International Development and Religion

The concepts of development and religion are porous and overlapping. For people of faith, religion motivates development initiatives and shapes their ideas of what development should be. Development, for its part, integrates itself into religious communities by providing institutional logic, program strategies, and other resources to alleviate poverty and promote human flourishing. Such intersections create synergy as well as tension. To understand these current dynamics, the independent trajectories of both must be considered.

In the post–World War II period, development became the international community’s dominant approach to addressing poverty. Large-scale economic development was initiated by the Marshall Plan and the Bretton Woods institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but the antecedents of development’s logic are in the much older emergence of modernism ...

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