Since September 11, 2001, the connections between religion, conflict, and violence have received major attention. This project will address an important but little acknowledged dimension of religion’s impact: its contribution to the global common good. Research in various disciplines has suggested that religion makes powerful and measurable contributions to concrete dimensions of human flourishing, including psychological, bio-medical, mental and physical health, social, economic, and political. Regrettably, observers inside and outside the academy have largely ignored these positive impacts. With the support of JTF and in partnership with Georgetown’s Religious Freedom Research Project (RFRP), Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion will commission teams of scholars to synthesize existing research on religion’s consequences for social well-being, identify research gaps, and launch research to fill gaps in select research sites around the world. We will identify and clarify the various mechanisms by which religion influences human well-being and the common good as well as the conditions under which it does harm. The project will also organize events, convene critical debates, and disseminate findings to target audiences of scholars, journalists, and policy makers.
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