The Practice of Altruism: Caring and Religion in Global Perspective
Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006 - 209 pages
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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Alongside these three paradigms I will sketch what I have termed elsewhere ( Gill
, 1999 : 59 - 93 ) a cultural theory of religious transmission . This theory
challenges the more traditional paradigms and assumes that religious values
and beliefs ...
However , whatever his personal beliefs , he was convinced that the religiously
committed formed a ' deviant cognitive minority ' in the modern world as a result
of increasing secularisation at three levels – social structural , cultural and ...
A cultural theory of religious transmission shares some of the features of Grace
Davie ' s most recent separation paradigm . It also regards both secularisation
and persistence paradigms as too monolithic to account adequately for the varied
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