The National Institute of Theology

by PhilGoetz 1 min read4th Oct 201127 comments


Lots of charlatans spend lots of money advertising diets and health products that don't work.  We have a National Institutes of Health that, among other things, funds studies that make more-objective pronouncements on diet and health.

Argue pro or con:  It would be a good investment (payback would exceed opportunity cost) for the US government to create a National Institute of Theology, that would fund research into theological questions.  For instance:

  • How effective is prayer?
  • Which religions are the most effective (at healing the sick, making their adherents rich, or other metrics)?
  • What is the probability that someone will become happier, more productive, less violent, or commit acts of terrorism as a result of joining different religions (or not joining any)?

Everyone, religious and atheist, should be motivated to want the answers to these questions to become widely known.

(Yes, I know this would be politically impractical.  Pointing that out is not interesting.  What is interesting, is whether such a NIT would be beneficial, supposing it could be made.)