The Templeton Foundation, known for sponsoring the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, also encourages friendly conversations between religion and science. This anthology offers 48 brief essays from scientists, theologians, physicians, science writers and educators, invited by Stannard to comment on "the way our thinking should be revised in the light of what is known at the dawn of the twenty-first century." The better-known contributors include Paul Davies, Robert Jastrow, Mary Midgley and John Polkinghorne, who appear alongside familiar science-and-religion authors Ted Peters, Robert Russell and Arthur Peacocke. Topics include cosmic origins, evolution, mind and body, spirituality and medicine, our place in the universe and reading God's activity in nature. Stannard's collection is intentionally broad, although physics and cosmology are better represented than biology and psychology, and Christian perspectives dominate a discussion that also contains a few pieces from other religious traditions. Because the essays are addressed to a general readership, the authors set aside technical details and discursive arguments in favor of summaries and illustrations, bringing out a personal directness and warmth that are often lacking in more formal presentations. For readers who follow science-and-religion issues, the collection has the appeal and limitations of a sampler: its range of flavors, including a few distinctive pieces, compensates for its tiny portions and occasional bland items. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
An excellent introduction to the science and religion dialogue, God for the 21st Century is "a tremendous collection of essays from fifty of the most active participants the field. Elegant and insightful, this is one of those books that can meet a seeker at any stage of spiritual development and unfailingly have something to offer."