The conception of “flourishing” advanced by the Center for Faith and Human Flourishing is based most fundamentally in the Christian understanding, derived from the Scriptures, of each human person as a valuable individual made in the image of God. This is also consistent with the Western liberal tradition’s focus on the dignity of the individual.
Because of the diversity of preferences and individual circumstances, the path to “flourishing” is different for each person and each community. We may conceive of movement toward flourishing on a spectrum between two poles (languishing, and flourishing), with an intermediate stage (surviving). In situations of trauma, poverty, and insecurity, individuals and communities lack physical safety and subsistence, experiencing uncertainty and instability. The path toward flourishing involves a move to a status of “surviving”: security, subsistence, and reasonable expectation of personal safety, including stable protection of rights and some public goods. Once those needs are met, individuals and communities are free to pursue capability, satisfaction, and flourishing.
The CFHF supports research that seeks fuller understanding of the movement of individuals and communities from “languishing” to “surviving” to “flourishing,” with a particular interest in the role of Christian faith as motivation for the pursuit of flourishing, and as a means for individuals and communities to flourish.
Research Area #1: Migration, Economic Development, and Flourishing Communities
Migration is a key element in human flourishing: the free movement of individuals and families to escape insecurity and poverty in pursuit of survival and economic opportunity.
- Economic migration, family migration, migration
- Humanitarian migration (refugees); IDPs; migration due to ecological disaster
- International contexts: Baltic states, European Union, post-Soviet states
- Economic development
- Diaspora and return migration, particularly as contributing to economic development in home countries
- Securitization of migration; how states and host populations treat migrants as problematic/dangerous; migrants at risk of deportation
- Integration of migrants (socio-economic/family/humanitarian migrants); reception, suspicion, racism, xenophobia
- Religious persecution and conflict
- Religion as contributing factor to attitudes toward migrants and migration
Research Area #2: Trauma, Relationships, and Flourishing Individuals and Families
Safety, love, and sense of belonging are significant contributing factors to human survival and satisfaction.
- Interpersonal relationships, especially families, as key to flourishing
- Influences on attitudes towards marriage
- Marital and couple adjustment
- The role of faith in quality of marriage experience
- Gerontology; capability and flourishing in advanced age, aging populations
- Attitudes towards mental health issues; obstacles to seeking psychological help
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
- Depression, suicide
- Physiological measures of psychological function
- Communication norms and patterns within nuclear and extended families, in post-totalitarian societies
Research Area #3: Textual Studies, Faith, and Conceptions of Flourishing
Texts and other artistic expressions, including the foundational texts of faith such as the Bible, reflect and shape conceptions of meaning, purpose, flourishing, and relationships. As a liberal arts institution, LCC is committed to foundational principles and tools of inquiry that empower free individuals to pursue meaning within a free society.
- Biblical, theological, literary, historical, and philosophical studies, within the following contexts: Lithuania, the Baltic States, Eastern Europe, and post-totalitarian and post-secular societies
- Christian ecumenical dialogue, and interreligious dialogue
- Rhetoric and persuasive communication
- Conceptions of ethnic and national identity
- Modes and methods of artistic expression, including visual and performing arts