The shelter of religion

We live in a harsh economic world. Almost half the world lives in poverty

It is a well-studied phenomenon that poor communities are more prone to adopting religions Why?

Considering that a poor individual family has to concern itself with physical subsistence as an urgent matter most of the time, it is conceivable that they would welcome a system that is providing practical support both in material welfare, and in emotional coping. This is the shelter of religion.

In many societies, religious institutions exist to attract members whose conditions would lead them to seek such support. Like other kinds of institutions, religious ones survive by growing in size and influence, in an environment with competing religions and other interacting institutions (e.g. political parties, media agencies, etc.) Religious institutions assimilate those members into a welcoming, cohesive enclave, and exact from them personal dedication as a tax. In cases where the religious institution is itself in danger, the member collective is rallied to face the opponent.

The toll exacted by religious institutions can vary in form and size, and the adopting population often "adapts" the religious practices to its own history, culture, and atavistic tendencies.

This means that a good way to counter the advance of a religious institution is to provide shelter for the population in need. In superficial theoretic terms, institutions are competing for "clients" among the target population. But regardless of the competition factor, one can imagine a balance of influences that are exerted on the population. The resources spent by each institution are a) economical and b) psychological.

Development agencies are another example of such institutions. However, the economic instability of funding makes for shorter-term structures. Needed are institutions that can function for many generations.

Taking the specific case of Egypt, the majority of the well-to-do, educated class is in the process of emigration, to avoid the situation where their perceived freedoms and rights are no longer attainable. However, most leave reluctantly and retain loyalty to their home country. This loyalty can be utilized to create economic bridges into the home country, where the conditions of the majority is indeed in need of support.

My own imagination of such support would be in the form of entrepreneurial start-ups, where Egyptian expatriates would be paired with local Egyptian entrepreneurs on the basis of their common interests and contractual agreement. Expatriates would provide a range of resources, including direct funding, expertise, marketing - drawn from their host countries, and locals would ensure on the ground execution.

To encourage such pairings, a "hub" would be beneficial, with the mission of facilitating the creation of start-ups that have the best chances of success. Success would be measured in some objective way that is transparent to all.

Of course, this approach would not directly affect the emotional, existential needs of the population, but it is my belief that a satisfied member of society will surely lead a healthier mental life than a poor one