Theos (think tank)
Theos (from the Greek: Θεος, theos, "God") is a religion and society think tank based in the United Kingdom which exists to undertake research and provide commentary on social and political arrangements. Theos aims to impact opinion around issues of faith and belief in society through research, publications, media engagement and events. Theos was launched in November 2006 with the support of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, and maintains an ecumenical position. Since that time, Theos has established itself as a respected voice on faith and society issues. The Theos office is based in Central London.
What Theos stands for
Theos is a think tank which believes people can't understand the modern world without understanding religion. They seek to inform the debate about the place of religion in society, challenging ill-informed thinking through research, events and media comment.
What Theos provides
Theos undertakes its work through:
- a research and publishing programme
- high profile lectures, debates, conferences and seminars
- outreach to university, college and school students
- news, information and analysis to media companies and other opinion formers
- regular email bulletins
- other related activities.
In addition to its independently driven work, Theos provides research, analysis and advice to individuals and organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
"Doing God": A Future for Faith in the Public Square was published to coincide with the think tank's launch in 2006. Since then Theos has published thirteen major reports authored by theologians and social commentators, two major books and a number of other publications and research papers.
List of publications
- "Doing God": A Future for Faith in the Public Square by Nick Spencer
- Coming off the Bench by Andrew Partington and Paul Bickley
- Red, White, Blue... and Brown by Stephen Backhouse
- Neither Private nor Privileged: The Role of Christianity in Britain Today by Nick Spencer
- Talking God: The Legitimacy of Religious Public Reasoning by Jonathan Chaplain
- Rescuing Darwin by Nick Spencer and Denis Alexander
- Faith and Darwin by Caroline Lawes
- Religion and Identity: Divided loyalties? by Sean Oliver-Dee
- The National Lottery: Is it Progressive? by Paul Bickley
- Discussing Darwin by Mary Midgley
- Mapping the Field (evidence on the impact of schools with a Christian ethos) by Elizabeth Green
- Doubting Darwin by Robin Pharaoh, Tamara Hale and Becky Rowe
- God and Government Edited by Nick Spencer and Jonathan Chaplin
- Free to Believe? by Roger Trigg
- Wholly Living CAFOD, Tearfund and Theos
- Doing God in Education by Trevor Cooling
- Counting on Reform by Paul Bickley and Iona Mylek
- Turbulent Priests: The Archbishop of Canterbury in Contemporary English Politics by Daniel Gover
- Multiculturalism: A Christian Retrieval by Jonathan Chaplin
- The Politics of Christmas, by Steve Holmes
- Collaboration or competition, Cooperation or contestability  by Paul Bickley
- Give us our ball back  by Paul Bickley and Sam Tomlin
- Spiritual Capital: The present and future of English Cathedrals  The Grubb Institute
- Religion and the Law  edited by Nick Spencer
- From Goodness to God: Why Religion makes sense of our moral commitments  by Angus Ritchie
- Post-religious Britain: The Faith of the Faithless  by Nick Spencer & Holly Weldin
- Is there a religious right emerging in Britain?  by Andy Walton with Andrea Hatcher and Nick Spencer]
- Making Multiculturalism Work by David Barclay
2009 was a double Darwin anniversary year.
The Theos Rescuing Darwin project aimed to 'rescue' the scientist from the crossfire of a theological battle in which he had little personal interest. The main research project comprised four main distinct and independent elements.
The first element was a report, written jointly by Nick Spencer of Theos and Denis Alexander of the Faraday Institute, which set out to argue that Darwinian evolution does not necessitate atheism and that Christianity and evolution are compatible.
The second element was an independent quantitative research project conducted by ComRes, a leading polling and research consultancy serving clients in the UK, Europe and Asia. This study interviewed a statistically representative cross section of the UK public, in order to assess their understanding and opinion of evolutionary and non-evolutionary views, and their perceived relationship (or lack of it) with theistic, atheistic and agnostic opinions.
The third element was an extended interview with the philosopher Mary Midgley, exploring a wide range of related issues including the history of science, the social implications of Darwinism and Darwin's own beliefs.
The fourth element was an independent qualitative research project conducted by ESRO, an ethnographic research consultancy which aims to bring academic thought and rigour into the world of applied research. This study interviewed leading proponents of creationism and intelligent design in the UK, in order to better understand the underlying discourses and ideas which form the foundations of their theories. Interviews focused on the relationship between their theories and those of Darwin and neo-Darwinists, but the research stood independently of any particular argument or paradigm, and aimed at elucidation, rather than seeking evidence which would promote or detract from any individual stance or argument.
In addition to formal publications and events, the Current Debate section of the Theos website seeks to promote weekly debate about public theology. Short pieces are frequently written by an array of commentators, with the opportunity for readers to join the debate through an online forum.
- Theos - the public theology think tank
- Joint Committee takes evidence from Archbishop of Canterbury, Theos and the BHA on draft Lords Reform Bill, November 2011
- The Bible makes sense read as stories, The Times, September 2011, Elizabeth Hunter
- The Political Bible: Part 1, The Guardian, August 2011, Nick Spencer
- Is common ground between atheism and belief possible? Julian Baggini, The Guardian, 25 November 2011