Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Community

The Impact of Faith on Human Flourishing and the Common Good: A Conversation with Byron Johnson

President’s Speaker Series welcomed Byron Johnson, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University, to discuss the positive impact of faith on human flourishing and the potential for religion to facilitate and contribute to the common good of all humanity. The event, titled “The Impact of Faith on Human Flourishing and the Common Good: A Conversation with Byron Johnson,” welcomed community members in person at Elkins Auditorium and via Livestream.

Pepperdine president Jim Gash opened the evening’s discussion by introducing Johnson and their shared connections. 

“From the moment I crossed paths with Byron six years ago,” said Gash, “I knew that we were kindred spirits and really cared about the same things—a deep and abiding faith in God and a desire to follow his son Jesus Christ and to do so in an academic university experience that taught students but also illuminated the scholarly enterprise.”

Johnson shared how his initial dissertation research set him on a path to uncover why inmates who claimed to experience a powerful conversion moment had similar rates of recidivism as those who did not have a conversion moment. For more than two decades, and with more than 200 publications in his catalog, Johnson has found that religious programming within prisons encourages inmates to uphold a regular routine of faith-based practices such as Bible studies and mentorship relationships—rather than focus on a single conversion moment—has significant impacts on decreasing the rate of recidivism for years following release. 

Watch our recording to view the full event with Byron Johnson.