Science and Religion

Job Kozhamthadam, SJ

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE & RELIGION (IISR)

Modern science and religion are arguably two most powerful influences in our society today, leading and guiding the life and destiny of people.  This is particularly true of our India where traditionally both science and religion have flourished and enjoyed great respect and wide support. However, it is often found that these two go diverse ways, particularly in contemporary times, leaving most people in a state of confusion and conflict. Indian Institute of Science & Religion (IISR) is an attempt to bring together the latest findings of modern science and deepest insights of religions to build up a better humanity and a better India, particularly in her multi-religious, multicultural and multiracial context.

In response to the call of recent Popes and Superior Generals of the Society of Jesus for healthy and creative dialogue between faith and reason, Christianity and science, IISR was established in 2000. Till 2014 it was located at Jnana DeepaVidyapeeth (JDV), Pune, India, rendering its service to the whole of India. In 2015, it was shifted to Delhi since it is an undertaking by the Delhi Jesuit Province as part of its intellectual apostolate in the age-old Jesuit tradition. History tells us that the Jesuit Society has been deeply and creatively involved in the origin and development of modern science right from its inception in the 16th century, as part of its service for the greater glory of God and the betterment of humanity. IISR is currently located at Navjivan Renewal Centre, 4 Raj Niwas Marg, Delhi-110054.

Vision of IISR

Recognizing and appreciating the complementary and mutually enriching roles of both science and religion, IISR promotes a scientifically well-informed, open-to-the-Divine  and value-based humanity.

Mission of IISR

In the multireligious, multicultural and multiracial fabric of the world, especially India, IISR attempts to bring together the latest findings of modern science and the deepest insights of religions to build up a better humanity. Keeping itself abreast of the ever growing scientific developments, it attempts to integrate them with the never dying insights and values of religious traditions through serious research, international/national seminars, scholarly publications, etc. Keeping the strategy of ‘influencing the influential’ and collaborating with likeminded organizations both nationally and internationally, it focuses primarily on university/college/major seminary professors/lectures and senior college students, both men and women, urban and rural, Christian and non-Christian.

Some Achievements of IISR – Past and Present

  • IISR has been functioning for over 16 years extending its service in the field of science-religion dialogue to various institutions and organizations, particularly universities, colleges, major seminaries and similar institutions of higher education and research, Christian and non-Christian.
  • In the past it had helped set up more than 20 sister-centres in various parts of India, belonging to Christian and non-Christian religions, both men and women. Several of them continue to render valuable service in their respective regions, although some of them have become less active.
  • IISR has also been at the service of the Church in India, particularly through the CBCI. In the past it had been serving CBCI-CSRS (CBCI Commission for Science, Religion and Society), the secretariat of which was in JDV, Pune. The Director of IISR had been the Secretary of this Commission.  In the recent past this program has been less active, and efforts are being made to reactivate it.
  • Over the years it has organized more than 10 well-attended and highly-appreciated international symposia in Pune and other parts of India on cutting-edge themes like the latest developments in cosmology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, etc. More such international events are on the anvil.
  • During the last 16 years it has organized more than 120 regional and local seminars and conferences in the field of science-religion interfacing. This tradition continues with undiminished enthusiasm and wide support from the participants.
  • Over the years it has also built up a cadre of speakers and scholars in the field of science-religion dialogue, who participate regularly in national and international events, both as resource persons and participants. These experts are mostly university/college/major seminary professors/scholars, belonging to Christian and non-Christian religions, both men and women.
  • With the help of IISR, JDV started a Master of Philosophy Programme in Interfacing Science, Philosophy and Religion, the first and only one of its kind in India. This program continues to attract students from various parts of India and abroad.
  • IISR has helped JDV setup an up-to-date science-religion library, the best in India, with books, periodicals, CDs, etc., to encourage scholars and students to engage in serious research and publication.
  • IISR has been encouraging research and study by talented and interested students and scholars through scholarships and other assistance.
  • IISR has been publishing regularly books and articles in international and national journals. It co-publishes Omega, Indian Journal of Science and Religion, the only Indian journal in the field of science-religion dialogue. The Director of IISR is its Editor-in-Chief.

For manuscript submission and subscription, please contact: Managing Editor, Institute of Science and Religion, Little Flower Seminary, Aluva 683101, Kerala, India. Ph. +91 484 2623437, 262604. Email: israluva@gmail.com

  • In India it regularly collaborates with central governmental agencies like ICPR, private organizations like JDV Centre for Science and Religion, Pune, Institute of Science and Religion (ISR), Aluva, Kerala, Science-Religion Samgam, Goa, etc., in their different programs in science-religion interfacing.
  • Internationally, in the past it collaborated with the Pontifical Council for Culture, Rome, and organized programs. In more recent times it has been collaborating with the Cardinal Suenens Center at John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, in its program to promote science-literacy among the Catholic clergy and other leaders, particularly in seminaries and other centres of Church leadership formation worldwide. Efforts are afoot now to have similar collaboration with organizations in the Asian front, particularly in Taiwan and South Korea.

Some Major Ongoing Projects

IISR is currently engaged in a major project on “Jesuits and Modern Science: Jesuit Contribution to the Origin and Development of Modern Science.” The Jesuit Order is often referred to as the “scientific Order” of the Catholic Church since it has made substantial contribution to the origin and development of modern science, particularly when science was in its infancy. This tradition has been going on for over four centuries. But till recently not much has been written about this contribution. More than a year ago IISR took up this major project as part of its contribution to highlight historically science-religion interaction in action. A small team of experts has been formed, and they are working on the project. It is hoped that it will lead to a multi-volume publication.

Another project in process is an international symposium to be held in JDV Pune from 20-23 January 2017 with the theme “The Discovery of Gravitational Waves and the Future of Religion and Society.” It is a collaborative program by IISR and JDV Centre for Science and Religion, Pune. We expect about 100 participants from various parts of India and a few from abroad, mostly university/college/major seminary professors/lecturers and senior college students. The discovery of the elusive gravitational waves is the latest breakthrough in contemporary science, and is widely acclaimed as the “discovery of the century.” The symposium will focus on the arduous and challenging process of this historic discovery, its significance and the impact it will have on the future of religion and humanity. For further information and registration, please contact: Prof. Dr. Kuruvilla Pandikattu, SJ, ph. 9096872278, kurusj@gmail.com  or Prof. Dr. Job Kozhamthadam, SJ, ph. 9868586210, jobksj@gmail.com

Looking Ahead

IISR has been the first of its kind in India, and one of the few in the Catholic world. Over the years it has been fortunate to inspire several other similar organizations in different parts of India. At present also some new ones are in the making. We hope and pray that more such noble initiatives will emerge in different parts of India and outside. IISR remains committed to encourage and support such ventures. Through all these and related initiatives and activities IISR is continuing its noble mission of being an effective catalyst to pool together creatively the rich resources of modern science and contemporary religions, particularly Christianity.

For further details please contact:

Fr. Prof. Dr. Job Kozhamthadam, SJ,

Executive Director, IISR,

Navjivan Renewal Centre,

4 Raj Niwas Marg, Delhi 110054.

Email: iisrdelhi@gmail.com  / jobksj@gmail.com ;

Ph. 011- 23990098