Religious approaches to development
DOI link for Religious approaches to development
Religious approaches to development book
A recurring discourse within debates about religions and development is the extent to which ‘secular’ development approaches are deficient because they tend to emphasize economic and material well-being at the expense of other aspects of human life, such as ‘spiritual’ development, aesthetic pleasure or community cohesion – considerations for the so-called affective dimensions of life, and ones that are generally important within religious traditions. Membership of a religious community, moreover, potentially offers support systems that may be drawn upon in difficult times and can also provide moral frameworks that promote the ‘right’ way to act (i.e. according to the teachings of that tradition) in day-to-day activities as well as in more challenging situations. Beyond these general qualities of religions, however, many members of religions also consider that their traditions have something distinctive to offer in terms of the application of particular teachings and systems of ethics to key contemporary development concerns. This may be in terms of establishing alternatives to secular materialist development strategies that are considered to be more suitable for followers of that tradition (e.g. Islamic economics or Catholic schools) or broader critiques of mainstream development goals that focus on their location within a western capitalist system where economic growth is the primary desired outcome (for example, we see this type of critique in the religious engagement in the Jubilee 2000 campaign).