, possibly, contribute to a change in general attitudes. The third sub-target is to gain an impact on the pastoral level (preaching, youth and adult education, pastoral care).
The project will involve activities on both the national, regional and local level through concrete deliverables in the form of selective conferences and events and more extensive courses and training programs. All these activities will be supported by a (1) web platform (2) surveys into the knowledge of and perceived needs of support from the constructive international dialogue on science and religion.
The expected impact of the project will be an increased awareness among religious leaders (and members of their communities) of the relevance of the constructive dialogue between science and religion for central aspects of their religious faith. Through key groups we also expect an impact on public dialogue and the public perception of the relationship between science and religion.
(1) The project activities will take place on a national as well as a regional level. Three regional areas of Sweden have been selected for special activities, i.e. the Stockholm-Mälardalen region (in the middle of Sweden), the diocese of Gothenburg (on the west coast of Sweden) and the diocese of Lund (in the southwest of Sweden). Towards the later phase of the project, activities will be widened to other regions and dioceses.
(2) The project activities are spread over a spectrum of different religious denominations and traditions. The leadership of the Church of Sweden is targeted in many activities, but the project will also involve free denominations as the Uniting Church of Sweden as well as the Muslim community and the Gothenburg Interreligious Center.
(3) The project activities will not only involve national and regional religious organizations, but also centres of learning such as the Faculty of Theology (Uppsala university), Agora for Biosystems (at the Sigtuna foundation), Stockholm School of Theology, Chalmers University of Technology and the Department of Teachers Education (University of Gothenburg). These centres of learning will provide a large part of the expertise to provide knowledge in science and in the dialogue between science and religion.
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