Religion and Human Security
- James Wellman
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- Date: 2012
This book explores the long-unstudied relationship between religion and human security throughout the world. The 1950s marked the beginning of a period of extraordinary religious revival, during which religious political-parties and non-governmental organizations gained power around the globe. Until now, there has been little systematic study of the impact that this phenomenon has had on human welfare, except of a relationship between religious revival to violence. The chapters in this book show that religion can have positive as well as negative effects on human wellbeing. They address a number of crucial questions about the relationship between religion and human security: Under what circumstances do religiously motivated actors tend to advance human welfare, and under what circumstances do they tend to threaten it? Are members of some religious groups more likely to engage in welfare-enhancing behavior than in others? Do certain state policies tend to promote security-enhancing behavior among religious groups while other policies tend to promote security-threatening ones? In cases where religious actors are harming the welfare of a population, what responses could eliminate that threat without replacing it with another? This book shows that many states tend to underestimate the power of religious organizations as purveyors of human security. Governments overlook both the importance of human security to their populations and the religious groups who could act as allies in securing the welfare of their people. This book offers a variety of theoretical perspectives on the nuanced relationship between religion and human security. Through case studies ranging from Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan, to the United States, Northern Ireland, and Zimbabwe, it provides important suggestions to policy makers of how to begin factoring the influence of religion into their evaluation of a population’s human security and into programs designed to improve human security around the globe.