The Religious Competition and Creative Innovation project (RCCI) explores the proposition that competition between religious groups stimulates creative innovation, contributing to religious change and development. RCCI will be developed and primarily focused on Southern California, while developing a comparison with Seoul, South Korea. Los Angeles, a region with over 20 million people, is one of the most religiously diverse populations in the world. The Seoul metropolitan area, with a population of 24 million people, forms the cultural and economic center of South Korea, and includes a wide diversity of religious groups, which in many ways rival the religious vitality of Los Angeles. Together, these two regions are excellent laboratories within which to test the proposition that religious competition leads to creative innovation
The project builds on research that the Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) has conducted on religion throughout Southern California and on global Pentecostalism—the world’s fastest growing religious movement. But the focus of RCCI will capture multiple religious traditions and encompass two specific geographic areas: Southern California and Seoul, South Korea. We will create novel methodological approaches, including new data collection techniques and web accessible visual database technology, as well as theoretical models that can be adapted to different cities or regions around the world.
Funded by the John Templeton Foundation, RCCI intends to move beyond analyses of religious competition that focus on gain or loss in membership and to discover the various types and expressions of religious competition and cooperation, as well as how these may lead to innovative forms of religious belief, practice and organization. The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for research and discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The foundation supports work at the world's top universities in such fields as theoretical physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, cognitive science and social science relating to love, forgiveness, creativity, purpose and the nature and origin of religious belief. It also seeks to stimulate new thinking about freedom and free enterprise, character development and exceptional cognitive talent and genius.