The 5th Annual Meeting of East Asian Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (EASSSR)
Vietnam National University Hanoi, Vietnam (online or hybrid meeting)
July 11th to 13th, 2023
Religion and Science in the Global East
in context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
(Submission Deadline: January 31, 2023)
Religion and science are two major worldviews and human activities. While religion has been associating with human life since prehistoric times, the attachment of science to human life was more recent. Yet with its rapidly growing power, science has been fundamentally changing the daily life of civilized people and their relationship with nature.
The relationship between religion and science has long been discussed by scholars worldwide. For a long time, the history of modern Western thought were haunted by the idea about the confrontation between these two fields as the emergence of the Enlightenment and Marxist movements pushed forward a belief that once science develops, religion will gradually come to an end. The opposition between religion and science was perceived here similar to the opposition between the conservative and the creative, the backward and the civilized. Some Christian theologians saw human reason, knowledge, and science as a challenge to religious beliefs and life and picked up an exclusive, even hostile position against them.
However, the relationship between religion and science is much more complex. There were not only confrontations but also complementary aspects between these two fields. Even during the reigning time of Christian worldview in the West, thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon had suggested a “double truth theory” in which reason and knowledge are acknowledged and attributed with a significant role in the contemplation of the transcendental. On the other hand, the contribution of religions to the development of reason and knowledge through philosophy, by the establishment and support to universities, hospitals and world explorations is also a matter of fact. Today, we learned that the relationship between religion and science depends deeply on cultural contexts and differing by religions. Relations between science and Eastern religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism in East and South Asian cultures are in multiple aspects different from these in the Western or the Arabian worlds.
The current surge of science and technology wears the name of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This Revolution is and will fundamentally change many of our customs, ways of thinking and behaviors in every corner of our planet. Like it or not, traditional theological and philosophical conceptions are clearly facing significant challenges brought up by science and technology of the new era: How should the transcendental be conceived? In the context of transhumanism and A.I., what are ‘we’ and what are ‘they’? What kind of attitude should religions have and how should they transform? Before searching for answers, it is important for scholars of religion to learn the past lessons and take up a different approach. Confrontation and Eurocentrism will only lead us further away from the truth toward exclusion and discrimination. This time, we should actively engage into dialogues, and openly invite the experiences and ideas of others – in the case of this conference, the experiences and ideas of the Global East.
With that in mind, we invite participants of the conference to reexamine the theme together: Religion and Science in the Global East in context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The organizing committee welcomes proposals on a wide range of topics related to the theme. Proposals that examine the following sub-themes are especially welcomed: