The Practice of Altruism: Caring and Religion in Global Perspective

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The study of altruism and altruistic behavior has caught the attention of social scientists especially in recent years. What motivates individuals to cultivate attitudes and actions that promote the wellbeing of others at the expense of, or at the risk of negative consequences for their own?

In our contemporary global society marked by conflict and violence among different sectors of the population in various regions of the world, and wherein religion can be a factor that exacerbates such conflict and violence, harnessing the power of religion towards directions of reconciliation, creativity, and altruistic action, remains a crucial task for humankind.

This volume addresses a question especially relevant in our day: do people who profess religious commitment or affiliation in a particular religious community tend to nurture altruistic kinds of attitude and action more than others? Social scientists present results of their empirical studies on Japanese society, as well as on North American, European, Indian, and Thai societies, to focus on this issue and offer insightful reflections on the relationship between religion and society.

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Kamagasaki Ecumenical Network
Japanese Buddhist Responses to Terrorism

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About the author (2006)

Ruben L.F. Habito is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of World Religions and Spirituality at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

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