What are the manifold understandings of human flourishing and how does the Christian vision contribute to this?

The concept of “human flourishing” presupposes the dignity of all human life, and it encompasses our mental, physical, and spiritual development toward fulfillment of the purposes of human life. Every religious and philosophical tradition has an ideal of human flourishing, whether explicit or implicit. Our interest here is in how Christian understandings of human flourishing can engage with, and learn from, the understandings of other traditions; and how working together they can develop and promote a vision for the common good. 

What constitutes human flourishing in light of modern technological developments?

“Technology” consists of tools humans develop to accomplish human purposes. But technology inevitably produces accomplishments and consequences unintended by its human creators. One such consequence is that technology reshapes its human users in ways both subtle and not so subtle. Our interest here is to understand the human impacts of contemporary technology and to measure those impacts against the ideals of human flourishing advanced by Christianity and other religious and philosophical traditions.

How do we best interpret challenging sacred texts and practices in order to learn what is true and good?

Religious scriptures are fundamentally about the nature of the divine (who God is and what God is like) and what that means for how human beings are to live. Religious practices are our responses to God and to God’s vision for how we should live. But these pose challenges: How do we understand apparent contradictions in scriptures? How can ancient guidelines for living be adapted to contemporary realities? Our interest here is to create open spaces to ask hard questions about the nature of God and God’s framework for human life.

What teachings and practices do faith communities offer that can provide meaningful insight as to how people might live and flourish in our polarized, frenetic world?

Throughout human history, religious believers have formed communities to interpret sacred teachings and live out their implications. Their efforts vary widely across time, geography, and culture. Even within a given religion, the variety has been enormous. Each of these communities has had strengths and weaknesses, but all gained valuable insight into the human condition in dialog with the divine. Our interest here is to bring these communities into conversation with each other—across the boundaries of time, space, culture, and religious difference—to challenge each other to be more faithful to our own traditions, and to work together to create communities that allow people of all faiths and none to flourish.