Supernatural Belief and the Evaluation of Faith-based Peacebuilding

David Steele, and Ricardo Wilson-Grau for The Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium

Created 02/17/2017



There is very little research on professional evaluation of faith-based peacebuilding, despite the existence of a variety of efforts over centuries to promote peace within many faith traditions. Therefore, this briefing paper will first address pertinent concepts and principles related to belief in the supernatural that, to varying degrees, influence all faith-based actors. Secondly, it will address the application of these conceptions to evaluation practice. This will inform guidance for peacebuilders and evaluators, both religious and secular, working in faith-based contexts, which we refer to synonymously as “faith-based peacebuilding” or “religious peacebuilding.” Furthermore, the perspective presented can apply to both inter-religious and intra-religious peacebuilding. Intra-faith conflicts between different entities within one religion can also be deep rooted and equally intractable. Differences based on identity, authority structures and interpretation, can influence worldviews and faith-based practices like ritual, adding significantly to the complexity of a conflict.

This brief aims to contribute to the growing effort to learn, share and collaborate between religious and secular peacebuilders, supporting both with perspectives they can incorporate into the evaluation of their work with faith-based communities.

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