The Theological Foundations of the John Templeton Foundation

by Robert A. Herrmann Ph. D.
4 DEC 2002. Slightly revised 25 APR 2017, 14 AUG 2019.

ABSTRACT: In this article, the written words of John Marks Templeton, the founder of the John Templeton Foundation (a.k.a. Templeton Foundation), are analyzed. Theological concepts that govern the Templeton Foundation and their relation to basic Christian doctrine are fully investigated and the source of the Templeton Foundation theological doctrine is identified. Only if the Templeton Foundation rejects the philosophy stated by its founder, will this analysis be removed from this website.


In 1996, I was nominated for the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. (You can see this URL for my actual nomination and determine for yourself whether it constitutes progress in religion.) After much debate with individuals within the creationary science community, I decided to accept the nomination. The major reason for my acceptance was that I wished to establish that the committee that determines the prizewinner would not recognize the progress I had made in applying the science of mathematical modeling to theology. This lack of recognition is due to the fact that one interpretation of the modeling results verifies that the attributes of the Biblically described God are scientifically rational.

Since my nomination, the Templeton Foundation has amply demonstrated that the prize, in the main, is awarded to a scientist only if his writings, when they pertain to a deity, uphold the notion of a universal god whose attributes do not point to the Biblical God as the only true deity one should worship. To give the false impression that some of these prizewinners are "Christians," the Scriptures must be reinterpreted. Indeed, John Marks Templeton, who was born and raised in the United States and then in the 1960s gave up his citizenship to become a naturalized British subject, is classified, by many, as a Christian. His organization, the John Templeton Foundation, also claims to be Christian orientated. [I point out that some recent scientist prizewinners are agnostics, at best.]

In past years, a close associate of the Templeton Foundation has tried to convince me to give up my strict Biblical stance and to return to the fold, so to speak. This I have steadfastly refused to do. In what follows, I use the 1990 written statements of John Marks Templeton as they appear in the 1992 and 1996 issues of "Who's Who in Theology and Science." This written expression of his and the Templeton Foundation's philosophy, which appears from all prevailing evidence to be accepted in complete detail by Templeton and members of his foundation, is couched in a proposal format, where many statements are qualified by such terms as "perhaps," which actually means probably, "maybe" and other such qualifiers. This is not an unusual modern method to express ones philosophy. It is done in this manner so as not to give the appearance of an individual espousing absolute knowledge and allows for future modifications. The theology portions of these writings have not been modified.

The theology stated in the document is clearly that followed by the John Templeton Foundation with its adherence to the notion that various "scientific" findings require a vast reinterpretation of the Scriptures, at the very least. This is especially so when the "scientific" findings require acceptance of either cosmological or biological evolution as defined by the atheistic community. As I have shown in my research, this reinterpretation requirement is utterly false. No interpretive modifications are need; no changes whatsoever from the most strict Scriptural meanings are necessary when a particular interpretation of the scientific model I term the General Grand Unification model (GGU-model) is applied. Members of this organization continue their efforts to prevent my research findings from being properly disseminated to the public since my work contradicts this organization's absolute philosophic stance.

As I quote from the Templeton theology, I will not include many of the qualifying expressions mention above. I will not quote this document in full but present only the pertinent portions. Templeton does believe in a god. However, as will be shown, if these theological statements are accepted as fact, then that god is not the God described within the Bible.

The Theology

Templeton uses the exaggerated title "The Theology of Humility" for his new approach to theology. The title has almost nothing to do with the actual material in the document. [All set-off statements are quotations from this document.]

It [the theology of humility] proposes that the infinite God may not even be describable adequately in human words and concepts and may not be limited by human rationality.

This statement is, indeed, Scriptural and as I have shown via mathematical models it is a scientifically rational statement. Indeed, one of the Templeton Foundation's present day surrogate organizations, the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), published my first paper on certain results of my scientific modeling techniques that includes such notions ["The reasonableness of metaphysical evidence," J. of the ASA, 34(1)(1982):17-32.] When the then ASA director, Robert L. Herrmann (no relation), announced that the ASA would concentrate upon the notions of theistic evolution and would consider Genesis 1 as but myth, I removed myself from membership. Robert L. Herrmann is Templeton's biographer and wrote, with Templeton, 2 additional books. Templeton was also a member of the ASA.

. . . there was no absolute beginning and there will be no absolute end,

If this phrase refers to the material universe as God created it, then this phrase contradicts the beginning and the ending of the Bible. On the other hand, if one contends that it describes attributes of the Biblical God, then the next phrase

but only everlasting change and variety in the unlimited purposes, freedom and creativity of God
does contradict the Scriptures since God (of the Bible) never changes in any respect. Although we cannot know all the attributes of God nor all of His purposes, they never change. He can be trusted to never change His mind.

. . . and so God is all of Nature, is inseparable from it, and yet exceeds it.
This seems to allow pantheists a place in this theology.

