Templeton Prize

Alvin Plantinga Named the 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate

Tanya Johnson was proud to represent the Manzanita Foundation at the official Templeton Prize ceremony in Chicago, Illinois on September 24, 2017. As a philanthropist, Johnson believes that spiritually plays an important role in our understanding of other cultures and society at large.

The History of the Templeton Prize

Religion and science don’t often go hand-in-hand. Most members of the scientific community are skeptical, at best, when it comes to legitimizing the study of religion from a philosophical point of view. Even today the academic world largely ignores the accomplishments of those in which theism plays an integral role in their work. Thus, the Templeton Prize was created by the John Templeton Foundation as a way of honoring those that expand society’s understanding of the spiritual world.

The first Templeton Prize was awarded in 1972. It’s considered one of the most valuable prizes in the world, exceeding the monetary value of the Nobel Prize. The John Templeton Foundation strongly believes that the science of spirituality greatly benefits society at large, and that a person’s contribution to this field of study should be valued accordingly.

Alvin Plantinga and His Lasting Contribution to Spirituality

Alvin Plantinga has been named this year’s Templeton Prize laureate. Every year, the Templeton Prize is awarded to an individual whose work has greatly contributed to the study of religion. As a scholar and a philosopher, Alvin Plantinga’s writings have placed a newfound importance on the study of spirituality within the academic community. Over the course of the last fifty years, Plantinga has given a new voice to those that seek to expand our understanding of one of the greatest mysteries facing mankind, the existence of a spiritual dimension. The Manzanita Foundation proudly supports the Templeton Prize and its recipients.

Alvin Plantinga has made a career for himself studying and unearthing the many complexities of the spiritual dimension from an academic perspective. While many of his peers continue to dismiss the existence of God in their work, Plantinga has never been afraid to explore the world of the unseen. His 1984 paper, “Advice to Christian Philosophers,” demonstrated that there is a place for spirituality in the world of academic philosophy. In the work, Plantinga argues that religion can be used as a launching point for philosophical considerations and that Christian philosophers should be free to let their religious beliefs inform their work.

Prior to Plantinga’s work, philosophy and religion were largely seen as incompatible. Many prominent philosophers viewed religion as a mundane, archaic aspect of society, one that that was not worth pursuing at the academic level. But as Plantinga points out in his work, religion is a natural part of the human experience and informs our unconscious understanding of the world in which we live. As a direct result of Plantinga’s work, dozens of universities around the world have made a place for religious considerations in their ongoing study and research of philosophy.

Tanya Johnson congratulates Alvin Plantinga and all 2017 Templeton Prize nominees.


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