Human Development and Theology

This paper will contribute to the critical discussion of theology's relational impact on human development. Relationships, personhood, and the trinity are also explored in relation to theology. Theology aids us in comprehending and evaluating everyday events that are difficult to interpret using scientific science. It facilitates work with a significant effect when coping with cases of human mental illness and disorder. These issues are diagnosed and addressed through therapy, resulting in improved human development and personal growth. More pointers have been added to shape the creation integral as well as an appreciation of human nature's weaknesses and commonalities, as well as how they can be motivated. It then appears there is the connection between social and human development on the ecclesiological of religion mission and its implication of perichoresis.

How does a theological view of relationally influence how human development is viewed and understood?

Development studies have been in theological discourse in the last couple of years. Development has been the major theme in the field of theological in both internationally and nationally. There has been a development in an integral part of a missiology, it comes to a critical understanding that development has been in liberty with theology since1960’s. Theme of development has been of considerable ecumenical interest, from world church and society conference in Geneva (1966). In few years late 1968,"world economic and social development" was devoted to Uppsala conference of world council of churches (Hong, 2008). This convention showed that development was the only major ecumenical movement. Many publications have been written on the issue of development and theology like towards a theology of development and in search of a theology of development.

There have been secular controversies since the 1970s about human development and its influence on theology. The stimulated debate has emerged on the ecumenical circle in the context of feminist theology, liberation, and postcolonial theology which has challenged and compromised the assumption of western economic growth and the sustainability of economic development in the third world countries. In South African, it has experience development due to acceptance of theological reflection from local churches and also from the role of civil society in considerably embracing interest of theological development (Kuperus,2011,pp.278-306).

By reflecting on various development, theology contributed to community growth from mostly reformed churches which emerged in the late 1990s. Some foundations also produced volumes and booklets of an edited number of development and ecumenical church conferences which introduced the issues of development and reconstruction plan. This development and reconstruction programs led to social transformation for the perspective theological individual like the one of Professor Steve de Gruchy called Theology and Development Programme. The complexity of this development was explored by a number of the edited publication like the religion, welfare, and gender in Post-apartheid South Africa - Constructing a South-North dialogue (Klaasen, 2013, pp.182-194).

From historian Arnold Toynbee's lectures, about British Industrial Revolution, the conditions of England were similar to those in developing countries today prior to 1760: lack of technological innovation, the weak banking system, poor communication, and infrastructure, focus on local commerce and no labor division. But surprisingly, after study of economics and modern religion by Adam Smith's, causes of national wealth, and Industrial Revolution examination condition (1776). Smith applies innovative laissez-faire philosophy on aspects of theology. However, his fundamental contribution to modern religion study was due to beliefs that religious activities were rational choices by communities. People usually responds in commercial activities on the more observed manner and predictable benefit of religious costs. Many believe and participle on the degree of religion by choice.

Smiths advocated for the study of religion as the theological tool of progress, he still contributed to understanding the relationship between state and organized religion. He argued strongly for any form of disassociation between state and church. He said such separation could lead to competition, and creating a plurality of different religious theology in the community. By permitting all religion to practice their faith, and showing no preference to any religion helps in creating a free market for those groups to have a rational discussion. This lack of intervention by state help to create moderation and good temper atmosphere. Usually, where there are oligopoly or monopoly of religion by state create a zealousness of public ideas, but where there is open religion market create moderate reason and freedom of speech.

Another individual was John Wesley, a theologian and the founder of Methodism and the Holiness Movement. he differed radically with smiths public intellectual on contemporary of British Industrial Revolution (1703-1791), he argued that the relationship between religion and human development in his preaching of "Gain all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can." was on mutual aid, self-reliance, and hard work. Before he died at the age of 88, he berated his congregation for living a comfortable lifestyle and urged them to give to less fortunate. In his 45 years of service to his congregation, he worked hard and saved, and raised many people to middle-class level. He understood the direct relationship between theology and productivity. Also, he had knowledge that mass accumulation of wealth could weaken people beliefs and hence reduce participation to religion. He came to a conclusion that human development was detrimental to religion (Baradat, 2015).

