Skip to main content

Religion Is Helpful and Harmful. History, contemporary events, and social science research all demonstrate that religion has great power to both help and harm individuals and families. It is important to try to understand in what ways religion facilitates and discourages relational quality and stability.

Religious Cooperation and Conflict. Religious families find themselves in an environment characterized by various efforts at interfaith cooperation as well as conflicts between religious groups. Deep religious commitment can lead to both religious conflict and religious cooperation.

Support and Hostility for Religion. Many individuals and institutions recognize the contributions religion has made and still makes in strengthening families. However, an increasing level of hostility toward religion and religious people is reflected in attacks by “New Atheists” who disparage religious practitioners and religion itself. Some live their faith and deal with these and other contradictions in religion in ways that promote relational quality and stability while others respond to these kinds of contradictions by decreasing religious belief or involvement. We address this by looking for commonalities in marriage and family life among families of various branches of the Abrahamic faiths, and by identifying the ways of being religious that are helpful and harmful to relationships.