A Personal Vision...
My passions circle around two fields of gravity: doing research (learning) and sharing the results of research via teaching, lecturing, and writing. My vision is to share the knowledge that I gained through research with others, but also to share in the knowledge and vision of others. Research and teaching form a fruitful symbiosis and synergy. As I see it, learning is a life-long process.
I aim at keeping a constant “beginner’s mind” that remains open to different possibilities and alternative perspectives, and that develops by learning with and from others. I aim to inspire, and to guide others in discovering their potentialities and in developing their own vision. By interacting with students, I not only hope to teach and inspire them, but I also hope to learn from them and to become inspired by them.
Thus, as I see it, learning is a life-long process…
PhD Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen University
Groningen, the Netherlands — January 1999-March 18, 2004
Supervisors: Prof.dr. L.J. van den Brom (professor of Systematic Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen University) (promotor); prof.dr. H.W. Broer (professor in Nonlinear Mathematics, faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Groningen University) (promotor); dr. A.F. Sanders (associate professor in Philosophy of Religion, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen University) (co-promotor).
Master’s in Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen University
Groningen, the Netherlands — 1992-December 24, 1998
Major in Philosophy of Religion. Subsidiaries: Systematic Theology and Psychology of Religion.
Secondary school (“havo” thereafter “vwo”), Ichthus College
Drachten, the Netherlands — 1985-1992
Leaving Certificate subjects: Dutch, English, German, French, History, Geography, Economics.
Independent scholar, freelance journalist, public speaker, writer
Nijmegen, The Netherlands — January 2013-present
Researcher, Dominicaans Studiecentrum voor Theologie en Samenleving (DSTS; Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Society)
Amsterdam, the Netherlands — February 2015-February 2016
Research Fellow, Faculties of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University
Nijmegen, the Netherlands — January 2009-December 2012
Postdoc, Faculty of Theology, Catholic University of Leuven
Leuven, Belgium — August 2007-December 2008
Hillegom, The Netherlands — June 2006-August 2007
Postdoc, Faculty of Theology, Leiden University
Leiden, the Netherlands — February 2004-June 2006
Lectures, Awards & Scholarships
- Scholarship for conducting research on post-theism, religious atheism and religious naturalism, Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Science (DSTS: Dominicaans Studie Centrum voor Theologie en Samenleving), Amsterdam, February 2015 – February 2016.
- Scholarship for visiting international scholar, UCSIA, Antwerp (Belgium), October – December 2015.
- Stipend for “the most interesting paper proposal” for international conference “What is Life? Evolutionary Perspectives, philosophical considerations and theological questions”, Bern, 20-22 January, 2015.
- August 2014: Plenary speaker at the 20th international conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion (ESPR) on the implications of the cognitive science of religion for philosophy of religion, Münster, Germany.
- May 22, 2014: Seminar and invited lecture at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University on divine action and modern scientific insights, Oxford, UK.
- Participation (invited) at the seminar Cognitive Science of Religion and Christianity, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, USA, in July 2011, July 2012.
- Participation (invited) at the Venice Summer School on Science and Religion, Venice, Italy, May 27-31, 2009.
- Invited Shulman Lecturer, with student seminar, Yale University, April 1-2, 2008.
- Two times invited as ‘younger scholar’ to the Conference of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR), Boston, USA, 18-22 August 2004, and in Cambridge, 8-13 July 2006.
- Winner of the ESSSAT Student Award 2002, European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT), for the article ‘Is Our Universe Deterministic? Some Philosophical and Theological Remarks on Models of Divine Action.’
- September - December 2001: Scholarship for study at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Brief Summary of my Research
During my doctorate research at Groningen University, I investigated the possibilities of speaking meaningfully about divine action in the context of the contemporary scientific worldview. I analyzed the theological models of John Polkinghorne and Arthur Peacocke, who use chaos theory and self-organization as frameworks for dealing with divine action. I concluded that both the problem of divine action and attempts to speak about divine action in scientific terms rest on a category mistake due to taking the natural sciences as normative for theological reflection. I questioned this scientism and argued that the concept of divine action is not a scientific issue but needs to be addressed within the linguistic framework of theology.
In my NWO-funded research at Leiden University, I studied the regional and disciplinary variation in the interaction of theology and science. I investigated whether the regional variation in ‘theology and science’ and the lack of interaction between theology and ‘theology and science’ is a reflection of underlying views on the nature and situation of theology, religion, and science. I focused particularly on the Anglo-Saxon discussions (the US and UK) and those on the European continent (especially Germany and the Netherlands). It turned out that at least one explanation of the differences between discussions in the US and Europe is the way the Enlightenment has worked out in the different areas, and thus the way science has been received and the different ways theology and the philosophy of science have developed. (Also submitted a VENI-proposal, in 2005 and 2006, reached in 2006 final round, unsuccessful.)
