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Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion exists to initiate, support, and conduct research on religion

Launched in August 2004, Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support, and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum:  history, psychology, sociology, criminology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology, and religious studies.  Our mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history.  It also embraces the study of religious effects on such things as prosocial behaviour, family life, population health, economic development, and social conflict.  While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, our scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve.

About the Program on Prosocial Behaviour

It can be argued that criminology is only “half” of a field, given that criminology is regarded as the study of crime and its consequences, and its focus continues to be limited to antisocial behaviour. Almost no attention is given to prosocial activities that are likely to reduce crime and delinquency. Stated differently, criminologists tend to ask why people do, or do not, commit crimes; they rarely ask why people chose to engage in prosocial behaviours and how it affects the risk of antisocial behaviours. The Baylor ISR Program on Prosocial Behaviour emphasizes the neglected “half” of human behaviour. For example, why do so many people generously give money to help those in need? Or why do most of the people reared in “bad” neighbourhoods turn out not only to be law-abiding but to be good citizens? Indeed, how are people transformed from antisocial patterns of behaviour to positive patterns? In keeping with the overall mission of ISR, the role of religion in promoting prosocial behaviour is a central concern. Moreover, how is that religious communities or religion would become recognized as protective factors when it comes to various deleterious outcomes such as suicide and drug abuse? Indeed, what is the role of religiousness in guiding individual behaviour as well as the role of faith-based groups and organizations in fostering prosocial activities?

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Located in Waco, Texas, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas and affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baylor is both the state’s oldest institution of higher learning and the world’s largest Baptist university. Established to be a servant of the church and of society, Baylor seeks to fulfill its calling through excellence in teaching and research, in scholarship and publication, and in service to the community, both local and global.