Educated people turns to science in order to get an explanation of some natural phenomena. Theology try to explain psychological phenomena and supernatural phenomena which have no rational explanation. In this view, people are less religious as they attain higher education levels which have a negative effect. But on other hand, people who have to attain higher level of education try to participate more in religious activities, since educated people tend to appreciate social capitals and another form of community social networks. This is because education have more returns and gain from networking and network. The conclusion here is that educated and richer people on society are not less religious because theology is an example of social capital which educated people enjoys for positive capital effects. Due to this discussion, we see that theology have relationally influence to human economic development due to their active participation in religious services.

Theology increases the value of time as measured by GDP to its followers, this led to raising in human development economically, and this economic development and workforce raise person's time value in the market wages. Hence, religious participants are encouraged to increase more time in theology activities which will lead to increase the cost of time-intensive activities, this opportunity implies people will participate more in religious activities in order to increase their valuable time. This is important for those with low time value to be encouraged to participate in theologically related activities for the benefit of increase their human development value.

Theology has increased life expectancy in the community due to its nature of empowering them. People are now living longer not because of industry revolution, but due to theology human development in different areas of economy like medicine and education. Longevity in the whole world have been raising with absolute large percentage and mostly in poor countries for embracing theological activities since 1950. Following this increase in life span, participation in religion will continue to rise.

Theology has sped the rate of growth in modern urbanization. This is the aspect of human development which has increased the economic growth due to substantial positive participation in religious activities. Theology has brought stiff competition to the theater, museums, and symphony as another avenue of leisure and relaxation platform making gradually increase to its participation. Theology and religion have increased the performance of human development and in other areas of political and cultural institutions. reminiscent of Max Weber's famous thesis in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, is that theological beliefs have raised human productivity by fostering personal traits such as work ethics, honesty, and thrift (Storr, 2006, pp. 289-309). There have been experiencing relatively high patterns in human development in japan, Britain, and Scandinavian countries due to their strong beliefs.

Church has really engaged development and mostly to higher degree involvement to those who are affected by natural calamities and social injustices. There is interplay between theology of relationally and development. Theology of relationally has draws on Trinitarian of neglect confession. Perichoresis and the ontology of trinity have affirmed the person as agent of his development. Personhood have been involved in improving well-being of individual and the whole community whereby it discourages selfish gain and enriches interdependency of people in the community and also helping improve the relationship to other humans. Ontology help to enrich mutual relationship in the spirit of responsibility and mutual care. This belief help in growth, empowered, grow, influence, and transformation of human development in relation to theological dynamics (Canda, & Furman, 2010).

Professionalization of work has brought development. Different theological activities have undoubtedly brought acknowledge benefit such as collegial networks. Academic rigor, specialist skills, shared research, and emphasis on evaluation and assessment. Theology has performed social role of fighting community ills like unsafe industrial conditions, debtor’s prisons, and child labor. Christians also led the fight towards the abolition of slavery during the industrial age. The emergency of labor movement and socialism was due to the effect of theology. Great social reformers such as William booth led championing of the fight of rights of underprivileged and formulated the concept of social welfare. Christens have helped to form the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which campaign for rights of civil society. Involvement in environmental causes have really improved the protection and conservation of natural resources like forest and water catchment areas. Moreover, global poverty and climate justice have been highly campaigned by jubilee movement.

Impact of Theology on Counseling Relationship

Theoretical counseling orientation like narrative, family systems, cognitive-behavioral is always adopted for a counselor to relate and interact well with the clients. This help to shape individual human development and commitment to solving human problems. Theological counseling draws primarily its knowledge from sources of church history, scripture, and philosophy just to mention a also should include social science and empirical research (Corey, 2015). Theology help to provide the explanation of why certain things happen the way they happen, this help clients to develop skills which make them be able to cope with life's dilemmas, and also to develop the meaning of those dilemmas you cannot change and stop to worry why life is like that.

When theology and counseling practices are integrated, they take into two forms of explicit and implicit integration. Explicit integration involves using spiritual and religious interventions to allow the interaction to enter the client's consent. The engagement is usually theological unequivocal oriented usually includes assigning spiritual discipline, praying with patients, bible reading counseling conversation, adopting very kind language, and acknowledging presence of god openly at some also can incorporate Christianization of secular approach of client problem(Stewart, Deal, & Fox, 2017, pp. 234-241). For example, M.R. McMinn and C.D. Campbell" Integrative Psychotherapy: Toward a Comprehensive Christian Approach" has developed a cognitive-behavioral therapy, spiritual formation, integrated psychotherapy, and sophisticated blending theology (McMinn, & Campbell, 2007). Implicit integration usually used where counselor what to understands clients problem whereby direct commitments and theological assumptions are used to shape the conversation. Implicit integration is mostly used for secular settings counseling whereby there is a presupposition of god and his role to human life.

