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Religion and Innovation

23 Jun, 2020

The Center for Religious Studies of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK-ISR) in Italy is engaged in an ongoing study of the relationship between religion and innovation. As they consider this connection, they see it from three perspectives.

INNOVATION IN RELIGION: How is innovation being understood, experienced and practiced within religious traditions and communities of faith or belief?

RELIGION IN INNOVATION: How do religious traditions and communities of faith or belief contribute to innovation in the areas of culture and society, science and technology, politics and the law?

RELIGION OF INNOVATION: Has the vocabulary of innovation itself become a rhetorical vehicle for quasi-religious discourses? Has innovation itself turned into a belief system and become a sort of religion?

They make the following eleven recommendations for (a) researchers working on religion and/or innovation in the social sciences and humanities, economics or finance, as well as for (b) a wider range of societal actors, from communities of faith or belief and their leaders to governments and policy makers, from computer scientists to healthcare professionals, and from entrepreneurs and finance managers to journalists.

The recommendations provide sound principles of research in religion and innovation as well as guidelines for action that can benefit societal actors in their attempts to strengthen the interaction between religion and innovation.

Of particular note is recommendation #3, “Value diversity and freedom of religion or belief.”

Do not think of religion as a simple, homogeneous and easily describable phenomenon, but rather think of it as a diachronically and synchronically diversified phenomenon that resists essentialist definitions. Making an effort to think of and approach religious diversity as a resource rather than (just) as a problem may improve the effectiveness and inclusiveness of innovation processes in society, culture, science, and technology. In order for this to be possible, value and protect freedom of religion or belief for all.

See more at the Center for Religious Studies of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK-ISR).