From its inception, the Humble Approach has acted as a seed-bed for some of the Foundation’s larger projects.
Medical Sciences

This is the humble approach: an open mind, a willingness to admit there might be alternative truths just as valuable as ours, and the fortitude to compete with others—to search, to discover and to create the societies and religions of the future.” Those words of Sir John Templeton, in The Humble Approach: Scientists Discover God, define the philosophy that underlies the Foundation’s mission, as succinctly expressed in Sir John’s aphorism “How little we know, how eager to learn.”
Nowhere among the Foundation’s multifarious activities is this principle more directly translated into activity than in the work of the Humble Approach Initiative. The aim of the Initiative is to pursue new spiritual data by promoting scientific research of the highest standard.
The Humble Approach is very much interdisciplinary, attuned to nuances of meaning and interpretation, and always eager to create links and interconnections. It is predicated upon open-mindedness and innovation.
slug The Humble Approach values patience and perseverance. At the same time, it has a sense of expectation and incipient wonderment, acknowledging the truth of Loren Eisley’s identification of “a constant emergent novelty in nature that does not lie totally behind us, or we would not be where we are.” The Initiative does not confuse humility with self-deprecation: it approaches the mystery of the universe with intelligent respect. The Humble Approach also sets out to replace parochialism with an eclectic pursuit of discovery, that engine of human progress which it constantly seeks to accelerate.
From its inception, the Humble Approach has acted as a seed-bed for some of the Foundation’s larger projects. By bringing together scientists, theologians, and other scholars, it creates a propitious climate for the propagation of new ideas. The Initiative began a decade ago, in the fall of 1998, with a symposium at Queens’ College, Cambridge, exploring a kenotic view of creation—the notion of divine “self-limitation” and “self-emptying”—and its implications for Christian doctrine and scientific discovery.

slug Since then, symposia have been the flagship activity of the Humble Approach, described by Dr. Mary Ann Meyers, director of the Initiative and senior fellow at the Foundation, as “cross-boundary conversations that challenge one to think in new and different ways about old questions and even ask questions that no one has thought to pose before.” Subsequent symposia discussed questions as diverse as the possible link between religiosity and health (1999), purpose in biological and cultural evolution (2000), the possibility of a multiplicity of universes (2003), and more than 20 others.