Development and Religion

Development and Religion

Theology and Practice

Matthew Clarke

Development and Religion explores how the world’s five major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam – understand and practice ‘development’ through an examination of their sacred texts, social teaching and basic beliefs.

Chapter 7: Conclusion

Matthew Clarke

Subjects: development studies, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, social policy in emerging countries


INTRODUCTION At the start of this book, the expression ‘dance’ was used to describe how religious teaching and development concepts interact and relate to another. When a couple dance, it is not always necessary that their movements always exactly coincide and mirror one another. While this does of course occur in some instances, there is also a place for partners to take different steps, to move away from one another at certain times before coming back together, as well as appear to make the same movement but in reality having one partner moving forward and another moving backwards. In a dance, these diverse actions actually complement each other to create a synergy that takes both dancers beyond their own energies to create something that is greater than their individual movements. Without wishing to pursue this analogy too far, there is some benefit in considering how religion and development might be dance partners. At times they use similar language (charity, compassion), have similar goals (improve relationships, increased well-being) and involve the same key stakeholders (communities as congregations, religious leaders and community leaders). However, these similarities do not always translate into exact agreement and so at times they might seem to exist within tension. This tension exists because, while religion and development as concepts are quite distinct, they do complement each other and potentially bring out strengths in one another that enhance their impact. The purpose of this book has been to provide an introductory analysis to the insights that can be...

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