Does faith promote human flourishing?

Yes and no, says the data.

More than a dozen recently published books have “flourishing” in the title, and more are being published this year. What makes Religion and Human Flourishing different?

Adam B. Cohen gets right to the point in his introduction. “We no longer take it for granted that religion can help us flourish, or can tell us what it means to flourish,” he writes. “This volume undertakes to determine the quality of evidence for and against claims that religion contributes to human flourishing.” In other words, it attempts to apply science and data to the rather amorphous but compelling questions that have driven the spate of publications: What is human flourishing, how is it created, and what role (if any) does religion play?

The book emerged from a 2018 conference hosted by Harvard University and sponsored by the Templeton Founda­tion as part of the Humble Approach Initiative, which brought together scholars of religion across various disciplines from major US universities and British and Canadian institutions. The text is divided into three parts, roughly according to discipline and approach. Many of the essays concede there are gaps in our knowledge in the spheres they address and point to the kinds of theoretical and empirical research initiatives still needed to provide definitive answers to important questions. In line with the data-driven approach, each of the 14 chapters in the slim volume ends with a list of references.