. . .it is mankind's own ego which leads us to think that we are at the center, rather than merely one tiny temporal outward manifestation of the vast universe of being which subsists in an eternal and infinite reality which some call God.

This contradicts the Scriptures, and many commentaries such as that of Matthew Henry, in that Christianity is God, Bible and man centered. The Bible specifically teaches that man was created in a very special way different from all other created objects. That the universe was created, in the first place, to harbor God's specially created humans on a specially created platform called the Earth. Humans are the major part of God's plains. Humans are created with a supernatural spirit. This aspect was used originally to communicate personally with God, to honor God, to worship God. The ultimate goal is to have members of the human race choose to worship God, choose to be fully indwelled with His spirit, choose to fellowship with Him in the appropriate manner and, in glorified form, to be forever in His presence so the God's plain is completed. This form of man-centered theology has nothing to do with ego. It has everything to do with the actual desires of God as stated within the Scriptures and which a true Christian accepts as fact.

. . . God is now providing new revelations in ways which go beyond any religion, to those who welcome the originality of the Creation and its continual surprises. For example, some theologians and scientists see tremendous possibilities for our future understanding of ourselves and our Creator through an integration of the discoveries of science with many religious traditions - a new "theology of science." . . . old scriptures need new interpretations.

This quotation is the very heart of the Templeton Foundation theology. The Bible is not complete and also requires vast reinterpretation. Science will yield new discoveries that will yield new "revelations" as to the nature of God. And, as is usual, in order to accommodate these "new revelations," scriptures will need to be reinterpreted. What could be more anti-Christian than this? What could be more cult-like? Templeton is correct in that a way has been found to use scientific methods that are not specifically stated within the Bible. However, the "revelations" obtained are, in a sense, not new but are assumptions accepted by many for thousands of years; assumptions that have been criticized by most modern scientists as being inaccurate. These scientific results are what the Templeton Foundation leaders do not want you to consider and they must either ignore them or eliminate their influence through fallacious criticism. These Bible verifying scientific conclusions do not alter any Scriptural concept in any manner. They are "revelations" that uphold the Bible as a viable rational source for accurate scientific information. These are the very "illuminations" discussed in my Templeton Prize nomination.

If the leaders of the John Templeton Foundation were truly interested in scientific research that reveals new information about the attributes of God, then it would herald and promote the GGU-model interpretation that shows that the behavior of each natural-system is absolutely associated with the behavior of a deity. There are many theological interpretations for the intelligent design aspects of the GGU-model. Nevertheless, one of these interpretations points directly to the God of the Bible as the Creator and the absolute validity of a strict Genesis 1 scenario. Since this organization and its surrogates continue to ignore or belittle these findings, there can be no doubt that the theology they wish to foster is counter to the major attributes displayed by the Biblically described God. This fact will be reinforced shortly.

The idea of "integration of the discoveries of science with many religious traditions" does not mean simply Biblically stated traditions. It means selecting only those god attributes that are common to different theological doctrines; doctrines that in their complete form describe the Biblically defined false gods. These general attributes must then be interpreted so that they "fit" these "scientific" discoveries. Thus, this requires, at the least, rejecting any attribute of the Biblically described God that is not a common attribute for these competing Biblically rejected false doctrines. These facts are revealed in the following quotation.

The Theology of Humility seeks to build on the great theologies of the past and present and does not oppose any other theology.

To a Christian, there is only one great theology, Christianity. All others are Biblically defined as false theologies. Unless Christianity is greatly altered, as mentioned above, its doctrine contradicts and opposes that of the other so-called major religions. We now come to an insult, of the highest order, to the Christian Godhead.

. . . while recognizing that God should not be thought of as impersonal, our names for God should be less heavily focused on personhood, since their usage favors man-centered concepts.

As mentioned, Christianity is God, Bible and man centered where an almost incomprehensible personal relation between God and man can be attained. The titles Redeemer, Savior, Comforter, Everlasting Father and the like indicate this personal relation. It is this personal relation that is the major difference between Christianity and these competing religions. And, it appears that this is the major difference that must be rejected if one seeks a Templeton styled universal god and one-world religion. There are hundreds of Biblical verses that directly describe this special relationship between God and man, even after the sin of Adam and Eve. It is really only necessary to mention one that indicates the strength of this relation since it is spoken by Jesus himself.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Many other statements are made that imply that the Scriptures need revision, such as

It [the Theology of Humility] encourages change and progress and does not resist any advance in the knowledge of God or of nature, but is always ready to rethink what is known and to revise the assumptions and preconceptions behind our knowledge.

Also, it's clear that this statement is a lie. This organization, most certainly, resists the progress I have made in advancing knowledge that details relations between the Biblical God and the behavior of each natural-system within our universe. Further, it resists any findings that question various atheistic theories that contradict a strict Biblical interpretation such as aspects of biological evolution.

