2015 – 2017


Societal understanding of the meaning, value, and future of life on earth has always developed in dialogue with scientific investigation of its origin and evolution. Today, the new science of astrobiology extends this search for understanding to include the possibility of other life, elsewhere in the universe. 
The discovery of another form of life, whether microbial or complex, would change how we see ourselves and our world. How would theology, the humanities, and the social sciences relate life as we know it to this background of other possibilities?
A comprehensive understanding of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe requires dialogue with the best current science and collaboration across conventional disciplinary boundaries.



The 2014 - 2015 Inquiry on Law and Religious Freedom raised profound questions about religion and the ordering of human societies around the world. From the beginnings of human society, religion has shaped lives, formed identities, and held communities together. In the modern world, religious diversity has made religious freedom both a demand of individual conscience and a requirement of social peace. The question for law and society has been, “How much religious freedom can we allow?” New inquiries in history, anthropology, psychology, and sociology suggest that religion remains essential to human identity and social cohesion, even in a modern, pluralistic society. Perhaps, then, the question is, “How much religious freedom do we require?” Answering that question invites critical thinking about how a law that preserves religious freedom can be reconciled with the requirements of many different religions. 


Since 2012, CTI has convened year-long inquiries on a focused interdisciplinary field of study. The 2012-2013 Inquiry on Evolution and Human Nature brought together scholars in theology, biology, and anthropology to work together in cutting edge research at the intersections of these fields. CTI convened the 2013-2014 Inquiry on Religious Experience and Moral Identity, in which scholars in psychology, neuroscience, and biological anthropology collaborated with theologians on some of the deepest questions related to human nature. These collaborations continue after scholars have completed their year of research at CTI. Check here regularly for updated information about recent publications by CTI research fellows.