Discussion: Since 1977 the book, The Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion, published by Christian Journals (Ireland) Ltd., has been on my bookshelves. I learned about the Templeton Prize first with the announcement of Mother Teresa (1973). When Frère Roger (1974) was announced, I was involved with the artwork of the NYC Taizé community. In 1980 I spent time with Frère Roger. We sat next to each other just off the high altar within Notre Dame when the pope came to Paris. Eight other winners became friends and I once corresponded with eleven others.
An important facet of the Templeton philosophy is expressed within that book from 1977: “The Templeton Prize does not encourage syncretism but rather an understanding of the benefits of diversity” (page 145). Where syncretism is the attempt to combine different beliefs systems, our goal should be to lift up the uniqueness of each belief system and deepen our respect for those differences, knowing well that the best part all these faces are a direct reflection of Infinity and all the verbiage and words used to describe the infinite.
Each of the Templeton Prize people whom I have gotten to know and with whom I have worked include Frère Roger (1974), Ralph Burhoe (1980), Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (1989), Charles Birch (1990), Michael Novak (1994), Paul Davies (1995), Freeman Dyson (2000), Arthur Peacocke (2001), and Bernard d’Espagnat (2009).
Others with whom I have corresponded include Francis Collins (2020), Alvin Plantinga (2017), 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (2012), Martin Rees (2011), George F. R. Ellis (2004), John.D..Barrow (2006), John Polkinghorne (2002), Ian Barbour (1999), Stanley Jaki (1987), and Thomas F. Torrance (1978).
A few became long-standing friends.