The Fountain Magazine Announces Winners for the Essay Contest

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The Fountain magazine has announced the winners of the 2009 "Matter and Beyond" essay contest.

Fountain Cover

An Occasionalist Picture of the Universe.

The Fountain magazine has announced the winners of the 2009 "Matter and Beyond" essay contest. Nazif Muhtaroglu, from the University of Kentucky, has been awarded first prize from among several hundred submissions. Muhtaroglu, a PhD candidate in philosophy, won the grand prize of $2,000 with his "An Occasionalist Picture of the Universe." Other prize winners are Jonathan Camery-Hoggart from Princeton Theological Seminary (second prize) and Jennifer-Knight-Ari from the University of Central Florida (third prize).

Featuring popular science with spiritual thought, The Fountain is published bimonthly and distributed worldwide. With offices and representations in the US, Turkey, and other parts of the world, The Fountain offers a variety of themes designed in a style that encourages readers to make deeper efforts to understand the universe, human existence, and the meaning of life.

The 2009 Essay contest was organized in cooperation with the Matter and Beyond show screening on Ebru TV, a New Jersey-based cable network. Matter and Beyond focuses on contemporary efforts to establish a positive connection between science and religion. Through interviews with scientists and spiritual thought leaders, Matter and Beyond explores a broad range of topics including consciousness, the big bang theory, bioethics, design argument, prayer, meditation and healing, artificial intelligence, aging and death, and spiritual transformation.

The essay contest did not have a unified theme; rather the mission of the contest was to uncover writing talent that was directed towards a better understanding of human nature and the universe with an effort to appreciate the grace and wisdom of God.

Muhtaroglu's paper best fit into the theme that The Fountain and Matter and Beyond share; he touched on an issue that has preoccupied both natural and social scientists since ancient times. In his paper he explores whether the universe is perceived with the same incomplete perception of distinct frames in movies. He asks whether the objects in the universe have their own independent existence and causal powers, or whether they are constantly sustained and created. A promising writer and scholar, the author skillfully explains how Islamic and Christian philosophers in the Ash'arite and Cartesian schools assumed very similar approaches to God's creative power and how occasionalism, another version of the doctrine of continuous creation which denies the ascription of any causal power to finite beings, is a plausible explanation of the universe.

The Fountain envisages future contests that will be organized annually. For more information about the contest go to or call (973) 777-2704.

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Huseyin Senturk
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