Religion and the foundations of social policy

Rana Jawad

in Social welfare and religion in the Middle East

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781861349538
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303510 | DOI:
Religion and the foundations of social policy

Show Summary Details


This chapter provides a platform on which the key problematic of the book is set out, by examining the relationship between religion, human well-being, and social policy. It draws on the experiences of both Northern and Southern contexts of social policy in order to highlight what the major world religions teach about social welfare and how social policy has interacted with religion in various national welfare settings around the world. This chapter focuses on the five major world faiths — Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam — in their general and local forms since together, these faiths have had the most direct influence on national politics and social welfare. The chapter also considers examples from other worldviews such as Confucianism and Zoroastrianism. Hence, this chapter highlights the differences and similarities of world religions and national welfare settings. The chapter also refers to the development studies literature since this is the academic discipline that has traditionally been devoted to the so-called ‘Third World’ social science. The main claim in the chapter is that concern with human morality fundamentally unites secular and religious welfare initiatives. The first section of this chapter discusses the teachings of the five major world faiths on social welfare. It considers the dynamic nature of religious interpretations and the way in which lay people and major social reformers have used religious teachings to bring about progressive social change. The second section discusses the theoretical literature on religion and social policy. It examines examples of how religion has interacted with social policy in the national setting and in human history. The third section examines the term ‘faith-based’ welfare as a signifier of religiously inspired social welfare action.

Keywords: religion; human well-being; social policy; world religions; social welfare; Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Judaism; Islam

Chapter.  21340 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.