Hallowed Institutions: Religion and The Roots of Liberty and Prosperity

God appears to be resurgent in 21st century societies around the world. As our awareness of the claims made by religion becomes more acute, it is ever more important to understand those claims as well as the challenges and contributions religious belief has made, and continues to make, to modern society. An understanding of the complex relationship between religion and the democratic liberties enjoyed in the West is essential for maintaining social harmony and strengthening the liberties we have come to take for granted. This Occasional Paper explores that relationship and argues that it has never been more important to understand that the relationship between religion and civil society provides an appropriate framework for guiding individuals, governments, and other social institutions in forming proper responses to the claims frequently made in the name of religion.

Surely those who persist in arguing advances in the explanatory capacities of science and technology will soon displace religion are somehow missing the point of what religious faith is about. Terry Eagleton, for example, has argued religion does not compete with science to offer explanations of reality. Rather it offers a vision of how human beings are to live together, identifying love as the ideal focal point of human history.

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