Religion and Human Flourishing
Imprint: Baylor University Press
Sales Date: 2020-08-15
245 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 32 b&w illus., 5 b&w photos
- Published: August 2020
When talking about the relationship between religion and flourishing, the first task is to frame the question theologically and philosophically, and this entails taking seriously the potential challenges latent in the issue. These challenges include—beyond the contested definitions of both "religion" and "flourishing"—the claims of some faith traditions that true adherence to that tradition’s goals and intrinsic goods can be incompatible with self-interest, and also the fact that religious definitions of health and wholeness tend to be less concrete than secular definitions. Despite the difficulties, research that considers uniquely religious aspects of human flourishing is essential, as scholars pursue even greater methodological rigor in future investigations of causal connections.
Religion and Human Flourishing brings together scholars of various specializations to consider how theological and philosophical perspectives might shape such future research, and how such research might benefit religious communities. The first section of the book takes up the foundational theological and philosophical questions. The next section turns to the empirical dimension and encompasses perspectives ranging from anthropology to psychology. The third and final section of the book follows in the empirical mold by moving to more sociological and economic levels of analysis. The concluding reflection offers a survey of what the social scientific research reveals about both the positive and negative effects of religion.
Scholars and laypeople alike are interested in religion, and many more still are interested in how to lead a meaningful life—how to flourish. The collaborative undertaking represented by Religion and Human Flourishing will further attest to the perennial importance of the questions of religious belief and the pursuit of the good life, and will become a standard for further exploration of such questions.
IntroductionAdam B. CohenPart 11 Meanings and Dimensions of Flourishing A Programmatic Sketch Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, Ryan McAnnally-Linz2 Virtues, Vices, and the Good Life A Theologian’s Perspective on Compassion and Violence Celia Deane-Drummond3 Status Viatoris and the Path Quality of Religion Human Flourishing as a Sacred Process of Becoming Jonathan Rowson4 Spiritual Well-Being and Human Flourishing Conceptual, Causal, and Policy Relations Tyler J. VanderWeelePart 25 Religion and Human Flourishing in the Evolution of Social Complexity Harvey Whitehouse6 The Next Generation Evolutionary Perspectives on Religion and Human Flourishing Dominic D. P. Johnson7 Religions Help Us Trust One Another Adam B. Cohen8 Religion’s Contribution to Prosociality Azim F. ShariffPart 39 Religion’s Contribution to Population Health Key Theoretical and Methodological Considerations Christopher G. Ellison10 Offender-Led Religious Movements Identity Transformation, Rehabilitation, and Justice System Reform Byron R. Johnson11 Some Big-Data Lessons about Religion and Human Flourishing David G. Myers12 Smart and Spiritual The Coevolution of Religion and Rationality Laurence R. Iannaccone13 The Economics of Religion in Developing Countries Sriya Iyer14 On Balance Azim F. Shariff
The question of human flourishing immediately provokes interest—who doesn’t want to flourish, especially when we read that the hallmark of flourishing is joy? Flourishing, one learns, encompasses what we do, what happens to us, and how we feel. No collection in recent years looks more deeply at the fascinating question of what religion contributes to human flourishing. Beautifully balancing the positives and the negatives, this volume manages to shed light in both directions―what flourishing entails, and how religion contributes to it.~Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology
Does religion enrich human life? Is it a key ingredient to a life well lived? Religion and Human Flourishing explores these questions with the latest tools of the social sciences. By cross-examining the evidence, the authors show religion is not as destructive as some claim and not as beneficial as others hope. This book avoids simplistic claims devoid of evidence. It offers an invitation to the rigorous process of teasing out tentative conclusions that will generate new studies and provoke new debates. In the balance hangs a question that could hardly be more profound or more urgent for our common future.~Ron Cole-Turner, H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Humans seek the transcendent, whether in art or baseball or God, as the papers in this splendid conversation acknowledge and explore. Theologians, sociologists, economists, and psychologists converse here with mutual respect and reciprocal enlightenment. In a world under challenge, it’s the way forward, scientifically and spiritually.~Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, Author of The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce