Science and religion, despite their rich, interwoven history, are too often portrayed as opposites in nearly every way, irreconcilable by definition. Indeed, our increasingly polarized societies seem to encourage the proposition that these two ways of knowing the world cannot productively co-exist, that they encounter each other through conflict and contradiction.
In a personal essay about her father’s faith and how he influenced her path to becoming a biomedical researcher, Arasu will illustrate the similarities between her and her father, despite their different guides—faith in the divine versus faith in reason.
A young nurse, Sarah Christensen explores intersections of science and faith through her experiences in pediatric oncology.
Roughly seventy-five percent of New Yorkers claim some religious affiliation. They worship in languages from English to Arabic to Kreyol. Drawing on interviews, observations, and scientific studies, Fletcher’s narrative will explore the varieties of prayer that contribute to New York City’s soundscape. Her essay investigates the physiological and psychological benefits of devotion in increasingly stressful urban environments.
Lisa Y. Garibay
An all-female Catholic school on the U.S.-Mexico border has been excelling in teaching science to its students for almost a century. Garibay’s work explores the history of this unparalleled institution, from the religious order of nuns that founded and continue to run it, to successful alumni in the sciences and engineering, to current students and their families whose lives have been empowered by such an education.
Michelle Guerrero Henry
Wrestling with her faith in order to understand her identity, Michelle Guerrero Henry’s work focuses on her experience practicing Afro-Cuban religions while being raised Catholic in New York City.
Uncovering the psychological functions and causes of religious belief, Jonathan Jong is writing about the scientific study of religion. His piece focuses on the fear of death and how it plays into religion.
Donna Coffey Little
A tragic house fire brought author, Donna Little into conversation with her physicist father about physics and spirituality. Readers will join Little and her father on a journey of reconciliation in an alienated relationship.
Living with a rare genetic disease, Mosedale’s work challenges both scientific and religious narratives of illness and healing.
A story of personal engagement in the debate between evolution and divine creation in American public life, Naidenko highlights her experiences within the structure of America’s complex education system. Her unique perspective begins at the age of 18 after arriving to the United States from the former Soviet Union.
Exploring the relationship between faith and rational belief, Notturno shares how his evolving ideas have affected his development as a person.
Sarah Jozina Reynolds
With possibility of life on other worlds, Reynolds questions how our religious and scientific beliefs are shaped by our place in the universe. Framing the story around famed astronomer, Johannes Kepler, her work encourages readers to consider stepping beyond usual perspectives to consider the universe from someone else’s backyard.
As a Harvard-educated neurologist and daughter navigating her Arab immigrant father’s cancer diagnosis, Dr. Saadi explores questions about the intersection of religion and science. Through a challenging journey, readers will see how she struggles with her Muslim faith and a medical profession bereft of appreciation for patient’s individual stories.
Through the lens of her own faith crisis, former evangelical, Heather Shaw examines the intellectual impasse between science and religion as ways of understanding the world. She asks an evangelical evolutionist, a philosopher, and an Eastern Orthodox priest what we’re talking about, exactly, when we talk about faith.
In a letter to his young godson, David Waters weaves together his own journey of faith with that of Jesuit priest and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin, illuminating a Catholicism that has long been a home to mystics and misfits, scientists, and seekers, even as its hierarchy has struggled to reconcile itself to their prophetic voices.
We awarded fifteen $10,000 two-year Think Write Publish Science & Religion Fellowships. Winners were announced August 15, 2016. Fellows participate in three intensive workshops focused on developing, writing, marketing, and publishing their creative nonfiction stories about harmonies between science and religion. Fellows’ work is mentored throughout by experienced writers, editors and teachers and will be featured in a series of regional and national events.
Why Fellows Applied to Think Write Publish?
Recipients of the Think Write Publish Fellowship are developing and writing a true story or a series of true stories exploring the harmonies between science and religion. The Fellowship program not only gives Fellows the time and opportunity to craft a publishable story, but provides them with essential professional guidance and a community of Fellow writers and influential members of the publishing world.
Additional Fellowship Information
- The Fellowship will run from September 2016 through August 2018.
- All Fellows’ domestic (U.S.) travel and accommodation expenses related to their participation is covered by the project, plus a $10,000 honorarium.
The fifteen selected Fellows are participating in a series of three intensive workshops devoted to the craft of writing narrative nonfiction as well as to the skills of publishing narratives in outlets that reach a broad general readership. Workshops take place over a long weekends in October 2016, February 2017, and May 2017. To make the burden of travel more equitable for Fellows, workshops are held in three different locations: Washington, DC; Tempe, AZ; and Pittsburgh, PA. Each Fellow is assigned a mentor who works with them throughout the development of their story. Fellows are required to attend at least one national or regional event and to participate and or contribute to an online course focusing on their work.
Proposals for personal stories were welcome–from scientists, religious figures, or (just as importantly) everyday people seeking to explore or reconcile their own spiritual and scientific beliefs. But so were research-based narratives about historical moments in scientific and religious discovery, or contemporary scientists wrestling with the ethical quandaries their work entails, or religious, legal, humanistic, or other experts who have encountered interesting and revealing instances of science-religion dialogue and harmonies. Above all, we were looking for narratives—true stories, rich with scene, character, and detail—that provide a nuanced, thoughtful consideration of the complex interplay and unexplored interdependencies and synergies between science and religion.
Our interests are broad and inclusive, and we sought narratives that focused strongly on science and religion; we discouraged submissions that focused on secondary issues such as environmentalism, bioethics, and pseudoscience.
This Fellowship is part of the project True Stories Well Told: Using Narrative to Search for Harmonies Between Science and Religion, and is made possible through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to Arizona State University.
Project leaders: Lee Gutkind and Daniel Sarewitz.