Templeton also is explicit in his acceptance of the general notions of atheistic biological evolution.

Perhaps human beings, so late an appearance in this evolutionary process, have been given some creative role in seeking to understand and interpret awesome and mysterious processes which science only now begins to fathom.

The Spiritual World

The term "spiritual" is used, and it seems to mean an incorporeal domain. However, this term seems to have as many definitions as there are different organizations that write about this concept. It is enough to say that Templeton acknowledges elsewhere that his thoughts on this matter are some of the more refined notions of the New Age movement. He mentions Unity and Religious Science as well as aspects of Christian Science.

I postulated in 1978 and have since shown that the concept is rational, that there can be "supernatural," ultranatural, laws that govern the incorporeal world and that through the Holy Ghost a Christian can apply these principles. However, there are such laws that could be used for non-Christian purposes and, indeed, can be used by demonic beings. Templeton writes in this 1990 document

It may be that we shall see the beginnings of a new age of "experimental theology," wherein studies may reveal that there are spiritual laws, universal principles which operate in the spiritual domain, just as natural laws function in the physical realm.
The Templeton Foundation is actually funding such experimentation. Nevertheless, Templeton's notion of a "new age" is a false notion. The spiritual laws have been known previously and are described within the Bible. Truly spirit filled Christians have applied these laws for a few thousand years. Any application of these laws that is not associated with the Holy Ghost is more likely to be an application being governed by a demonic being. These demonic beings are the exact type of beings that the so-called New Age movement employs. And, some individuals closely associated with the John Templeton Foundation exhibit one major supernatural method employed by these demonic beings. The method is called the first stage, at the least, of demonic "overshadowing.'' [This first stage is an external process where an individual's "thoughts" are altered and, usually, they have no knowledge that the alterations have come from a supernatural demonic source. This is why the Bible is so important as a "check and balance" against such supernatural attacks.]

The Seductive Methods Employed

One of the methods that the Templeton Foundation uses to seduce, even the "elect," is the concept of "honoring" individuals, groups, colleges and universities by listing them as being high-achievers in some laudable endeavor. For example, the Templeton Foundation has presented in their guide to Colleges that Encourage Character Development "555 profiles of exemplary programs, presidents, and colleges and universities that inspire students to lead ethical and civic-minded lives." On the Internet, you will find these individuals and organizations proudly announcing this "great honor." This is a seduction based upon the sin of pride. It is a standard method to hide the true purpose of an organization since I can find no rejections of this "honor." Since these individuals, colleges and universities seem to accept this "honor," one might assume that they also agree with the Templeton Foundation's philosophic bases.

However, the major method is the seduction of "money." With a yearly budget that is estimated at 40 million dollars, the Templeton Foundation funds, often via or in connection with surrogate groups like American Scientific Affiliation or the Center for Science and the Natural Sciences, various prizes, college courses, books, lectures and conferences, most of which satisfy one or more of its theological goals. Grants have been given to many so-called Christian colleges and even accepted by fundamental Bible colleges.

Intelligent Design

Finally, I mention that the John Templeton Foundation has in the past supplied funds to promote restricted intelligent design theory (RID). This theory satisfies the universal god theology of the Templeton Foundation in that it is such a weak theory that it points to no specific deity as a possible cause for such a restricted design. Indeed, Dembski, who introduced restricted intelligent design in 1996, has stated many times that he considers this lack of a causal connection as a significant and important aspect of restricted intelligent design theory. [However, today, the Templeton Foundation completely rejects modern intelligent design. This is probably due to their complete acceptance of theistic evolution.]

General intelligent design theory (GID) as developed from 1979 through today by myself (see "Science Declares Our Universe Is Intelligently Designed") also has an "interpretation" that does not point to a specific deity. However, among various theological interpretations, one does point directly to the Creator as He is described within the Bible. This, of course, is why members of both the Templeton Foundation and the Discovery Institute do not promote GID since they want to hide the fact that the scientific GID model exists and has this specific interpretation.

The Scriptures teach that there is only one supernatural being that has the power to demonically overshadow individuals and to entice them to accept a theology that is distinct from that described by the Bible. That being is the one that controls a vast array of demonic beings. I often characterize this being as the most intelligent of all created incorporeal beings. The Bible often names this incorporeal being as the Adversary. I have no choice but to identify the theology of the Templeton Foundation as a theology accepted by many individuals who are so overshadowed. It is being promoted in order to weaken significantly the Scriptural foundations for Christian doctrine and, indeed, is also being used to "deceive the very elect."

The Slow Change

"The prize was originally awarded to people working in the field of religion (Mother Teresa was the first winner), but in the 1980s the scope broadened to include people working at the intersection of science and religion. Until 2001, the name of the prize was 'Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion', and from 2002 to 2008 it was called the 'Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities." (Wikipedia) "As of 2019, Wikipedia states that "It is an annual award granted to a living person who, in the estimation of the judges, 'has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.'"

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