Theological counselor usually has valuable resource in psychiatric cases as they are qualified to address problems of coping with terminal illness, bereavement, and even mental illness and mental disorder in unique ways. Theology counselors who are trained in behavior and behavioral sciences can help to treat assess patients who require psychotherapy that will face reflecting the direction of spiritual beliefs. Theological counselors have skills and knowledge which cannot be compared to psychiatrists in order to treat the congregations.

Theology counselors are trained in variety of fields and settings which include outpatient and inpatients mental health, pastoral counseling centers and those of private practice. Patients seek therapy to theology counselor due to their connection with certain particular faith. Counselor can challenge defensive, rigid, and misinformed spiritual beliefs that usually help the patients in psychological dysfunction and distress. They are trained in religious tradition and some basic of psychotherapy and psychology.

They solve short-term problems and long-standing relational conflicts using long term relationship therapist. Psychotherapy and pastoral counseling insight oriented predominantly but also they include other models of therapeutic. They are familiar with the following types of therapy which include spiritual growth, relational, human potential, and behavioral.

Theological counseling is usually shaped by scientific exploration of nature of human consciousness and the human mind, it leads to significantly contributed to profession psychology. Clinical theological counseling has allowed pastoral to practice counseling although under the experienced professional supervision foundation. Theological counseling has brought a significant relationship to the humankind development of mental illness and health. This impact has subsequently determined the infancy relationship of personality development.

The goal of theological in counseling is to guide individual towards relationship wholeness within themselves and brings personal growth and development in revitalizing the body, enlivening the mind, deepening ones the relationship between biosphere and nature, enriching and renewing the intimate relationship, vitalizing and deepening relationship with god, and lastly the significant growth towards relation institution (Nesbit, & Welton,2013).

Theology have brought a loaf of impact to counseling relationship whereby it has improved the development of human behavioral effects. In addition, it has helped to cure and identify the following problem; terminal illness, help in obtaining spiritual assessment standards, help to give sense of direction and vocational confusion, help in the interpretation of religious texts, and even restoring hope to those how are mentally ill and who see this as punishment due to the insufficient faith

In conclusion, a relationally theology has been developed as a holistic and broad point in its mission to contribute to human development. This development has increased freedom of choices to the individuals. Development happens in human relationship unlike it is for compartmentalizing of human approach whereby human development happens in the relationship between people and the rest of world. Theology has contributed in the foundation of strong human beliefs, this belief of self-realize and hard work has led to the gradual development of the political, social, and economic have led to the construction of modern communication and infrastructure, innovation of new technology. More so, theology has led to the formation of a labor movement that has campaigned for safe industrial conditions, fair payment, and advocate of the universal human right to all people and this has contributed undoubtedly to human development.


Baradat, L. P. (2015). Political ideologies. Routledge.

Canda, E. R., & Furman, L. D. (2010). Spiritual diversity in social work practice: The heart of helping. Oxford University Press.

Corey, G. (2015). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Nelson Education.

Hong, S. W. (2008). Naming God in Korea: the case of protestant Christianity. OCMS.

Kuperus, T. (2011). The political role and democratic contribution of churches in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Church and State, 53(2), 278-306.

Klaasen, J. (2013). The interplay between theology and development: How theology can be related to development in post-modern society. Missionalia, 41(2), 182-194.

McMinn, M. R., & Campbell, C. D. (2007). Integrative psychotherapy: Toward a comprehensive Christian approach. InterVarsity Press.

Nesbit, T., & Welton, M. (Eds.). (2013). Adult Education and Learning in a Precarious Age: The Hamburg Declaration Revisited: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Number 138. John Wiley & Sons.

Stewart‐Sicking, J. A., Deal, P. J., & Fox, J. (2017). The Ways Paradigm: A Transtheoretical Model for Integrating Spirituality Into Counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 95(2), 234-241.

Storr, V. H. (2006). Weber’s spirit of capitalism and the Bahamas’ Junkanoo ethic. The Review of Austrian Economics, 19(4), 289-309.

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