In Leuven I continued that line of research by focusing especially on debates concerning evolutionary theory and Christian religion. Especially since in Europe there were emerging debates about “Intelligent Design” and a renewed interest in creationism, so it was logical to look into the history of creationism and ID in an American evangelical setting, their theological and philosophical basis, and compare those movements to European theological contexts which were more steeped in Continental (especially German) thought.
In Nijmegen I continued the previous lines of research, but I also started to gain expertise in another line of research: the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR) and the relation with a religious (especially Christian) anthropology and epistemology. This line of research has been developed into two grant applications (NWO, VIDI 2012, final round (external referees judged project with 4 times A+), unsuccessful; Templeton Foundation, submitted 2013, unsuccessful).
Since January 2013, I am active as an independent scholar and freelance journalist, public speaker and writer. From February 2015 to February 2016 I conducted a research project on versions of Christian post-theism, religious atheism and religious naturalism for the Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Society (DSTS: Dominicaans Studiecentrum voor Theologie en Samenleving, Amsterdam). The proposal for the project was submitted to DSTS in December 2014. A Dutch book as outcome of the project was published in September 2016. It was so successful that a second printing was issued in November 2016.
- Languages: Dutch (native speaker), English (fluent reading, speaking and writing), German (fluent speaking and reading, proficient writing), French (working knowledge).
- Book reviewing: I reviewed more than 250 books since 2007 for NBD Biblion, i.e. the Dutch library system, and many more for newspapers, websites, etc.
- Journalistic and communicative skills: writing research articles on politics, religion, science; functioning as host and moderator for lectures.
- Hobbies: composing electronic music (in the style of Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream), photography, running (6 km, 3 x per week).
- Before pursuing an academic career, I studied to become a minister in the Dutch reformed church (PKN). I have experience in leading church services and I preached for a couple of years, and still do occasionally.
Teaching & organizing...
- May 22, 2014: Seminar and public lecture at Oxford University on divine action and modern scientific insights.
- Term 2012 – 2013: Two guest lectures for the HOVO (Hoger Onderwijs Voor Ouderen – “Higher Education For Senior Citizens”) (1) on Intelligent Design and creationism, and (2) on the Cognitive Science of Religion, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
- Term 2011 – 2012: Teaching as guest lecturer in the interdisciplinary master module “God, Evil, and History”, focusing on different theodicies, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
- 2004 – 2010: Scientific Programme Officer of the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT), responsible for the workshop programmes of the international conferences: Romania (2006), Sweden (2008), Edinburgh (2010).
- Organizing (with prof.dr. Palmyre Oomen) of symposium “Darwin én God: Evolutiebiologie en scheppingstheologie in evolutie ” (Darwin and God: Evolutionary Biology and the Doctrine of Creation evolving), Radboud University, Nijmegen, December 16, 2009.
- September 5 – 7, 2008: (with Dr. Georg Souvignier) Organizing and lecturing (three plenary lectures) of Seminar “Evolution oder Gottes Plan? Die neue Diskussion um Deutung und Einordnung der Evolutionstheorie“ (“Evolution or Divine Plan? The new discussion about the interpretation and valuation of evolutionary theory”), in German. Bischöfliche Akademie, Bistum Aachen, Aachen, Germany.
- Term 2007 – 2008: (with Prof.Dr. Lieven Boeve) Organizing and teaching a course in Systematic Theology focusing on Original Sin in science and religion for master students and advanced master students, Faculty of Theology, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
- Co-organizing international conference Religion, Science, and Public Concern; Discourses on Ethics, Ecology, and Genomics, 26-27 October 2006, Leiden.
- October 2002 – 2006: (with Prof.Dr. W.B. Drees) Constructing and teaching a blended learning course on ‘Religion and science in the European context’ as part of the project ‘Afstandsonderwijs in de vorm van blended learning’ (‘Education at a distance in the form of blended learning’), Department of Theology, Leiden University.
- February 2001 – April 2001: Assistant for the HOVO (Hoger Onderwijs Voor Ouderen – “Higher Education For Senior Citizens”). (Organizational tasks, arranging lecturers, discussion leader.)
- December 2000 – March 2001: Teaching Systematic Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen University.
- September – November 2000: Teaching the Philosophy of Science and in the History of Philosophy, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen University.