TBF Areas of Focus

TBF will concern itself with discovery (research) and change (engagement) regarding questions of the advent, stewarding and meaning of life and the human mind as unique locus of reasoning, relationship and religion.  Our intention with this work is to become, what Pope Francis has called “artisans of the common good” as we foster the pursuit of truth.  Inquiry will be focused within three foundational (Big) questions.

Work supported by TBF will span geopolitical boundaries, academic disciplines and sectarian faith in seeking better understanding of the Big Questions listed below with research questions and dissemination programs that are animated by our vision, mission, and values.

Three Foundational (BIG) Questions

Our founder has remarked:  “Most spiritual leaders are not even a little conversant in modern new scientific discoveries, etc.; therefore, appear uninformed, not up-to-date, and not someone to go to for answers; especially to college educated young people.”  How can seekers of truth pursue a robust study of creation alongside a sincere pursuit of faith?  If “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19.1), how might an understanding of the natural order be also understood as an act of worship?  Too often these fields of learning and experience seem unnecessarily disconnected and even mutually hostile.

Science and theology have things to say to each other since both are concerned with the search for truth attained through motivated belief.  – Sir John Polkinghorne

Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.  Each can draw the other into a wider world in which both can flourish. – Pope John Paul II

We need to move from an artificially polarized debate around theology and science, to a creative articulation of a theology of science.  – Tom McLeish

Out of his experience in a Nazi death camp, neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl concluded “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”  But from what exactly might meaning, purpose or fulfillment ensue?   At TBF, we have been mandated to help “humanity move closer to the truth,” but how do we sift through myriad truth claims and entrenched and impassioned positions to find ultimate answers to purpose and meaning?  Further, in an increasingly pluralistic age, how might different faiths and worldviews be a collective force for the common good?

All religions claim some, or all, spiritual truth.  We must carefully and respectfully examine the truth claims of the different cultures of our world.  Respectful dialogue at a personal level will help build harmony among the different world cultures.  – TBF Founder

The great question that hovers over this issue, one that we have dealt with mainly by indifference, is the question of what are people made for?  – Wendell Berry

Human thinking is individual improvisation enmeshed in a sociocultural matrix.  – Michael Tomasello

Only cooperation constitutes a process that can produce reason.  – Jean Paiget

Here we encounter a burgeoning cloud of sub-questions which are themselves most consequential.  Why is the reality of climate change so politically charged, and what might be done about it?  What is the difference in and relation of the mind and the brain?  How can and should the technological and the natural interact?  From probing the latest in evolutionary synthesis theory to neuroscientific evidence of free will, to potential convergence in metaphysics and quantum mechanics:  Where is discovery taking us?

A number of the Church fathers…considered nature to be another canonical book.  – Peter Harrision

By means of what is material and temporary we may lay hold upon that which is spiritual and eternal. – Augustine

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.  – John Muir

Science’s domain is the natural.  If you want to understand the natural world and be sure you’re not misleading yourself, science is the way to do it. – Francis Collins